You always hear about how tough it is to handle ‘two under two,’ but what about two toddlers? Raising two toddlers with a 1 to 2 year age gap is busy and busy is an understatement.
So how do mom’s do it? Patience. Coffee. Wine. Crying.
All of the above and then some!
A threenager is starting to feel emotions that they don’t know how to express. While a 1-year-old is still learning to walk and talk while trying to get their needs met.
There is so much to do, see, and learn for a toddler. How is one mother able to handle all of the chaos?
I will share a few tips that have helped our family get through these chaotic years of having two strong-willed and stubborn toddlers because aren’t they all strong-willed and stubborn?
Know WHAt’s coming
Set yourself up for success. Get into the mindframe that Hey… Two toddlers are about to take over your entire house and your entire life.
Know that the emotions are going to be flying high and be out of control. Know that the younger of the two is going to be seeking out trouble and getting into it wherever and however they can while following in the footsteps of the older sibling!
If you prepare yourself and get in the mindset of having two toddlers at once, the chaos will seem less than it really is! Sounds silly, but this will help you to feel more prepared and demonstrates mind over matter.
Although certain situations you can not be prepared for because you can’t control everything. This brings me to the next point.
Stop trying to control every little thing
Obviously a mother of two toddlers wants nothing but for her children to be safe and happy. Unfortunately, they will not always be safe and happy.
Toddlers are bound to get into some messes, falls, and trouble, and there’s really not much you can do about it! We have to let them experience life the way they were meant to and give up some of that control that we so strongly feel we need to have.
You may think, they are only toddlers, what “life” do they have to experience?
Well, they should learn that some things could cause them to get hurt and the only way to teach it is by them experiencing it themselves. Of course, you need to let them learn within reason. For example, slipping and falling off of a small step is one thing, but when they are at a serious risk of injury, then it’s time to intervene.
Let them make mistakes mama, and be right there to help them through it. Don’t hand it to them or figure it out for them. Just help.
Help them to understand mad, sad and frustrated feelings, as well as happy and joyful. Help them express their feelings, wants, and needs. Help them problem solve and understand certain situations themselves.
They may get bumps and bruises. They may cry tears of frustration and anger. They may scream and kick the door down. That’s just what toddlers do.
However, the more you do to try and reduce or control these actions and experiences, the more it will backfire on you. Then, you’re the one feeling frustrating because you put so much time and effort into controlling them and nothing ended up working.
Schedules, naps, meals, clothes, cleaning, and organizing. It’s all too much.
A mama will get burnt out a lot quicker if she tries to control every single thing. Let it go for a bit and know that your child is learning and developing better while they are exploring and experiencing on their own.
Embrace the Chaos
This too shall pass or It’s just a phase. I bet you are sick of hearing that, but it is so true.
This stage of having two toddlers at once is such a tiny minute of time, compared to the lifetime of raising a family. It’s time to smile, laugh, and sit back and enjoy these little ones while they are young.
It will not be easy every day. As each day passes they are a day older and will be grown up before you know it.
Put down the phone, turn off the TV, and just dance with your toddlers. Play ball. Read books. Sing songs. Run. Jump. Play legos. Make funny faces! Soon you’ll miss the times that you are able to spend doing just that.
Of course, when you can, take a break.
Related Post: Two tricks to stay calm when you crave chaos
Take a break
You need and deserve nights out. By yourself. With your significant other. With your best friends or family.
Find a sitter. You most likely have at least one option for someone else to watch the kids while you go out for dinner and a show.
If it is not dinner out then maybe it is a shopping trip. Just going to Target by yourself is pretty wonderful. I dare you to try it sometime! Call a friend, chat with your significant other and communicate with adults your own age.
Taking a break is a lot more difficult for a mother than one can imagine, but it is possible and absolutely necessary. A mom needs time away from the chaotic life of two toddlers (or any kids at any age) to be able to re-energize herself.
We can’t take care of our children if we don’t first take care of ourselves.
Communicate with family and friends
Bottling up emotions is never a good thing. In fact, it can be harmful to your mental health.
Ever hear that saying, It takes a village? It’s true. We all need a support system to help us in all different aspects of life. We can’t get through these stages along.
Communicate thoughts and feelings with family and friends. Share that you are overwhelmed and need help. When you communicate these types of feelings, then the burden is lifted off your shoulders and you will feel so much lighter.
If you are happy, share that too! Share the joys of motherhood along with the struggles.
There are so many mamas out there who are in the same situation as you. Trying to wrangle up two or more crazy toddlers can seem to control your entire life.
Take control back mama and work with others to promote self-care in your life.
Make time for self care
What is self-care? It’s caring for yourself. Pretty simple, right?
Self-care seems expensive and not to mention finding the time to do so. It does not have to be either of those things.
Instead it can be reading a book before bed with no one else around. It can be taking a bubble bath with lavender after the kids go to bed. Enjoying a short workout in the morning before everyone gets up and maybe even having a nice warm cup of coffee.
Make time for self-care. If mama is happy, then everyone’s happy! Finding time for this can be exhausting and that is where a schedule and routine come in handy.
Related Post: Get Better Sleep! Natural tips and tricks
Schedule and Routine
Not only do the kids love schedules and routines, but parents do too. As human beings, we thrive on a habits and routines.
This will contradict my second point of trying to control every little thing and it is not meant to confuse you. Having a general schedule and somewhat consistent routine can change the mood of a household drastically.
To ensure everyone is on the same page, make sure that your needs are clearly identified to everyone that is helping you once in a while. It can be as simple as:
Wake up, breakfast, brush teeth, get dressed. Play. Snack. Etc.
Times are important but not crucial. The most common phrase used in our house when it comes to times and a schedule is “one afternoon nap at 12:30ish and as long as they nap, they’re good”. But now if this routine of getting an afternoon nap is thrown off, then we have two terrible toddlers that can very possibly make the evening hours not-so-fun.
Keeping a schedule and routine helps everyone to know what is coming and what to plan for. Kids love knowing what is expected of them and what comes next. Since toddlers can’t tell time, they can’t grasp what you are expecting of them so clearly.
They don’t think it’s 6pm, I have to get ready for bed now. They think, I just ate dinner, brushed my teeth, and put my pajamas on, I guess I have to get into my bed next.
It is far more safe to establish a routine and stick with it whenever you can.
Try not to worry
Worry and fear as a mother is the most difficult thing to get over. It will never go away.
Your toddlers will give you a run for your money and some days you might feel like a failure. You are not a failure, you are a success. You are raising tiny humans who love you in every way possible.
Do not worry about failing, you cannot fail in your toddler’s eyes. Do not worry about things not going as planned because they definitely won’t.
Last but not least, do not worry about being and doing everything perfectly.
You are imperfectly perfect. You are doing an outstanding job and when your toddlers are grown out of this chaotic stage, you will look back and think. “Dang, I’ve done good”.
About the Author:
Leah is the owner of Saving Mama’s Sanity, a mother of two boys, a wife, and a dog mom. She lives in a small town in Minnesota and enjoys writing about the crazy, insane adventures of motherhood to be able to share stories and advice with mommies all over the world. Facebook | Instagram | Pinterest | Twitter