It’s been a while, hasn’t it? Welcoming Gregory into our world has not been an easy ride. Being a mom of two is hard! H-A-R-D! I’m beyond exhausted. Some days I can barely keep my eyes open. I could sit here and make a million excuses as to why these pages have been blank or why I’ve neglected you, but the truth is they aren’t blank and I haven’t forgotten. I have so many draft posts sitting here, waiting for me to hit publish, but for some reason, I haven’t. At the beginning of this blogging journey, a friend and successful blogger said that the success of her blog was due to always finding a way to make it positive. There are bad times for all, but it’s important to leave the reader feeling positive. Always blog purposely.
Do you want to know what makes for hard positive content? Being a parent. Toddlers. Two children under the age of three. A baby who is terrible at sleeping. Potty training a stubborn toddler. Being a full time working mom of two and desperately trying to cram an entire day of quality time with your children between dinner and bedtime.
I’m exhausted, constantly. Every minute is an internal battle of which child to give attention, while feeling uneasy from the dirty dishes piling up in the sink. Then using the next minute to vacuum the third spilled bowl of cereal scattered on the rug, while simultaneously feeling guilty for not using your “free time” to play with your children. And outside of that, trying to give time to your marriage. And finally to yourself. The latter seems further and further away most days. However, we are surviving. I guess that’s the positive. I’m learning how to manage along the way. I can’t say that we are thriving, but surviving, yes. At some point, perhaps I’ll have both feet firmly planted but for now, I’m chasing a toddler who found a marker and is far too determined to draw all over her baby brother.
Hard Truths and lessons from a mom of two (four months and counting):
Let me repeat. Being a mom of two is hard. Being a parent is HARD. I was barely keeping it together when I was chasing after one, and now we have another one zapping our energy. From all of this, I’m trying to figure out how to survive. Here are just a few hard truths that I’ve discovered on this crazy journey.
1 – Toddlers are assholes – and it’s not your fault.
I’m sure toddlers who are only children are also jerks (so do not think I’m discriminating). They are all jerks. The determination and stubbornness of a toddler trying to tie their own shoes is enough to make you pull your hair out while you wait for 20 minutes as they scream “No, I do it!” over and over again. I never once thought in my life I would have to blame being late to a meeting on a toddler who trapped herself in her dress but would flip out if I attempted to help.
Survival tactic – start any task 30 minutes to one hour earlier than when you need to logically start it. The worst thing that can happen, your toddler is completely ready with time to spare. This has yet to happen. Typically, I now end up only 10 minutes late (depending on if her cereal is up to her standards – Too much milk. Not enough milk. Too crunchy. Wrong color. Oh the complexity that is breakfast).
2 – Babies are gross. So very gross
And they have this sixth sense of knowing when you have a big meeting and spent too long selecting the perfect outfit. And they will wait until you are walking out the door, already running late, to projectile vomit all over your nicely pressed shirt. (I’m lying. My shirts are never pressed. Who has time for that?).
Survival tactic – invest in cardigans. Keep multiple cardigans in your car and wait until after daycare drop-off before putting it on. Never before. Trust me. On top of that, keep a brush and wipes in the glove compartment – to get that fun spit up out of your hair. I had someone actually compliment how shiny and smooth my hair looked like one day. I just hope they didn’t come to close to smell it.
3 – You will not have a warm meal – just give up.
My children get picked up at 6pm from daycare. That means we have approximately 2 hours to make dinner, eat, and get ready for bed. Dinner typically consists of constantly getting up to appease each child. I must say, Abby is pretty good at eating what is in front of her (most days). But, as soon as I sit, she’ll want the blue fork (not the green), or a glass of milk instead of water, or needs one thousand napkins because she’s being a toddler. And once she’s settled, Gregory will need a bottle or his own baby mush heated up. Since he’s four months old, you must learn to master feeding a baby while also feeding yourself. And while feeding the baby, your toddler will magically forget how to hold a fork because see lesson one.
Survival tactic – go out to dinner without children whenever possible.
4 – Your house will be a disaster – let it go
My house is barely staying together. I try to clean up as we go but to be honest, with the limited amount of time I have with Abby and Gregory each day, I’ve mostly given up. I’m doing the bare minimum to get by. The laundry is being done and dishes cleaned, but it may be a few days before I put either away. There may be longer periods between vacuuming or dusting. And anytime I attempt to clean, Abby demands a book or blocks or tea party.
Survival Tactic – Let your toddler help. Letting your toddler help makes tasks take three times as long but also needed. Abby loves helping. It takes her three times as long to accomplish a task but she loves contributing in anyway she can. She’ll help wash Gregory’s bottles, putting things away, and even vacuuming. It will never be perfect and I’ll have to redo it later, but letting her help makes her happy and prevents tantrums.
5 – Life will be constantly chaotic
Your life will never be the same. Children (whether you have one or one hundred), will completely change your life. The way of life you knew before is no more. These little humans (who have your mannerisms and attitude – watch out) demand so much of your time and energy.
Survival tactic – Give in. Give them all of you. The errands and chores will be there another time. Trust me. They always pile up. I’ve tried ignoring them but eventually you run out of diapers and dry shampoo (both staples needed in a working parent household). But for the moment, let it go. Accept the fact that a typical trip to the grocery store will take three hours as you attempt to steer clear of the cookie aisle and hope no one has a poop explosion. Or that your baby will wake up every two hours one night even if they were sleeping through the night the last three weeks. And it will, of course, be the night before a big presentation. Your toddler will throw herself on the ground because her goldfish are too “fishy.” You’ll find a sippy cup or a bottle from months ago behind the couch and not be able to recognize the substance inside of it. Tip – just don’t open it. Throw it out. Trust me. No good can come from looking in it.
Bonus – Make (don’t find) time for you and your relationship
It’s ok to need a break. Trust me. But, breaks will not come knocking. Believe me. There are not many people in this world who will watch your tiny humans while you enjoy a night out. And there are even less who will do it for free (thank you mom and dad!). Take advantage of any and all babysitters you can find. Go out to dinner. See a movie. Can’t get a babysitter? Enjoy a date night in. Once the kids are asleep, open a bottle of wine and just spend time together. Send the kids to daycare when your office is closed and treat yourself to lunch and a manicure. Just do it! It will be better for everyone involved. Children are amazing but also…see lesson one.