I’ll never forget the moment I picked up a pregnancy test at six months postpartum with my first son on my hip and saw the double lines that would seal my fate for a very hectic first few years of motherhood.
Navigating life after any major change is a challenge, but when you add in two babies very close in age who depend on you for everything, it can seem like you can do nothing right. When I was a new mom of two boys under 2 years old, I felt like the days were long and the nights were even longer. I was exhausted all the time, anxious, and afraid of messing up the tiny humans who meant the world to me. There were moments when I would change on of their diapers and the other would find a way out of his playpen to bump his head on the coffee table. I would break down in tears over the feeling of failing as a mother. So from my heart, I want you to know that I understand.
Now I know everyone says it—to cherish the moments while you can because time will pass in a blink of an eye. And while that may be true, I want moms of two under 2 to know they have such amazing things to look forward to. Having been through the ups and downs, I want to remind you that while it was terrifying, it was also beautiful. Here are three positive takeaways from having two under 2.
Superior multitasking and adapting skills
When I was in school, I was an organizational queen, but when it came to household chores and bills, I was definitely a work in progress. Having two children under 2 showed me the importance of multitasking and organizing my home and schedule to support my family. I would make grocery lists while breastfeeding my baby and baby-wear while vacuuming the living room until multitasking became second nature. Additionally, after grappling with a diaper blow-out for one child and a hangry baby in the stroller, you learn quickly how to adapt to crisis and manage the time and expectations of others around you.
Becoming good at multitasking and organizing can change your life as a mom to two under 2, especially when you have a partner who is just as committed to the systems. For instance, we learned that my husband does very well with electronic calendars, so we set up a family calendar so we could each add work events, family obligations, and children’s appointments in a central place where we could all set reminders. Although I have to admit that I still prefer paper to-do lists and calendar notes for myself, so I keep a paper planner updated as well.
As your children grow, another advantage is that you get to build on the year prior. For example, setting up my youngest who just turned 5 for kindergarten was a breeze. I knew exactly what I would need to sign him up, who to contact and send forms to, as well as had the added security of knowing the school staff. It was like a copy and paste from the year before with my oldest.
Bonding with your spouse
Having two under 2 is a challenge, even for super-moms who seem to have everything in life together. But when you have a really involved partner, you will find that this experience can bring you closer together. Having a partner to support you with late-night feedings, potty training, and learning how to discipline two unique children with different personalities is an experience that can help strengthen the bond between the two of you.
Since my husband and I did not have many close friends and family around during the first few years of our children’s lives, we found that we needed to work out the kinks in our relationship in order to parent in a healthy and sustainable way. We struggled at first due to lack of sleep and basic irritability from having little time alone, but as we worked together, we learned new ways to manage day-to-day tasks and even rekindle some romance.
In survival mode, we learned not to judge one another and instead be active supporters of one another.
With two babies close in age, we had to depend on one another to pick up the slack when we were sick or to guide the other when we made mistakes. In survival mode, we learned not to judge one another and instead be active supporters of one another. When you are in a high-stress environment like this, it can be easy to use a partner as a scapegoat, but when you commit to creating a healthy family, it cements those bonds. We did this by practicing patience and open communication, validating each other’s feelings, and committing to supporting our relationship so our children would grow up seeing a healthy partnership.
When you decide to become a parent, most of us have very good intentions. We binge all the parenting books, research cloth versus disposable diapers, and attachment versus authoritarian parenting styles… but it never quite prepares us for the chaos of raising tiny humans. Becoming a parent is a very humbling experience, but there’s just something about raising two mini versions of yourself that bares your strengths and weaknesses in the hardest moments of your life.
When I chose to become a mom, I knew there were things I wanted to do differently than my parents, but I didn’t understand how vulnerable I would need to get to heal from those childhood wounds to actually become a better parent. It takes a strength like no other to admit to your shortcomings and be better for your family, and having two children close in age pushes you to figure things out quickly.
It takes a strength like no other to admit to your shortcomings and be better for your family, and having two children close in age pushes you to figure things out quickly.
While all parents “learn on the job,” having two children under 2 accelerates this learning. But you also don’t often have as much time and space to devote to your own needs. And while this can seem like an added difficulty, it can also be very empowering because it forces us to prioritize our time and learn how to take care of ourselves mentally and physically in order to be the best we can be for our children.
Having a baby and a toddler will test all of your skills from multitasking, to behavior management, to managing finances. It is easy to become overwhelmed, but when you have your children looking up to you and feeling safe, secure, and loved, nothing is more encouraging.