Parenting Tips for Two Under Two

2 underSo when I found out I was pregnant with Adam, Ben was only nine months. To say I was in shock would not even begin to describe the feelings I had. With Ben we had tried for three years to get pregnant and ended up being successful through IVF. Adam was truly a surprise!

A couple hours after I found out I was pregnant with Adam it dawned on me how young Ben would still be when Adam would be born.  He would still be in diapers, he would be walking, but he still would not be completely verbal. He would not understand why mommy is with this little baby instead of him sometimes and that concerned me.

Being a mom of two under two is truly mommy boot camp. You are changing two sets of diapers, you need a really good double stroller, and you have two little babies who depend on you 24 hours a day.  Just remember it will get easier. Here are some tips that worked for me while I had two under two.

1.  Figure out how you will transport your children to and from your vehicle before you try it. I started teaching Ben to walk to the car and back to the house on his own in my late stages of pregnancy.  We don’t have a lot of traffic on my street and it was a good start for him to learn how to behave in a street or parking lot. Now he’s learning how to behave in a street and the parking lot at 2 1/2.  Most of the time what I would do is have Adam in the baby carrier leaving the house and hold Ben’s hand or have him walk beside me to the car. I would put Ben in the car first and have Adam in the yard in his baby carrier.  I figured since Ben was more mobile it would be better for him to be the first put in and the last to be taken out of the vehicle.  If you live in the city with a lot of traffic this might not work for you.

2.  Have a really organized diapering station. I bought a set of three plastic drawers that I keep next to my pack and play/changing table.  I used ABC organization: the top drawer are Adam’s diapers, the second drawer were Ben’s diapers, and the last drawer were cloth diapers.

3.  Use nap time effectively. I understand if you need to rest and sleep. If not, I recommend getting your housework done, starting dinner, and paying bills.  A newborn sleeps a lot so you can use some of that time to have one on one with your toddler.

4.  Create a laundry schedule. I have had the same laundry schedule for the last year. I start doing all my loads of wash and folding them on Thursday through Saturday morning. Then over the weekend when my husband is home he can keep an eye on the kids while I put away all of our laundry.

5.  Organize a system for hand-me-down clothing. I use large plastic totes that I label with Ben’s clothing size to store for Adam.  When Adam’s done with them I have a friend I gift them to.

6.  Don’t be afraid to enlist the village’s help.  Friends and family can help you load your kids in the car, keep an eye on your baby while you chase your toddler around the playground, and give you a minute with your significant other.

7.  Streamline bath time.  Whether your kids bathe together or hop in with you try to cut down on the time bathing each individual.  Another option is a bathing schedule as to who gets a bath each day.

8.  Practice self care.  Seems impossible right?  I can’t say that I was very good at or am very good at putting myself first.  Taking a stroller walk to get back into shape, waking up 10 minutes earlier to meditate in bed before the kids wake up, or just NOT wearing yoga pants can qualify as self care when you’re a mom of two under two.

Whether you have twins or two littles months a year apart being a mom of two under is tricky.  I’m on the other side of two with Ben and Adam’s walking-now I’m onto two toddlers!  If you have any advice on handling two under two or two toddlers please share in the comments below!  I would love to hear from you!

Rocking Motherhood Challenge

rockingmotherhood-1_fotorFirst of all I’d like to thank Elizabeth from http://www.worthwritingfor.com for including me in this challenge.  The challenge is to write around 10 or more ways in which I’m rocking motherhood.  That’s a funny thing to ask mom because most of the time I hear moms sounding concerned that they’re not doing enough! I’m definitely guilty of this, so to take account of my accomplishments might be a good thing to do.  We’ll see…

1.  I simultaneously potty trained and sleep trained the boys.  That was super challenging, but in the back of my mind was the light at the end of the tunnel. I knew the tough times would only last so long and they did.  By night 3 Adam wasn’t crying as I put him in his crib and after day 5 Ben started to use the potty.  No-it wasn’t like the YouTube videos where moms teach their youngest child to potty in an afternoon and the child was potty trained for life.  Ben had to warm up to the idea and be encouraged.  It took two attempts to train him, so if you’re struggling don’t worry-there’s a light at the end of the tunnel for you too.

2.  Ben and Adam are bilingual.  I wrote about this in a previous post.  My boys speak English and Hebrew.  While Adam is just starting to speak he speaks words in both languages and that is how Ben started.  For sure, their Aba (father) can take most of the credit as he is the fluent Hebrew speaker in the family, but I support any way I can and it has improved my Hebrew.

3.  I’m still nursing.  Nursing my boys has been such a huge bonding experience for us.  I was very I’ll after having Ben and I couldn’t nurse him until he was 6 weeks old.  I pumped and kept up my supply nevertheless and the persistence paid off!  I nursed him until he self-weaned at 12 months.  Adam is still going strong and that’s ok with both of us right now.

4.  I survived two under two.  Trust me any mom with two under two is not sleeping, not sitting, and not eating.  It’s tough-but awesome.  Cuddling up with both of them in the bed after work and reading before bed or tandem wearing on a hike.  Those are memories I will treasure of this time.

5. I’ve been a stay at home mom, a work at home mom, and a working mom.  I’ve balanced, juggled, and scheduled my heart out around my kids and work.  What I learned from these experiences is that the grass is always greener on the other side and no matter if you’re working or staying home the struggle is real.  Sure when I was working I had a nanny and cleaning service to take care of a lot at home, but I missed my boys like crazy.  Staying home is WORK too.  I have a busy day every day between keeping the boys busy, engaged, growing,  and learning.  When one has a nap the other is wake and I’m feeding and entertaining him.  I’m cleaning the house every chance I get.  I NEVER chill and watch daytime TV while eating bonbons!

6. I’m finding my SELF again. I’m writing this in a hair salon for crying out loud!  Every person needs a moment to take care of his or herself.  When I worked it was before makeup and hair work and these days it’s just a quick shower.  I joined a gym, though, and I go frequently to improve my physique after two babies and it also helps me have more energy to be with my kids all day.

7.  I have an amazing supportive group of mom friends.  In the stay at home mommy, Gymboree, toddler swim class, playgroup world there are a lot of cliques.  I’ve been embraced, included, left out, and in plenty of awkward situations.  It’s not easy.  A year ago  I had a totally different group of mom friends and it was a tough journey to find the group I have today.  What I learned along the way is don’t make friends just based on the ages of your kids, but really look for moms with common interests as you.  I have vegan friends, friends from Israel, and hiking friends.  Some of these women are teachers and some are entrepreneurs, but as people we’re friends before being mom friends.

8.  Introducing my boys to nature has been really fantastic for all of us.  I really relax when I get away from the city.  We hike, picnic, and take strolls.  We are part of a mommy group that babywears and hikes-its been really fun joining them.  I’ve made some new friends through this group.

9.  My husband asked me to include that I do it all for the home and my family.  I find time to take my boys to classes and teach them, cook meals, clean and do laundry, run all the errands with my two in tow, have a play group and a blog, and help him with his business. This is why I chose to stay home this year, to be present for my family.

10.  I have given my children memorable experiences that they may not remember as they’re too young but I have the photographic proof of and the stories to tell.  They’ve experienced the High Holidays in Israel surrounded by family members, Ben visited the original FAO Shwartz in New York City, I cooked my first Thanksgiving meal, we flew to San Francisco to see my relatives and have a surprise 70th birthday party for my uncle, but the best was taking Ben at 4 months old to meet my grandmothers at his first Thanksgiving.  They both passed while I was pregnant with Adam, but they both got to see Ben and see me fill their shoes as a mom.