Several people have messaged me and asked if I have any tips on how to adjust to life with a newborn and a toddler. Disclaimer: I’m only six weeks in to this chaos, so I have loads to learn. (Don’t worry, I will keep you posted.) Disclaimer 2: this is just my experience.
For now, let’s chat about life so far. My new normal is anything but organized. In fact, it usually just feels like a total disaster. 24 hours a day since July 17th, I’m juggling several humans both literally and figuratively. I’ve been vocal about the type of kid Charlie is. She’s loud, active, hypersensitive, and high maintenance. To put it bluntly, she totally exhausts every emotion I have. She just turned two, and she is in full toddler mode. (The toddler mode that melts down because she can’t fit two pacifiers in one pocket.) So, in addition to having the personality that she has, she is also a typical toddler: irrational and unstable. Towards the end of my pregnancy, I was already fearing the worst. Well, ladies and gentlemen: here we are. At the worst.
I’m told that the first few months with a newborn and toddler are the hardest and my gosh I hope that’s true. Not only do I have a newborn that wakes up every couple hours to eat at night, but I also have a two year old who is waking up in the middle of the night…every night… again. Then comes the morning. (What is morning even- because I have been up for like two months…?) In the morning, I am changing two diapers, throwing apple sauce pouches at people, nursing Lincoln, getting G ready for school, and then trying to get everyone in the stroller or car. Then, I’m home with the two littles all day by myself. More toddler meltdowns. More messes. More time I don’t know how to adequately divide between the two needy ones.
All day I feel like I’m agonizing over a house I can’t keep tidy (much less CLEAN), keeping Lincoln where Charlie can’t hit him with a wooden spoon or feed him a raisin (both were actual events), feeling guilty that I don’t have the undivided attention to stimulate Charlie, and daydreaming about having good hygiene, more sleep, and time to work on my blog. By the time we load everyone back up to go get Grayson from school and get back home, it’s nearly witching hour, which is typically when I mentally plan a Gone Girl-esque escape. Then, Tyler gets home. We try to get everyone fed and (sometimes) bathed by a decent time. We look around at the house that’s still a disaster. I realize my hair STILL isn’t washed and, oh yeah, my work for this week is STILL piling up. But, hey- I’m exhausted and I just want to go to sleep. Choosing to go to sleep isn’t even gratifying because I know I will be up most of the night feeding a newborn and listening to the maddening whining from a toddler. I want to be the wine mom, but I honestly can’t afford to be any more sleepy than I already am, so that’s even out.
I won’t mince words, this is the most difficult season of my life so far. I have no patience left. I have no energy left. I have very little motivation. This gig is not for the weak in spirit. I desperately think Charlie needs the structure and stimulation of part time pre-school, but I can’t afford it. I often wonder if I’m the only one who is having such a hard time. Why am I not Mary Poppins Mother Nature like some of the other moms I see around social media?
So, how do I survive having a newborn and a toddler? Here’s the long awaited answer.
I barely am. I don’t know exactly how I am. I just am.
I’m getting up every day with zero expectations. I’m drinking copious amounts of coffee. I’m napping anytime both babies are actually asleep at the same time. I’m surrendering to the fact that life is extremely hard right now and there isn’t much I can do about it. I’m trying to remember that I am only one person and I can’t possibly do it all. I’m trying to enjoy the memories while also wishing time would pass faster. If you’ve never been a mom in the trenches, you will never understand that feeling, but it’s not a good one. My days are riddled with frustration and guilt. I can’t tell you that (for me) this time is easy, because (for me) it isn’t.
I want to keep the conversation open and talk more about this in the days and weeks to come, so I hope you will follow along.
One thing that is saving some of my sanity is my Uppa Baby Vista Stroller (gifted to me by the brand). I started walking Grayson to school every morning with the babies in the stroller instead of fighting to get everyone in the car without tears or someone running into traffic. It’s been helpful to have that time in the morning to get outside in the sun and cool air, get some endorphins flowing, and have the little ones restrained in one place. (Ha!) I love the bassinet attachment for Lincoln. It’s so easy to keep him swaddled and lay him down in it. Charlie loves her seat and can’t wait for her morning ride every day. If you are in the market for the best of the best in strollers, you won’t regret going with Uppa Baby. When Linc gets a little older, we will switch out his bassinet for the rumble seat. This stroller has a ton of room in the bottom basket (so important), is super easy to steer, and honestly is a luxury to use. I highly recommend it and I’m so blessed to have had the opportunity to try it out.
If you’re ahead of me in the mom game- how are you doing it? Do you have a close age difference in your children? I will take ALL the advice. If you are like me and don’t know what you are doing at all… solidarity, sister.