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Help me not lose it again tonight with my toddler

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#1 MwahMum

Posted 24 July 2019 - 03:27 PM

How do you balance the needs of two kids?

Have a DD2.5 yrs and DS 8 wo.

The toddler has incessant questions, and is doing normal boundary testing / temper tantrums.

Baby is typical baby.

I am finding myself short tempered with the 2yo and not being the loving, happy,  good humoured mum I want to be.

DP is a shift worker who works 4days on 4 days off, mix of day and night shifts. It's okay when he's here but I am struggling when he's not here. Days and nights.

I can't even seem to get out of the door for a walk / fresh air.

Please,  any ideas on how to cope better with this?

#2 BusbyWilkes

Posted 24 July 2019 - 03:35 PM

If the baby is fed and clean, I'd prioritise time with the toddler. They (and you!) remember what things were like before baby came along, and are missing how things were. Do you baby-wear? I didn't, but in hindsight wished I had.

Does your toddler go to daycare or could you use occasional care or family member? She may need a little more stimulation.

Also, be kind to yourself. Kids don't actually remember the small mistakes we make.

#3 Mooples

Posted 24 July 2019 - 04:07 PM

I used my carrier non stop when I had 2 that age. I tried to keep ds1’s routine as similar as possible so still went to all his activities (sports, play group, library time etc) the only one I needed help with was swimming. Everything else ds2 just went in the carrier. It meant we all got out and had some stimulation outside the walls of our house.

With bed time, I tried to get them both into the same routine. So bath together, ds2 used a bath support then dress ds2 while ds1 keeps playing then ds1, stories together while I feed ds2 then we tucked ds1 into bed before I went to settle the baby. Helped of course that ds1 didn’t need me with him to fall asleep. We still do this now 1.5 years later.

When my dh was able to be home with the baby I tried to take ds1 out just us two even if it was just to big w to look at toys he just enjoyed engaging with me one on one again.

#4 MrsCee

Posted 24 July 2019 - 04:16 PM

I had two 14months apart and a shift working hubby as well... I get it, it’s tough.

I found a playpen invaluable. I would put the baby in there and allow the toddler to toddle about. When it was time to breastfeed, I swapped and the toddler had a play in the playpen with a few toys and rotated the toys.

Helped... a little.

ETA I rarely left the house on my own, I think I forgot what fresh air was.

Edited by MrsCee, 24 July 2019 - 04:17 PM.

#5 22Fruitmincepies

Posted 24 July 2019 - 04:32 PM

Chocolate really helps me. I eat the chocolate, not for bribing the child.

#6 MayaTheGrinch

Posted 24 July 2019 - 04:38 PM

Portacot used as a playpen.

Strategic use of baby gates to separate baby and toddler (so baby couldn’t get to the toddlers toys precipitating a meltdown and so baby didn’t get trodden on/tripped over by toddler).

Ergo carrier (mostly back carry with the youngest).

Coffee and chocolate

abc kids


Staggered bedtime. Baby went into the cot after dinner and a milk feed while I put the big kid to bed. I would ignore some of the whiny cries.

A fenced area of the lawn with shade so I could actually get outside

Playgroup bags/crap packed the night before because I seriously needed to get out of the house

Double pram

Edited by mayahlb, 24 July 2019 - 04:39 PM.

#7 JoanJett

Posted 24 July 2019 - 04:52 PM

A double pram was my lifesaver.  Particularly when my husband was overseas from week 2-5.  The baby never slept (apart from catnaps in the pram), cried constantly and didn't know the meaning of "routine".  So I figured it was better to be outside as much as possible.

For the evenings, a rocker for the baby was the lifesaver.  It's also when I realised that TV is not the devil - ABC kids and David Attenborough bought some time and sanity in the evenings.  A Thomas train table was also worth its weight in gold.

I also would do all dinner preparations in the rare time both were quiet/settled in the afternoon.  Tray bakes were a regular.

Once the baby was a few months old, I booked a regular babysitter for 4 hours one morning a week so I could spend time with my toddler doing one of our favourite activities together.  

I also used a playpen for separation in both directions.

Good luck!

#8 ~LemonMyrtle~

Posted 24 July 2019 - 04:59 PM

Wine, lots of wine.

Non alcoholic options:

Extend dinner time by doing plates of finger food that the toddler will take at least half an hour to eat. Set up a picnic in front of the TV if necessary.

Evening screen time

Get on the floor and read books while baby rolls around

A looooonnnnngggg bath for the 2 year old, with bubbles. Pull up a chair and get comfy while they play. Dunk baby in too, get a bath chair for the 8 month old and they will play together for ages.

Everyone have a shower together, baby, you, toddler.

Have a shower yourself, just to relax and refresh, put baby in bed or anbouncer or something, put toys on the floor of the bathroom, put the TV on, whatever needs doing to keep 2 year old safe and have a nice hot shower

Cook dinner at lunch time and either eat it then and have sandwiches for dinner, or just reheat it later

Early bed time, even if it means an early morning, I always preferred that to having the kids up past 7.

In nice weather, go to the park. Even if it’s nearly dark, it makes witching hour more bareable and usually means a quick and early bed time.

Edited by ~LemonMyrtle~, 24 July 2019 - 05:00 PM.

#9 Redhead43

Posted 24 July 2019 - 05:18 PM

My 3 kids were all born in less than 4 years, so preschooler, toddler and baby at the same time. My husband also used to go away a lot for work.
What I found helped, was:

To sometimes bath baby when other 2 were asleep in the afternoon as it freed me up later.

Enlist the help of the oldest in simple tasks - she loved to “help” me.

