Since having Eleanor the question I get asked most often is “how is life with two?”. I’ve struggled to find a straightforward answer but after seven months I think I’ve finally figured out how to answer.
First, I’ll say that it’s both easier and harder than I expected. Easier because I have more experience and have been through most of it once before. But harder because there is now twice as much to do. For me, personally, if I had to sum up life with two in just one word it would be more.
Life with two is MORE, more everything. More exhaustion, more laughter, more mess, more fun, more chaos, more joy, more stress, more love.
It’s so much more than I ever imagined and I’m so thankful that I get to stay home with my two beautiful babies. But I won’t pretend that only seven months into life with two kids I have it all figured out. I actually think it has taken me much longer this time around to feel adjusted than it did after having Jack. I’m still working on it everyday. Some days I feel like I have it all figured out and balanced. And other days we stay in our pajamas all day and I accomplish very little. And thats ok, no matter your kids ages there will be hard and chaotic days. And there will be days that you have it all together.
Everyone is going to be different so you have to figure out what is important to YOU and make that work. Before Eleanor arrived I knew there were two things I wanted to prioritize once she came. Individual time with each kid and time for myself.
My biggest concern about having a second baby was how Jack would feel and adjust to being a big brother. I wanted to make sure that he still felt important and seen. So as soon as we brought Eleanor home from the hospital I made sure that Jack and I had time together just the two of us.
For at least one nap time each day Jack and I spend time together doing something of his choice. Whether it’s readying books, playing a game or doing a craft I make sure he has time that he gets my undivided attention. And I think that time together helped ease him into life as a big brother.
And I do the same for Eleanor. During Jack’s nap if she is awake she gets me all to herself. And while the things we can do together are much more limited I make sure to focus on her.
This individual time with each kid (which Andrew does too) helped us all adjust to our new normal and bond.
Before having Eleanor I made sure to take time for myself each day. I would use Jack’s nap to rest, recharge and do something for myself. I can’t explain how important that alone time has been for me. Staying at home with kids can be monotonous and tiring. So taking time to do something that I enjoy helps break up the day.
Whether it’s reading, watching a movie or show, sometimes sitting in silence, writing a blog post, or even napping myself, I use nap time for me. I know a lot of moms use nap time as their time to get housework done and if that works for you, go for it! But I personally need that time to myself. I try to get bits of work done around the house throughout the day when the kids are occupied. That way they see me doing the work, they don’t just wake up every morning or from nap time to a clean house. I want them to see the work that goes into maintaining our home and family. Now that Jack is older it also gives him the opportunity to help me with housework which he actually really enjoys.
So use nap time however works best for you. If it’s time alone and time to recharge, do it! If it’s getting caught up on housework then that works too!
Aside from prioritizing time with the kids and time for myself there have been two other things that have helped make life with two a little easier. Having a routine and finding support of other moms
Have a Routine
I am someone who thrives on schedules and predictability. And life with kids is anything but predictable so having a fairly consistent routine helps me stay a bit more organized and on top of things. Jack also thrives on a routine and when he knows what to expect each day. Having a routine helps reduce the number of tantrums because he has a good idea of when its about to be lunch time, when its screen time, etc.
I’m not suggesting you stick to a rigid schedule each day because lets face it, I don’t think kids allow for strict schedules. But if you approach each day in a similar way and reserve certain times of the day for specific projects, activities, etc., it can help for a smoother day in my opinion.
The next thing I would suggest to all moms no matter how many kids you have, or if you stay home or work outside of the home, find other moms that are in a similar situation. It will help so much to have someone to talk to that can relate to you.
I’ve been so lucky to connect with some really wonderful women who are in the same phase of life as me and having them to talk to helps me get through some really big challenges. And they also are there to help me celebrate little victories along the way (looking at you Shannon and Brittney!!). This has been especially important for me given the pandemic. There are fewer play dates, coffee dates, trips to the grocery store, etc. It can be extremely isolating now that being a stay at home mom really does mean you stay home all day, every day. Having other mom friends who understand the struggle that I can talk to has really helped get me through some tough times the past two years.
Speaking of other moms who can relate, my friend Shannon is also sharing her thoughts on life at home with two kiddos. Shannon’s babies, Lily and Teddy, are right around the same age as Jack and Eleanor so we often find ourselves going through the same struggles, celebrations and milestones.
Being a stay at home mom is the hardest job I have ever had, but I’m so thankful that I get to do it. I know it isn’t any option for some people so it is not lost on me what a blessing it is to be home with my babies each day. But that doesn’t mean that I can’t find it difficult and frustrating. There are going to be hard days no matter what you do. Just remember that one bad day doesn’t make you a bad mom. You are doing great!
Don’t forget to head over to Shannon’s blog to read her thoughts on life with two kiddos.