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How do people manage with two children? Help!

(17 Posts)
PrincessOfWails Fri 05-Aug-11 20:22:58

I've got a DS, who is 3, and had DS2 who is now 4 weeks old. DH works away during the week usually but has been around the past 4 weeks.
I'm off to London for a fortnight (where DH is) and then back home because DS1 starts school in the mornings.
Today, I was by myself as DH had to go to work early. DS2 fed at 6am and went back to sleep (as did I). I woke at 7.30, wasted 15 mins and then went for a shower, but DS2 started screaming and DS1 shouted because he needed a wee. (DS2 is normally awake by 7.30, but won't leave his bed!! This has been convenient in the past but is now the time to change that?)
So, all wet, I went to get DS1, and eventually persuaded him to come with me whilst I fed DS2. DS1 then mucked around refusing to get dressed etc, whilst DS2 cried. We went for breakfast but DS2 cried and DS1 mucked around. It all took until 9.15 - so DS1 would be 3/4 hour late for school...

How do people manage?

It is just absolute chaos here, and I really don't know how I'm going to be able to cope by myself. (I know it's no different to anyone else who has OHs who work - often the main carer will be alone for much of the day!) How do people do it? I've no idea how I'm going to cook a meal for DS1 and me (and DH when he's around) with a screaming/bfing baby. And how can I have a shower? Because DS1 can't be left alone with DS2 because he likes to experiment with poking/pinching, or show affection (roughly...).
Incidentally, where can I put DS2? We have a baby hammock upstairs, and a bouncy chair downstairs but he's at floor level. The pram isn't great because DS1 tries to climb up to 'cuddle' and it's a tipping risk.

Any help or suggestions gratefully received. I'm also willing to be told sternly to get a grip and stop being pathetic if that's the case.

Fred18 Fri 05-Aug-11 20:41:40

You will manage! You'll work out what works best for you, be kind to yourself though, ds2 is only 4 weeks old. Really similar situation here, it is hard but it will get easier!

I used to put dd (2.5yrs younger than ds) in her bouncy chair and carry her to the room I was in, esp useful in bathroom! And tv worked for the older one while I got ready.

I have had many mornings when ds refuses to get dressed, I have almost got out of the door with him in pyjamas still, and I would have gone through with it and taken clothes with me for when he decided to get dressed! When I took ds to nursery when dd was first born I usually just threw clothes on self stuck dd in pram as she was to get him there!

Please be sure everyone feels just like you do! And has mornings just the same, don't get me started on bedtime...

Newbabynewmum Fri 05-Aug-11 20:52:30

I know not everyone likes this - but can you bath in the eve when they're in bed? Cuts out the shower problem. Lay out clothes for everyone in advance and get breakfast out the night before too (bar the milk obvs). I think (although may be wrong!) but it must be quicker to have a fizz round for 15mins at the end of the day if you can rather than attempting everything the next morning. - oh and obviously school bag and packed lunch the night before too.

blowthewindsoutherly Fri 05-Aug-11 20:56:20

I felt like this too when dd1 was 22 months and dd2 wax newborn and just wanted to say you will find a way and relax into things. Remember the mayhem when you brought your p f b home and then it gradually fell into place? Like that really. On a practical level if you feel you need a safe zone for the baby can you use a stair gate on his bedroom door to keep ds1 out?

lagrandissima Fri 05-Aug-11 21:05:58

It'll get easier, and quickly too. Remember that every year your kids will be 12 months older, at very different stages - hold onto that thought when you wonder how you will ever get through another summer / autumn / winter etc. As they get older they'll play together and make you laugh with the cute and funny things they say to each other.

In the meantime, try not to sweat the small stuff, drop your standards (if you had impossibly high ones to start with!), and just think of all the practical short-cuts you can, e.g. put up a travel cot downstairs so you can have somewhere safe to leave the baby if you need to go to the loo etc., distract the 3 y.o. with the telly if you need to feed the little one, put them in the car in their PJs if you need to be somewhere quickly - a cardie over a babygrow passes as clothes for a baby, and the big one can be changed when you get there.

