Meet some mums who are riding the 'two under two' rollercoaster
While preparing for what life will be like with two babies under the age of two, Lucy Slight talks to two Kiwi mums who are currently riding the rollercoaster.
When my daughter was just a few weeks old I remember saying to my husband, “We’re one and done. I can’t do this again.” 11 months later and we found out I was pregnant with number two. It’s funny how quickly you forget the hard nights, the grizzly days, the does-she-have-reflux googling and the complete overwhelming life change – but now we can’t wait to be able to give our girl a tiny little teammate. Tui will be just over 20 months old when her sidekick is born; I never in a million years thought I’d be the person who had two babies under two.
I struggled in those first few months with Tui – there was no 'newborn bliss'. She was unsettled, I felt like I didn’t know what I was doing, I was getting advice from all directions and was in a fog about what to follow and what to throw out. So I’m excited to go into newborn life again with more confidence and assurance that my gut is my guide, to trust my instincts and to leave the internet well alone (apart from my beloved sleep guides, of course).
It turns out that having two babies under two isn’t as uncommon as I once thought. The more people I talk to, the more I realise just how many close-together siblings there are out there. In fact, I’ve become a bit obsessed with calculating the age gaps between children and seeing the hard slog pay off when two walking, talking kiddos can entertain each other, have their own little language and interact on a completely different level than they would with their daycare and kindy friends.
I’m looking at this through rose-tinted glasses because I’ve still got a few more weeks of being a mum-to-one left to go. So to further satiate my curiosity for what life will really be like, I talked to two mums who are currently in the thick of it – Jess Urlichs, who has moved on from the newborn stage with her two-and three-year-old, and Anjana Khallouf, currently in the midst of her second newborn experience with her two boys, the youngest of whom was just five weeks old at the time of our interview. Their beautiful, honest and heart-melting accounts of life with two under two are a privilege to read.
Author and blogger Jessica Urlichs and her husband Drew live together in Christchurch with their three-year-old son Harrison, two-year-old daughter Holly... READ MORE
As a mum of two boys just 18 months apart, Anjana shares how she’s learnt to embrace relinquishing control and be present in their “beautiful chaos”... READ MORE
TWO UNDER TWO TIPS
Jess and Anjana share a few of their key learnings for adjusting to life with a toddler and a newborn.
❧ Shower first thing in the morning before the babies wake up so that if nothing else, you always feel like you have achieved that.
❧ Take each day and each moment for exactly what it is. Don’t worry about why yesterday was 'perfect' and today isn’t, and don’t spend today worrying about what tomorrow will be like.
❧ Remember that babies and toddlers are their own people, not robots, so they have good and bad days too.
❧ Take the help when it's offered – say 'yes please' to every meal from a friend.
❧ If you can, and where you can, outsource. Get your oldest child into childcare if that feels right to you, or have a grandparent look after them once a week. Get a cleaner if you can. Anything to take the pressure off makes a big difference.
❧ A lot of people think they need to take the eldest away so you can have time with your newborn, but if possible, try to make some one-on-one time for your eldest too.
❧ Go easy on yourself. You may not enjoy every minute, as people will tell you to, but that doesn’t make you a bad mum. It makes you human.
WHEN ONE BECAME TWO
You were all I knew,
before one became two.
You weren’t my tiny baby anymore, even though
a baby, you were.
Just us, no longer.
No longer just us.
And when you both cried, I would cry too.
My first home. My first teacher.
The bigger you felt in my arms,
the heavier my heart.
People would come over,
“Have some time with the baby”, they would say.
And they would take my baby away.
I felt I needed to pull over and ask for directions,
the neighbourhood was familiar but the street
names had changed and I wanted to find my way back to you.
Then, you took her tiny hand in yours
and I realised what I had given you.
What I had given us.
Nothing felt harder,
but nothing was easier than loving you both.
There were days I couldn’t divide myself,
where I’d fantasise of splitting myself in two.
But please know,
you walk around with my heart as does she.
So in some ways I’ll always be, in two places
Extract from All I See Is You, Poems and Proses on Motherhood, by Jess Urlichs. $22 from jessicaurlichs.com.
Lucy is a freelance writer and lives in Auckland with her husband Clint, daughter Tui and two British shorthair cats Ziggy and Bowie. We're wishing the whole family all the best for their new arrival!
AS FEATURED IN ISSUE 53 OF OHbaby! MAGAZINE. CHECK OUT OTHER ARTICLES IN THIS ISSUE BELOW