1. Get your shit done in the morning
My friend Julia gave me this advice when I was pregnant with my second child and I began using it with my first even before the second was born. I was getting so knackered in my third trimester even breathing was becoming a chore. This is number one as it has helped me the most. If you have a toddler who loves getting up at the crack of dawn like mine and is go go go as soon as they open their little peepers, do your activities and/or something for them in the morning. This could be anything – a trip to the cafe, the park, garden centre, a playgroup, museum, zoo etc) annoyingly most things other than cafes and of course parks, open at 10am. I have been up 4 hours by this point, how inconsiderate of them to open so late! If you HAVE to run errands, also do these in the morning. Typically kids (after their breakfast) are chirpier and will give you more peace. Also if you’re lucky your littlest one will sleep in their buggy, car seat, sling or front pack while you perform said activities so you can spend some quality time with your firstborn and give them the attention they need. I personally found it best to get out before 9 and back before midday so I could try and pop both down for their afternoon nap at roughly the same time. Obviously this doesn’t happen every time, but when it does it is pure magic and you can get your well deserved “me” time. Use this wisely – have a nap, a long bath or shower, hell pop on a bloody face mask if you feel so inclined. Leave the mahoosive washing pile or dishes for later. Maybe you can get your toddler to help you with those chores in the afternoon while newborn chills (ahem!) in their bouncer/rocker. One can dream, right? But seriously, try and get your toddler to help out. Yes it will take longer to show them how to put a sponge to a dish and it will be messy, but not only will you be keeping them occupied with something for a little while, you’ll also be teaching them about chores and what it is to keep the bombsite slightly less… bomby.
2.Preparation and Repetition
Man this is boring and quite taxing but it really will pay off. If you can get things ready the night before you will be winning. Such as: packing the baby & toddler bag, getting the clothes you, your toddler & baby are going to wear the next day ready, snack prep, liquids, putting the buckles of the infant car seat ready so you can shove them straight in. Having your car keys, house keys, purse, wallet all ready. Checking you actually have your bank card in your purse. I would like to take this opportunity to thank various cafes for their IOU flat whites to a bedraggled woman at this point. Repetition. I have found that repetition, although sometimes falling on deaf ears may save you some pain. “We will be going to XYZ and there will be XYZ”. “When mummy says it’s time to go I don’t want any whining / tantrums etc”. “We are leaving in 10 / 5 / 2 / 1 minute”. Channel Dora The Explorer if you need to and declare the three places you’ll be going – “petrol, post office, playgroup!’ in an upbeat Mexican accent. Repeat after me “petrol, post office, playgroup!” Oh yeah on that note always do your boring stuff before your fun stuff.
3. Make sure your snack game is strong & always, ALWAYS have water
I have learned this the haaaaard way many times. Hungry or parched kids are little shitbags. Have easy to open, peel and eat snacks at ALL TIMES. Never assume you’ll be able to pick something up on the go oooohhh no. Also – on the go stuff is usually really expensive and unhealthy = not that great.
4. Tv is your friend.
This is pretty self-explanatory. Yes I know you are an earth mother goddess and your child doesn’t need that devil box but shit Shirley! Shove on the box and give yourself some peace. Just don’t go over 2 hours a day otherwise they might turn into criminals according to the Dunedin study…
5. Get help
Get your mum, mother in law, step mum, sister, neighbour, nanny, nan – anyone you trust to help out. Don’t do it alone, ask and don’t feel guilty.
6. Say no
In the same breath, it’s also ok to say no or to cancel plans. You’ve taken on such a massive load, give yourself some space. It’s really not worth the stress. Good friends will understand and family are tied in by blood.
7. Let it go
Alyssa has a point. Things are going to be messy for a while, your house only being a small part of that. Your hair, your face, your vagina, your c section scar, your arse (can I get a ‘roid shout out up in herrre), your love life and your sanity. Let it all go. This is a moment in time, it’s bloody tough. Don’t worry about those extra lbs or kgs or the fact you look like a zombie car crash victim and your teeth are definitely 2 shades darker from all the coffee and red wine and not being able to brush them in the morning anymore. You have 2 kids! You are beyond blessed! Suck it up sista, tomorrow is a new day and you are f*ing killing it!