And Newbabynewmum is absolutely right when she suggests doing whatever you can do in advance.

Frawli Fri 05-Aug-11 21:24:36

Don't try and put pressure on yourself to do too much, and try and do some stuff in advance. Like you can make lunches the night before and put them in the fridge if you're worried about leaving the baby to sort meals. Then when the baby naps you can prepare stuff for the evening meal etc. I would take stuff like veggies into the room with the children in to prepare on the table rather than leave them alone while I went into the kitchen. Also, I tended to cook in the evening after the DCs were in bed and then reheat it the next day rather than cook at teatime when it was more awkward to have time away from the children.

We had a travel cot to keep the baby safe and off the floor where she might've got trampled. Also, a baby sling was very useful, can still do things without leaving the baby unprotected.

Also, bear in mind that your older child will get used to there being a baby, it's still early days for him isn't it.

As for getting him to school on time, prepare all you can the night before, bear in mind the baby doesn't need to be dressed for you to leave the house, a babygrow is fine. And if it's still too much of a rush then you'll have to wake up DS earlier, or find a way to incentivise him not to dawdle!

quirkychick Fri 05-Aug-11 21:49:59

It will get better! When dd2 was born, dd1 was at pre-school 3 days a week so we had the morning rush. I think dp got her there for the first few weeks, after that I think I got everything ready the night before, all our clothes, breakfast things, buggy etc.

I fed dd2 first and put her back in travelcot/bedside cot in our room and she usually went back to sleep, then showered and got myself ready - dd1 in own room with stairgate in between. Then got dd1 up and ready. She still often refuses to get self dressed at 5 1/2yrs but I am insistent and have used pyjama threats like Fred18 too! Then I got dd2 up. Then breakfast, teeth cleaned and out the house.

Some days the school run can be truly stressful but it does let you have time with the younger one. When dd2 started on food, sometimes we had the second part of breakfast or my cup of tea when dd2 and I got back after dropping off dd1. As long as dd1 had had hers and was ready for school/pre-school on time.

PercyPigPie Fri 05-Aug-11 21:53:37

You will manage! Remember this is the worse bit when they are so tiny. And even if you had been late for school this time, it wouldn't have been the end of the world.

CharlotteBronteSaurus Fri 05-Aug-11 22:02:00

batch cook at the weekend when dh is home - stuff like stews, curries, that can gently warm through a while without ruining, so you can bf, change nappies etc without stressing about dinner.
failing that, ready meals. no-one will die if you live off M&S food while you adjust.
we got an electric swing thing, which we kept in the bathroom. when i needed to get ready, dd2 would come with me into the bathroom and go in the swing, dd1 would be allowed to play on the ipod touch in her room - insert an alternative bribe of your choice here. cbeebies works well.
we have a rule that breakfast comes after the dc are dressed, otherwise it's too much of a battle.

ceebeegeebies Fri 05-Aug-11 22:11:44

It is difficult but you will find a routine that suits you.

When DS2 was born, DS1 was going to nursery 4 days a week and although it didn't really matter what time we got there (it was a private nursery) I tried to leave the house by 8 at the latest just for routine....I managed it by not having a shower before I left - just chucking some clothes on, scraping my hair back/wearing a hat or whatever. After DS1 had been dropped off, I could come home, dS2 would fall asleep fairly quickly at home and I could have a more leisurely shower - could you do that?

Also, yy to the travel cot - it was essential as DS1 appeared to be determined to bite DS2's fingers off at every opportunity wink

PrincessOfWails Fri 05-Aug-11 22:14:52

Thanks everyone - really good advice, and I was so worried about being slated for being flaky! I think I am worrying a bit in advance - when DS1 starts school, DS2 will be 6 weeks and hopefully not bfing madly by then, and you're right, 4 weeks is a bit early to be expecting to be that fab organised mother with nice makeup (atm deodorant is high-level grooming here...!)
OK, so will be realistic. Food is likely to be oven heated e.g. pizza or ready meals (unless I get organised about the cooking on weekends) and hopefully it will be for a short while and they won't make a tv documentary about me and DS. And hopefully things will get easier as DS2 gets into more of a routine.

