2 under 2 - suddenly dawning on me how hard this is

(39 Posts)
Haddock73 Fri 30-Aug-13 14:14:53

Ds1 is almost 2, ds2 is almost a week old.

I don't know if its hormones, baby blues, pnd...but I've come to realise I don't know how I will cope once dp goes back to work. Freaking out. I knew it would be hard but I don't realise it would be not able to cope hard.

Feel like I've made a mistake and ruined ds1's life, and feel like he feels neglected. I physically don't know how to cope with day to day tasks like changing them both, baths, the baby screams when not held if awake and feel so guilty for the toddler.

Any wise words of wisdom? When will it start to get easier? Have I ruined everything for ds1? We were so close before and now he's more interested in daddy. I feel teary and down.

Iwaswatchingthat Fri 30-Aug-13 14:20:20

Had a 17 month gap. Hard work at first, first year a blur, we moved when dd2 was four weeks old too.....madness....but SO MUCH easier now! (7 & 8)

Cut lots of corners, forget about the housework, get some help if you can and be kind to yourself. You will make it through and your ds1's life has been enhanced not ruined - they will be as thick as thieves soon.

Blink again and your baby will be sitting up giggling at his adored big brother.

Take care. Xxxx

Iwaswatchingthat Fri 30-Aug-13 14:21:29

Ps: remember day 5 is crying day too - the hormones plummet so you will be tearful.totally normal. Xxxx

Repeat after me: It gets easier.

I had a 20 moth age gap, twice. I remember the days when I felt like giving up, but as Iwaswatchingthat says, in a blink of an eye everything changes.

Tips: don't sweat the small stuff. If you set yourself up to be perfect you are pretty much guaranteed to fail. Don't look at everyone else and think they are doing so much better than you - most people I know thought I was wonderwoman when I had 3 under 4, but inside I felt terrible.

And most of all, enjoy it. They grow up soooo quickly. Mine are now 7, 9 and almost 11. They are the best of friends (99% of the time) and the baby years feel like a lifetime away.

kd73 Fri 30-Aug-13 14:32:26

Congratulations on giving your ds 1 a brother, friend and partner in crime you have provided him with someone to share, play, fight and protect. Life will often be hard , particularly on day 5 but you will find your feet and cope trust me but give yourself a break. You are exactly where I was 2'5 years ago and life does get easier x

grounddown Fri 30-Aug-13 14:35:43

I've got a 19 month gap, I too felt exactly as you do. You feel like your wonderful bond with DC 1 is jeopardised because of the time DC2 is taking up. I regretted having my second for a while thinking I had made a huge mistake hmm

My DCs are now 26 months and 7 months and it has just started to get easier. Baby still doesn't sleep well but he can crawl and nearly sit so he is much happier and DD thinks he is hilarious the way he follows her around. They adore each other and make each other laugh loads, I think she would thank me for giving her DS now.
It is hard, really hard but so worth it when you are on the other side of the baby bit.

I went back to work when DS was 7 weeks because I found it overwhelming looking after both of them, just 1 day to start with and it really helped me cope, It broke the week up. Now I'm back 2 days and my childminder has the baby for 3 hours on an extra day so I can take DD out swimming or for lunch so we have time alone together.

Congratulations x

MrsWolowitz Fri 30-Aug-13 14:37:11

It's really hard but it does get easier.

I had 3 under 2 (twins) and struggled a lot in the early days but now they are all great friends and lovely company for each other (maiming they play together while I MN).

It gets better. Honestly it does.

thing1andthing2 Fri 30-Aug-13 14:40:54

Oh I remember missing my dd so much when Ds came along. I couldn't spend any time with her, fobbed her off on DH, grandparents, friends, etc, I felt like I hardly saw her for a month. But soon we both got used to the situation and I had time for her again while the baby napped.
You just need to lower your standards. If you can afford to, get a cleaner and do internet food shopping. Then each day just focus on getting the three of you through the day fed, and fairly clean. You don't need to do any more than that, and a few months of cbeebies won't hurt your Ds1. If you can all get out to the park so much the better. Hand over to DH when he gets home from work and take 20 mins for yourself and have a large glass of wine.
Yes it is super hard but the baby days are over in a flash.

