Someone once told me having one child makes you a parent but having two makes you a referee! What they forgot to mention was that having two kids also means four times the work.
My elder one was 3.5 years when my younger child arrived. All of a sudden it seemed that there were never enough hours in a day. Schedules went haywire, routines got disturbed, nights and days seemed to melt into a blur of sleepless, exhausting hours.
Does it get any easier? is a question friends who are contemplating a second child ask me. Yes, it does. But each new stage brings its own set of challenges. And there are two little beings who are growing up together, each reaching different milestones. So yes, it’s definitely a juggling act; one where you are perpetually scared of dropping the ball.
That doesn’t mean you don’t opt for a second baby if that’s what you have planned for. It just means that you need to be well-prepared for the chaos that will follow for a couple of years. From experience, I can say that these tips go a long way in easing things up.
- Stick to a schedule. From the time I arrived home with my younger one, I started and stuck to a schedule which incorporated both kids. This not only made my elder child feel included in the routine, but it also gave her a sense of security that not everything had changed after the baby’s arrival.
- Take help. We all love to manage things single-handedly but with two kids, that’s not always possible, at least not if you want to stay sane! There is no shame in taking help from your partner, in-laws, parents and even friends. If you can afford to and are comfortable with the idea, keep a nanny. Believe me, an extra pair of arms to hold the baby goes a long way in taking the burden off you.
- Start exercising as soon as your body permits it. Even if you just go for a walk, do it. Not only will you feel better about yourself, but it will also give you some much needed ‘me time’. Remember, a happy mother raises happy kids!
- Don’t be judged. While there may be many well-wishers who heap advice on you, be confident of the fact that, as a mom, you know what’s best for your kids. Every child is different, even two siblings are drastically different so don’t set your goals according to others’ expectations. Listen to everything and then sift and use only that which applies to you.
- Give your older child extra attention. No matter what the age difference, it’s a huge adjustment for a child to suddenly have attention shift from him/her to another human. Try and ensure that you take time out to do something exclusively with your older child. You should also include him/her in things like helping you change the baby, getting clothes for the baby and other tasks which will make him/her feel a part of being an elder brother or sister.
Last but not the least, give youself a break. It’s okay to feel frustrated and irritated. There will be up days and down days and it shall pass. Keep telling yourself that each day that passes is a day closer to your baby being independent and before you know it, you will be busy refereeing between two kids who are old enough to keep themselves entertained!
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