newborn, toddler, life, energy etc(52 Posts)
I know this has been done to death in many guises, but please, any suggestions of how to make life easier.
I have a 2 year old and a 2 month old. 2 year old does 2 hours creche 4x a week. He's a well behaved little lad...but he's 2!!
2 month old is adorable but fusses and isn't the best napper. Will go down but needs my attention, a feed and a darkened room...not ideal when I have a toddler to deal with too.
Nights are manageable - 2 feeds and straight back to sleep.
But I'm exhausted, I feel empty (iron levels are fine), constantly hungry and just pooped.
I'm also struggling with guilt as I don't have the energy/enthusiasm/time/hands to give the toddler the attention I would like. DH is good and around to help with bedtimes etc, though I am frustrated at not being able to do more by myself (finding double bath/bedtime hard), also don't feel that I am able to give him the attention I would like.
As for me - how do I regain a sense of self and/or find any time to do anything for me???
Guess I'm just feeling overwhelmed with (what feels like) all the demands.
I'm with you. I think you're finding it hard because it is, in fact, hard. They have such different paces and needs, and two year olds inhabit a parallel universe to us.
I don't know if I have any answers but I do have empathy!
My older boy was 18.5 mo when my twins were born. The first year of the twins' lives was a real struggle; I felt like I never gave anyone enough attention.
Now they're 2.11 and 16.5 months. It's a bit better, I certainly feel more like "me" but I still feel guilt (particularly now that I'm back at work).
It does get easier but having small children is exhausting! Lower your expectations and go easy on yourself. Good luck
If you find the answer then let us all know!
Seriously, I think you just need to be kind to yourself and battle on. It's really really tough. Don't get into the mindset of thinking "it shouldn't be this hard" because it IS hard.
They will both get older and easier. For now I guess you need to take any little chance to rest that you can. Will the toddler watch TV? Sit still for any length of time? Will baby sleep in buggy or sling?
Bath one each alternative night.
Baby sleep time is quiet time with toddler.
Make sure you take time out for a bath!!
I have a 10 month old and 2.9 year old. It's been very hard balancing the needs of a baby and a toddler. I'm bloody knackered so I understand OP. I think you've just got to keep going, sleep when you can, do the best you can. It is hard.
We did alternate bedtimes which helps with the guilt, but we were both back working at 13 weeks post birth. I did midnight to 6 he did pre 12 and after 6. (Got up at 7 anyway).
The one who cried the loudest got seen to first - so basically in your case the 2 year old. Babies can be pretty patient.
Mixed feeding was a life saver for us. I breast feed morning and night. But could sleep evenings and morning.
Everyone was very Indépendant very early. All self feeding asap. So 2 year old feeding herself, dog, floor etc this went on for a long time.
You just get by. Lower your standards, buy in any help you can afford, up nursery hours. Drop your standards for perfect child care - so if it's easier to use disposable nappies, co-sleep, bottle feed, change bed times, nap wherever do it. Don't necessarily tell anyone though.
Thank you. These replies made me laugh. Yes, it's just hard isn't it. As long as it gets easier...
Yes, toddler will sit still, watch tv, do puzzles etc. It's more that I feel guilty for not playing with him.
Baby loves the sling - though I find it cumbersome. I guess it could be a lot worse. Just feeling so exhausted today and a bit moany
OP you've just described my life but with an OH who begrudges helping out in the evenings. Sorry I can't offer anything optimistic, feel at breaking point myself but and for you. My toddler is very good so I'm holding on to the thought that it'll get much easier when the baby is a little older....
It's hard and l did wonder for a bit of dd2 early days what the fuck l had done. Tbf l thought that when dd1 was born too so not showing any favouritism
It's hard. You will feel and be exhausted. I found a couple of ridiculously early nights, like 7.30pm at least twice a week helped. I craved adult
alcohol time when both dd were in bed so l couldn't do early nights all the time.
Can you change creche to 4 hours per day twice a week? 2 hours per say doesn't allow you to nap ever.
Dd1 was nearly 5 when dd2 was born but l felt terribly guilty leaving dd1 downstairs when l was trying to get dd2 to nap.
I try to remember that I felt like I had totally lost myself first time round too, and that my sense of being me did slowly recover. I have never even attempted to bath mine together and have no intention of it until the baby can sit up. The few bedtimes I have done on my own were like some sort of SAS training exercise, running between the two of them, trying to stop the baby melting down to the point of no return while being on hand to stop the toddler escaping his cot.
Hmm, maybe I'm asking whether there is any way to do it all with no shortcuts so that everyone is happy and without losing the plot. In which case, I guess not.
Creche is only 2 hours so no chance of upping that, though I do get more time when toddler naps. I am not a very good napper (or sit stiller) and if I do get them to sleep at once I feel it's a waste of my free time to go to sleep.
