We are currently expecting to have three under three in our household in just 2 short months! I have spent the last three years pregnant, nursing, pregnant & nursing, and navigating several fourth trimesters and I am getting ready to take it all on for a third time! These last three years has been the greatest in my life, as well as one of the most challenging. For anyone with small babes, these are THE years. You are planting the seeds, and figuring out how to make your garden flourish. There are tons of bumps and mistakes along the way, and somehow you and your village find your way. For my husband and I, these years are beautiful, but also a true test of our marriage. There are times when all of us are thriving and times when one of us or multiple are hanging on by a thread. Here are all the tips for managing two under two while continuing to thrive as a family.
For anyone else with a handful of babes or some close age gaps, I want to share some of our lessons from our years with two under two. So many lessons, so many wins, and so much joy. Hopefully you find some elements to help your teamwork as your grow your sweet little ones!
Related: Tackling Pregnancy With A Toddler
Take Deep Breaths
Seriously with this one, friends. You are managing two under two. Your words have impact, and your emotions are not always in check during these laborious times of child rearing. I know for me personally, I am very affected by hormonal changes, and it is important for me to be aware of how I am interacting with my spouse (and my kids). Take a deep breath when the (literal) shit hits the fan and remember to choose your words AND TONE appropriately. Those tiny humans of yours are always paying attention and learning. And it’s just the right thing to do. You will all be better for it. Breathe, use kind words, and communicate what is going on in your head as clearly as you can.
Sometimes I find it helpful to also consult with my mama friends. While you always want to continue working on your goals WITH your spouse, sometimes a fresh perspective can make a big difference. Talk with your mom and dad friends about how they handle certain situations and get some new ideas. Mentor ship is something I believe in so strongly, and that applies to marriage and parenting too!
Get On The Same Page
My husband and I oftentimes have different parenting approaches or preferences. And that is okay! As partners and parents together, we have to find common ground and ensure that we incorporate each others personal ways while still staying on the same page. Discuss things proactively when possible, and reflect afterwards when needed. These are the years that the roots are planted, and you want to make sure you do it right! Having strong teamwork and playing to each other’s strengths is crucial!
On top of teamwork in parenting, you need to be open about expectations when it comes to tasks. Do you share household duties equally? Does one parent handle most of the day to day child handling responsibilities? There will be many times for arguments over laundry and dishes even with a great plan. But having some expectations and understanding how things will get done is key to making things run smoothly. Also, we could not live without a dishwasher. One of the best things we did for managing two under two was eliminating some of the common tasks or decisions to free up more time for the day to day needs of our little ones. Offloading some of the to-do list items and being consistent can make a world of difference.
Yes, You Still Need YOU Time
My husband continues to ace this one compared to me, but I am working on it! With each babe, it becomes even more essential to ensure you are taking care of YOU as an individual. The person you were before kids, that continues to shine through when you let him/her. One of the best tips for managing two under two and parenthood in general is paying attention to self care.
Related: Self Care For The Working Mom
Whether you time is video games (my husband) or taking a long hot shower without little ones around (me) you need to figure out what your YOU time looks like. Call it self care, call it just taking a shower, but whatever it is called it matters. Your spouse is fine with those babes and you need the time to just be you.
Most importantly, make sure you communicate your YOU time needs to avoid any conflict. I SUCK(ED) AT THIS. Understanding that self care time is important but it is equally important to take that time guilt free! AND it is also important not to harbor any feelings of resentment or score keeping with your spouse when they take their time. I used to add up all the minutes my husband had to himself compared to me, or make crazy to-do lists while he was away. Oh how things improved when I just STOPPED and we communicated our needs. You both need to be on the same page about what each other needs, and ensure that time is protected. You all will be better for it. If I NEED a few minutes alone in the bedroom, I NEED THEM. My husband has learned this makes me better when I return.
If you are a single parent or co-parenting with a partner, self care still applies! It takes a village to raise a family and your village matters. Accept help from the village in your life, whether that looks like family, neighbors, friends, or childcare. Take the time when you can and do not be afraid to seek help as you navigate this phase of life.
Date Nights Are Still A Thing
Your marriage matters. Fostering that involves continued dating as you did before, even if it looks slightly (err, majorly) different. Date night can literally be microwave nachos and a romcom, but the point is that it just happens. Make sure you have those moments with your spouse whether you invest in a sitter or your sweet cherubs are asleep in another room. If you need ideas for date night, start here with these all-time favorites.
Stay In The Car
The best marriage advice I ever received from our best friends. Marriage is long and the journey can be super intense. The most important thing is staying in the car. Don’t keep score (says the semi-reformed scorekeeper.) Try not to hold onto every little thing. Don’t make your spouse a me vs. you situation. Parenting little ones, sometimes many, is never not challenging but it is equally as rewarding. You will look back on these years so fondly, and you want to know that you tackled them together.
If you are on a journey with newborns, toddlers, or both, we are right there with you and we are rooting for your everyday. Managing two under two is challenging, but this season is beautiful. Keep finding all the joy, friends!
All the best,