I should stress, DS1 is generally a good boy, but really does the low-level annoying thing to perfection. And can smell stress on me! I just had such a panic with a dreadful morning (but it was the first time...) and a sinking feeling of 'I can't cope'. Thanks so much!

So, yes, most people pull through without making it onto channel 4/social services' list...I can too!

PrincessOfWails Fri 05-Aug-11 22:15:10

And I must keep saying - it's only early days. 4 weeks. What was I thinking?!

bessie26 Fri 05-Aug-11 22:23:06

It gets better!

Do absolutely everything possible the night before. Choose clothes, pack bags, cook lunch, shower, etc.

DD1 (2.10) needs to be at nursery before 8 for breakfast. DD2 (3 months) is never is anything other than a sleepsuit at that time in the morning!

Haudyerwheesht Fri 05-Aug-11 22:24:56

I have a similarish age gap - ds was 3 when dd arrived last year.

You just DO cope. Remember that babies change very very very fast and ime so do 3 year olds!

I still finds mornings toughest especially because they both get up at around 530 sad yawn! I survive though and after 8am I feel like I'm not the only person in the world awake and life goes on!

I don't have any suggestions re where to put the wee one. We had a travel cot but it leaves the baby prone to aerial attack!

Congratulations on your new baby!

TheMitfordsMaid Fri 05-Aug-11 22:28:59

I turned to bribery when DS2 was tiny and breastfeeding a lot. That and cbeebies!

Seriously, my GP told me that DS2 won't come to any harm if he needed to wait a little bit while I sorted out DS1, who was 2.5 when my DS2 was born. It is very early days yet, and you'll soon get the hang of it.

Do be kind to yourself though, and don't worry about being superwoman.

Zipitydoda Fri 05-Aug-11 22:32:16

It's still very early days, you will be amazed how quick things will change and get easier. I have DS3 9 weeks and DS1 age 6 DS2 age 3 and thiNgs are still a bit chaotic but improving. Don't try and do everything at once. It's the school holidays so you probably don't need to be anywhere by a certain time, it doesn't matter if you are unwashed and in PJs at lunchtime and DS1 watches too much TV for a few weeks, he won't mind.

The last couple of mornings I have been able to put DS3 in his cot in hs room to watch his revolving mobile for 15mins while I dress. He still sleeps in Moses basket in our room but is happy in the cot to 'play', last week he wouldn't have been, things do change very fast.

When I had DS2 I made good use of sticker reward charts for DS1, I lay his clothes out in a line and say ready, steady, go and pretend to time him getting dressed in a 'race' and make a big fuss about it, give him a sticker; trained him to put his own stickers on and didn't make a fuss if he cheated because you have to pick your battles! Big big fuss about him being gentle and caring with DS2 also lots of stickers! He still believes he is some sort of magic baby whisperer as a result of my praise and is fantastic with DS3.

My DH went back to work when DS3 was 2 weeks, he leaves the house by 7 and does nothing for the kids/me but I did somehow manage, we were never late for school in those early weeks. You will work out a method that works for you. Mine did involve threats of taking DS2 to nursery in pyjamas; and I would have followed through with this but he always got dressed in the end! A friend did take her DD2 to nursery in pyjamas once in the same situation, it only took once for her DD to start getting dressed willingly.
I got breakfast out the night before, put schoolbags in the car, had clothes laidnout, took the baby in his night clothes, abandoned morning shower and makeup and often my own breakfast and had to let DS3 cry a bit, although this has greatly decreased now. I *MAY* have shouted a bit but not too much and the boys haven't held it against me, I do apologise after the event sometimes.

All the other mums at school always comment on how well I'm managing. They are really nice! even when I am feeling fraught I try to tell myself to feel in a zen-like state of calm and it does help!

RedHotPokers Fri 05-Aug-11 22:43:54

Best thing I did was put a safety gate on ds's bedroom which meant I could leave him in there for a few minutes knowing that Dd couldn't get to him to 'hug' him.

And give yourself some credit. You will be able to do it all with good planning and military precision! You'll just be a bit knackered that's all!

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