I thought I’d write a little post about life with two kids. This is a good illustration of what my day to day life looks like now:
If you detect a slight hint of fear in my eyes, you’re right on! It’s a little overwhelming to have two under two, especially when one is a strong-willed and energetic toddler and one is a completely helpless baby. Throw in a move and starting a new semester as an adjunct instructor, and wow, it’s been a crazy month.
I’ve been SO blessed to have lots of family help over the last few weeks, as David’s mom and my mom both visited for about 9 days each. This, along with David’s paternity leave, provided me with about 3.5 weeks of a 2:2 adult-to-child ratio. Without this, I think someone might be dead (and the odds are fairly even for all of us–Zoe from self-inflicted daredevil-style injury, Riley from Zoe-inflicted injury, and me from fatigue and/or despair! LOL.)
I start every day sitting in the bathroom for a minute and telling God, “I need you!!! I can’t do this alone! You gave me these girls. Now please give me what I need today to be the best mom to them!” After that, I take a deep breath, force myself to leave the bathroom, and try to take it hour by hour because I don’t know how long my day will be, what sorts of toddler challenges await me, whether Zoe will be nice to her sister or will spend the entire day trying to pinch and hit her, whether I will get to take a shower or not, whether I will get a break at all in the form of simultaneous naps or if I will just spend the entire day caring for babies (my “workday” now can easily be 4:45-5 am until 9-10 pm, so if they don’t nap at the same time, it is a long day.)
One thing that I DO know is that my day will be purposeful…because although it may be difficult sometimes, I believe wholeheartedly that I am right where I am supposed to be with the children I am supposed to have, and that God will give ME what I need to give THEM what THEY need.
Every day I have to admit my inability, put my faith in something beyond my own abilities and energy, and trust in Him for what I need. It’s humbling, and honestly, “humbled” is not my favorite feeling.
But every day He has been faithful to provide what I need—whether that is patience, insight into their needs, energy that belies my sleep deprivation, a positive daughter/daughter moment…
…a friend who is miraculously able to come over when I need an energy outlet for Zoe, dinner delivery, a break in the extreme heat that lets us get outside, a fun hour where Zoe does not challenge me once, or a positive text when I need the extra encouragement. Also, the God who invented the coffee plant is a good God. Amen.
Here are a few things I LOVE about being a mom of two:
- I’ve been trying to take Zoe for some special “mommy/daughter trips” that are just me and her. She REMEMBERS them and talks about them later. It’s so sweet and makes me feel really good about the time that I invest into making it happen.
- Seeing Zoe and Riley interact. Zoe is very sweet with Riley about 85% of the time. She says “hi Riley!” every time she passes Riley’s bassinet, whether Riley is in it or not, and in the mornings she usually wants me to put Riley into her bed so that they can cuddle for a few minutes. Zoe sleeps with a blanket and an Elmo doll, and she will tuck Riley in with her blanket and will make her Elmo doll dance for Riley. Riley is very interested in Zoe…unless she’s sleeping. Even then, Zoe will often find a way to involve her in an activity!
- Having Riley around has brought out a nurturing side in Zoe. She really loves playing with her baby dolls now, and thanks to Grandma, we have expanded our collection of toy baby accessories to include a toy bottle, a toy bouncy seat, and a toy Pack N Play. In between these and the real baby accessories littering my house, there is NO mistaking the presence of two under two in this household.
- One day when Zoe had been particularly unkind to Riley, I was feeling very discouraged…until I saw Zoe pick up her baby doll, sweetly cuddle with it, and sing “Jesus Loves Me” to it. It made me feel like everything I have been doing to try to help Zoe learn about kind and nurturing behavior will eventually pay off. Learning at this age is a lot of scaffolding, but eventually, she will act kindly without me having to constantly instruct her. Plus, when she does get it, Riley will have another role model.
- Zoe is OBSESSED with riding with Riley in the double stroller.
When we go for walks outside, Riley tends to open her eyes REALLY big. Zoe thinks that Riley is being intentionally funny, and giggles hysterically at her. It’s hilarious.
- I finally bit the bullet and hired a sitter to come for a few hours a week to help me get my consulting/teaching work done. I felt too guilty to do this with one child and tried to just work during nap times, but with two, I know that their naps won’t always coincide and so I felt very confident in the decision to hire a sitter. God provided a great and energetic sitter—an alum of our youth program who is currently home for a “gap time” between college and graduate school. I’m scary excited for 9-1 on Mondays!
- With two kids, there isn’t a lot of time to spend sitting around holding Riley, so I sometimes worry about our bond. However, when she does get fussy, she seems to relax the best with me over any other adult in our home. I love this!
I may not feel the slightest sense of mastery yet, but I’m excited to keep improving as a parent of two and I am so thankful for the chance to parent these girls with my amazing husband by my side!