It will get easier won't it?
I bet the kids are actually pretty happy though. I mean not wall-to-wall sunshine and rainbows but getting fed, loved, played with a decent amount. I have a tendency to be a perfectionist about these things, but not every minute of their lives needs to be enriching and wonderful - probably not even the majority of it. The thing I need to do is find something I can enjoy, and I'm not talking a coffee morning with the baby - that is a basic keep-me-sane experience, not something that brings me joy!
Alice - I know exactly what you mean. I have to keep reminding myself that by ignoring the toddler a bit, I'll equip him with the life skills of knowing how to entertain himself.
I have so little child-free time that I don't know what to do with myself when they aren't around. I'm breastfeeding (haven't had a lot of luck getting baby to take the bottle) so that does constrain me a lot. I have just discovered youtube workout videos so am managing to do some exercise at home which makes me feel a lot better but it's hardly joy-bringing!
It's definitely better now dd2 is 15mo, although it would be massively helpful if she'd learn to walk.
When she was tiny, we used to go out every morning, be it park / toddler group / class etc. She'd sleep in the pushchair / sling and dd1 had my undivided(ish) attention. Then I didn't feel guilty if it was solid CBeebies from lunchtime onwards!
It is hard and relentless though, I don't think there's any shortcuts.
Yeah breastfeeding here too. I'm planning to write myself a list of things I love doing and aim to do 1/2 hour several times a week. Some of them will have to things I can look forward too once I can get out in the evening. The children really are fine so I don't feel the need to adjust anything I'm doing there, other than making sure I keep perspective and a sense of humour when energy allows. I'm sure being bored from time to time does them the world of good.
Trilby it will be no time at all before she gets it, I'm sure. I am going to miss having a squishy baby who stays still when I put her down so trying not to wish it away too much.
I posted a similar question recently and the answer seems to be 'when the youngest is about 2'....suppose we should just try to enjoy what we can and survive until then....
Feeling this. In fact I posted about it around a week ago! I've got a 3 month old and a 19.5 month old. Bloody knackered. Having a shower is like the worlds biggest treat. .... How did that happen!! I'm finding that getting out of the house is massively important to pass the time and try to get adult conversation. Other than that am totally in survival mode each day u til dh gets home!
I just googled "how do I exercise when I'm bloody knackered" and this thread was about 3rd down. Sounds like my life - 6month old and (almost) 3 year old. Breastfeeding, no bottles, exhausted. I'm afraid I have nothing to offer but I've heard it gets easier
Damn, I was pinning my hopes on it being easier by 6 months.
I've bitten the bullet and started to look for nursery place for ds1 so I can have a couple of toddler-free days. I'm hoping that will improve my patience with him on the days he' with me. Ds2 has been spending a lot of time in the sling, much as I'd love him to nap in his cot, I don't have time to settle him constantly and this way at least I can get things done. I'm sure he'll be an excellent cot napper in time...
It is really fucking hard. I regained a sense of self with time. It was a harder slog than I'd expected. You will feel guilty, which will go, especially as the baby becomes old enough to be a companion for the toddler and then you'll feel pleased with yourself for giving them a sibling. You will feel exhausted. You only gave birth a few weeks ago. It's inevitable. For myself, I did find it easier by around 6 months and would say that's a realistic hope, but everyone's difficult.
I'm back with a bit of an update and a plea for some more support.
Have started sending toddler to nursery, I was pretty sure he was massively unstimulated at home and it seems to be helping a bit.
BUT he's such a baby (I know 2 is very young) and I am regretting the age gap (bit late now). He has periods of wanting to be carried everywhere which has ruined my back (it went in pregnancy 2 and is really screwed now) and he constantly cries (mostly for daddy).
I just get so upset that I feel I am not coping/doing it all wrong.
I sought help from the HV who promised a phone call which never came. My mum isn't around any more and there is no one irl I can go to for help.
I've just had an enormous meltdown with both kids crying and now they're both napping (going to throw toddler's schedule out of the window but will worry about that later).
Sorry for long post. I just need some support/reassurance that I will get through the next year without going mad/selling my children.
Hey didn't want to read and run. I have a 3.5 year age gap and I have been wondering how people with smaller age gaps cope. I think you need to accept that the older child does suffer and has to adjust to having less of your attention which is really tough for them. But in the long term having a sibling is great so don't feel guilty. It is hard though.
On a practical level - do t do your back in, it will make things even harder. Can your two year old climb up in the sofa for a cuddle? Give him lots of sitting down cuddles but get him used to not bring carried everywhere. I found giving my eldest a little bit of one to one attention first thing really helped and he was then a but happier to go off and do his own thing.
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