FROM ONE TO TWO

October 04, 2017


Before I had Oslo I knew I wanted to be a mum of more than one.  I loved the idea of a having a big family, especially when I think of the holidays. Lots of babies and kids all around James and me, sounds like the perfect life. 

Even after having Oslo and going through the daily struggles with one, I still wanted to have a second. It's funny how when you look back at the memories of your child, you generally only remember the good things. You don't vividly remember the sleepless nights, the explosive diapers, the judgement you put on yourself as a new parent, and all the rest of it. For me when I think back and look at photos of Oslo as a small baby, I just remember how cute he is and how in love we are. So when James and I started talking about having another baby, it was a pretty easy decision for us. We thought, if it went pretty well with one then two should be fine, right?





As soon as I brought little Louie home from the hospital after a whirlwind birth, Oslo's life certainly changed rapidly. Once the centre of my entire world and where all my energy was focused on, now was flipped around to this tiny being who was pretty much attached to my chest all hours of the day. Oslo reacted as anyone would expect a soon-to-be two year would. He was a rollercoaster of emotions. He went from smothering his brother with love and kisses, to hitting him anytime I tried to discipline him for acting out. Louie became Oslo's little punching bag and I just kept thinking "how can you hit such an adorable and helpless little thing?"

Quickly I learned the only reason Oslo was doing this was because he wanted attention, and didn't care if it was negative or positive attention from me. After trying all sorts of methods to get him to stop being physical with his brother, my friend Erin gave me the best bit of advice I have ever received for dealing with a toddler. Just ignore him. Within a week of ignoring Oslo whenever he acted out for attention, he caught on and hit Louie a lot less. If he did hit him, I picked Louie up and gave him a ton of cuddles in front of Oslo. When Oslo was sweet and being a nice big brother, I praised him and smothered him with my love. Oslo soon realised that when he was being bad he received no attention from me and I focused myself on Louie, but if he was a good boy then I would celebrate these moments. Such a simple and brilliant method.

Now I'm only three months into being a mama to these two adorable boys and no, life is not perfect. The hitting has completely stopped though and life is actually running much smoother than I ever thought it would with two. Motherhood of course has its ups and downs, and yes there are still days where I can't find the time to shower, Oslo has been sat in front of the tv longer than I would like to admit, and sometimes at 6pm I still have no idea what's for dinner. However, I do think I have found an easy way to keep my sanity and make sure we are all happy. So I wanted to pay it forward and share with you my advice on how to create a happy and healthy day to day life for you and your family.



KEEP IT SIMPLE

You will soon find having two babies is time consuming, it blows my mind how much longer things take now. Sometimes I wonder, "why am I always late for everything?" Tasks that normally take half an hour with one child, can sometimes take two or more with two. Just think, now you have two mouths to feed, double the diapers, two times the melt downs, and all that is extremely time consuming. So my advice is lower your expectations on what you think you can get done in a day, and just take your time. 

Keeping it simple will look very different to each mother, but for me it means I don't take on a lot in a day. As mums we know we don't just have our kids to look after, we also have all the housework, cooking, and the list goes on. My advice is to plan on doing one fun activity with your older child everyday, to ensure they are happy and so they know they are still as important as the new baby. Then the rest of the day can be open and free for whatever comes your way. You won't feel guilty if that means you stay at home and get some chores done. You know your older one has had that oh so important one on one time with you and now they should be fine to entertain themselves a little, and also hopefully have a nap!

So far these simple days have worked for me, Louie, and most importantly Oslo. It has helped me to feel I have control on the day and I end up having more energy throughout it. I say, let's try and keep it all as simple as possible so we have that spare time for spontaneous moments with the ones we love most.


BE FLEXIBLE

One thing that has saved my crazy mum life is planning ahead. I know above I said we should keep life simple and in turn be spontaneous, and we absolutely should! With that though, making a schedule and plan for what's to come will help you feel less overwhelmed and more prepared overall. Even when you generally feel like you've got this motherhood thing down, stuff happens and you can suddenly feel like your whole plan has been thrown out the window. This is when the word "flexible" can change everything.

Unfortunately stuff happens, like a catastrophic diaper explosion, or your toddler decides not to nap in the morning and that gets pushed to the afternoon, maybe both babes were up all night and you only got one hour of sleep. You have two kids now so it's no real surprise that things rarely go to plan, but knowing your schedule can be adapted or your plans can be cancelled without mum guilt, will be a lifesaver for you.

Start your day with a positive attitude that you will get all your tasks checked off, but know tomorrow is another day and you can always finish what you didn't get to then. I like to plan out which days I clean the house, do the laundry, cook dinner, etc. These days can be moved around week to week, but when Monday rolls around I usually have a general idea of what my chore list looks like for each day. This has been the number one thing to help me make the daily life of being a stay at home mum not feel so daunting, and helps me get my to do list always checked off. Well, almost always... I'm not going to admit how much laundry is piled up in my laundry room right now! 





