Saturday, January 31, 2015

How I had two littles and didn't go crazy

I was told one day that I seem to be so calm and easy going and have it together. And I laughed in that person's face. But, it got me thinking about the times I thought that there would be no end to the crazy feeling that was having two little ones. And maybe if I could shed a little light on what I did that worked for me and supposedly made me look like I had it together, maybe I could help one mama feel like she too can get through it.

I preface my following paragraph with the fact that I completely and totally love both of my children to the end of the earth and back again. They are a blessing and I wouldn't be me without them.

Rylan was born November 2008. I had planned to be trying to get pregnant around his second birthday. Life had other plans. Instead, we carried a 6 week old baby to Rylan's second birthday. I wouldn't trade this for a million suitcases full of a million dollars each. We got Max, and a life with no Max is no life for me.

You can never plan for life with two or more kids. People will warn you and you'll listen, but you won't know until you are in it. You think it'll be like one kid but a little harder. Strike that flip it and reverse it. You can no longer hand off the baby to your spouse to get a shower or a nap, because your spouse has the other child. You can't sit down in a chair with your tiny baby and breastfeed in peace, because your toddler is poking at your boob and saying "wat dat?" Your stoller is double in size, if it isn't too long to turn a corner without knocking down everything at the end of an aisle, its so wide you can't get through a normal store/library/church door. Before having my second child I could get my first to calm down and chill in a backpack I bought that held up to 40 pounds. I couldn't put that on my back because I was wearing another child on my front. Getting a shower or a nap or time to cook a meal now requires two humans to be happy and healthy, and you aren't one of those humans. If you make it an hour with only 1 person crying, you feel like you are a triumph, and bonus points if you weren't the one crying.

It did almost make me cray-zay. But, now,  looking at my 4 and 6 year olds, I can barely remember the sleepless nights, the crying because I couldn't remember the last conversation that Rob and I had that didn't revolve around who would do baths and who would do dishes, the saying sorry to my kids because mommy yelled, or realizing that I had left my car keys in the diaper bag AFTER Rob had taken kids and said diaper bag to daycare for the day.

Here's a few things that got me through those first few months, when life seems kind of nuts:

I'll start way back when.  When I had a 2 year old and a newborn. It was hard and I often felt nuts, but one of the things I did was have a notebook in which I wrote myself notes. I wrote down meals that turned out to be really easy to make while dealing with the kids, I wrote down ways to entertain both kids at once, if a day went well, I wrote something down that I thought made it go better.  This got me through the first crazy months.

Another thing I did was I found things that entertained both of my kids and things that killed 2 birds with one stone. Rylan was 2 and ornery and crazy, but he LOVED taking baths. Baths were a time that he was in one place and couldn't get into too much trouble.  So that little boy got a nice long bath every single day. Sometimes I bathed Max in the little baby tub on the floor next to Rylan in the big tub. Sometimes I folded laundry at the sink while he took a bath and brother slept. Sometimes I sat on the closed toilet and did absolutely nothing but make sure my kids were both alive. I learned to cook wearing a baby (the safe way), read a book while pushing a double stroller, pull a wagon with one kid in it normally and the other in a car seat in it. We got out of the house as much as possible because new sights, new people made us all behave better than being at home.

I also slept when my kids did. I went to bed at 8:30 and got up at 5am (of course with many nighttime awakenings in between).  A friend once said I got more done before 8am than she did all day. That's not necessarily true, but I often got bills paid, one on one time with the baby, time to talk with my husband, books read, or simply bathing first thing in the morning. Having a pajama day is good in theory, but I always do better if I get up and get started with my day. When your kids get up, they often are ready to party, so meeting them with a little coffee in your system does wonders to your psyche.

Also, don't compare yourself to any other moms. This is so hard, but just like the person that told me I seem so calm and put together when I was really hiding a mountain of legoes behind a closed closet door, nobody is perfect. Not one mom can do it all alone. Choose your battles. I love to cook. Its my thing. If I served chicken nuggets and heat up Chef Boyardee for dinner, it would hurt my heart. So I never stopped cooking and baking. I even let Rylan help me when he was a wee lad.  I might seem like Suzy Homemaker when I bust out banana muffins and Chicken Parmesan, but have you seen my laundry pile? It ain't pretty. I can't do it all well, so I picked the thing I do the best at, feeding my family, and went with that. The laundry gets done, and with a lot of help from the hubs, eventually, but its not my forte. The moment you realize that somebody that looks like they have their shiz together on the outside, probably has a layer of dust on their sidetables will be a freeing moment for you.

We had our tough days, we cried and yelled and didn't know what we were doing. But we loved each other like crazy and we made it.

This blog post has been four years in the making. I've always meant to write a "how I survived one' but every time I thought about it, life gave us lemons and I had to real quick find a new lemonade. I hope to add to these thoughts with a series of posts, if they are helpful at all.

For now, here's some pics to show our crazy.

Managing to read with two squiglies

Wagons are your friend

Family pictures that include the whole family are few and far between

The stroller that doesn't fit through any doors, ever. But it drives like a dream and the kids have lots of room. Side note: feed the shiz out of your kids. You can get yourself very far on a walk if the chillens bellies are full.

Definitely get some good are muscles for this sort of thing

And please, remember, for every ten photos that look like the above, you'll get 1 that look like the below

The sit and stand stroller that saved our sanity. You'll want one of these. Like...yesterday

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