Go out every day, which was hard sometimes. I would get out morning or afternoon, not both. If we did have a whole day at home, it was a novelty. Even a walk around the block helped.

Sometimes, if I couldn’t face dinner etc alone, I would go out to a local shopping centre and get them dinner there. I figured I was less likely to loose my mind in public.

Sometimes, a friend in the same situation would visit and we’d do dinner and baths together then they left with their bathed kids ready for bed. Other times, i would go and do the same at her house. This was good to break the monotony of doing it all on your own if partner isn’t around.

I second the picnic in the lounge idea - a rug on the floor and a video gave me some much needed respite.

My mothers group, from my eldest continued to meet up every week from when our eldest were born until I moved away from Sydney when eldest was 7. We all added to the new baby pool along the way and it was good for the mums to get together. Sometimes, there would only be 2 mums as some would be working. I got very creative once and used my baby bath time as an activity for mothers group at my house. I had many helpers that day.

It is hard, I know. All the best.

#10 Riotproof

Posted 24 July 2019 - 05:25 PM

You are doing brilliantly.

Some ideas..

Get a sling. Hopefully you have a friend you can borrow one from, but they make settling baby and still doing toddler things much easier.
Have a box of new and special stuff that the toddler can pull out while you’re feeding the baby. Stickers might be good.
Get a new puzzle or two.
Some waterwow can be a good distraction. https://www.melissaa...ivity/5376.html

Also, give yourself a break. You are doing the best you can.

#11 ekbaby

Posted 24 July 2019 - 05:41 PM

Great ideas above
Just remember to love yourself. A new baby and being on your own a lot, is not an easy situation. No one can be a perfectly patient mother all the time.
First tip that came to mind was screen time. I used tv a lot in the first few months after no 2 came. Prior to no 2, no 1 had never watched more than an hour a week. That changed dramatically. It’s not forever. You are in survival mode.
Sometimes it is better to drop your standards on some things eg tv time, macdonalds, convenience foods, failing to provide educational stimulation ...if the result is that you have a slightly more relaxing day and therefore are a happier/more patient mum...whereas sweating the small stuff can add to the stress and then u end up exploding and feeling really guilty (BTDT)
It wasn’t a slippery slope to endless tv as once we got the hang of things and were out and about more it naturally dropped off again
Books to the toddler while feeding or holding the baby allow you to give attention to toddler while resting your tired body
Early dinners (4:30pm)
Dinner doesn’t have to be fancy, sandwiches, veg sticks, nuggets, baked beans etc

#12 MayaTheGrinch

Posted 24 July 2019 - 06:56 PM

Also seriously don’t be afraid to provide cereal or sandwiches or two minutes noodles mixed with frozen peas and corn while it’s cooking for dinner. There was a looooooong time there where I flipped the days meals around and did the bigger meal with meat and veg for lunch, cooked breakfast and whatever took 2 mins to make for dinner. Took sooooooo much stress out of witching hour. Scrammbled eggs and frozen peas kept my toddler fed and happy more often then not. (Mine were 19 months apart and the youngest didn’t know what sleep was until he was 4).

#13 MwahMum

Posted 25 July 2019 - 04:27 PM

Thanks all for your kind words.

We mixed it up a bit last night. Sat in toddler's room, no tantrums from her. Baby was fine, but very stimulated by the change. He had been going to sleep at 7 every night. Last night was 8.20pm.

So net result,  happier toddler and mum, but messed up the bub's sleep time :-/

#14 MwahMum

Posted 25 July 2019 - 04:40 PM

I use a carrier when I can. Have double pram. It works when toddler will comply and get in it!

Toddler is in daycare a couple of days a week.

Wine, chocolate, yes, used as required!

#15 MwahMum

Posted 25 July 2019 - 04:43 PM

Riotproof, love the look of the water books, thanks.

#16 c.sanders

Posted 25 July 2019 - 04:58 PM

As others said,  prioritise toddler and your life will be easier.  Baby needs to get used to toddler and not the other way around.
Survival mode.

#17 lozoodle

Posted 25 July 2019 - 09:45 PM

Hang in there, it does get better.

You know what, when I had baby two I thought I'd be all over it with the baby stuff, and to an extent I was.

But what no one prepared me for was how ****ing annoying I would find my 2 year old. I felt terrible, like I'd somehow replaced her but oh my god she just DID MY HEAD IN.

What you're feeling is so so normal. Do what you can to survive and please be assured it will get better. BUT, if it is getting too much please don't be afraid to talk to a health care professional about it, sometimes just sharing can help ease the burden so much.

I hope things improve :)

#18 MwahMum

Posted 26 July 2019 - 01:37 PM

View Postlozoodle, on 25 July 2019 - 09:45 PM, said:

But what no one prepared me for was how ****ing annoying I would find my 2 year old. I felt terrible, like I'd somehow replaced her but oh my god she just DID MY HEAD IN.

This.  So much,  this.

I adore her, she's amazing, but gosh I wasn't expecting to go into protective mama mode for the baby, AGAINST the toddler!

#19 BusbyWilkes

Posted 26 July 2019 - 02:42 PM

While feeling this is totally normal, your toddler may be picking up on this, which then adds to her behaviour (any attention is good attention!)
On the days she is at daycare, prioritise the baby but on days when the toddler is at home, try to prioritise her (before she is whingy or demanding). A few days of this may start to reassure her that she's still important to you (you know, toddler egocentric stage - it's all about them!) Good luck - you sound like you are an awesome mum doing a great job.

#20 lozoodle

Posted 26 July 2019 - 08:56 PM

It feels so crazy for a while, it will get better. But don't worry, the annoying toddler driving you mad is completely normal :)

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