Monday, September 18, 2017

5 Tips for Two Under Two

One of the most requested topics I regularly receive from readers is how we managed two kids under two years old. It's taken me forever to write this post because truthfully I have no idea how we did it. It was such a blur. Our first year with two kids 14 months apart was our hardest and most exhausting year ever, especially with Thomas’ eyes. It was a year filled with coffee, tears, wine, lessons learned and lots of snuggles. Parenting is hard. And to be honest, we are still in the trenches. Although we no longer feel like we’re drowning in spit up, blowouts and doctor’s appointments, the survival mode and challenges are different now (hello toddler sass, tantrums, nightmares, etc.!). But you know what? I would do it again and again a million times over. And I wouldn’t trade our age gap for anything.

So at your request, I thought I'd share the top 5 things I've learned that helped us survive (and continue to survive) two insane little people who have endless energy. 
Disclaimer: Even though I've been doing this mommy thing for a little over three years now, I still have no clue what I’m doing most days so take ALL this with a grain of salt! Seriously.

5 Tips for Surviving Two Under Two

1. Surrender expectations and learn to let stuff go. It took me awhile to give myself grace but once I did our world changed for the better. For me, that means being fine with serving cereal for dinner...several nights in a row, handing the iPad over to decompress in another room, leaving dishes in the sink overnight and allowing the stacks of laundry to pile up on the dining room table. It also sometimes means sometimes missing daycare events due to work travel, bringing store bought cookies to the bake sale, forgetting water play day clothes and not attending every classmate's birthday party. I had to learn the hard way that I just can't do it all. And that is OK.

2. Find your mom tribe. I honestly couldn't imagine going through mommyhood without my best mom friends, especially the more seasoned ones who have "been there, done that" and always know the best remedy for diaper rash, the trick to hiding vegetables in meals, potty training advice and more, like way more. I've leaned on them during my toughest parenting days and celebrated the victories together too. But what is most fulfilling is having their kids grow up together with mine. Over countless kid & parent play dates I have watched friendships grow not only between our children but our husbands too. And there is nothing cooler than that! Find a community that will lift you up, let you vent and encourage you when the days are hard.

3. Get outside. Fresh air work wonders for me when I'm feeling overwhelmed, exhausted, have run out of patience or can't stand to hear one more episode of Caillou. Even when we're not in the mood to go outside or the task of getting the kids out of the door seems daunting, we power through. And 99% of the time we are thankful we did. This can be a walk down the street, a trip to the playground or even just opening the backdoor and letting the kids go wild with water balloons while relaxing for 3 minutes in a lawn chair.

4. Splurge on a nice concealer. Seriously, you've earned it. If you don't already use it, you need to buy this magical NARS concealer (color: vanilla). It's creamy, smooth and can cover even the darkest under eye circles.  

5. Be Nice To Your Husband & Put Your Marriage First. I saved my #1 tip for last -- another lesson learned the hard way. There will be plenty of grumpy mornings when you're both running off just a few hours of sleep for days on end. Having even a three minute uninterrupted adult conversation over two screaming toddlers is near to impossible. Spending quality time alone together seems like a distant memory and at times it may even feel like you've forgotten about one another. If you don't have family nearby, find a great babysitter. And use her often. Carve out date nights and even overnight trips. I know it's not inexpensive and the cost adds up quickly, but it's your marriage -- invest in it because it's worth it.

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15 comments:

  1. Love this post!! My oldest girls are 5 and 4 now, they're 16 months apart. First off, I totally agree, the age gap is AMAZING!!! Yes it's hard, but they are truly best friends. (And yes, it absolutely gets easier. My oldest turning five and starting kindergarten was life-changing.)

    We've now added a third baby girl to the mix haha and since she's somehow the world's best baby (my first two were easily the world's worst, haha), life isn't too bad :) I definitely think your tips are spot-on, especially the one about marriage. Treat your spouse with love, respect and kindness at all times, even when you're crabby, and lean on each other!!

