“ I just don’t know how you do it?”
“make sure you sleep when the kids sleep”
“you need some you time”
Just a few of the many annoying things people say to most parents but when you have two under two (and only a ten month age gap in our case) they can be extremely irritating.
“I don’t know how you do it” Actually, neither do I, I recently decided I was going to research some daily routines for two under two’s, reach out for some advice from other mums, grasping for the perfect answer to make my days smooth and manageable, of course I didn’t find it but seeing expecting mums asking for advice made me realise I had actually blocked out most of the “coping” I had done when Ro first appeared and Rhea was only 10 months old.
How did I change all the stinking nappies with a 10 month old who thought it looked like a nice snack (of course she didn’t actually eat it but 10 points for effort)
How did I choose which child to see to first when they are both screaming the place down because they want food/milk/attention/anything and everything they aren’t supposed to have.
How did I try and fit them both into a routine when they both wanted completely different things at completely different (or even worse exactly the same) times.
You might think this question sounds supportive, your trying to cheer them on, yaay! But the truth is the person you are asking probably doesn’t know either. They don’t need reminding of how tough it all is and it will probably trigger an unwanted mini meltdown of sobs and self doubt that can only be cured by copious amounts of chocolate and coffee.
There is no “perfect routine” no “magical cures” for waking at night, getting them to eat the delicious meal you just slaved over, getting both kids to nap at the same time and the many other conundrums of having two under two. At the time it feels like a nightmare that will never end, but it does,(or at least it morphs into something else) as soon as you realise this is “just a phase” and stop having such high expectations of yourself to be the “perfect mum” things will get easier. So what if the dishes have to wait, so what if the kids weren’t asleep at exactly the time the “routine” says, so what if they missed one bath because they skipped their nap and wanted bed “NOW!” In the grand scheme of things, what is happening now is just a blip that will quickly pass and before you know it you will have grandchildren.
(or so I’m told)
“make sure you sleep when the kids sleep”
In my opinion, this is only said by some one who has not had kids, in an ideal world your two darling toddlers go down for a nap at the same time, your housework and the million other things on your to do list are done and you put your feet up and have a lovely little nap… this has never happened, ever. Not because we don’t want it to, we want nothing more, but because it just never happens.
My youngest has his morning nap (usually without fail) and I then have a very active toddler who is shouting for mummy’s full attention because she wants to draw, build, eat more, chase the dog, play hide and seek and watch peppa (bloody) pig, all at the same time then there’s washing bottles, preparing their next meal, cleaning up the mess from the last meal, maybe even put on a load of washing that will no doubt end up sitting in the tumble dryer for a day or so because it has been forgotten (mentally put aside).
This is also my opportunity to get washed/dressed (if I feel like it) usually in the same clothes as yesterday, because they are already laid out for me perfectly (in a pile on the floor). Some days I might even push the boat out and “put my eyebrows on”
The list is endless and yes I could say “sod it” “it can wait” but that’s just it, it will be waiting for me later and to be honest after the exhausting bed time routine (a whole other interesting story) all I want to do is unwind with the husband and catch up with game of thrones.
So unless you want to hear the endless list of tasks that will probably end in an unwanted mini melt down of sobs and self doubt that can only be cured by copious amounts of ( you guessed it) chocolate and coffee then please don’t tell us to sleep when the kids sleep.
“you need some ‘you’ time”
Yes thank you, I am well aware that I look like a zombie, my hair has been tied in a bun for a week and I am probably still in my pyjamas. Ok so this might not of been exactly what you meant by that statement but caring about yourself quickly becomes a thing of the past when you have young children and we all crave that infamous “you time” . Ok ok so there are super mums out there that look pristine on the school run, go to the gym and run regularly, create beautiful crafty things or organise events etc etc and one day we will too! But not today, all we want is a nice relaxing bath or half an hour to catch up on the favourite programme, a trip to the bathroom that doesn’t involve a 1 year old trying to grab everything out the bin and a 2 year old turning the tap on as fast as it goes and getting you all very wet. All of which are massive achievements when you have two under two so aim low and small to start with.
Yay I washed my hair and for one day this week I shall look slightly refreshed with luscious locks instead of something a bird would quite happily set up home in sitting on top of my head. Go me! Seriously savour these small triumphs and leave the lavish expectations until they are older, read a book, start colouring, even knit if you have time to but if you don’t, so what, we are doing amazing at all the other million things we do, and to our kids, we are hero’s and that’s all that matters.