A promise to my toddler

I will have bad days, I will struggle and make mistakes. There will be days when I feel overwhelmed and under appreciated, times I’ll struggle to respond with kind words and patience. When I’m tired, or angry, I will find it hard to always remain in control of my emotions.

On those days I need love and understanding more than ever. If it’s okay for me to be imperfect, it’s okay for you too. Those great big feelings in such a tiny body must be incredibly overwhelming. How much more difficult it must be for you to understand and control those new emotions.

So my promise to you.

When you’re screaming on the floor of the supermarket.

When you throw another toy at the wall.

When your dinner is splattered all over the floor.

When you push me away.

In your angry, frustrated, overwhelmed, inconvenient moments.

When your little eyes are looking up at me for a reaction.

I will love you.

I will take a deep breathe and hold you close.

I will listen.

In your unloveable moments when you need me the most I will be your safe space.

I will speak quietly so you can hear me, for shouting silences the message.

I won’t punish you for being human, for grumpy moods, bad attitudes, angry outbursts. I won’t hold you to a higher standard of perfection than I can uphold myself.

You’re not ‘naughty’ or behaving badly, you don’t need punishments or timeouts. Discipline really means to teach, not punish. I will guide you through gently as you learn about the world.

For I can’t expect to raise a child that is self controlled and gentle if I am not.

We’re all imperfect parents raising imperfect children and that’s okay.

The Last Time

Walking up the stairs carrying my two year old daughter to bed, I was ready to snuggle her into my arms and rock her to sleep, as I have done every night since she was born.

Little did I know the tiny baby that wouldn’t sleep anywhere but my chest, the one year old who needed to be snuggled into mummy for every nap and bedtime, had decided she didn’t need me to fall asleep anymore. And just like that, the last time I would cuddle my daughter to sleep had been and gone.

I laid next to her, holding onto her little hand. My mind went back to those many nights I’d spent hours upon hours comforting her whilst the rest of the world slept. The days I’d felt so exhausted I didn’t know if I could carry on. I knew tiredness like I’d never known it before. Weeks turned into months and it felt like time stood still.

Back then I longed for her to learn to sleep longer, to not be so dependent on me. And now that she no longer wakes in the middle of the night, I find myself missing those moments in the dark at 2am.

One thing I’m sure of is I don’t regret a single night. A single precious moment with my daughter who’s growing up all too fast.

The last time for everything will come. One day she won’t want to hold onto my hand, one day she’ll ask to go to bed alone. She won’t always seek comfort in me. So for now, as she closes her eyes and peacefully drifts off to sleep, I will take it all in. Every last beautiful second I have left of being her everything.

12 tips for making it through the first year with two under two

So you’re joining the prestigious ‘two under two’ club!

You’re about to embark on the wonderful madness that comes with a small age gap. I’ve just graduated from said club with most of my sanity intact, so that must be something!

Before my youngest was due to arrive, I obsessively worried about how on earth this was going to work. So many scenarios played out in my head. How would I logistically juggle the toddler’s needs with the babies? Would my toddler think she’d been replaced? And could I possibly love the second baby as much as the first?

Navigating life with two under two is no easy feat, it’s been a chaotic year with little sleep and plenty of adjustments made along the way. Trying to avert a toddler meltdown with a teething baby who won’t let you put him down is multi tasking at the highest level.

Then one day baby gives his first smiles to his big sister, they fall in love with each other in front of your eyes and the lows become worth it for those incredible highs.

Here are all my tips for making it through that first year:

Leave the house

Your partner’s back at work after the meagre two weeks leave, now you’re faced with the daunting prospect of leaving the house alone with two children. Try to find a local baby and toddler group, adult interaction can be refreshing and there’ll be plenty to entertain your toddler whilst you sneak in a cuppa (or two).

Practically, being organised is key. Pack the bag the night before and always have extra snacks and stories to hand to keep your toddler occupied if baby needs feeding.

Practice self care

Whether it be putting on some lipstick, treating yourself to a face mask, or curling up with a good book. Practicing self-care isn’t just vitally important for your own mental health, taking time to re energise helps you be the best parent you can be.

Involve your toddler

Involving your toddler in everything possible allows them to still feel connected whilst they bond with baby. Make it their special job to bring the nappy and wipes, have fun together bathing baby, read stories whilst feeding, or get them their own baby doll so they can role play along side you.

Be kind to yourself

When you’re stuck in Groundhog Day drowning in nappies and spit up, it’s easy to let mum guilt take over. Whether it be criticising yourself over your weight, how much TV time your toddler had that day, or that you were too exhausted to cook dinner so ordered takeout again.

