A screaming toddler, a newborn who is only content when being held, looking around me all I saw was everything that was not getting taken care of. How do moms of little ones handle everything, I wondered to myself?
Transitioning from one to two children, was a hard adjustment for me. Everyone adjusts to motherhood differently and some seasons are harder than others.
Reality is, life with little ones (especially when you have a newborn involved in the equation) is really tough. As I look back on the early years with my oldest two, I see the many things that I have learned and am still learning. Since there are many things I wish I had known, I am sharing these tips with you now. Read on mamas, and know that you are not alone.
Realize every child is different.
Maybe this is an obvious statement, but I think in my mind I thought, “Well my oldest slept really well, he liked to be swaddled, he liked this and that… so I know what to do!“. While I was calmer the second time, my second child was the complete opposite. My oldest was content to sit in his bouncy seat and entertain himself so I could quickly grab a shower or do the laundry, my second wanted to be held 24/7 (and yes this means night time too). Over time, I realized that it takes time to learn each child’s personality and see what will best soothe him/her. Thankfully, by the time the third came, I entered into the season with low expectations and reminded myself that I was going to have to relax and learn what works for this little ones.
When you have a newborn coming, prepare activities for your older child.
Busy bags, boxes filled with random items for kids to play with are all perfect to have on hand for when you are caring for a new little one. It really does help having a bag of special toys, or a special activity (that can be done independently) that you can pull out when you are feeding. I learned this after I was attempting to pump, feed the bottle to the baby, all while having my toddler hanging on my back begging for attention… you get the picture.
Prepare freezer meals.
Freezer meals are truly a lifesaver for moms. It was a very hard adjustment for me to learn how to balance a newborn and a toddler and get dinner ready. We may have lived on a lot of Chickfila during this time period. Slowly, I started to incorporate freezer meals into our lives. Having some meals on hand can truly save you some frantic pre-dinner time moments.
Just focus on the basics.
For a perfectionist like me, who likes things to be cleaned and kept up, this was a very hard truth to swallow. Realistically, those first few months I had to just focus on the basics. There were not a lot of intense cleaning or projects- think basic. And realize that everyone’s “basic” will be different, so do not compare yourself to your friend with the newborn who seems to have it all together. Focus on what you need your basics to be for that period of time.
There will be rough, crazy, hair-pulling-out days.
It is easy to look at other moms who have multiple children and think how do they do it? They make it look sooo easy! Realize, they have their rough days, and you will to. Parenting little kids is unbelievably exhausting, it stretches you more than you can imagine, and pulls at your seams. On these crazy days, all you can do is put one foot in front of the other and push on. Honestly, there are some days when I just look forward to the kids bedtime. It is okay- accept it has been a rough day and that tomorrow is a brand new day. Do not feel bad about these moments, we all have them if we are honest.
Have one or two trusted mom friends.
I am so very grateful for two dear friends I have who are in similar seasons of life. These friends are just a text message away. They can always understand, pray with me, send encouragement, laugh with me. Sometimes all you need to hear is, “I understand… you are not alone.”
This is just for a season.
The years when you have little ones under the age of five are tough in every way. Yet, they are also filled with some of the most beautiful moments. It is these joy filled moments we can focus on.
Every season has the good and the hard. Some seasons will drain every ounce from you, while some will be filled with moments of fresh air. For every mom who is currently in a hard season, my heart goes out to you. I know how utterly exhausting this season is, how lonely it can seem- but you are not alone!
What is your biggest piece of advice to moms of little ones?
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