Chopsypie Fri 30-Aug-13 14:43:57

It does get easier. It's hard now because its new. Soon it'll be just another routine.
I've got 17 months between mine, they are 3 and 20 months now. It's a lot easier in some ways (they play together and distract each other) but harder in others (when they play chasing games, by god it's loud!!) but I wouldn't change it for the world.
Accept all help offered and lower your housekeeping standards!

forevergreek Fri 30-Aug-13 14:45:18

Best tip for us was put them in same routine from the start.

So ATM that might be when your eldest eats lunch, you feed baby.

Put eldest down for nap, and try baby at the same time.

Bath together, bedtime routine together, read together

Makes it much easier for one adult to cope/ control them and also get a break.

I had a 20/21m gap.

I think I referred to DS being born as 'when I ruined DD's life' until he was toddling.

It wasn't, really. They are best pals now, a proper little team. (They are 4 and 6 now)

Right now you are absolutely knackered. It was knackering the first time round but you didn't have a toddler then too grin

It honestly does get easier. You don't need to bath either of them every day. You can bath the toddler a couple of times a week, and bath the baby in the baby bath while the toddler has a splash in the big bath sometimes.

Now and then when the baby is asleep, have a cuddle and a story with the biggest. They are still your baby too, even though they seem to have magically morphed into a big clumsy giant since the baby arrived grin

HowlerMonkey Fri 30-Aug-13 14:56:10

I had a 13mo age gap and it was hardest right at the beginning. Suddenly it's not all about DC1 anymore.... You have to enter 'fire-fighting' mode; i.e. you deal with the biggest emergency first. Pain > hunger > nappy > boredom, in my world!

The first time I went out with both of them by myself felt like a proper mountain to climb, but the second time was much easier. As with all these things, practice WILL make you perfect(ish). It gets much easier when DC2 starts on solid food, because then you can temporarily fob them off with a breadstick grin

My two sit and giggle together now. They are little friends apart from when DS1 clouts DS2. It's lovely. I think DS2 has improved DS1's life.

One benefit is that from here onwards, you will consider 'only' looking after one child to be a small holiday smile

Congratulations and it WILL get easier. Honestly, I had to think back to remember the content of those first 2 paragraphs and it was only 11mo ago!

MiaowTheCat Fri 30-Aug-13 15:21:37

11 months here. You will be fine. Sit down and note the rough pattern of your eldest's day and then start to slot the baby's needs in and you'll start to get your head around how to manage things. Not in some "at 7.52 the child will poo for five seconds"way but a general pattern of what happens when. If you can get afternoon naps going together then its fantastic in terms of giving you a spot of sanity time.

Plus everyone will think you're super woman doing some kind of impossible feat, however "badly" you feel you're doing anyway!

Boreoff Fri 30-Aug-13 15:38:08

I have a 14 month age gap and I can agree with getting them to nap at the same time if you can, it was a lifesaver for me. Does your ds1 still nap?

If you can get them to sleep at the same time, rest or do something you fancy. I used to have a quick 15 min tidy round then get my feet up. It really helped me and I looked forward to that hour or so every day.

My two are now 4 and 5, they are the best of friends and go off and play for ages. You havnt ruined you ds1's life you have enriched it.

It will get easier.

Haddock73 Fri 30-Aug-13 19:28:34

Thank you all for your advice and encouragement. I find myself wishing these newborn days away so I can spend time with ds1 again, then I feel guilty for feeling that.

Today ds2 cried so much ds1 put his fingers in his ears and I couldnt do his bedtime. Felt away and burst into tears again.