EXPRESS YOURSELF

If you need to vent, scream into a pillow, call up a friend, have a glass of red, or take a few deep breaths, by all means do it! I think finding an outlet for our daily frustrations which are usually caused by our tiny dictators is so important to keeping a healthy home. Living with a toddler means emotions run wild. Outbursts and screaming fits can happen at any moment and anywhere. There have been many, many times where I feel I am about to break. I mean I'm only human and my zodiac sign is Cancer, so you all know how emotional we are. Yet on a typical day no matter how frustrated I get, I try to always check myself to ensure I won't lose it on Oslo.

I spend all day alone with Oslo and Louie. Some days are amazing with very few hiccups. Other days are horrible with very few good moments. What helps me keep my sanity through the moments where I struggle, is texting James frequently throughout the day. Then when he comes home usually after the kids are asleep, we take some time to talk about our days. We are open books and discuss the good, the bad, and usually the very ugly. For me it always makes me feel like I have hit refresh after what can be a long day. It helps me go to bed with a clear mind and ready for the morning to come.

Expressing yourself and letting go of frustrating moments that are sure to happen in life, especially with a toddler, is vital for our emotional health. If you keep it all bottled in, you will be sure to crack one day, and I don't think it is fair for our children to be on the receiving end of that build up. Go find an outlet for it so that when the moments do happen, we don't lose our minds instantly. It will help you stay level headed and act appropriately in whatever crazy situation our kids throw our way.




FOCUS ON YOU

Over the past few weeks I have been asked by several mums, how do I find the time to do my hair and makeup almost everyday, and look put together? To be honest this wasn't always the case for me. After I had Oslo I hit pause on the rest of my life and embraced being his mother completely. The funny thing is I loved focusing so much on Oslo that I didn't feel like I was in fact neglecting myself. Eventually I did realise that this isn't healthy, and a little self love does go a long way. So this second time around I promised myself I would make a huge effort to spend a little time everyday on me. 

Some days while the babies nap I put my pj's back on, hop on the couch and have a much needed snooze. Or if I'm not feeling tired which rarely happens, then I might do my nails, my makeup, a facial, something that helps me feel pampered. After I put the boys to sleep if all goes well, I sometimes like to have a hot bubble bath and light candles. Even the simple act of making myself a coffee and sitting down to enjoy it while it's hot, and reading a magazine or watching a little Netflix also really helps me to decompress. 

Finding that time to focus on you will help make you feel more balanced and better about yourself. If you are happy and whole, then you have so much more to offer your family, and isn't that the most important thing?

Oh and don't worry I also try to find the time for James as well, that poor husband of mine!


ASK FOR HELP

My final piece of advice to help you go from one to two is ask for help, but not from who you'd expect. To help you with those little daily tasks I think it's so great to involve our older children. Oslo is a natural helper and absolutely loves praise, so he is more than happy to help out with little things I do, especially when they involve Louie. I ask him if he would like to be a good big brother and help me dress Louie or change his diaper. He takes such pride in throwing the dirty diapers in the garbage can, and for me that is a total win-win! He also loves to help me empty the dishwasher now, not that he knows where anything goes. I have found since including him in these daily tasks he feels more important and it directs his never ending energy in a positive way. Which is great for you because in the end we just want our older children to still be a main focus for us, and we also get an extra hand in those not so fun chores we gotta get done everyday.





If you are scared or should I say terrified like I was going from one to two, keep in mind nothing will be harder than going from none to one. That's because you haven't had any prior experience as a mum. By now we are veterans, old pros. The mistakes have been made and we know what works and what doesn't. Just three months in, I am still learning everyday about how to manage my two boys. I think it will always be a constant balancing act for me, but these bits of advice have been my lifesavers on a daily basis. Without them I don't think I would manage these two quite so well. If you do try them out, I really hope they help you as much as they have helped me.

As your days with two pass by try and remember, to keep it simple, always be flexible, express yourself, try to focus on you, and ask for help. Always be confident in yourself, trust your instincts, and know you are doing an amazing job.

As always I love to hear from you. If you are a mum of two and have any additional advice to give, please let me know. I can use all the help I can get!


Photography by my incredible sister Alex Neary, Wild Eyed Photography.

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2 Comments

  1. Such a gorgeous, thorough and thoughtful post Jules. You are doing such an amazing job and when the time comes for me to follow in your foot steps I'll absolutely be returning to this post for advice and reassurance. I love that you get Oslo to help you and that he's proud to do it :) Oscar likes to help hanging the washing out - it's very cute, so I can just imagine how lovely it is involving Oslo in helping you with Louie like you do. The photography here is just stunning too - such beautiful family photos!! Brilliant, brilliant post my love xxx

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    1. Ah that is so cute that Oscar helps hang the washing, I should get Oslo to try that as well. Thank you so much Jules for your gorgeous comment, you are so sweet! I really appreciate the feedback. Lots of love, Jules xxx

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