Sarah Morgan is a stay-at-home mum to two boys under two, facing the challenges of life with a toddler and a baby. Here she shares her adventures and imparts her insights as a mum of two under two.
Everything is a BIG victory
The anticipation before leaving the house for a simple bit of food shopping is insane. Will the toddler lose his #*@% over not being allowed a can of dog food, will the baby scream the entire way round? Should we just stay at home and watch Octonauts? You picture the hellish scene, but you brave it anyway.
Once you’ve done it, with both children safely strapped in the car and a bootful of biscuits, the sense of achievement is astronomical. You will want to stand and shout “HEY GUYS! I DON’T KNOW IF YOU SAW THAT BUT I JUST DID THE SHOPPING WITH BOTH KIDS AND IT WASN’T HORRIFIC! WE WILL ALL EAT TODAY!”and then run a circuit of the carpark high-fiving total strangers. You might instead just opt to post a cute picture to Instagram of your pleased-as-punch face and two little people in the back (#carselfie). And why not?
Had a shower today? Ate a reasonably nutritious breakfast? Got both children to nap at the same time (coincidentally when Dinner Date was on…)? Then give yourself a pat on the back, you deserve it. Celebrate these small victories, because during the course of the day and your journey as a mum of two, these are the big things. They make all the difference.
Babies are easy
I know, this sounds ridiculous. You remember the sleepless nights and the challenges that came with your precious first born and wonder how could babies possibly be easy. I will tell you why: because toddlers are hard. They can move, they can climb, they can try to feed the baby rice cakes. They can conveniently start the terrible twos early and will not tolerate you telling them they can’t eat Play Doh. They have worked out your distraction technique and it simply won’t work anymore. The baby will just come along for the ride, swept along by Hurricane Toddler. They let you put them down because you have to. It’s like they understand that Mummy can’t always hold them because sometimes the toddler finds a fork and a plug socket.
You’re over it
Remember with your first child you had a wardrobe full of adorable, matching outfits and you felt emotionally invested in what they were going to wear? That just won’t happen this time round. If the baby is (reasonably) clean and warm, you’re winning. It doesn’t matter that his socks aren’t the right colour for today’s ensemble or that his trousers are a bit too “casual” for a visit from the grandparents. He’s dressed and happy — and that is all you will care about. The toddler will continue to be better dressed than you, as you pull on your trusty maternity leggings. They have served you well for the last two years. Why not get a few more months out of them, eh?
You say goodbye to Google
With your second child, you no longer spend hours searching for answers and making comparisons. You aren’t interested whether HappyMum2016’s baby has the same sleep/feed pattern as yours or what BigJules87 thinks about co-sleeping. You’ve got this. You have your own personal experience to draw from this time and it makes a huge difference. For me, the birth of my second child made me feel like a “real mum”. With my first, I felt like I was an imposter, and that any minute someone was going to realise I had no idea what I was doing. Now, with my two-under-two, it all feels like second nature and I believe in myself. Take that, online experts!
Planning is key
Gone are the leisurely days where you can wake up, draw back the curtains and think “Hmm, let’s go to the park today.” If you want to go to the park with two under two, you’d better start planning the day before. The nappy bag needs to be pre-packed, outfits laid out and several strategic plans in place for all possible eventualities (leaky nappy, rain, hungry toddler, impromptu nap, zombie apocalypse). Only then can you leave the house. Have you ever tried to pack a nappy bag with a baby and toddler in the room? It’s like plaiting fog. Don’t even try.
Two under two is a whirlwind — but it is also incredibly rewarding and special. I can’t remember a time where I have felt so tired and so complete at the same time. On the difficult days (and there are many) I picture my two on a summer’s day five years from now — best friends, playing on their bikes together whilst I look on, drinking wine. That vision helps me get through… that and back-to-back episodes of Peppa Pig, coffee and Cadbury’s Marvelous Creations.
About the author: Sarah Morgan is a stay-at-home mum to two boys under two, facing the challenges of life with a toddler and a baby. When not changing nappies, Sarah enjoys dancing, crafts and getting outside. She writes at www.forgetmeknit.co.uk and you can see what she gets up to on Instagram at @ForgetMeKnit