I feel so.bad saying this but I feel like I've made a mistake at times. Poor ds1 and. Ds2, I'm a poor excuse for a mum.

mumofboyo Fri 30-Aug-13 19:47:25

My two ate 2.5 and 11 mo, I had the same freaking out, oh my god what have I done moments when dh went to work. There were, and sometimes still are, times when I really resented him being able to escape the madness for ten hrs everyday. But I coped.

It has become easier over time, as dd's reflux was sorted out, as she fell into a routine which happened to be the same as ds', it was around the 12 week mark when I noticed patterns emerging in that she got hungry/tired/playful at the same time every day. This routine is what kept/keeps me sane, knowing that at lunchtime I'll get a blissful 2hrs off, because they nap at the same time (as mentioned up thread that was the first thing I sorted) and at 7 they'll be in bed asleep. I can plan my day and any outings around it.

It does get easier, you get better at coping and at zoning out so the screams don't annoy you as much when you're trying to cook tea or change a nappy or grab something to eat yourself.

There are still days when I feel like running away, like today, the last few days have been one long scream-fest, but they are getting fewer and further apart.

If your baby blues don't lift, or you do feel like you need help, don't be scared or too proud to ask for help, be it practical help with babysitting or cleaning or whatever, or emotional help such as counseling. My HV referred me for interpersonal therapy, which finished just before the summer jollies, and it was very helpful, made me realise I'm not supermum, I can't do everything, it's OK to shout and to let off steam, my guilt is unhelpful and unfounded and the judgements of other people really don't matter.

meandtheboys Fri 30-Aug-13 19:49:03

I have been where you are (only I had a bigger age gap) but I relate to the not knowing how to phyically cope and the guilt you feel about DS1.

You are NOT a poor excuse for a mum but I think we've all felt like that after having number 2.

The task of caring for 2 small people 24/7 should never be underestimated. I was panicking so much about DH going back to work and me feeling out numbered. I'm going to be very honest here and say that in all honesty for the first few months I was not coping. I was floundering around, trying to make life 'normal' for DS1 and I dodn't bond with DS2 for a long time. I felt like if I was holding him and comforting him then it was a waste of time that I could spend with DS1. I feel dreadful about it now but I hated the fact that DS2 cried a lot and needed a lot of attention. I just fel like I was failing both of them. I was miserable.

I was also knackered because DS2 only slept for 90 minutes at a time. But once he slept more it got a lot easier and more bearable. Though it did take 6 months before he slept for 3 hour stretches

Anyway, long story short, I went to the doctors and got referred for counselling. (Not by any means saying that you need to do this but for me the anxiety just wasn't going away and I was not doing anyone any favours by feeling the way I did.) BUT I am happy to say that DS2 is 20 months now and I feel so differently about it all now. I no longer feel outnumbered and stressed out. I know I can take care of them both and keep them both clean (ish!), fed and safe.

I love having two. I love seeing their relationship blossom. I know now that giving DS1 a sibling was the best thing I could have done for him. I adore them both. DS2 is now talking and creating havoc of a different kind and I won't lie and say it's easy but it's actually amazingly lovely a lot of the time.

You will cope. I promise it does get better but if you do feel overwhelmed there's no shame in admitting that and getting help sooner rather than later. Best of luck. It really will be fine.

20wkbaby Fri 30-Aug-13 20:04:44

I have a 3.5 year age gap and still identified with what someone else said about missing 1st child and feeling I had palmed her off on anyone and everyone. I think that is just a part of adjusting to having 2 children learning to spread yourself a bit thinner and the older child adjusting. DD2 is nearly 2 and we are still having a few jealousy issues but mainly all settled down now and they do love each other and play together - sometimes!

MistressDeeCee Fri 30-Aug-13 20:11:20

OP, yes it is hard. I got pregnant again when my 1st was 7 months old, so I know exactly how you feel. When DP went back to work, I panicked...I wanted to hang onto his trouser legs & beg him not to go to work ! But what happens is eventually you find your own routine, what works best for you all. & then it becomes easier. As some have said I felt really terrible that perhaps I wasnt giving DD1 all the attention she deserved.

