(Top) Tips for managing life with a baby and a toddler

double 1

The Double – lifesaver!

I feel I need to start this entry with a disclaimer. I feel totally unqualified to write such a piece as this. I mean, I do have a baby and a toddler and have for just over 9 months. And, yes, we are all still alive. But I feel like the kind of mum who can really give guidance like I am about to is one who floats effortlessly though the day. I don’t do crafts, baking or phonics with my toddler. My baby squawks for attention pretty much the entire time he is awake. However, we are:

  1. all still alive
  2. pretty happy (most days)
  3. probably not all that different to any other family with such young children

So I’ll begin. These are the things that have kept (and keep) me sane. I understand everyone has a very different lifestyle/different prioritites.

double 2

 

  • the double (bloody) buggy. Yes, I curse it pretty much every time I use it. It’s big, cumbersome and so heavy I get a back ache from just looking at it. Its wheels are a dog poo magnet and there’s no storage. Jostling Sam into the second seat underneath makes him puke EVERY TIME. And yet, I really couldn’t be without it. Max is small and not particularly strong, he’s not big into walking. I’m basically the size of a (small) 12 year old so finding ‘slinging’ Sam really hard work (plus, the vom issue means slinging is very much reserved for desperate times). We needed a double buggy and it has meant I haven’t ever felt housebound. Winner
  • Along the same lines, getting out whenever possible. Max still naps so each day is broken into morning and afternoon activities (unless we venture out for the day – rare). We get out of the house at least once a day and I do aim to plan something for each ‘section’ of the day (even if it’s playtime at home). I lose my mind if I don’t have a plan.

    sam swings

    everyone loves the playground!

  • When Sam was born, I went to and hosted bazillions of playdates. I soon learned that they are often really bloody hard work if the toddlers don’t get on. I’ve streamlined it a lot so only see people that both Max and I get on with. That way we both enjoy ourselves and there are fewer arguments over toys. I also try to keep some sort of social life without the kids (generally this involves meeting friends for drinks and often talking about our offspring).
  • My time. This is a toughie – there are not many opportunities for this. But I do carve out ‘slots’ in my day for myself. Sometimes this means getting up early early to do some exercise before the boys wake up; moving heaven and earth to get them down for a nap at the same time or taking some time at the weekend. It is not easy but I can’t function properly without some time alone so it’s very much a priority.
  • I love coffee. I seem to have bred a very urban 21st century child who delights in going to a café. So that’s what we do. We get out of the house, do some people watching (‘mummy, is that a lady or a man?’), enjoy a flat white/babyccino and feel like part of the real world again. Of course, I also keep coffee at home, so I can have a treat without having to go out (though it’s never as nice and I always seem to have to have to reheat it in the microwave).

    caffe nero

    coffee dates are standard most days

  • Lowering my expectations. This only dawned on me about 4 months in. I spent a lot of mental energy beating myself up for ‘failing’ because my baby wasn’t sleeping through the night/my toddler had tantrums/I sometimes forgot to buy milk. I gave myself a good talking to. I was aiming for the unattainable. So I relaxed my outlook, took more time to enjoy playing cars/reading books to Sam and found life that bit easier.

There’s noting mindblowing in the list above. The fact is, it’s hard having two small kids. Harder than I ever anticipated. I feel I have lost a lot of ‘my’ things (yes, I have gained more than I could ever imagine too). I won’t be going back to work when Sam is one. A decision I am happy with. But for my sanity I have to work hard to ensure I am looking after myself as much as my children. So I aim to do whatever I can to make life easier and more enjoyable for the whole clan.

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