When I was preggo with #2 I tried to look up helpful articles/blogs/etc. on making the transition from 3 to 4 (especially with a 1 year old) but didn’t find much. I assume this is because all Mom’s in this stage of life are much too busy and tired to spend their time blogging! That being said I felt compelled to share a few of the things that have helped over the past few weeks.
1. Make time for your Partner
When I had my oldest I was overwhelmed with the amount of love I felt for this tiny human and for a while he was all I focused on… as a result I started to feel disconnected from my husband (bad news bears). This time we made a choice to continue to make time for each other even through those first crazy and sleepless weeks. It helped so much! We have been able to work as a team. Any tension or arguments that have come up have quickly faded. It makes a world of difference when you feel you are taking on the challenge of parenting together! Some simple ways we have made time include: getting a sitter for Isaac and eating out, taking long walks with the boys, watching a show together before snoozing at night or even just sitting and eating dinner together while Isaac plays.
2. Get Help
We are so lucky in that we have a lot of help this go around! We have both of our parents (which are wonderful). Our church set up meals to be delivered to our home for weeks after Lucas was born. This help has been so necessary! If people around you offer to help during this time of life… say YES! You may feel guilty but the reality is you need some help. Having a growing family is a lot of work… it takes a village!
3. Get out
This may not help everyone… but if you are more of an extrovert follow my advice! Get out of the house, everyday! It may feel exhausting or like a lot of hassle but it will help you feel like a human and not a Mommy machine. Also my toddler LOVES exploring and our home gets old quick. Taking him out everyday helps him to stay busy… and sorta distracts him from the fact that he may be jealous. Our days go so much better if we keep moving (it also helps with weight loss, all that carrying, walking and lifting is good for you!).
4. Make Friends
This has been the most helpful thing for me. I was working before I had Lucas so spending most of my time at home with my boys was an adjustment. I LOVE IT but I know I would quickly become depressed if I didn’t have other Mom’s to connect with almost every day of the week. I started attending the Mom’s group at my church the first week I was off and since then have made friends with lots of other amazing Mom’s. If you don’t have a Mom’s group at a church, join a community Mom’s group, there are so many! Having someone who understands where you are at in life to talk to is powerful. Plus the boys get to play with their little ones, it’s a win win!
5. Get Rest (whenever possible)
It’s hard to rest with two little ones but even if you can’t get a nap in just sit down and hold the baby when the big one is napping. It will help keep you sane (I promise).
6. Date your Kids
My oldest loves his Mommy and I am so grateful for this but he often struggles to see me holding and nursing Lucas. What has helped is for me to make time just to tune into him several times throughout the day. I also try to nurse the baby as much as possible during naps and before the oldest gets up in the morning so I am free to devote my attention to him for a while. On the flip side I make sure that I spend most of nap time as well as time after the oldest goes to bed snuggling with the baby. When I take the oldest places that I know he is able to play more on him own (like the park or children’s museum) I wear the baby so I get some extra baby time. I still often wish there was more of me to go around but that is one of the unavoidable challenges of having a growing family.
7. Shower everyday
It will help you wake up and feel better about yourself… even if you just slip back into your sweats.
8. Keep your expectations low & don’t be too hard on yourself when things don’t go how you’d hoped
Motherhood is wonderful and difficult. It makes you a better person but sometimes you feel like a failure. We are Mom’s for a lifetime so if one day doesn’t go well you have time to figure it out.
I am so thankful now that we have two little guys so close together. I am so glad they get to grow up together and it’s really cool getting to snuggle with a little one while watching our toddler develop. Good luck to you if you are expecting or welcoming another!