Okay, so this title isn’t 100% accurate since Remi turned two last week, but I like the way it sounded so deal with it.
I have to admit I’m a little wary of sharing this post since I got shit last time for my blog post on when Remi was a month old, but fuck it. My experience is my own, and those who read this post can take what they want from it. Besides, I don’t want to be ashamed or embarrassed that I’m literally doing better now than I have in years. It’s important for someone with a mental illness to recognize when life is going well, so that’s exactly what I’m doing. Everything just seems so much more calm and settled these days. It’s an incredible feeling.
Yes, I know Leo is only a month old and it will only get harder from here. Don’t you dare say “just wait until!” – I want to enjoy these moments. Also, that is my biggest pet peeve when I talk to other mothers. So just don’t.
It was a very intentional decision for Robert and I to have our children close together (and no, there will be no more babies). We wanted to get it over with. It’s the honest truth; I didn’t want to be done with the baby phase, only to have to start it all over again when Remi was four or five. Two is a hard age (that’s putting it lightly), but this way we can plow through and get on with our lives. I was also ready to be myself again, and definitely have my body back (still working on that one).
I finally feel like I can move onto that next chapter without living in limbo now that Leo is born. We can start putting routines into place and make decisions that will affect us for the long term. It’s a nice feeling. I think that’s why I’m doing so well right now. Well, that and a few other intentional things I’m doing to make my life as easy as possible. Here are some of the things I’m doing to survive having two children under
Ha! You think I’m joking. What? You assumed this would be just another parenting advice post, right? Well, maybe it is, but you won’t be getting the same old shit here, don’t worry.
Remi is really into his routines, and can’t sleep anywhere other than his crib. This is both a blessing and a curse, but it does seem like Leo is on his way to following in his brother’s footsteps. He can sleep in our arms or somewhere else just fine during the day, but at night he wants to be swaddled and in the bedroom not long after his brother goes to bed (preferably with no noise or light, but that’s another story). This means that I’ve been heading upstairs no later than 9 o’clock lately. I would be on my second glass of wine at 9 o’clock before I got pregnant, but that just won’t cut it these days. I don’t want to have alcohol affecting me when I try to sleep (it’s bad for your sleep hygiene). Instead, I just have my first glass earlier! And no, I’m not an alcoholic and I don’t feel guilty about pouring myself a glass at 3 o’clock (or having a lunch beer). I rarely get drunk, so the alcohol has lost any effect it had on me by the time I go to bed. Works for me!
Shower at Night
Okay, so this is probably my biggest secret when it comes to mommyhood. I’ve never understood the sense of accomplishment that mothers get when they say they’ve showered(!) because it’s never been an issue for me. That isn’t to say it isn’t a problem for mothers, because I would totally struggle if I were to try and shower during the day when it’s just me and my kids.
My solution? I shower at night. Crazy, I know.
To be fair, Remi is an awesome sleeper at night, and Leo is already pretty good at settling for a decent four or five hours after he gets his milk at around 9 o’clock. That means I get to steam up the bathroom and pamper myself for as long as I want. No three minute cold showers in this house! It also means that I wake up feeling more refreshed than if I were to go to bed with a face full of makeup and dirty feet (I hate dirty feet). It’s easier for me to get out of bed and put my makeup on if I know that I have a blank slate to start with. Showering at night has probably been the biggest factor in upping my productivity and self esteem since I had Remi.
Also, get a coffee maker that you can program so it starts automatically in the morning. You’re welcome.
I have yet to feel overwhelmed with having two children crying at the same time.
And no, this isn’t because I’m some medicated zombie that has zero ability to empathize with her child’s needs – I’m actually starting the process of weaning off my medication (so ha!).
Maybe two days after Leo was born, he was crying in my arms as we brought Remi upstairs to go to bed. I don’t why exactly; he was two days old. Newborns cry a lot. Anyway, Remi fell down the stairs (it was maybe four stairs, don’t buy into Remi’s drama please) and bumped his head on the little cart we keep the diapers on.
Remi started crying, Leo started crying louder. It’s like they were having a competition to see who could be the loudest. So, I set Leo down on the carpet and went to check Remi out. I knew that he hadn’t hurt himself seriously (again, four carpeted stairs). He just learned that mommy can kiss his hurts better, so that’s exactly what I did. And you know what? Leo was fine for that thirty seconds, even if I had put him down.
Instead of letting their whines and cries get to me, I try to react to them with a clear mind. Why are they upset? When you think of it in concrete terms like that, it’s easier to figure out what to do next and not let their frustration get to you. Dealing with Leo when he’s hungry or wet is much more important than reading Little Excavator to Remi for the sixth time in the past hour (I wish I were joking). And it’s much more important that I give Remi a few minutes of my attention after I’ve spent the past half hour rocking Leo and he still isn’t quite settled.
Let Go of the Guilt
I know, easier said than done. And definitely an art that I haven’t perfected quite yet.
Remi watches a lot of TV these days. I try to get him out of the house as much as possible, but it’s not always practical. Leo poops a lot you guys. I mean, a lot. So it just makes more sense to hang out at home where the poop can be dealt with quickly and efficiently.
Remi is also two years old, and already bored with the train table this his uncle got him for Christmas (seriously, I’m going to start putting a dimension and sound decibel limit on gifts that people can get my children). He also just learned how to say “help, please!” so now I’m on the hook to help him with every puzzle or book that he picks up at any given moment. So you know what? Those stupid truck videos on YouTube get turned on for an hour or so. Sometimes he gets Sesame Street instead when I feel like being a better mother.
Every parent deals with things in their own way, and we really need to stop shaming each other for making the decisions that keep our families both safe and happy. Watching Mater’s Tales on Netflix over for the 200th time may not keep me 100% sane, but it keeps my kid occupied while I try to make dinner, so I’ll take it.
I’m used to go-go-go. Before I had Remi, I liked getting stuff done as quickly and efficiently as possible. It never took me more than a half hour to get ready, and I could get in and out of the grocery store in like, ten minutes. I knew how valuable my time was, and wanted to make sure that every minute reached its full potential.
You learn the art of slow when you have children. And when you have two? You realize that your sanity is much more important than your time. So we leave early for everything. I give myself double the amount of time I used to when trying to leave the house. When I put my kids in their carseats, I take my time. Because nothing is more important than their safety.
For me, slowing down also means breathing. When things start to feel overwhelming or rushed, I pause and take a few deep breaths. I may have considered it a waste of time before, but now it can be the difference between breakdown in front of the giraffe exhibit and a pleasant morning at the zoo (true story).
So, there go you. Just a few of the ways that I’m not just functioning these days, but actually thriving. Check back with me in a few months though; I have a feeling things may be a little bit different.
Photo by Jillian Rose Photography