Take a deep breathe, have a cuppa and remember this will soon pass. You can’t be everything to everyone all the time, we’re all human and mistakes will be made. Try to focus on the positives, laugh through the chaos and let everything else go.

Buy a sling

My must have item. The one thing I wouldn’t have got through the first year without. Aside from growing another pair of hands, having a sling frees you up to have that precious one on one time with your toddler and makes outings infinitely easier.

Embrace the chaos

Life is beautiful but chaotic with a toddler and a baby. You’re teetering on the edge of insanity from sleep deprivation, don’t exhaust yourself further trying to be perfect.

Focus on the essentials to get by, especially in the first few months. The house resembles a bomb site, the laundry’s piling up and there’s dinner to be made. Embrace it and find calm amongst the chaos.

Coping with the exhaustion

If you’re not feeding or changing a nappy, you’re wrestling your toddler down from scaling the bookcase whilst the baby finds that missing crayon and is lovingly drawing their first masterpiece all over the wall.

The mental exhaustion of motherhood is real.

Add sleep deprivation into the mix and you’ve got one tired mama. Take every opportunity you can to rest, leave the cleaning for another day.

Try to go to bed feeling positive, let go of any anxiety you may feel about the night ahead. Pouring your energy into reading yet another article promising to divulge the secrets behind babies sleeping through is draining. Accepting that frequent night waking is biologically normal for babies can be refreshing. Focus that energy on the positives in your life instead.

Be flexible

Try not to stress about keeping on schedule. So you were an hour late to a play date with a friend, making it out of the house with two babies in tow is still a win. Be as flexible as you can about each day, adapting the routine you may already have with your toddler to fit baby in.

Reach out

Ask for help if you need it. Use family or friends for that well deserved break or time to reconnect with your partner.

If you’re feeling low or anxious don’t be embarrassed to seek support from healthcare professionals. There is support out there to help you cope if you’re struggling with your emotional health.

Have one on one time

Have as much one on one time with each child as possible.

In the early days, combat any jealousy your toddler is displaying by setting aside time each day to focus your attention solely on them. Paint a picture together, go for a walk and talk about what you see or simply cuddle up and read a story whilst baby naps. Let them know you understand it’s hard to share mummy, but you love them just as much.

If it’s possible, have someone look after your toddler for a few hours each week. You could join a baby class, or take a break at home with time to focus on your baby.

Try baby led weaning

Pureeing can at times feel like a military operation. Skip the step altogether and start your baby on solids. There is so many benefits to baby led weaning, and with two under two you can save yourself from adding yet another job to your to do list and feed all the family together.

Enjoy it

There will be hard days and magical days. Crazy, loving, insane, wonderful days. Enjoy it. Don’t forget to take a moment amongst the chaos to sit back and wonder at these two beautiful humans you’ve created.

There’s an incredible adventure in front of you, be sure to have fun along the way.

Whether you’re anxiously awaiting the arrival of baby #2 or they’re already here, you’re going to be amazing! Love yourself and your family, because at the end of the day that’s all that matters.

Hello and welcome!

Having made it through to the other side of life with two under two, my youngest is about to turn one and life may start to return to normal now, right?

Years ago, pregnant and child free, excited to meet the tiny baby kicking away inside of me, I thought I knew what kind of parent I needed to be.

Back then I knew nothing of post natal depression, or just how big of an adjustment life with a newborn was going to be. My feeding choices seemed obvious, mastitis was still a foreign word to me and I thought explosive nappies were my biggest worry.

The realities of motherhood are a closely guarded secret, seeing adorable babies lighting up your Instagram feed it’s easy to have an idyllic view on what life will be like with your bundle of joy.

I was blissfully unaware of the immense pressures mother’s face. To keep up the facade, look amazing, raise perfectly behaved children whilst climbing that career ladder.

We’re told how to give birth, how to feed, how to discipline, the list is endless.

Society have laid out the rules of motherhood, eagerly awaiting you to slip off the pre approved plan so they can put you on the parenting naughty step. Beware of creating the famous ‘rod for your own back’ or heaven forbid you’ll end up with a teenager who still won’t be put down.

For each baby needs to be swiftly trained to sleep through the night and feed in 4 hour intervals, only then will they reach ‘good baby’ status.

Two years on I wish I could tell that first time mum to follow her instincts, brush off the unsolicited advice with a smile and have the confidence to do things unashamedly her way. Each child is unique and following their own path. Whether that applies to sleeping through the night or counting to ten.

Through this blog I want to support others along their parenting journey, through honest motherhood with no topic off limits. Sharing stories from my own experiences.

It takes longer than you think to adjust to being a parent (and that’s okay). You are enough. Do what feels right for your family.

From a gentle, attachment parent, learning along the way.