    Thanks again for the fun post!! Hope you have a nice day!

    -Sarah www.thefrugalmillionaireblog.com

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  2. Just what I needed to read this morning! I'm new to this 2 under 2 with a 23 month old & 4 week old (a 10 year old too). Grace seems to be the name of the game! Thank you for sharing!

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  3. Love this!!! We're in the thick of it with an almost 4 year old and 1 year old. #2 and #5 are my absolute favorites -- so true and so necessary!

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  4. This is great advice! I only have one and the idea of two is unfathomable to me right now. If things work out in the timing that we'd like (which didn't happen the first time around) we may also have 2 under 2 for a bit...so we'll see. It's nice to see someone else survive it haha

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  5. So needed this! I will have 2 under 2 next year!

    https://dogmomchic.blogspot.com/

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  6. I have a 3 year old and a 9 month old and I have recently just started to let things go. The bottles and sippy cups were in the sink most of this weekend (breastfeeding mom so I don't need the bottles over the weekend). I have attempted to organize the play room. This weekend I went at it again and finally threw in the towel. I will dust and vacuum in there, but organizing with two little guys is an absolute joke!!

    Oh we definitely need to work on the make time for the husband and I thing!! I can't tell you the last time we left the house without the kids. Sad.

    The concealer. I've been on the look out for a good one! I feel like the Mary Kay one I have now makes me oily. I can chase two LOs with no makeup on and not have an oily face. I sit at my desk all day with concealer on and I feel so oily!!

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  7. This is so good!! Noting for the future :)

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  8. I LOVE these tips! And you said it best... "it's your marriage... invest in it because it's worth it" :)

    Justine @ Charm City Ciemny's
    www.lifeasabaltimoregirl.blogspot.com

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  9. I've been reading your blog for a while but don't believe I've ever commented. I am always utterly amazed by your "grace under fire", including while raising two under xx age. You and your family have been through so much and it's awe inspiring how well you handle it. Hopefully this doesn't seem back-handed, catty thing to say, but I honestly wonder sometimes what the hell is falling apart behind the scenes. Ha! Because you can even host a great looking party in the midst of all the crap you are dealing with. And working full time. Wow. So, ever thought about doing a post on what DOES fall apart on a weekly basis? (Maybe you have and I just missed it.)

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  10. Such great advice! You are a veteran momma in my eyes and a darn good one. 100% agree with #5. I feel SO much more connected and happy and centered and understood when we go on dates and have alone time even though I miss the baby the whole time! As for #1, I'm still working on this. Joanna Gaines said she made a promise to herself not to clean or pick up one toy unless her kids were sleeping because she realized that's all she did at all times and she wasn't spending quality time with them. That has really stuck with me and though I still struggle with it, I'm trying to be ok with dirty dishes and dirty laundry! Xo

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  12. I love this post!!! I have a 18 month old girl and a 5 month old boy, so similar to you guys! Im not veteran Mom to say the least but I could not agree more that the days that I push myself exhausted, alone (SAHM), and coffee in hand with my babies are some of our best days. I never regret doing it, and the more you succeed at it, the more confidence you have and the easier it becomes!! Thanks for such great advice!

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  13. Such great advice!! I also have two kids 14 months apart just a little older then yours, but I so agree with so many things that you said. The first year was strictly survival, but once we got that first year under our belt we felt like pros. Now that I have kids 14 months apart I wouldn't change it for the world, but in the moment boy was it challenging and exhausting. It is always so good to hear from other families who have survived 2 under 2 :)

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  14. This is great! ❤ we have 7 children, so I've had "2 under 2" for nearly the last decade...lowering expectations, putting your marriage first, and giving yourself grace are SO important!

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  15. Our #2 just turned one a few weeks ago and man, all of this is SPOT ON. The toddler energy?! Nothing could have prepared me for that. I also love that you seem to do such a good job of prioritizing your marriage. I feel like it's definitely something we could have done better, but we're trying to improve now that the newborn fog has lifted!

    Great tips, Mama ♥️

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