The life of a mom is one of many emotions. One minute you feel like your heart might burst out of your chest with love, and the next, you’re feeling so overwhelmed that you can’t breathe. Such is the life of a mom with two under two or two young kids close in age.
While life can feel incredibly difficult right now with a baby and a newly minted toddler, it gets easier. In the meantime, it’s important to focus on the benefits of having kids close together and the steps you can take to make sure you get through it with your sanity intact.
Let's explore this in more detail below, starting with the struggles moms face.
Challenges for moms with two under two
There’s no denying moms with 2 under 2 have it hard. You have two extremely needy children you need to care for 24/7. Neither one can attempt independence or even knows what the word means yet.
While every family is different, here are some common challenges moms with two littles face.
Your toddler is just barely a toddler and is used to having 100% of your attention. Suddenly there’s a new baby in the mix, and your toddler must share your attention. This may or may not sit well with your oldest. You may find he/she competes for your attention by acting like the baby.
You may see your toddler crying more or acting out. Even on a good day, your toddler needs you just as much as your baby. They may be on different nap and eating schedules or need to be held just as much as one another. This would also apply to having twins. It can be downright exhausting.
Going from one child to two can be emotional. The energy you poured into your toddler, you need to share with your new baby, not to mention your husband and other people in your life. It’s easy to let guilt take over you as you try to split yourself into enough pieces to keep everyone happy.
Exhaustion from having two under two
Sleep may feel like a thing of the past when you have 2 under 2. Just as you got your toddler to sleep through the night, you brought a new baby home. If they are on different sleep schedules and alternate who wakes you up throughout the night, you may feel sleep-deprived and exhausted.
Even if you sleep through the night, the energy required to run around and keep up with two under two is crazy high and something not every mom has. The mom funk is real.
Getting out of the house
It can feel like you’re packing for a week-long trip trying to leave the house with two littles. Diapers, formula, toys, snacks, change of clothes, and blankets are just a few of the items likely stuffed in the diaper bag.
Just when you think you’re ready to go, you pick up the baby, and he/she needs to be changed, then the toddler has a crying fit and doesn’t want to leave any longer. It can feel like a circus act sometimes. You’ll wonder if you’ll ever be able to go to the store or even visit your family again.
Tension with your partner
If you aren’t on the same page as your partner, it could be because they don’t understand the strain of raising 2 under 2. If your partner is at work all day, they don’t see the energy, work, and stress that goes into keeping the two little ones safe, healthy, and happy.
Partners sometimes feel robbed of time with you too. Even when you have alone time, you may feel too exhausted to utter a few words, let alone have a date night or spend quality time together.
Benefits for moms with two under two
It’s stressful to have two under two, there’s no doubt about it, but there are also incredible benefits that can’t be replaced.
Close sibling relationship
There’s nothing better than a close sibling relationship. Once your littles enter elementary school age, they’ll have formed an undeniable bond from spending so much time together.
Being close in age also allows them to have more in common with one another than if there were several years between the two.
Tough stages are over more quickly
Having 2 under 2 is like ripping the Band-Aid off fast. You get through the ‘worst’ times at once. The first couple of years feel like a whirlwind, and you’ll feel like you’ll never get through them, but then all of a sudden, there’s a light at the end of the tunnel, and you’ll have an entirely new outlook.
Sharing a schedule
Once your baby gets through the newborn stage, you may find that your kids share a schedule. If you work with them closely enough, you can get them on the same nap and bedtime schedule, so you actually have some downtime for yourself and don’t feel like you have a child on your hip 24/7.
Helpful life and money tips for moms with two under two
Although there can be difficult moments when having 2 under 2 you can make your life easier with these simple life and money tips!
Set realistic expectations for your family
Don’t compare yourself to anyone else. It’s easy to look on Facebook, Instagram, or even at the park or library and think other families have it all together. They don’t trust me.
Focus on yourself and your family. Think about what your family can handle both financially and in life. Don’t over-commit yourself or compare yourself to others, thinking you must be as ‘great’ as them. Everyone has their strengths and weaknesses. Focus on the family within your four walls and do what’s right for you.
Don’t try to do it all
Put the word ‘no’ in your vocabulary and get comfortable with it. While you’re at it, put the words “I need help” in it too. You can’t do it all.
You aren’t Wonder Woman, and you shouldn’t try to be. There’s no prize for who does the most or stays up the longest. Focus on what you and your family need and be okay with asking for help.
Stick to your budget
Now is the most important time to create and use a budget. Babies and toddlers are expensive. Between diapers, formula, and clothes, any family could go broke. Set a realistic budget and figure out where you can cut back to cover the new expenses you’re experiencing.
Don’t forget, the older the child, the bigger the expenses, so preparing yourself now when they’re young will give you good practice for the future. Be sure to check out our tips on creating a baby budget and our budget-friendly list of essentials for toddlers.
Take the help if offered when you have two under two
Family and friends will likely offer help - take it. Don’t be too proud and turn it down. If your mom offers to come to sit with the babies so you can take a nap, do it. This is so important especially if you are balancing it all as a single mom.
Does your friend offer to do your grocery shopping or cook for you? Let her. If you say no, not only do you hurt their feelings, but you keep the burden on yourself.
Get 1-on-1 time with each child
To ease your guilt and to get some quality time with each child, create a schedule that allows you to have one-on-one time with each child.
Whether you work it out with your partner, a parent, or friend, find ways to get even a couple of hours alone with each child. You’ll be glad you did. (Be sure to check out our list of positive affirmations for toddlers!)
Build a larger emergency fund
Life with two kids can get scary. With illnesses, injuries, and the unpredictableness of the world, it’s important to have a large emergency fund.
If you normally have an emergency fund with just three months of expenses in it, consider saving 6 to 12 months of expenses instead. The last thing you want is to be caught unprepared with two under two under your care.
Stay organized with two under two
Less is more when you have two small kids. Don’t assume they need everything you see. Stay organized by keeping a minimalist mindset.
Rotate toys, so you don’t have cluttered rooms, opt into electronic statements for your bills to avoid paper clutter, and set a schedule for the daily chores your house and family require.
Have spare snacks and games up your sleeve
Treat your diaper bag like the emergency fund for your kids. Plan for the worst - being stuck in traffic, waiting an extended amount of time at the doctor, or melting down in the grocery store.
Always have snacks and fun games ready. Think of simple ways to entertain, aka distract your children during tough times. It will be easier for everyone.
Practice self-care and time with your partner
Don’t lose yourself in this process. Yes, you are a mom, but you are also a person with needs, and your partner is too. Take care of yourself by giving yourself at least a few minutes of alone time each day.
Make a list of your priorities and schedule time to work them in. Even simple things like time for a bath by yourself, time to read, or go for a massage are important.
Continue prioritizing your money goals
Throughout the craziness of raising two under two, don’t forget about your money goals. It’s more important than ever to make sure you’re saving money, cutting back on expenses, and prioritizing your future goals.
As your kids grow, they’ll have larger needs, not to mention money for college or any other expenses you and your partner decide to cover for them. You can check out our favorite money savings mom blogs for ideas.
You can be savvy and organized with two under two!
Having 2 under 2 has its challenges, but it has its blessings too. Whether you planned it that way or it just happened, the key is to be as prepared as possible for your future.
Get organized at home, with your schedule, and your finances so you can enjoy the time with your kids because, believe me, it goes fast.