Parenting: Being a mum to 2 under 2, 6 months in to the job....

Getting chance to write is a real luxury that I just don't have these days, so when I do grab time, it has to be quick and to the point but I realised that I haven't really updated on what life is like with two babies under two for a while, so here goes.
You'll have to excuse the lack of perfect writing, as lesson number one I've learnt is:

1 - Let go of all selfishness

Where as with one you may have been able to occasionally nip off for a bath, or out for a couple of hours when your partner or family/friends were around, with two you are always needed. Even with help around the load is only ever halved. Rarely can anyone else handle the craziness of two little ones alone or know their intricate schedules (and keep to them) so you have to let go of all notions of alone time, your interests or any selfishness.

2. Perfect doesn't exist and good is good enough

I like to dedicate a lot of time to making things perfect and just so, but having the Little Inspiration meant that I had to moderate my expectations slightly. Now having the little Milkivore too means that even that expectation is too much and now I'm having to compromise even more on perfection. There really is no time or energy for the ideal, so good has to be good enough. I celebrate the small wins even more now that time is so precious and honestly if we we're all fed, watered, dressed, out of the door somewhere and happy by the end of the day, that is good enough. If I do on the rare occasion get chance to write, it has to be be enough to get something down in writing, even if its not the best I've done. If I get chance to exercise once a week, that has to be good enough....for now.

3 - Time moves in the blink of an eye

I knew time was going faster after my first baby was born, but now since having two it moves at warp speed. With the Little Inspiration I at least had time to take in each milestone, I know how many weeks old she was up until a year old, savoured each delicious development, rolling, weaning, talking, crawling, walking and encouraged each one. With my second time just passes and things happen in a commotion of multi tasking. I'm breastfeeding the small, while getting snacks and playing mega blocks with the toddler, and simultaneously folding washing, making dinner and talking on the phone to the utility companies, Life. is. busy. I really wanted to savour the newborn and baby stage even more second time around but having two under two means it goes even faster in a haze of sleep deprivation and beautiful chaos. The toddler has changed in leaps and bounds from the 18 month old she was when we brought home her little brother, and my sleepy newborn is no more, replaced with an inquisitive, cheeky and happy bouncing baby,

4. My heart has expanded for both but my love for each is also slightly different

The moment I met each of my babies my world turned upside down and I fell hopelessly in love. Immediately I knew that I would love each of them unconditionally and in equal measure but there is a unique quality to the love I have for each. They are the same but different too. It's very hard to explain but in the detail, but each pregnancy was different, the labour's were different, the circumstances during the newborn phases and now their personalities are becoming different too and all of that nuance adds a slightly different flavour to each love. I see little things each does and my heart swells. An experienced mum friend told me that depending on each day she swapped favourites, whilst I don't feel like that (at least yet) I can see how their unique qualities might make you feel utter pride or drive you completely bonkers depending on the day.

5 My concentration span, social life, work, hobbies etc are non existent

There really is not much time for anything other than being a mummy at the moment. I exist in a fog of sleep deprivation that means when I find 5 minutes in the day to do something, the one hundred things I want to do evade me and move around. One job leads to another and then to ten more meaning lots of things remain unfinished, This goes against my organised personality that I've used in my career for years. I've always been a fan of lists and keeping on track but finding time to write the list is one thing, then to consult it, find the task suitable to the situation e.g. around the kids nap times, play times, eating etc is a job in itself. So, see point number 1 about good is good enough, If I do anything, no mater what thing it is, it is a win. When I see friends who have big gaps between kids and have one in nursery or school before the other, I feel the occasional twang of envy that they get to have the space and time to enjoy their baby and get some of themselves back. But, I absolutely love the chance to have both my babies at home at this time and think it must be quite unique to be able to live in this bubble with both for a little while.

6. The joy is double

I had moments of isolation and sadness and dare I say boredom occasionally amid the joy of motherhood the first time around. But with two under two I've not had time to really feel that amid the busy-ness and chaos. Life is full to the brim and I barely have time to consider how I feel as I'm caring for my little cherubs. The absolute joy I feel when I see both my babies together, playing and making each other giggle is better than any other feeling in the world. I always wanted to have more than one child as I grew up with a sibling and loved the bond we have. Seeing my babies develop that bond and life long friendship is amazing, even more so that they are close in age. I hope they'll have similar interests and we can do things as a family that will be age appropriate for them both as time goes on. Throughout the day, despite the various challenges of having two under two at home with me full time, there is barely a moment when one or the other does not make me feel immensely proud, happy, emotional or make me belly laugh.

7. The juggle is real

Managing competing nap schedules, breastfeeding, never ending snacks for the toddler, weaning, nappies and potty training, family meal planning, laundry that never ends, doctors and health visitors appointments, social commitments, playgroups, nurseries, the list goes on. Safe to say that the workload substantially increases with two little ones. But, you're already in the swing of some of this stuff and more experienced to boot, so you'll probably handle it like a boss.....most days.

8. You won't enjoy it all of the time (and that is ok?)

As someone once said, it's the hardest fun you'll ever have so enjoy the ride. Parenthood is a journey and some days you feel great and love it all, others day you do not. Sometimes it is a day of four seasons with every emotion conceivable That is ok. As long as you know it will get better and this phase will pass.

9. The sleep deprivation is something else

I know you thought you were tired when you first brought that newborn home and realised they don't always know how to sleep. But oh my word, with two under two the sleep deprivation is a horror. Unless you're bless with at least one great sleeper or preferably both, expect you and your partner if you have one, to be delirious with lack of sleep. It becomes impossible to easily tend to two unsettled babies by yourself so your other half has to take on some of the burden too and that's not easy on anybody. Even if you try to take it on by yourself, you'll find you no sooner settle one, and try to get yourself back to snoozeville before something disturbs the other, They can tag team, All, Night, Long, sometimes. We turned a corner after my little girl turned 2 somewhat but there are still THOSE nights hat are horrifying.

10. Your relationship may suffer (but it's not always a bad thing, in the long run)

As much disruption as there is with your first baby and the crankiness from the lack of sleep, you still get some semblance of time together when baby is sleeping. But with a toddler in tow and a newborn, both with different routines and requirements, forget having time for each other. You're often entertaining a different baby each and when you eventually get them down to sleep at the same time (if you can) you're too exhausted to give each other the tiny bit of energy that may (or may not) be left. If you can get help from family or friends, grab it with both hands, or watch your relationship suffer. However, you ultimately know that you will come out the other side stronger, when things calm down a little. Your time together needs to be more efficient and you revel in family time more.

So there you have it, a few observations as a new mummy to two under two in those early months but far from an exhaustive list. The love and joy is unreal is in our house with both of our babies but my goodness we're tired. How do you find being a parent to two under two?

Would you like a blog post about tips with coping with two under two? I'd love to hear from you....

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