My youngest two children are only 14 month's apart age wise, I know I'm crazy. Having children so close in age meant that I had two children under two years of age for ten whole months. This meant two lot's of nappies to change daily, two lots of little ones to entertain and look after everyday and many sleepless night's. Having children so close in age can be amazing, but it can also be so incredibly hard. I thought that it would break me on many an occasion, sometimes I went day's without showering or getting dressed, the house was a mess, I cried most day's due to exhaustion and rarely drank a hot drink.
But it is not all bad as your children will have an amazing bond and grow up together, you also deal with all the sleepless nights and nappy changing all in one go. It also gets easier, it really does, you learn to cope and find way's that work for you. My children are now 13 months and 2 years 3 months old and I miss those crazy early days of having two under two. So here is a few tips I learnt on how to cope with two children under two.
1.) Be Prepared. I found by being a little bit organised and always having things to hand made everything so much easier.I kept a supply of nappies and wipes and spare clothes for both children downstairs where I could easily get them, I also had some upstairs for during the night. I also always had the changing bag packed with nappies, wipes, spare clothes etc so that I was ready to go out.
2.) Have a routine. This is something that has been a massive saviour to us and I don't know how I would have coped without it. When we had Jacob we made sure that he just slotted into Sophia's routine which she has had since birth, this made her feel more secure with having a new baby brother and it also helped settle Jacob into a routine. It is not a rigid routine it is just they had the same nap time each day and meals at around the same time and then the same bedtime routine each night of evening meal, TV, bath, pj's, bottle and bed.
3.) Order your shopping online. I found going grocery shopping impossible with two little ones as one of them would always cry and getting them both into trolleys and car seats was a nightmare. I now just sit and order it all online once a week and it is so much less stressful and takes half the time a regular shopping trip would. I also ordered most of the children's Christmas presents online last year too as I did not want to face the busy shops with two little ones.
4.) Don't feel like you have to go out. When I had Sophia I use to go to so many baby groups and we were out every single day. When Jacob arrived everyone said to me "keep going out you need to get out the house when you have two little ones " or " getting out the house will give you a break" I felt like I had to go out so I tried going to playgroups, but I just found it so stressful as the baby was crying for a bottle and the toddler was running wild and it was just too much work. So I stopped going to the baby groups as I found it far less stressful staying at home. I found just going for a walk to the local shops and then waiting for my partner to be off work to go to soft plays much easier. So don't feel like you have to go out when you don't want to.
5.) Don't try and be superwoman. We all have visions before we have children of how we will be the perfect parent, but hands up who actually lives up to those expectations ? I know that I don't. When I just had the one baby it was fine I could go to baby groups, keep the house clean, keep myself looking presentable and the baby looking immaculate. Throw another baby into the mix and trying to keep up with everything is just impossible. So don't even try baby's are tiring, don't try and be superwoman thinking you can do everything no one will mind if the baby is in a sleepsuit, your hairs a mess and you have a giant laundry pile.
6.) Drop your standards. Following on from the previous point I think it is a good idea to drop your standards. I would get so wound up that the bathroom needed cleaning or the washing needed doing and that there was clutter everywhere. After the children went to bed I would be cleaning and not really getting anywhere as I was so tired, in the end I just decided to drop my standards. I now rarely iron and only iron things that need ironed so no more wasted hours ironing pillow cases. I have also realised the clutter is here to stay for the next few years so I may as well get use to it and as long as the laundry is done, dishes washed, bed's made and the house is a bit tidy then that's OK, no one else will mind so why should I.
7.) Ignore Criticism. I have heard so much criticism over the years I think it is part of being a parent everyone has an opinion on your parenting skills. I have lost count of the times I have had people comment on having two children so close in age. I have just learnt to ignore it now as what is the point of worrying about what others think, as long as my children are well looked after, clean and happy then that is all that matters.
8.) Sometimes it is ok to have a pj day. If the baby has been up all night and you are tired then sometimes it is ok to have a lazy pj day. When I was tired I would often stay in my pjs with the children in their pj's and we would have a lazy day on the sofa watching Disney films and reading books, the toddler loved it, the baby enjoyed a day at home with cuddles and I loved it too I just left the housework and spent the day with my little people and It was bliss.
9.) Make time for you. I always seem to put myself bottom of the list when it comes to anything as I look after my children, my partner, the house but never have time just for me and I end up getting grumpy and feeling low. Sometimes being a mum is tiring both mentally and physically and you just need that little break from motherhood whether that be a trip to meet friends for coffee or a soak in a nice hot bubble bath. Make sure you make time for you as a happy mummy makes happy children.
10.) Accept help. Us mums always think we should do everything for are children but having two children so close in age can be so hard at times so any offer of help you are offered accept it. We don't really have anyone to help us with the children and have never been on a night out since Sophia was born over two years ago. Sometimes family will offer to take one of them out for an hour or two and it is lovely when they do as it means I get a little bit of a break. If anyone offers you help accept it as it will make things so much easier for you.
11.) Always make sure you have coffee and chocolate biscuits. I honestly think the only way I got through those first few months of having two under two was having lot's of coffee in the house and a stash of chocolate biscuits. Caffeine and sugar kept me going and gave me a little pick up when I was feeling exhausted, I would not have got through those sleepless nights without them.
12.) Enjoy it. Yes having two under two's is so incredibly hard but enjoy it, it goes by so quickly and I wish that I could I go back and enjoy it all over again. I wish I had of taken more photos and just enjoyed it more as I feel like I have missed out on it as I was always so busy and tired. Cherish watching your children's bond grow and enjoy those newborn cuddles as they will grow up and before you know it these precious days will be gone and be nothing but a distant memory. My eldest is almost 13 and I would give anything to have her a baby again.
If you have children close in age what did you find helped you stay sane during those early month's?