Let’s talk honestly. We’ve been struggling through life since we had two under two. It’s been really hard. Most days, I’ve felt like I’m just about keeping things a-float. Some days we’ve sunk. Well and truly sunk. It’s not been easy. Both children are learning and growing so quickly, demanding of attention and are getting to know one another; then you’re trying to support your family, work, juggle a million things.. Yes, it’s a struggle.
People tried to warn us. Throughout my whole second pregnancy people tried telling us how hard it was going to be, but we didn’t listen. Oh, I wish I had listened. When we were about six weeks into our journey of being a family of 4, I wrote a bit of an update on the blog (you can read that here) and I was hoping things would get easier. They haven’t really. Molly is now six months old and we still struggle most days.
Allowing your toddler to adapt to their new sibling
Georgie struggled to accept Molly from day one. When we came home with Molly Georgie refused to communicate with us for a few days. He wouldn’t even look at me for about 48 hours. And that was just the start. He hated anyone paying Molly any attention. It sounds awful to say it but he really did not like his new sibling; not one bit. Georgie still struggles to accept Molly. Although he doesn’t mind other people playing with her, he barely pays her any attention himself. In the whole six months of her being here, we’ve got about 3 photo’s of the pair of them together. He won’t sit near her, won’t cuddle her, doesn’t play with her and doesn’t even say hello to her the majority of the time.
It’s so hard seeing your child not taking to having a new sibling. I had such expectations of them together. Social media is plastered in photo’s from parents who have two children, posing perfectly for photo’s together. But this is not reality. Especially with such a small age gap. A big reason we wanted to have our children so close together was for the bond they would share, so we really hope that Georgie comes round to being a big brother when he’s a little older.
Molly adores Georgie. The way she looks at him melts my heart. She’s loves watching him, laughs at him haring around like a lunatic. When she can move around I know she’s going to be desperate to play with him. I’m hoping that Georgie will be more interested in her when she can move around, and talk. But I guess we will just have to see!
Work and home life..
Then there is juggling work and home life. Circumstances meant that I had to go back to work when Molly was just 2 months old (that’s what comes with being a homeowner with a mortgage, having a family and wanting to be able to afford daily life whilst living off statutory maternity pay). I work 40 hours a week and am trying to juggle two kids who are very close in age. It’s hard, and it takes it’s toll. I’ve spent the best part of the last six months exhausted. Trying to power through daily life.
In my job I work a variety of shifts, some days I start at 08:00 and some days I work until 22:30 at night. So when you’re not getting home until 23:00 and then you’re spending time organising life for your family, waking up 3 times a night to feed your baby and then you’re back out the door for 07:30 in the morning; the lack of sleep soon becomes apparent. Also, throw a whirlwind toddler into the mix to entertain all hours of the day and you’ve got a recipe for exhaustion.
I am hoping that now Molly sleeps more and is getting into a proper routine life will be easier to manage; and working and home life will kind of click into a pattern. But getting to this point has been a struggle. Lack of sleep, working hard and dealing with a toddler isn’t easy, let’s leave it at that.
Managing your expectations
It’s so easy to expect too much from your babies. Having a new addition to the family is massive for everyone involved; becoming parents to two is such a big step, for a toddler having a new sibling is a minefield of emotions and for a new baby, being in the big world is a scary place. It’s really important to manage your expectations during this time and be realistic of yourself and your toddler!
You are going to be exhausted. Let me tell you that. Your house won’t be as tidy as it once was. You won’t have all the time for self-care that you once did either. In fact, I was quite shocked when I realised how little time I was actually going to have to myself. It’s important to remember not to push yourself too much; and not to push your babies either. It’s important to take things one step at a time and try to relax about the things which aren’t so important.
We’ve found that taking each day as it comes has made things more manageable, and also remembering when we have a bad day that tomorrow is a new day! Some days we have just been surviving. But surviving is enough. Sometimes all your children need are cuddles, love and attention. So what if the house isn’t tidy? They won’t care if you fed them spaghetti hoops on toast for one night because it was quick and that was all that you had the energy to make and they definitely won’t remember if you shoved your hair in a bun and didn’t put makeup on!
Being flexible and adapting to life as a family of four has been a massive learning curve for all of us. We’ve tried to enjoy every moment, but the reality is that you won’t enjoy every moment. But that does not make you a rubbish parent. It does not mean that you don’t love your children. And it does not make you a failure. It simply makes you human.
Do you have any tips for life with a baby and a toddler? Perhaps you can offer some advice to other parents in a similar situation. Leave a comment below, or drop us an email using our contact form because we always love hearing from you! We will be sure to share any useful advice on the blog and our social media accounts as well.