For those of you with toddlers... - Mothering Forums
Life With a Baby > For those of you with toddlers...
strmis's Avatar strmis 05:52 PM 10-12-2011

How on earth do you manage both?


DD1 is 3yo and is in preschool 2 half days, but other than that i pretty much have her to myself and it can get pretty stressful with a newborn.  She's not really the independent playing type, although we are working on it.   i try to take her to grandmas house and that helps a ton, but other than that, anyone have any advice?

blackbird2's Avatar blackbird2 01:14 PM 10-21-2011

Hi - I also have a 3yr old and a newborn.  My strategy/survival technique is to forget doing one thing at a time.  Everything is together in ways that I'd never imagine:  i.e. nursing while putting food on the table, building airplanes out of legos, reading a book, pinning on a costume, etc.  Having everyone on my lap at once.  Saying yes and trusting I'll find a way to do it with baby and older child.  Focusing on keeping myself centered and relaxed amidst the chaos.  Good luck!

anjsmama's Avatar anjsmama 10:29 PM 10-21-2011

Totally agree. My strategy was to totally give up on perfection, order, and to some degree, sanity. Sometimes when I stop I realize things like this are happening: I'm pushing an empty grocery cart, wearing 8 month DD, and 3 yo DS is pushing the cart. Or there's no one at the playground but DS is desperate to play hide and seek - so I take my infant and hide in the slides like I'm a child. It's madness - but somewhere around 3months, when I accepted that it was going to be madness, it got better. I don't have any help and DS isn't quite to preschool readiness so it's just me & them pretty much all the time. You have to be willing to know when you really need to be put first and do it. And realize that you can pack up the kids at pretty much any time and take them pretty much anywhere. It will help all of you get some space. Take snacks for you & 3 yo, and your breasts will of course always be with you for the wee one. 


I'm pretty sure I look/sound/act like a mental person a large majority of the time, but my kids are very happy and in just a few years they'll be off at school and I'll miss the insanity. Right..? shy.gif

strmis's Avatar strmis 01:54 PM 10-23-2011

oh thank God someone posted! sanity seems to be the name of the game here.glad to hear i'm not the only one taking it baby step by baby step ...WHEW!

lifeguard's Avatar lifeguard 07:04 PM 10-23-2011

So far I've found involving ds in the dd's care helps. As does making sure to get some one on one time with him every day, even if it is just bath time. I've also been making a huge effort to praise how good a helper he is, to tell him how much I love him & to give him reassurance I'm still here with him. Getting out of the house is super important to us too. I bring him to a drop-in play centre a couple times a week, the library, the park, etc. Places he can play & run & hopefully interact with other kids where I don't have to be quite as "on" as I do at home.


Someone suggested to me that having the older child hear you tell the baby sometimes that they need to wait let's the older child know they are also a priority - so sometimes I try to incorporate that "dd - just a moment I need to tie ds' shoes right now".


It's definitely a hard balance - especially with the lack of sleep...

JoyFilled's Avatar JoyFilled 07:22 PM 10-24-2011

We go to playgroups as often as possible.  DD usually ends up finding another friend or parent or worker to play with or plays by herself while I sit on the couch with DS. 


TV is also helpful.  

Baby_Cakes's Avatar Baby_Cakes 06:17 AM 10-25-2011

DD is 3 and DS is 2 months.  TV.  Try to get outside?  Which doesn't usually happen?  Giving up chores during baby's naptime for 1:1 play with DD.  Mount Laundry and Mount Dishes are permanent fixtures in our home.  I don't clean except for company!


strmis's Avatar strmis 11:57 AM 11-01-2011

Originally Posted by Baby_Cakes View Post

DD is 3 and DS is 2 months.  TV.  Try to get outside?  Which doesn't usually happen?  Giving up chores during baby's naptime for 1:1 play with DD.  Mount Laundry and Mount Dishes are permanent fixtures in our home.  I don't clean except for company!


haha... i could have written this!

Zimbah's Avatar Zimbah 01:35 PM 11-06-2011

It's hard and the house is a mess.  I have a just turned 3 year old and a 5 month old. Things I've found that help are accepting that beans on toast is an adequate dinner for DD1 (and me!); preparing snack-type meals that can be done in advance e.g. raw veg sticks, sliced ham, bread/sandwiches, so that I can just pull it out of the fridge when I need it; cooking and freezing meals to reheat in microwave; minimising housework (e.g. I never iron anything ever).  I try to get out at least once a day, even if it's just a walk in the rain 'to splash in puddles'.  In theory getting my changing bag packed the night before is best, but in practice it rarely happens - although when I manage it, it does make the morning easier.  I have friends over with kids and ask them to stay for tea - entertainment for DD1 and another adult around to hold the baby/serve food etc.


One bit of advice I was given was to describe what DC1 is doing when you're busy with DC2.  So when I was changing DC2's nappy or feeding her, if I wasn't actively having a conversation with DD1 I would say out loud what she was doing e.g. "DD1 is stacking some blocks.  First she's picked up a blue block.  Now she's doing some red blocks".  It does make you sound absolutely barking mad, but the theory is that DC1 knows that you are noticing them.


I also have a stash of chocolate that I sneak when DD1 isn't looking yummy.gif .  On a bad day I start it in the morning, on a good day I make it through till tea-time.


Lifeguard I like that idea of telling the baby to wait - DD1 is always hearing 'just a minute DD1", I'm sure she'd like to hear it the other way round sometimes.

Also <waves> to Babycakes - we were in the same Due Date club with our firstborns wave.gif


Oh just remembered - I have a running 'to do' list on my phone, with things like 'label DD1s clothes for nursery".  It's a long list and progress is very slow.  I have recently inserted "Get through day" into the list.  Every time I read the list now it makes me smile and feels like I am accomplishing something even if it's just to survive!