As of just the other day I am a parent of a 3 & a something year old & a 2 month old.
A 2 MONTH OLD!!
When did that happen? Wasn’t he just born? Wasn’t she just born?? Time please slow down!
Lately the number 1 question I am asked every time I chat to someone is “sooo, how’s life with 2 kids?” And to be honest like I tell everyone, it has been pretty smooth sailing & easy and for that I am very thankful.
Now for the first couple of weeks I was fortunate enough to have Trent home with me & that helped a lot, but he has been back at work for well over a month now so I have had to get a routine going.
And before we go any further and I jinx myself I wish to point out we are still in the fourth trimester & Tommy is a very content little man who feeds well & enjoys his sleep and has made this transition from 1 to 2 kids very easy – this all may change at any given point – I am not naive enough to think otherwise.
But while it’s all going well & I’m feeling confident in my mothering ability, I thought I would share my personal top 2 key points for surviving life with a toddler & a newborn on my own.
Over organise & plan everything and give yourself grace.
Organisation & time management are top priorities for me in running my day, especially my evening routine – I believe it is why life has been pretty good for us. I am a planning & organising freak, I geek out over having everything organised & knowing exactly how things need to run. Of course planning things doesn’t mean they will go to plan, but being prepared at least helps.
One of the main things I over plan is our meals. I plan our dinners monthly, I have been doing this for over a year now. At the start of each month, I sit down and plan our dinner for everyday – when Trent is working I make sure our meals are ones that have leftovers for his & LuLu’s lunches and for his days off I add meals in easier meals like leftovers, the occasional take out or easy dinners. And I have the flexibility to change any day – but the main point is being prepared and having dinner for each night already thought of. This takes away the stress of the “what’s for dinner” panic moment! I do groceries when Trent is on days off and make sure I have enough ingredients for each nights meal, so I never need to go to the store on my own with 2 kids or at the last minute.
A brief look at our evening routine (which is very organised) during a typical day is;
In the afternoon (when Trent is on shift) – by 2:30pm/3pm at the latest Tommy is bathed, fed and down for a sleep or playing on his mat. LuLu is bathed by 3:30pm and by 4:30pm at the latest her and I are eating dinner, then I tidy up and then we do reading from 5pm, this is often my quiet time with her – she loves to read, so we read A LOT of books – which can be time consuming, but I want to always encourage her love of books. After her regular books we read from the children’s bible & little prayer books.
Now that all may seem ridiculously early for the average family & it wouldn’t work for school aged children – but for us in this current season of life it works. When Trent is on night shift we eat dinner together at 3:30pm before he leaves for work around 5pm – so early dinners are normal for us.
I like to have everything done as early as possible because if by chance something goes wrong I have time to deal with it before LuLu’s bed time – which is around 6-6:30pm, 7pm at the very latest. At 7pm Trent is home & he has dinner, shower and we can sit and catch up. If he is on night shift I use my time in the evening to clean, read, journal, do social media stuff or work on the blog.
When Trent is working I aim for my schedule to run right on time – but when he is on days off I tend to get a bit relaxed and things slip, but that is ok – I have my “back up” here to help me when bedtimes & dinner run a little late – life happens and that is ok. But when I am on my own, I try to aim for everything to run as smoothly as possible & be done on time.
This allows for less stress and I have set myself up to have a small break in the evening – which I feel is important. Mothers need to schedule in “self care” time for ourselves, even if it is just half an hour of doing something just for you or sitting in silence. It may not happen daily, but it really helps us recharge & taking care of ourselves helps us take better care of our family.
So yes, my days maybe a little too planned & over organised, but for me it works and it has made life a lot less stressful.
(And the way I run things may or may not work for you, this is just how I do things – I am not telling you to do the same! And of course there are days that this doesn’t all happen so smoothly, but for the most of it, it does.)
And for my second but equally important thing to remember when having 1, 2 or 5 children – give yourself grace – basically cut yourself some slack! Remember you are human, you will not be able to juggle every ball perfectly always, you may stumble, make mistakes, get frustrated, yell or have a day or a week where it all goes wrong – and that is ok. The following day is a fresh start and life happens – life is not always terrific but it is what it is and it is what we make of it. So even when you are in the trenches of motherhood strive to look for one small thing to be thankful for, even if it is just bedtime when you can sit alone and just breath. Training our brains to look for things to be grateful for even in trying times is life changing.
So that is how my life with 2 kids is right now – it’s good. I am thankful for that – I am continually praying for strength, patience and wisdom to be a better Mother as I am well aware I am not perfect – but I feel confident in how it is all going.
I have just said all this and we have just hit the second leap – so by tomorrow this may all have gone out the window! Ha! But I guess that is another main key to parenting, be flexible and roll with the changes in each season.
What are your personal top 2 keys for parenting? I would love to know!
(If you would like me to do more detailed posts on dinner organisation, how I organise/plan our days or even a typical day in the life post, please let me know!)
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Have a wonderful week.