It’s been three weeks since our little Payton entered this crazy world! It has been quite the adjustment being a stay-at-home mom with two kids, but I think we are finally getting the hang of things. I will be totally honest, for the first couple weeks it was absolutely “survival mode.” As in one day Carter wanted to add some Boom Chicka Popcorn to his breakfast and I totally let him out of sleep deprivation and not wanting to start a battle with a toddler LOL. I am hoping to share some honest thoughts about becoming a mom of two, and a few tips along the way that I hope will help other moms transitioning to this experience as well.
I’ve wrote about accepting help before, and how hard it is for me to ask for it. I would love to think that I could do every single thing from the laundry, to making dinner, and to getting play time in with Carter, but with a newborn now I definitely need help. I think because my mom knows that I don’t like asking for it, sometimes she’ll just do things like come over and say “Let’s go outside, Carter!” And then the two of them will head out and have fun while I get a few things done. My mom can totally read my mind, and she knows when I’m overwhelmed. She also knows I will try SO hard to do everything myself, and end up pretty burnt out. I’m still working on it, but I’m getting better at accepting help. It helps having both sets of grandparents nearby that can take Carter for a fun day and help give him some extra attention too. All in all, TAKE THE HELP WHEN YOU CAN GET IT. You won’t regret it!
I am so happy my amazing nurse Deidra gave me some great advice about transitioning to two kids. I had asked if she had any words of wisdom for me and she mentioned something about putting your toddler first, because your newborn will be just fine waiting a few seconds longer while you grab your toddler a snack or give them a hug and kiss. I’ve realized that most of the time that’s all Carter really needs or wants; a hug and some quick attention, and then he will head right back into playing. I am so happy I received this advice prior to having Payton because I honestly had in my head that it would be ALL baby first and it would just have to be a transition for Carter. But I’ve realized that Payton is completely fine to lay in her dock-a-tot a little bit longer while I get Carter some milk and a morning snack. His emotions as a toddler are much stronger and need to be addressed right away most of the time to avoid a meltdown. Having Payton has taught him patience without a doubt, (it’s taught me some extra patience too LOL), but I’ve really seen how much it impacts him and his mood if I don’t always tend to him first. He’s learning just as much as I am each day!
If you can, have your toddler stay with his grandparents or relatives the night you come home from the hospital. I was so excited to see Carter and to be home with our baby girl, but I forgot how exhausted I was going to be. Carter was not in the mood to share mommy when we arrived home from the hospital, and he was a wreck most of the night. When I was nursing Payton, he would just sit there and cry because he couldn’t be right on me cuddling. He slept in our bed that night, and every time I was awake to feed Payton, he would just cry and cry for mommy. I was not only physically sore, but my emotions were ALL OVER THE PLACE. I went to the kitchen in the middle of the night to get a snack and just cried because I honestly felt awful that Carter was so upset. I felt like how in the world am I going to do this! I really think if we had a night to ourselves with just Payton on our first night home, it would have been very helpful.
Get outside. Not only to help tire your toddler out a little more, but it’s great for you to get some Vitamin D too! We were lucky to have Payton in the summer time, so we’ve been outside lots since she has been born. I realize you have to be a little more picky with your outside activities with a newborn since you should be sitting in the shade and not being out there in the extreme heat. But it’s totally possible to get out there with both your toddler and your newborn! We have the Uppa Baby Vista stroller, and we are in love with it. It was an awesome stroller with Carter, and a great stroller with two kiddos now too! The set came with a bassinet for the stroller, which is the perfect option for your newborn! They can safely lay in there on their backs, and rest while you tend to your toddler. I think Carter would live outside if we let him LOL, so we try to get outside and play a little each day! He is so happy when he can get outside. Our current favorite activity out there is drawing chalk roads and buildings to put his toy cars on. I can get down and play with him while Payton sleeps in the stroller. It’s been a great way to get some time in just Carter and I.
Teach your toddler how you take care of the baby. When I was nursing Payton I would tell Carter that Payton was getting milk from mommy because she was hungry. When I started pumping I said something similar about using my “pump” to get milk for Payton’s bottle. Any time Payton cries Carter says “baby cry mama,” so I explain that she doesn’t like her diaper changed or she’s hungry, etc. He’s really starting to catch on! One day he even brought me a diaper without me asking him to help. He’s doing such a good job, and I realize that some days are harder than others, but that’s just fine!
As if you aren’t sleep deprived enough, try to somewhat plan a little ahead for your toddler if you can. Even if it’s the night before or the morning of, I’ve noticed that when I can get an activity ready to go for Carter the night before, or getting up a little earlier to get breakfast going ahead of time while both kids are sleeping is very helpful. Especially when it comes to fitting in time to make Jeff’s lunch to take to work too! I sometimes use my breast pump really early in the morning, and while I do that I’ll take the time to get a few things done. It’s super helpful!
Take care of yourself too. It sounds easy, but honestly it’s harder to find time with two kiddos so it tends to get pushed to the back burner. I knew I wanted to find time to shower and soak a little to help my body heal the first couple weeks, so I tried to plan good times to do so. Sometimes when Carter was napping, or busy playing with my mom, I would make sure Payton was fed and head to take a quick shower. The alone time feels even more different when you’re a mom of two! Yes I was constantly listening for Payton to start crying or for Carter to ask for me, but it was the little bit of “me time” that I needed. I was pretty emotional the first week after having Payton, and I noticed that little time to myself was mainly for my own well-being and emotional status!
I could keep adding to this list daily! But our life is starting to become more of a routine, and I feel more confident about it each day. My body has healed really well since giving birth to Payton, and I am so thankful for that. I know how hard it is recovering after delivery, it took me a full six weeks to recover from Carter’s birth! But if you can get help from someone and getting outside are probably my two favorites on this list. We absolutely still have our little meltdowns around here, but that’s just mom life! Thanks again for catching up with the Next Play, check back again soon for more of the latest on our family of four!
Lots of love and God Bless,