So much of my heart in deciding to blog again revolves around encouraging other moms who are in the same phase of life as me. Growing up, I never thought that I would have kids so close in age. I had planned to put a perfect 2-3 year gap between pregnancies, but that’s just not the way our family has developed. Of course, I wouldn’t change a thing, but that doesn’t mean that there aren’t really hard, exhausting days.
When I first found out I was pregnant with our second, only 9 months postpartum with our first, I devoured information. I read blog posts and online articles about what life is really like having two kids under two. Some posts were less than helpful and only made my anxiety worse, so I’m hoping to offer a little more encouragement to those who need it.
Here I am, only 6 weeks in, but I think I’ve already gained a tiny glimpse into what this is going to look like for our family. It’s going to be hard, it’s going to be busy, but it’s also going to be so, so worth it!
So, from a practical standpoint, how are we making this work? For starters, I was completely spoiled by having my husband home with us for the first 4 weeks. He has an amazing employer who allowed him all the time he wanted to be off to help us get going on the right path. I know this isn’t an option for many, but it was a tremendous help in the beginning for me, as you can imagine. When he was home for us, he made it very clear that my only job was to nurse our baby — he would handle the rest, including most of the care of our one-year-old. After four weeks, though, he had to return to work, and I was a puddle. That first morning, I got some great advice from a sweet friend who just brought her own baby boy home to a toddler. She said to just do the next thing. Don’t worry about figuring out the day all at once. Just do what needs to be done next. As the weeks have gone by, we’ve figured things out little by little, but there is no “schedule” at the moment, and that’s just fine for now.
Another important tip I’ve picked up, even though it goes against every wife/mama instinct I have: Embrace the mess. Your house is going to be a little ugly for a while. I pick up in the evening enough to satisfy my inner need to tame the chaos, but I’m not fretting over every little thing. Lacey Ruth plays hard all day long to preoccupy herself while I nurse baby sis, and I’m just grateful that she’s becoming better at independent play. A messy room is a happy room!
Along the same lines, lower your expectations and expect others to do the same. This is a hard one for me, particularly because I really really care about what others think of my family and our home. My husband constantly reminded me as guests dropped by to visit us and the baby that they weren’t expecting to walk into our home the way it looked before Addy Grace was born. They knew our focus right now was going to be on our kiddos and not our home, so I shouldn’t constantly feel the need to apologize for the mess.
One thing I had to mentally prep for before Addy Grace was born was to plan to just be home for a good, long while. Getting out of the house at the moment takes both Luke and me, and there is just no other way right now. While I would love to be able to grocery shop and have lunch with friends, there’s no way I can do this right now with both girls in tow. Breastfeeding is a 24/7 job at the moment, and I can’t really do that job outside of the house very easily. But, being that I’m feeding baby #2, I know from Lacey Ruth that this phase doesn’t last forever. Getting out will become second nature, and we will have a life again…one day. Just not now, and that’s okay. I’m enjoying the process so much more than the first time around, knowing how quickly this phase passes and how FUN it gets soon!
One thing I’ve learned to do for my own sanity is when I start to feel like the walls are closing in on me, Luke and I go out for a drive around town. We make these “mini dates” with the girls in tow. In fact, Addy Grace usually uses this time to get in a good nap, and Lacey Ruth is nice and quiet in the back. Sometimes, we stop by Sonic, grab a milkshake, and drive to up-and-coming neighborhoods to take a look at houses and dream a little!
Reality: There are hard days. Days when everything feels monotonous, and I wonder if I’m really cut out for this. Or, days when I’m wishing away time, hoping things will get smoother down the road. But, I’m trying to keep everything in perspective and remember that these days really are precious, and I don’t get them back. The time I have with them right now is meaningful and a daily opportunity to point their little hearts to Jesus, and I’m so very privileged to have two little girls to call me Mama!