For some reason I got myself into a real tizz, rushing, giving myself deadlines about having to do this or that at specific times. Having nearly reached breaking point with the stress and tiredness I suddenly relaxed and stopped being hard on myself. I found my way, slowly but surely. My own pace and routine, which worked well for me & DDs. After a time I actually found it easier having 2..they were company for each other and could entertain themselves

Im in total agreement with what meandtheboys has said..giving DD1 a sibling was the best thing I could have done. Theyre teens now, and still close. I love to see it.

So as said no, its not easy. But it will become easier. You just find whats best for you, trust your own instincts as a mother. Good luck and again as has been suggested up thread, if you feel you need help, counselling etc then dont have any qualms in asking for it

It took me a long time to get over the guilt of ruining DS's life when dd arrived! He was 26 months at the time. I remember not being able to do his bedtimes and that was really upsetting for me. What helped was sticking dd in a sling - she lived in it for the first 3-4 months. It wasa bit awkward but it meant she was less likely to get upset and I could deal with ds too. It got harder again once she started grabbing stuff. But we're getting there.

Now, after 20 months I feel guilty that I don't spend enough time with dd as her elder brother is very articulate about what he wants!! So she gets shoved aside and goes off to potter although she's quite happy doing that (cue more guilt).

Try and get your DH to take the newborn in a sling for an hour here and there so you can deal with your eldest (although he may not always want to play with you), involve your ds in looking after the baby and get him to help with chores eg I got ds to chop mushrooms for food etc etc while dd slept in the sling and I prepared meals.

The mornings were the time I got stuff done - so up and showered while DH got ready too. Then dd fed, in sling while I chucked a meal in the slow cooker for dinner and made lunch for me and ds to reheat. Then out for the morning - park/library/playgroup then home for lunch and ds would nap. That remains our routine (roughly) even now.

I had lots of snacks around for me and ds. Also a few little cars and magazines to whip out while I fed dd to keep ds still (especially when we were out and about).

Take each day as it comes and don't worry if things don't go to plan. Just use tv or snacks if you need to!

Wuldric Fri 30-Aug-13 20:16:16

Hey, chin up!

Is it possible for you to send DS1 to nursery for a couple of days a week? I ask because this is literally the only thing that kept me sane after the arrival of DC2. DC2 breastfed all day long, literally. There was no way on earth I could have looked after a toddler as well so those days that DC1 spent at nursery were my lifeline.

Cosmo89 Fri 30-Aug-13 23:35:56

I've skimmed most of theses, so I apologise for being the xr
Crappest- 1 was hard work enough for me. I am awe inspired that you have 2 humans under 2 and you manage to keep them alive. Well done, Ms. Amazing- you're AMAZING!

Haddock73 Sat 31-Aug-13 12:49:11

Yesterday was the worst by far. Ds2 cried nonstop from 5.30pm to 1.30am. Bfing and thought it was going well but he was screaming for more and I didnt have anymore, plus he was hideously overtired. We gave in at 1.30am and he had 1oz of formula and slept til 6am. I feel so overwhelmed with guilt and have cried all night and morning. I am really not coping.

lljkk Sat 31-Aug-13 12:51:44

:-(
You're not a bad mum, just exhausted. Can anyone else support you? In 10 days the toddler groups start up again, can you get out to some? They were sanity savers for me.

23 months between DC1 & 2, 2-6 weeks after DC2 was born was the hardest.

Iwaswatchingthat Sat 31-Aug-13 13:04:37

Please don't feel guilty - you will look back on this time and wonder how you did it. But you ARE doing it NOW. Last night sounds like torture, but you made it through. Morning came and you are up and tou made it. You did the right thing giving the formula. Your milk won't be fully established yet and your baby was hungry - you met his need. So you have nothing to feel guilty about.

I wasted so much time feeling that way when really I deserved me to be kind to myself and appreciate it was really hard.

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