Toddler and a Baby - A Survival Guide

Because some days coping is the best you can hope for.

There are some days when my girls are both little angels. They eat and sleep when they're supposed to and play nicely in between. 

There are not too many of those days. 

Most days I’m trying to juggle toddler tantrums with a fussy baby and I’ll do anything to survive until bedtime. But, I’m still standing (most of the time anyway; I did trip over a potty and land flat on my face yesterday but I've brushed that off). So to help anyone else stay upright, I’ve come up with a survival guide for when you're feeling stranded and washed up.

1 – Food

Nevermind sleep while their sleeping, you need to eat while they're eating. Otherwise they're going to steal your food. The trouble with baby led weaning is that they know how to put food into their mouth and they don’t care whether it’s broccoli or your chips!

Babies have a fantastic knack of knowing when dinner is ready and choosing that precise moment to want feeding themselves. So you will need to choose your meals based on what you can eat one handed. 

Fancy a bit of chocolate? Not with a toddler around, they will have that. You need to find hiding place. Some of mine are behind the fridge door, the utility room or just standing facing a wall.

Now, although they will pinch your food, they probably won't eat their own. And just because they liked something yesterday, doesn't mean they will like it today. So get used to your diet consisting of leftovers.

2 – Sleep

My main aim everyday is for the girls to nap at the same time but this hardly ever happens. So catching up in the day time is completely out of the question. Come night time, I use every resource available to get sleep. I'm talking swaddle, white noise, dummy. And that's just for me!

And the only way you’re going to get a much needed lie in is by tricking someone else to get up with them. 

Something along the lines of “Oh, yes mum, they always sleep through the night, they won't be any trouble.” Then drop them off and run. Go home, get into bed, and act surprised the next day when she tells you they got up at 5am.

3 - Shelter

We all need a roof over our heads, but just try to lower your expectations a bit. Your house will never be tidy again. You will have wee and sick on your sofa. There will be crumbs everywhere. And there will be no space for anything that you actually want. The kids have taken over and you just have to accept that. 

Invest in a nice big hamper that your can throw everything in when someone is coming round to make it look as though you’ve got it together.

4 - Sanity

Look, you do what you have to do. Sometimes that means that they spend longer than you think they should on the iPad. Sometimes it means takeaway dinner. But if this stops you from completely losing your mind as you try and juggle two screaming kids, cooking dinner and providing wholesome activities then it's ok. 

Talking of wholesome activities, I love educational games, sensory play and all that good stuff; in an ideal world that is all we would do. But, it's hard to do this while a baby needs feeding or rocking or has just thrown up her milk all over the craft paper. Sometimes I just need a bit of help from Peppa Pig. 

Try and find some time for adult company. I don't mean XXX adult, I mean someone you can talk to about grown up topics rather than who likes jumping the most. If you’re lacking in mum friends just talk to shop assistants, doctors receptionists or door to door salespeople (they'll just be grateful you didn't shut the door on them).

So, that's the basics that you will need to survive. Good luck!

(Disclaimer- my children are amazing and I get a lot of joy from them, but parenting is hard work too)