Zero to sixty. That’s how my best friend’s father recently described how it feels to go from having one to two kids. Before life with my first son, Fischer, I had settled into a routine, a steady 35 MPH speed, if you will. That all changed on April 4th when little Bear made his appearance. The first few days may not have felt that different because we were all in a haze and had A LOT of hands on deck. However, the shift over the past few months has meant re-prioritizing and re-programming, and it has felt like we’re moving at lightning speed.
A question I often get asked is, “How are things going? Are you adjusting to two kids?” The answer is always complicated. Adjusting hasn’t been easy. And how things are going depends on the day (or moment!). Some days I could easily find a million things to complain about. Other days I could just as easily find a million things to swell with pride over. Most days, it’s both.
In the Beginning, It’s Hard!
One realization I’ve come to is how right it all feels. Sure, the days can be long and exhausting. But this little family we’ve created, and this time in my life, is 100% meant to be. I cannot believe I ever questioned being able to love another tiny human as much as I love Fischer. Bear has completed our family in such a way that I cannot fathom life without him. And I am confident that I’ve given BOTH boys a lifelong best friend. My heart just swells at the sight of them together!
Still, a question begs a more solid answer: logistically, how do you adjust from one to two kids? The easy answer is that it’s all about creating a brand-new routine. Take a little of what was working and combine it with trial-and-error-proofed new strategies. Thus far, the most interesting part of this experience is the realization that I remember nothing about raising an infant. And yet, I am way more relaxed than I was with Fischer. I guess once you’ve successfully gotten one kid to three years old, you figure that you surely can do it again. I mean, I must’ve been doing SOME things right…right?
Helpful Tips for Adjusting from One to Two Kids
The more detailed answer to the question above is that there are many ways to do the same thing. First, you have to find what works best for you. Then, figure out what tools, both tangible and abstract, you need in your hypothetical parenting fanny-pack at all times. Today, I share some of the tools that we’ve begun “collecting” and wielding in the past (VERY SHORT) four months!
Spring for the Double Stroller
If you’ve been hesitant to purchase a double stroller, go ahead and bite the bullet. Yes, they can be pricey, but there is a great range of double strollers on the market to fit any budget. Trust me. You WILL use it. I am a firm believer in the “cost vs. X” theory to decide whether a purchase is worth it or not. I use it for everything from a pair of jeans to toys for my kids to dish towels. Even if your older kiddo is walking and always wants to walk, there will be times when they suddenly don’t want to walk, and you’ll desperately wish you’d taken this advice. And so will your significant others’ shoulders/arms/back.
My favorite doubles are the strollers that allow multiple seating positions, like the Phil and Ted’s Voyager. This stroller takes a baby from newborn, with a bassinet feature (as well as an infant car seat adapter), all the way to “big kid,” as the seat itself can transition into three different positions. The bassinet has been a lifesaver for days when I want to take walks or if we’re out and Bear desperately needs a nap! Plus, Fischer can face me, the world, or even his little brother! After testing out some of the other double options, I’ve also found that the Voyager is the easiest to fold up for storage because I don’t have to remove the second seat, and it’s very sturdy!
A Baby Carrier Will Save Your Life
A baby carrier is another tool you’ll need for travel during this period. And here’s another area “cost vs. use” comes in handy. You’ll want to spend a little bit of money on a great carrier; your body will thank you.
I’ve used the Lillebaby Complete for everything from walks while exploring vacation destinations to hanging out with the family at music festivals or even playing baseball with Fischer if Bear doesn’t want to be put down. It’s one of my favorites because it offers such great lumbar support! With so many styles to choose from, like wraps and ring slings, you’ll find something that both you and your baby love.
Stations Around the House are Key
Okay, this might sound crazy to some of you, but one item that has seriously made life seem so much easier lately is my portable changing station. And no, I’m not just referring to my diaper bag! The kids’ rooms are on the opposite side of the house from our playroom, AND we spend a lot of time outdoors. So when Bear needs to be changed, it’s easier to have a little portable station that goes between the playroom and outdoors easily and has everything I need to clean him up! I also don’t have to worry about Fischer getting into anything while I’m gone for a second. You know it only takes them a minute to wreak havoc on your couches/walls.
Find Baby Bath & Body Products that Actually Work
If you aren’t familiar with Tubby Todd yet, you should be. I LOVE their products for a few reasons. First, I know I am putting the highest quality ingredients on the boys, which is a huge sigh of relief. Second, they smell AMAZING, are conveniently packaged, and are incredibly effective. If Bear shows any signs of diaper rash, it only takes one application of the All Over Ointment to cure it. No lie.
Pick Your Battles with Dinner
Food options are something I struggled with when we first had Fischer. And even though we had a ton of people dropping off food for us this time, it’s become challenging to find the time to prep meals, get everyone fed, etc. The whole “dinner-bath-bed” routine has gone from taking an hour to 2 or more! Not acceptable. I’ve often been whipping out the crockpot and relying on prepared food options. And while dinner is cooking in the crock or the microwave, I dream of cooking regularly again. And hey, sometimes cereal is a great dinner option!
Splurge on Parking and Grocery Delivery
Certain situations call for a little bit of a splurge. For example, I’ve never been one to use valet; I can park my own darn car. But lately, with two in tow, I want our outings to be quicker and more efficient. And sometimes valet is the way to go. It can also be a safer option as there seems to be an increase in stories about women with children being targeted while packing up or unloading their cars. Yikes!
I’ve also found myself giving in to the grocery delivery trend because sometimes, the very thought of dragging my two kiddos to the grocery store makes me want to cry. I felt guilty about splurging in these couple of areas at first. But I had to overcome that and realize that the stress I avoided was worth it.
Sometimes, Screen Time is Your Friend
I’ll be the first to admit that I have major “mom guilt” when it comes to screen time, but this is an area where I’ve had to let go of the guilt. It’s not going to ruin my child, and sometimes it’s the safest option while I’m busy nursing Bear or tending to his other needs. To provide Fischer with quality screen time, I’ve downloaded educational apps and relied on PBS and ABCMouse.
I’ve also found that being super organized is essential to not losing your mind during this transition! It had become easy to just go with the flow with Fischer as he got older. Now, with both boys, I make sure to get myself organized at night in preparation for the next day. It is all about planning ahead! I’ve also found that getting up just a bit earlier and getting myself fed and dressed helps immensely. There have been plenty of days where we’ve stayed home simply because I couldn’t get myself ready with all the demands placed on me once they were awake.
Take a Deep Breath (or Two)
When it all goes to hell in a handbasket, I try to remind myself that it’s NOT. A. BIG. DEAL. If we don’t make it to a playdate or lunch date on time, or at all, life will go on. Freaking out or stressing isn’t going to help the situation. Instead, it often compounds it. This is where showing myself a bit of grace has played a huge part in this transitional period. Being flexible is very important!
As I said, there are many ways to do the same thing. You have to find what works best for you and your family. I hope I’ve given you some points to think about as you either prepare for the new addition to your family or if you’re in the thick of it and trying to find solutions. Just remember that this transition doesn’t last long and before you know it, you’ll feel like you’re running a well-oiled machine again!