About the author: Suhayla is one of the primary content creators and contributors for the MMM team. When she’s not writing for us, she’s busy being a Mama to two young children and also is a pharmacist in one of London’s NHS Trusts. She particularly enjoys writing about islamic parenting, promoting wellbeing for mums and is an advocate for breastfeeding, after a challenging journey with her first. Want to reach out? Send her an email: [email protected]
Being pregnant for a second time round is a blessing and a whirlwind of emotions for so many reasons. We’re excited for ourselves to cuddle a beautiful and innocent newborn, and even more excited for our child to become an older sibling. Often, our worries surround how we will manage with two, give them both the equal attention and love they deserve, without losing our cool and keeping calm.
One of the questions we hear time and time again from Mamas pregnant with their second is “How do you manage with two?” So here at MMM, we thought it was only right if we gave you all of our insights and experiences from those of us who’ve been there.
1. It’s Hard
There is no sugar coating this one, caring for two children is tough. The smaller the age gap between them, the harder it usually is to start off with. There are times when you’re outnumbered with two crying kids and you don’t know which one to attend to first and times when your eldest will act out and hit and you simply don’t know how to react. It’s okay – we have all been there and you are definitely not alone.
There have been many moments where we have found ourselves losing it or needing to take a minute so that we don’t lose it. Remember, it takes a village, there is absolutely no shame in asking for help and if it makes life easier and ensures you and your kids are happy then we’re all winning!
2. Each Baby is Different
Be prepared for a completely different baby, if your first was a great sleeper odds are your second will be a terror. If your first is super clingy and needs constant attention, your second will probably be fiercely independent and happy to chill on their own. Expect the unexpected and try to enjoy the ride, it’s all part of the learning curve.
3. It’s a Constant Juggle – Which Never Ends
With two kids, multitasking becomes second nature as you’re always juggling. In the early months, your baby carrier will be your best friend as being handsfree means you can do something whilst keeping your newborn calm, whether it’s cook, send emails, workout or play with your older child.
As the kids grow, the juggle changes to scheduling conflicts with managing activities and play dates. Learning to manage the physical and emotional needs of two children is also a part of this juggle and with time you will find your groove and learn what works for you and your family.
4. Get Ready For An Emotional Rollercoaster
The transition period is a whirlwind of emotions for everyone, especially your eldest. There may well be a regression of sorts, whether it’s around sleep, eating, potty training or general behaviour. Try to stay calm and schedule in lots of quality time with your eldest to make them feel secure. Remember that it’s a phase and it will get better, you’re in a transition and everyone is adjusting.
5. The Sibling Bond is Unreal
There are simply no words to describe how amazing it is to see your babies laugh and play together. We’ve heard countless anecdotes of how the younger sibling’s face lights up when their big brother or sister walks into the room or how the only person they will laugh at is their older sibling. It’s true – as they grow, they become inseparable buddies that will play together, entertain each other and love each other beyond words (despite the odd fight). It’s these moments as Mamas that make all the tears worth it.
6. You Will Miss Quality Time With Your Eldest
Becoming a mum of two is slightly bittersweet in that you no longer get unlimited one on one time with your eldest as they are becoming their own fun little person. The early days are when you feel this the most, when nap times don’t really exist and feeds blur into one. Cherish the time you have with your eldest whilst you’re pregnant and find those pockets when you have a newborn, even if it’s 5 minutes a day, create a ritual which works for you and stick to it. They will love it and so will you, and remember it will be back once your baby is napping for long stretches and it will be more fun than ever!
7. You Definitely Don’t Need as Much as You Think You Need
Second time around, you are pretty much sorted for baby things and you really don’t need much in the way of purchases. It’s really tempting to be sucked into buying new for the new baby, but stick to the essentials so you don’t end up with lots of extra stuff which you don’t have space for and buy as you need things.
If you do start to feel that mum guilt for the second bubba, remind yourself that they won’t even know that they’re in hand me downs or that their toys used to belong to their older sibling – as babies they really don’t need much more than your interaction and presence when it comes to playing and they will get so much of this from you and their sibling that they will develop and flourish faster than ever inshAllah.
8. Priorities Change And Time Becomes Even More Precious
We hate to say it, but your priorities will change with two and some things – e.g. relationships, hobbies etc – will just fall off the spectrum. You will most likely leave messages unanswered for a few days (or weeks) and never get around to organising that cupboard. Survival mode hits and it’s often tough to keep up with the demands of the life you led before.
Prioritise the people and the aspects of your life that matter the most. Make time for the relationships you want to keep and be innovative with how you communicate – hands full and can’t text? Try voice noting so that you can talk and use your hands at the same time.
9. Learn To Let Go
Toys everywhere? Meals not prepped? Laundry everywhere? It’s okay. With two, it’s really hard to stay on top of everything and there will be some things you will have to learn to let go of to stay sane. Work out what those things are for you and what you can live with. Alternatively, if you’re not willing to let go then figure out ways to delegate tasks and ensure you’re not trying to do absolutely everything yourself.
10. Self-care is Essential
Finding time to carve out for you may feel harder to justify than ever before, not to mention harder to find, but it is now more essential than ever. Trust us when we say you will need downtime to function. With two children you never really get a break because if your other half is looking after one, you’re usually with the other. Making time to refill your cup is essential, because once you get to empty, you won’t have anything left to give.
Parental burnout is a real thing. Find those pockets of time, whether it’s an extra five minutes on your prayer mat reflecting, putting on a face mask in the evening when the kids are in bed or scheduling in some time with your nearest and dearest without having to attend to wakeups! These moments will help you keep calm and re-energise you to be the parent you want to be.
There you have it, our ten insights on the transition from one to two. Did you find these useful? Anything to add? Leave us a comment below