31: Surviving 2 Under 2
My youngest two children are certainly my busiest children but regardless of temperament or energy levels two kids under two is just downright difficult. Someone always needs something. I often hear moms asking the same questions.
When do you shower?When do you sleep?When do you cook?How do you do it?
Staggered Nap Times
I know, I know! Everyone says to get the littles to sleep at the same time so you get a moment of peace but, just hear me out! You are moving and shaking all day long. You get the little ones both down for a nap (and if your kids are anything like mine, it is a fight). Finally, you get a moment of peace for hopefully 2 hours. Then, its over and you are immediately jumping into bottles, cups, food, diapers, and probably tears because toddlers are known to cry for what they want while you are trying to give the infant what they need. And, if you settle the toddler first, the infant is screaming because they don't understand having to wait for what they need.
Staggering nap times can minimize a lot of this. Not all of course because kids are still kids. My youngest goes down for a nap at 10 am and usually wakes up around11:30am. Both littles eat lunch and then my older child goes down for nap at about 12:30pm and wakes up around 2:30. This has been magic for us. When Savannah is napping at 10am I can spend the morning with Lucas. He gets his much needed one on one time. We can do our learning activities for about an hour. Then we straighten up and he lingers around the kitchen or plays independently while I make lunch. Now Savannah is up, but lunch is already made. I get them both sat down (both of them sit at the table for lunch now but when Savannah was younger it was just Lucas at the table eating and I sat next to him while feeding Savannah a bottle). Lunch is over. Everyone cleans up. Lucas is ready for a nap. While he naps, Savannah gets one on one time and I get some chores done and dinner started (finished on my good days).
Typically, I tell other mothers that if you want to shower, eat a hot meal, finish a cup of hot coffee, or get a moment of silence you've got to stay up much later than they go to bed and wake up significantly earlier than they do. I say that half-joking. Staggered nap times has helped tremendously with showering on a regular schedule. For a while, it was at 10 in the morning one day and 3 in the morning the next. When Savannah was younger, while Lucas napped I would bring the rocker into the bathroom while I showered. Now while she's napping, I shower and Lucas hangs out in my bathroom with books, a snack, and his iPad.
As far as meals go, I survive on my Instapot and my Airfryer. They have been game changers for me. On Sundays, I prep my meals and then during the week I put them into the instapot or air fryer while Lucas naps and then dinner is ready at a decent time with little effort.
In summary, instead of wrestling two littles all day long with one, two hour, break to squeeze in the million things that need to be done, I spend much of the daytime caring for only one child at a time, they each get the benefits of one on one time, chores and meals are a little easier to get done, and I get to keep my sanity. Things are a tad more complicated now that I've become a homeschool mom and all four kids are home but I have found that through all stages and transitions that we've experienced, staggered nap times just make life a whole lot easier.