You’ve got your hands full.
Yes, thank you so much for your helpful observation, I say to the stranger in my head. My face, on the other hand, is doing some sort of I can handle this, keep calm, expression trying not to swear aloud, whilst I wrestle my twenty-two-month-old monkey back in her side of the horse and cart, (aka, our double buggy) as she kicks and screams for the world and space to hear, “NO ME WALK MUMMA!” All the while the eight-week old newbie is crying as if she’d been left in a soggy wet cardboard box and never been fed in her life.
Yes, I suppose you could say that my hands are quite full.
The thing is with having two under twos is that you never quite know when it’s all going to go tits up.
One moment you’re sitting there peacefully admiring your little beauties, feeling like a goddess because you’ve created two amazing little beans and that you are totally winning at life. The next moment, the shit literally hits the fan and you don’t know who to wipe up first or if it’s acceptable to just sit and cry in the corner for just a bit longer.
I’d say on average that we encounter a scene, where they are both testing my Mumma skills to the limit, at least two to three times a day. Sometimes more if we’re all particularly sleep deprived/poorly/teething or just generally have a shite balls day. It’s these moments where you well and truly feel the pressure of having two babies, under two years of age. I imagine that it’s pretty much the same as having any amount of kids at any different ages, it’s all bloody hard. Except when they are smaller, it just feels harder because they are all still so dependent on you.
Someone always needs feeding, cleaning, changing, attention, or cuddling and if those things aren’t happening someone is always crying or disrupting a moment of peace with an unexpected thunder bolt in the shape of a toddler tantrum because you gave her a broken “bic bic” (biscuit…I know, what a silly Mumma, of course, a broken biscuit is totally unacceptable in the world of toddlers, duh!)
Life with two under twos is so unpredictable and I knew it would be, but there really isn’t any preparing for it. However much you worry, you literally have to wing it, all day every day.
I spent a majority of my pregnancy with Billie worrying about how life would be with two babies. I wasted so much time feeling guilty that I was about to royally mess up the first born, just by giving her a sibling of all things and the rest of the time panicking about how the bloody hell I was going to manage. I’d sit in the bath sobbing, mostly because the water had gone cold and I didn’t have the energy to try and hoist my whale size arse out of the tub, but also because I was torturing myself about how on earth I was going to cope with two babies. I was terrified.
I would send random messages to my friends who were already in the two small babies boat asking for advice and reassurance that I wasn’t going to drown. Not in the bath obviously, there was sod all chance of that seeing as half my body wasn’t even submerged in the tub, but once the baby arrived. I would ask them the most random of questions about life logistics that I was constantly torturing myself with: How do you all get ready in the morning? How do you manage bath time? How do you get everyone in the car? How do you cope? I just needed to know that we would be OK.
Of course, they would send me amazing long replies filled with examples and advice that would temporarily ease my fears, but it only dawned on me once Billie arrived, that there aren’t any real answers. You literally have to wing it, just like you’ve been doing ever since the moment you entered this crazy wonderful world of parenting.
We are all winging it.
Every day different. Every hour is unpredictable. Anything can change in a minute and every child is unique. You can only do your best in the moment and don’t be too hard on yourself when you have a cry as soon as everyone is finally strapped in their seats in the car or you need a few moments to breathe as soon as you’re allowed to shower.
I’ve had a few messages from some of my lovely Instagram friends who are about to have their second babies and their messages all follow a similar tone to those that I sent my friends before Billie arrived. So I thought I’d share just a few little tips that I’ve found helpful or discovered over the last few months…
- Pack the bags the night before- a tip that my lovely midwife told me. It sounds like the simplest of tips, but I’ve really noticed that our mornings are so much more stressful when I haven’t prepared our bags the night before.
- Snacks- stock up on a selection of healthy and naughty snacks that you can use according to the level of emergency or the current temperament of the toddler. Use them as distractions when feeding the new baby or tantrum deterrents.
- TV/iPad- don’t hate it, embrace it and again use it when you need it. I can’t stand the television on and I try to make a point of turning it off during the day as much as possible so that it serves its purpose as and when I need it throughout the day.
- Do one little thing for you every day- even if this means washing your hair, putting on makeup, or watching a program once they’ve both gone to sleep. Just really try and squeeze in something for you and appreciate that moment as a reward or a treat. Yesterday I wore an ironed top and did my make up. Win. Today I painted my nails, at 10.45pm. Win. And tomorrow I’m hoping to do a bit of work. A possible win.
- Don’t think about the things you haven’t achieved- only think about the things you have achieved and if that has only involved keeping two small humans alive, then you have totally achieved something amazing that day.
- Embrace the help. This is something I still find hard to do and feel guilty about most days. I have a lot of help around me and it’s taken me a while to realise that it does take a village to raise a sprog and now I have two sprogs I need all the help I can get. It doesn’t mean I’m failing, it means I’m more balanced, less stressed and therefore everyone is happy. If the help is there, embrace it.
It’s been three months now since I entered the two under two territory and I have to say, that I blooming proud of myself. I’m still learning how to manage us all on a daily basis and there are still moments every day where I have to take a moment to breathe (or cry) because it all gets too much sometimes. But mostly, we’re doing just fine and unlike the first time around I give myself a daily reminder of just that…we are doing just fine.