Of course I'm writing this 30 weeks into pregnancy #2! Way to look into the future and plan ahead there, gal! And while the title is a little dramatic, I'd be lying if I said I didn't have the thought here and there, on a particularly trying day, of "what the hell am I getting myself into?"
Now, I LOVE my daughter. I absolutely love her from head to toe. She is 19 months worth of spunk, sass and independence. She is to the point to where we are both sleeping through the night with the exception of sickness or teething episodes, she has moved her wake up time from 5:45 AM (seriously?) to a more reasonable time of 7-7:45 AM, and she has several words under her belt to help communicate what her baby self must have now. We are still working on things like not hitting mommy, patience, and not power struggling me during every single activity from diaper change to meal time.
I do work part-time, which I have come to stress about increasingly as my pregnancy belly grows and my daughter spends more time at daycare. I work, then I get my daughter, and after her bed time I really don't have the energy to do much but lay on the couch and watch Property Brothers. Thankfully, my husbands cooks on most nights or else we would all starve.<---- this is the truest statement of ALL. Major shout out to my husband, who starts his day at 4:45 and come home (often times 12-14 hours later) to a hungry/grumpy household, BLESS him.
But I'm making it. And now we're throwing another kid into the mix?!?!?! Yes, we are. and yes, I will make it. And, yes, we are incredibly thankful. Like my parents (and others) have reminded me several times before, people have been having babies and raising kids for centuries. Often in worse circumstances than you! You can do it!
Part two of why I'm slightly horrified: Not only am I going from one child to two children, but I am transitioning from part-time working mom to full-time stay-at-home mom. Oh.My.GOD. My hat continually goes off to you, SAHM, for I truly, honest to G-O-D, believe with every ounce of my being that stay-at-home parents of young children have the HARDEST job of all. So, that is also part of my horror, the unknown of how I will actually be able to handle (mentally and physically) the hardest job on the planet, being the sole caretaker of my little minions for most of each day.
So, what did I do? I reached out to my social networks of mamas and asked them what the heck I should do and how I should plan for my transition from 1 to 2 kids. I got a lot of great information, but here are the tips I felt are going to be most helpful for me.
1) The first few months are hell, don't try to plan too much and don't try to do too much. I think this is universal with the first couple months of any newborn baby situation, only this time you also have another child to take care of too. But let's not forget that new babies sleep like..... most of the time, so I keep that thought in my back pocket when I start to think about it getting hard. Go into things knowing that the laundry may go undone, and the house may be a mess. There is just only so much you can do.
2) Invest in a good carrier, sling or wrap for the new baby, so you can be on the move and have both hands available while he/she sleeps. I personally love my Beco Gemini for the slightly older newbie, but mamas out there recommended wraps or slings that can be used straight away with a little newborn like the Sakura Bloom or Moby wrap. Just be mindful that you are using the wrap/sling correctly with the little newbie ensuring that he/she can breathe just fine!
3) Let the older kid dictate the "schedule." This is an interesting one, and opposite of what I would think, but it makes sense. The older kid already has a routine going most likely. He/She wakes up at a certain time, snacks, eats and naps at a certain time, and goes to bed at a certain time. Aim to work around that schedule when it comes to the new baby. It might mean more naps "on the go" for the younger one, as well as napping amongst lots of noise and activity, but if your baby tolerates this, then it will be easier on everyone in the long run.
4) Find ways to entertain the older kiddo. If you are previously anti-TV, now might be a good time to find a compromise here, as you will certainly need and appreciate 30-minute chunks of time to feed your new baby. You might see if there is a family member, friend or neighbor who can come over to solely help you with the care of and attention to the older kiddo. Also, plan ahead some short 30-minute activities you can have them safely do while you feed the younger one. More general suggestions include park district classes, mother's day out programs or church programs 2-3 mornings a week to keep your older kiddo busy while you get used to having two kiddos. Also, plan play dates.
5) Help the older sibling practice patience with a baby doll... but not a baby doll for them, a baby doll for YOU! You can get a baby doll, and start practicing having to tell the older child to wait a little while longer while mommy feeds the baby while you pretend to feed the baby... for 20 minutes. It sounds silly but was suggested by several moms who have been there and done that.
6) Get out of the house. With your first child, it might have been a month or so before you felt brave enough to take them out for a walk, go to the store, or run errands. But with another child already in tow, you will find yourself getting out of the house earlier - and WANTING to. After breakfast, pack them into a double stroller like this one (or single stroller and wear the new baby), and go on a walk! Everyone will appreciate the change of scenery and fresh air.
7) Plan out the logistics of just "how" you will get them in/out of car and to/from destinations. Who is going to be put into the car first? where will the second kid be while you get the first kid loaded up? What will you put them in when you get out of car? Stroller? Wrap/sling? Planning ahead and having a game plan will help you know what you need and keep your kiddos safe as well.
and some more general advice on time management as a mom:
8) Look into household chores you can outsource to free up whatever "free" time you will have. I wrote a blog post about this that you can read about here.
9) Invest in a good crock pot and meal plan. There are a ton of great resources out there on Pinterest for make ahead frozen crock pot meals.
10) In the end, after all is said and done, you will make it work. Because you have no other choice. (I left that one for the last one because it's my favorite. I'm a worrier, and this one helps me worry less.)