As I type this post, I am sitting with my 32 week old baby bump resting on my lap, my 20 month old toddler fast asleep in his cot and a great big mug of hot chocolate and marshmallows at my side to give my weary brain enough power to string a sentence together coherently enough for you to be able to (hopefully) find this post of some help and use to your current circumstance.
If you are reading this, chances are you are in a similar situation of growing a small human on the inside whilst taking care of another small human on the outside. First off, I want to say a huge ‘Well Done!’ as I know first hand how bloody tough it is! Coping with Being Mummy to one addition whilst incubating a second is no small feat, regardless of their age really. But, as I am mummy to a toddler, I can only think of tips on how to help from what I have learnt through that perspective….
BB with our scan pics for BB2
Be kind to yourself
Don’t give yourself such a hard time about things. So what if you have a mountain of work waiting to be climbed? So what if your dishes are becoming congealed and welded to the kitchen work surfaces? So what if you are all walking around in clothes that have had their suspicious stains removed with a wet wipe? So what if the floor and hoover haven’t seen each other for a while? Just focus on putting your needs first and being kind to yourself. You may feel useless and frustrated when you look about your nest at all that needs doing, but ultimately, the important thing is that you’re fine, baby is fine and your other offspring are fine. I am still learning to embrace this tip, and often berate myself for trying to be perfect. Which leads me to my next piece of advice…
Don’t try to be perfect.
I am a bona fide perfectionist. I put pressure on myself for everything in the house to be just so, for every situation to go just right and if I don’t meet my own personal standards of perfect then, to be frank, I turn into a pretty mean bitch. Frustration and a sense of failure fuel massive rants and foot stomping sessions, hormones from pregnancy exacerbate the situation to the point where I become venomous to my nearest and dearest and my ‘Temper Bomb’ fuse becomes as short as a grain of rice. Not nice for me, not nice for my OH and most importantly, not nice for the little toddling slice of innocence who is witnessing every bit. Even Mary Poppins was only ‘practically perfect’ in every way. Not ‘100% perfect’ or ‘completely perfect’ in every way. If her straw hat could slide a little… so can yours.
Embrace Your Electronic Babysitters
I know this is controversial to say but, I really don’t give a hoot about my toddler watching telly. If I can sit and binge watch Netflix of an evening and still function, how can I be afraid to let him watch his Cbeebies programmes? It has been a complete godsend this pregnancy, to be able to pop the telly on and have just a small bit of peace so I could flop on the sofa and alleviate the vertigo and nausea that were part of daily life for 18 weeks or so! At that point in time, when I couldn’t stand or even raise a smile for our boy, I was grateful that he was distracted by the happy, bouncy theme of cbeebies… if he had turned to look at the sofa, it would have been more like a scene from Les Mis! Same goes for ipads and phones. The umpteen thousand appointments you have with midwives, hospitals and GP’s during pregnancy means a lot of time spent in crowded waiting rooms and small treatment rooms so keeping your tot occupied with a phone or ipad is necessary. Don’t feel guilty, their eyes won’t go square, their brains won’t become mush and you are not a bad parent!
Accept Help and Delegate
It is so helpful to have a good support network around you when facing the trials and tribulations of motherhood, especially when pregnant. I am constantly asking friends and family to pass me things, lift things and carry out small tasks that I know I either can’t do myself or that if I were to do them, I would regret it afterwards. When your ligaments resemble over stretched knicker elastic and your back feels ready to snap like a christmas cracker, you really need to get people to pick up, lift, carry and fetch for you. Especially because there is so much lifting involved with a toddler around. If you can get them to climb up and down stairs, or even master getting in and out of their buggy or car seat, that means less strain on your body too. Yes it feels useless and hurts the pride at times. Yes, you feel guilty for asking a barely out of babehood infant to start doing things independently. Yes it feels lazy. Yes it makes you go mad with frustration at having to wait and explain where something may be in a cupboard or a drawer but the point is, you are protecting yourself and your baby from damage. Plain and simple.
Additionally, if any of you lovely readers know a pregnant woman (especially one with a toddler in tow), a simple act of asking if she needs help with her shopping can work wonders. Or popping round in order to make the tea and watch her offspring whilst she takes a desperately needed nap can work wonders for her, mentally and physically. Simply ringing her up or texting her to say you think she is amazing and that she’s got this will even be a boost. Trust me, there has been many a lonely day in this pregnancy where I have felt boosted by a kind word from someone.
Dealing with the first trimester sickness whilst BB watched Twirlywoos on the telly!
Keep Activities Simple
I have found that, as much as I love taking our toddler to parks, soft plays and play groups, these activities usually need me to run around after him to make sure he doesn’t end up hurt or to lift him up and navigate him around obstacles and such. It’s just too much to handle on top of a bump so I have started to look at more sedate activities that we can do, just for the time being until I am no longer an oven cooking a bun. Painting, baking, playing with toys and building (easy) dens have all been popular choices that have been much less taxing to me whilst still keeping BB occupied. If I am with company then I still venture for the more physical activities as I can ask for help. But on the days where it is just us two, simple and sedate activities are the way to go!
Eat and Drink!
I know everyone is obsessed with eating and drinking well and there seems a real obsession with juices and stuff that looks like pond… but to be honest, my advice would be just to make sure you actually eat and drink at all! It is so easy to forget about meal times when you are tending to your toddler, and I have had many a day where I have gotten to 4pm and realised I haven’t had any lunch. So, work on remembering to eat and drink plenty throughout the day. Once you have mastered that, then you can start worrying about calorie content and all that other stuff. If you want to that is… when I was pregnant with BB I ate everything in sight (even dish sponges.. see here for an archives post where I first mention that weirdness) but this time round I have been craving mostly healthy fruit and veg instead of junk food. I have been putting my slow cooker to good use with lots of stews and pasta sauces. Still have an insane love for chocolate though but lets face it, that’s always been there! Pregnancy only enhances the love between us.
Do you have any tips for getting through pregnancy whilst taking care of another infant? Comment your suggestions below!
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