By Tesa of 2Wired2Tired
“Wow!” “Congrats!” “We are so happy for you!” These are statements my husband and I heard over and over again when we told people we were pregnant with our daughter. Later, when announcing our pregnancy with our son, the reaction couldn’t have been more different. Most people thought we were joking. Some said, “Really?” and “No way.” Others even said, “You know how that happens right?” and “Was it an accident?”
Our friends and relatives responded so differently because our daughter was our first, and the pregnancy with our son was confirmed when she was only 6 months old. Friends and relatives were even more shocked to find out we planned it that way.
How we got two kids under 2
We wanted to have children close in age for a number of reasons. We thought it would be wonderful to have siblings that grew up enjoying the same things and sharing a bond. We felt the years spent changing diapers and staying home would be far fewer, than if the children were spaced further apart. Also, we waited until almost our 30’s to have kids. We’d been responsible and held off as everyone had instructed us to do, but then I started reading more and more about the difficulties of getting pregnant after 30. I was getting nervous and felt we were racing the clock. So, my husband and I were thrilled when the second pregnancy test read positive right around our daughter’s 6-month birthday.
Then it all set-in. There were many things I hadn’t counted on struggling with two pregnancies close together.
The challenges of having two kids under 2
- The difficulty of carrying around one baby while pregnant with another.
- Changing diapers while dealing with morning sickness.
- Not getting near enough sleep during the second pregnancy because I was up at night with my oldest.
- I battled pre-term contractions daily for two months simply because my body wasn’t ready to have one baby right after the next.
- I was so exhausted from being pregnant and so busy with my daughter that I didn’t get the chance to enjoy the second pregnancy as much as the first. I had to remind myself to stop and feel my son’s movements and kicks.
Having two kids under 2
I made it through that pregnancy, and my son was born at 38 weeks making our children barely 14 months apart. Now that he had arrived, we thought we did it! We have our girl and our boy, they’re close in age, they’ll be good friends, and we won’t be tied up with baby things for too long. Little did we know how extremely difficult that first couple of years is with two kids under 2.
The first few months of getting up multiple times a night with a newborn while trying to care for both babies during the day was exhausting. As a newborn, my son naturally had no schedule and napped multiple times a day. My daughter at this time was taking two naps a day. As a stay-at-home mom I was basically trapped at home all day, every day. I could never get out because someone was always sleeping. Someone was always eating or needed a diaper change and I was so tired I had a hard time keeping on top of it all. Getting into and out of the car was much tougher than I’d anticipated. Heading to the grocery store was difficult because my cart was filled with kids. I couldn’t do a big shopping trip with the two of them and had to reserve that for days when my husband was home.
As time went by and each child hit new milestones, life got a little easier. Once my son seemed to notice my daughter, she loved the attention. She was great motivation for him. He crawled and walked extremely early, all because he wanted to keep up with her. By the time he was a year old life started to settle into a routine. Both kids were sleeping through the night. We were working on potty training my daughter and we were able to get out of the house much more frequently which was wonderful for all of us.
The positives of having two kids under 2
After describing above how difficult it was in the beginning, I have to express the positives. My children are now 3- and 4-years-old and are best friends. And I often find myself thinking, that having them close together was one of the best things we could have done. I’m always catching the two of them holding hands, hugging, and telling one other “I love you.” I have pictures of them together that would make your heart melt.
Also, one of the most wonderful aspects of having the kids so close in age is that they play together for ages. All that time that I didn’t have to myself those first two years are being made up for now. They both have incredible imaginations and create the most elaborate stories. They love all the same things: the same books, tv shows, toys etc. They learned how to share at an early age and have found it’s more fun to do so and play together, than fight. If they do argue, within one minute they’ve made up and are playing together again.
It was so difficult those first two years, but it is so worth it now. If you are expecting 2 under 2, or currently have closely spaced siblings, and are stressed or worried please believe there is a light at the end of the tunnel and it will get better. It will be amazing and worth every minute of exhaustion when you see your two little ones laughing, hugging, and playing together.
Here are a few things you can do to help make life a little easier if you are expecting or already have two kids under 2:
Tips for having two kids under 2
- Get the oldest sleeping through the night before the baby arrives.
- Get the oldest off bottles before the baby arrives.
- Get a used double-stroller. If the oldest isn’t walking when the youngest arrives he or she will be soon and won’t want anything to do with the stroller. So you haven’t spent a lot of money on something you won’t need, but it is a necessity in the first three months of your youngest life.
- Accept help whenever anyone offers. We noticed a huge decline in offers to babysit once we went from one child to two especially when they were both babies. So if anyone offers any help at all from making meals to babysitting to picking up a few things from the grocery store, take them up on it.
- Find some “me” time. This is a must. You cannot be a good mother if you don’t take care of yourself. At the least get someone to watch the kids and take a nap or head to the grocery store on your own. It will do more for your mental health than you expect.
- Get some exercise. I know, it’s easier said than done, but did you know most YMCA’s offers free daycare? You’ll get an hour to yourself every day to work out and you will be amazed at how refreshed you will feel. Also, one of the best kept secrets of gym daycare is you don’t have to exercise to use it. If you are having a bad day, drop the kids off at the day care, grab a magazine and flip through it while sitting in the gym lobby.
- Join a moms group before the second one arrives. You’ll get a chance to meet neighborhood moms and possibly make new friends. You’ll find other area moms with children the same age and you can set-up play dates. Most groups offer field trips or other outings throughout your area which are fun ways to get out for the whole family. Also, some groups have a Helping Hands committee. This committee will make you meals for a week or two once the youngest arrives. No cooking and offers of free babysitting for the oldest make the dues completely worth it.
- Finally, don’t forget to take pictures. If you’re feeling frazzled, one of the last things you might think to do is to take a photo, but force yourself too because life will be so busy you may forget a lot of it in just a couple of months.
One last piece of advice from this veteran two under 2 mom. The most common worry of those expecting two under 2 is, “What am I doing to my oldest? I’m taking away his/her babyhood by bringing in another baby.” Let me answer that simply and clearly. You are not taking anything away from your oldest child. You are giving him or her a best friend for life. It really is an incredible bond they will share, so please don’t worry your second pregnancy away. It will go fast enough as it is, slow down and enjoy every small moment you can.
One mom reveals the challenges of having two babies so close together.