I remember back when I was pregnant with Ali there were so many people telling me how having *two* little ones completely changes everything. I kept thinking that I used to be a teacher and it wouldn’t phase me (how could it?) because I’m used to have over twenty kids in the same room.
Well, I was wrong. Two little ones, especially under the age of 2 at the same time is a lot of work — worth it and wonderful — but a lot of work! As they’ve grown, it has become much easier and they’ve become more independent. Slowly, I’ve come to realize a few different things that I need in order to be the best mom that I can be (read: stay sane).
Here’s my list of how to stay sane when you have two (or more) little ones:
1. Find a routine... for you.
One of the best changes I’ve made was to created a routine... for me. I started using the “bedtime” app on my telephone to remind me when it’s “time to go to bed.” Do I always go to bed at this time? No. But it reminds me that it’s getting late and it’s not a bad idea to at least start thinking about it. In the morning, it wakes you at the same time each day. For me, its just before 7am and leaves me enough time for a shower or a cup of coffee before starting the day with the kids.
2. Be active every day.
The definition of active changes drastically when you have two or more little ones in the house. Suddenly, getting breakfast for your children and yourself, getting everyone dressed, and out the door for the day becomes an athletic event. Anything above and beyond the typical daily activities keeps the endorphins flowing and helps keep you healthy. Whether it’s just long walk with the kids in the stroller before the park or a hard workout at the gym before the day starts, both are great ways to keep you active every day.
3. More importantly, be nice to yourself.
There are days (weeks?) that the laundry just doesn’t get done or house isn’t going to look how you want. Andrew always jokes that pre-marriage and children he always knew where his things were... Now? Not so much. ;) When you don’t meet the standard, don’t give yourself a hard time. Set a goal for tomorrow (keep it attainable) and take a moment to think about all you did do today – you did keep yourself and all your minions alive and well... and that’s a pretty big feat in and of itself!
4. And be nice to your spouse.
One of the worst traps you can fall into is playing the blame game. With a little more stress in the house, it’s easy to blame the only other person who can contribute. Remember: you two are on the same team.
5. Have a stash of rainy day activities.
Before Ali was born I went to Michaels and bought the store out. Ha – not really.... But I did stock up on a whole bunch of rainy day activities and then we stashed them in the drawer. We’re still pulling out new games or activities a year and a half later. It’s a life saver when you need a time filler, when you’re helping the littler one, or when you just need a moment to sit down before continuing on with the day.
6. Find a great sitter or mother’s helper.
We were blessed to find the best nanny that comes to help us once a week. It gives me a moment to work – but more importantly it gives me a moment to think about something other than being mom. Whether or not you work, taking a moment away from the kids ultimately makes you want to be back with your kids. Funny how that works, right?
We also have two neighborhood girls that are our Mother’s Helpers. They come over and play with the girls while I’m in the house getting a few things done. It saves me from having to rely on television just to do the laundry or pick up the house.
7. Make time to pray.
Or meditate or whatever it is that you do to recognize that we couldn’t possibly be the biggest, most important things in this universe. Sibling are so much fun. I’m writing this right now because my two are playing with each other in the other room. It’s a lot of work. It’s stressful. But let’s be real... there really is nothing better.