1. Be Realistic
Juggling a newborn baby and a toddler is quite the responsibility. Each day is different from the next. If you don't have the luxury of a nanny, or a family member's aide, you will be "up to your elbows” in your responsibilities each day. It is important to acknowledge that you are not perfect and kids will be kids. Guess what? No one else's family is perfect, either! Don't compare your family to anyone else's. Those perfect Instagram moments are just that...moments. They are small glimpses of someone's life, and are usually highlights. What's important is that you set a standard for your family and work toward that standard each and every day.
2. Be Patient
It takes time to build and maintain a schedule. It takes time for routines to stick. Consistency is key in establishing a routine that works and is manageable for everyone in the household. Take time to evaluate the effectiveness of the routine from time to time. Something that worked when you first brought your newborn home may not work out after your baby is 3 months old. Practically speaking, my baby girl slept a lot more when she first got home, so I was able to spend much more time with my son (the toddler). Our schedule was also a lot more loose. I am finding that I need a stricter schedule, now that baby girl is 5 months old.
3. Be Creative
Find fun ways to incorporate both children into what you are doing around the house. I like to narrate the things that I am doing to give both kids a learning experience. For example, if I am cooking breakfast I will talk about the things I am doing out loud, to teach my son something new, and to stimulate my infant's brain. Early on, I would place my baby girl in a cloth carrier and take both babies around the house with me, as I completed certain tasks. I also find that small outings or "field trips" help to add interest to and break up the day. Lastly, enlisting the help of my toddler with various tasks (to include taking care of the baby) helps him feel included.
4. Be Selfish
It is so important to make time for yourself in your quest to be the best mother possible. Paying attention to what you eat and scheduling in workouts is imperative. I like to think about health this way: It's going to contribute to me being alive longer and care for these little beings, for which I am responsible. In addition to doing these basic things, you should also enlist the help of your village (however small it may be) and schedule time out with your spouse regularly (we are working diligently at this). Don't forget about spending time with your friends once in a while. It's good for moms to hang with some friends and have brunch every now and again! Talking is therapeutic and spending time with friends allows you to talk to other women who share similar situations.
5. Be in the Moment
I wanted to end this post with one reminder: You Will Never Get This Time Back. When it comes to managing a new baby and a toddler it's important to soak in as many moments as possible. Both babies are changing so quickly. First you're bringing home baby for the first time. The next thing you know, you look up and it's been 5 months! Personally speaking, if it weren't for my smart phone's video function I would be hard-pressed to remember some very important moments. I have filmed any and everything I think I will want to look back and remember. I spend most of my days buried knee deep in diapers, spit-up, and dirty laundry. It's a balancing act trying to keep a newborn content and keep a toddler from burning down the house....(I kid, I kid) no, but seriously, I could juggle at a circus with the best of the best jugglers!
I say all that to say don't forget to enjoy the journey. On days when I find myself getting utterly frustrated I look down and see my toddler smiling up at me, and (besides my heart melting) I am immediately reminded "For this child I have prayed". My journey started with child loss, and I am constantly reminded of a time when my hands were not so full, my home was quiet and clean, but my heart was longing. Being a mom is the greatest gift ever. My babies make me feel like a kid on Christmas who received every single thing on their wishlist. I have never felt more fulfilled. This mix of emotions is what motherhood is all about. So, sit back and enjoy feeling slightly crazy everyday. :)
DO YOU HAVE ANY SPECIAL TIPS THAT HELPED YOU MANAGE YOUR NEWBORN & ANOTHER CHILD? SHARE THEM BELOW IN THE COMMENTS!
Until Next Time,