2 Kids Under 2
Everyone always says going from one to two kids is the biggest change. I really didn't know what to expect, and I didn't think much about it before Rosie joined us. We do live away from home most of the year, so that means no support from parents, friends or trusted babysitters. Jason is also on the road a lot with hockey, so that meant I would be totally alone sometimes. This made me a bit nervous, but I knew we would make it work. Once Rosie came we figured it out, but only after a few meltdowns (you can read about them here). Some days are still overwhelming and exhausting and I always dread when Jason is heading on the road, but I have wrapped my head around the changes and it's made it a lot easier.
I think one of the biggest changes going from one to two is your lack of down time. It's like the second I put Everly down for a nap, Rosie needs me, and then once I can finally put her down Everly's awake again. Between feeding both girls, giving them both attention, getting them both ready to leave the house and getting them both ready for bed, I barely have any time for myself. This has been hard, and having more than one kid really humbles you and forces you to be selfless. Both of those are good qualities and I love my girls for making me a better person. Read more below on a few changes we made to take are of our two girls.
Getting Out of the House
I quickly realized that to remain sane with two kids I need to get out of the house everyday. For my sake, but mostly for Everly's. She gets bored of her toys and annoyed with me taking care of Rosie if we stay at home too long. If we go out she gets distracted and gets excited about new things to play with and forgets about Rosie. Rosie also does so well in the car and out and about so that helps a lot. Whenever we go out I either have the Uppababy Vista to push both of the girls around, or I wear Rosie in my Lillebaby carrier and let Everly run around. I cannot recommend the Uppababy Vista enough. It is my favorite purchase as a mom! I reviewed it when I first bought it before Everly, which you can read about here.
Lowering my Expectations
I have also realized that I can't get as much done in a day, or expect so much from myself. Some days will just consist of having everyone fed, clothed and alive. This is hard because I love keeping busy in the kitchen, writing blog posts, working out, reading, keeping the house clean, etc. All of this takes a back seat now to my two girls. Some days the house is a mess, I don't shower, Jason has to make dinner and there is a weeks worth of laundry piled up. I am slowly realizing this is okay and that lowering my expectations isn't a bad thing. Jason has been really supportive in this as well. He never comes home and questions the state of the house, how I look or that there isn't food made for him. This doesn't mean I have given up and thrown in the towel in life. I still have a to-do list for the day, but I don't beat myself up if something on the list doesn't get checked off. My girls are my first priority now, and if I want to get something else done I either do it while they are sleeping or I include Everly in whatever it is (ex. baking).
Making specific time for Everly has also been a big priority. She went from being my little sidekick to taking a backseat to Rosie. The hardest times for her are when I am feeding Rosie or when Rosie is crying. To help with that I got a little bucket and filled it with toys that she only gets while I am feeding Rosie. This has helped a little bit, but sometimes she doesn't care for it and just wants me to play with her. I realized that including her when I can helps a lot. I ask her to get me Rosie's blanket, clothes, diapers or anything else so that she doesn't feel left out. It can take longer to do things, but I realized its necessary. I also make sure to spend intentional time with her while Rosie is sleeping and give her lots of attention.
Jason also takes Everly on dates a few days a week. Everly's always been so clingy to me because she obviously spends the most time with me, but since Rosie's been here her and Jason's relationship has flourished and I absolutely love watching them together. The dates make her feel special and loved and has made her more loving towards Rosie because she feels equally loved and cared for.
Another huge thing that has made this transition really easy is that Jason is around most afternoons. He is always gone in the mornings for practice and then may need to head to the gym at some point and then some evenings is gone if he has games, but other than that he is home (unless he's on the road). He has been such a big help just playing with Everly and keeping her feeling loved and entertained. He also helps out with cleaning, laundry and cooking (he's becoming quite the chef!). He goes grocery shopping, he cleans up the girls toys at the end of the day, and makes me feel so loved and beautiful no matter how disheveled I look. I don't know what I would do without his help. Likely cry every night...
Making Time for Me
This is SO important. It isn't selfish, it's necessary. If I don't recognize when I need a break or do anything to recharge, I will have a meltdown (and there have been a few of those). What does me time look like? Going to the gym, relaxing in the evenings when the girls are in bed, having Jason take Everly swimming so I can just have snuggles with Rosie, doing a devotional and blogging! All of these things are just for me and help fill me up. This is so important for me to make sure I am giving my girls and my husband the best!
Overall life with 2 under 2 has been great. Once I realized what I need for myself and what has to get done for my girls, I was able to find a healthy balance. There are days (like today) that are hard with lots of crying and exhaustion, but that's motherhood and I wouldn't trade it for anything!