Rebecca is officially a month old today! Where does the time go? Looking back, this past month has flown by, but some days…it has seemed never ending. Of course, her NICU stay was a horrible week for our family, but once we got her home, ‘real life’ began with a baby and a toddler. Although I don’t consider myself an expert on this subject by any means, and I still have a LOT to learn about parenting two little ones under the age of 3, I do have a few pointers to help others survive the first month of parenting a baby and a toddler.
Ask For Help
Honestly, this is the number one thing that has helped me to survive. I am blessed to have an amazing support system, and this month they have really been there for us. My mom has been here for an entire month, which has been such a blessing. Josh went back to work after being off for 10 days, and I was still recovering from a C-section. I honestly don’t know how we would have survived without my mom since I wasn’t able to lift Levi (our toddler). On top of that, I was hormonal, exhausted and trying to remember how to take care of a newborn. My mom gave me breaks when I needed them, made sure I was taking care of myself and made sure that we had dinner each night. In addition to my mom, my husband has been amazing. He works a hard physical job, but in the evenings, he comes home and plays with our toddler, puts him to bed and keeps him occupied so that I can take care of the baby. Asking for help is the number one way to survive the first month of parenting a baby and a toddler. I know that not everyone is as blessed as we are and not everyone has family that lives close by, but if you do, take advantage of that help that is offered!
Don’t Make Plans
Seriously, just don’t do it. The only plans that we had during the first month were doctor’s appointments, and I tried to schedule those around our toddler’s nap time or times that I knew my mom would be here and could keep him at home. Even though we didn’t plan to have visitors after we brought baby home, my husband still had a few meetings in the evenings he was supposed to attend. He also teaches Sunday School at our church. We let them know up front before Rebecca was born that he likely wouldn’t be there for a month and that we would let them know if he could be there/attend. This helped relieve stress because we weren’t worried about trying to meet obligations on top of learning to parent these two little ones together.
Lower Your Expectations
Honestly, I didn’t know what to expect when our baby arrived. I wasn’t sure how our toddler would react or how things would change. Things changed in many ways for sure, and each day is different. With our toddler, we had gotten into somewhat of a daily routine, but that was turned upside down when we brought his baby sister home. We are currently just taking things one day at a time, and even though I am a ‘planner’ very much so, I am trying not to worry when none of our days look the same. Sometimes naps happen at 10 am, other times, it’s 2 PM. Although I will work toward more of a daily routine in a few weeks, we all know that the first month with a newborn is mainly survival mode.
Rest When The Kids Rest.
I know this one is said a lot, but in a different way: sleep when baby sleeps. Most parents know that’s difficult, instead, we run around doing everything that we feel like we need to do while the baby sleeps. With two kids, it is even more difficult to find time to rest. I am learning that even if I don’t sleep when the kids are asleep, that I need to rest. Sometimes that means a nap, other times it means taking my laptop in our bedroom, watching an episode of Friends and catching up on emails.
This is so important and has been very difficult for me to do. I feel like I have to do it all, all the time. With a baby and a toddler, we know that doesn’t work when they are little (does it ever work??). I’m learning that not every e-mail needs to be answered right away, the floors can be mopped tomorrow and I don’t have to put on makeup today. Some days, it truly is just keeping the kids alive, making sure they are fed and happy. I know that this will get easier as time goes on, and it already has over the past few weeks, but just remember: prioritize and don’t try to do it all.
Having two little ones really is an entirely different world than having just a toddler, but it is truly rewarding and the best thing in the world (most days haha!)