Tue. Nov 29th, 2022
How to "survive" the early years of parenting when your children are close in age: my essential advice

How to “survive” the early years of parenting when your children are close in age: my essential advice

I have three children and the two little ones are only 17 months apart , so I would probably be an understatement if I say that their upbringing was absolutely insane during their first years of life. I already shared a post a long time ago where I recounted my experience , and although after the initial chaos things began to roll, the truth is that it has not been easy.

And it is that the stage of diapers, breastfeeding and pacifiers, was followed by that of two-three years (getting together with two babies at the same time in the same phase of tantrums and challenges is exhausting), and then that of four years and the self-centeredness typical of this age . Seven benefits of Montessori beds for children and where to buy them. Now, at ages five and six, her parenting seems to have leveled off , and her dad and I don’t experience as much daily “wear and tear” as we used to.

There are many mothers who write to me distressed by the whirlwind of their day to day with two small children who take so little time. For this reason, I have decided to share those things that have helped me face his first years more calmly , hoping that some of these tips will give you something if you find yourself in this situation.

Don’t “survive”, live and enjoy!

First of all I would like to clarify that although I use the word “survival” in the title, I do not mean that the mothers and fathers who are reading this think that the first years of raising two young children are simply that.

And it is that if we attend to the second meaning of the RAE of the term ‘survive’, we would be talking about “living in adverse conditions” , something that I do not consider applies when we refer to parenting.

Having said this, and despite the fact that raising two children who take only a short time can be chaotic in the first years, you will always find moments of enjoyment, of wishing that time would stop and of admiring the beautiful relationship of brothers that they are building . .

Be aware of those moments and burn them in your mind and in your heart , because they will become your lifeline when things get complicated. Also, I assure you that before you know it , time will have passed and your children will have grown so much that you will miss the “blessed chaos” that your life had become. Check-out more parenting article on our site.

Don’t blame yourself and thank yourself every day

Raising two children who are at similar developmental stages is like living in eternal ‘groundhog day’ . I still remember changing one diaper after another, alternating breastfeeding from one and the bottle from the other, getting out of a virus or -itis with the little one and getting fully into a new one with the medium one, multiplying the number of nightly awakenings .. .

I am not going to deny that some of these situations, repeated day after day, end up wearing us down. Not sleeping takes its toll , as does eating ‘in fits and starts’ and having little time for oneself. So it is normal that at some point you lose your temper for not being able to cover more , you collapse or you wonder if there is another way of doing things.

If this happens to you, my advice is to stop for a moment, take a deep breath and thank yourself for everything you are doing: you are the best mother/father your children can have and you should never forget that.

Any kind of help is welcome

Having help in parenting is vital to be able to “unload” from work, rest and find moments for oneself. And I assure you that any help, however insignificant it may seem, is always a gift.

I remember one day I was in the park with my six-month-old baby and my little girl, who was not yet two years old. The little boy began to cry and get restless because he was hungry, and on the other hand my daughter insistently pulled her arm so that I would accompany her to the swings.

As best I could, I began to breastfeed my baby holding him with one arm, while lifting the girl up with the other to get her up the slide or push her on the swing. Then a mother who was watching the scene approached me – and whom I did not know – and she offered me her help to balance the swing so that I could sit on a bench to calmly breastfeed the baby.

That simple gesture moved me a lot, because without knowing me at all, that woman made my life a little easier at that time.

Promotes children’s autonomy

Promoting the autonomy of children from an early age not only benefits us parents, but above all our children, as it serves as training for life , enhances their self-esteem, their self-confidence, decision-making and their sense of belonging. .

In my specific case, starting to encourage my daughter’s autonomy when the baby was born was crucial to relax the atmosphere ( jealousy had begun to appear ) and help her understand how important her contribution was in our family.

In this sense, reading and learning about Montessori pedagogy and adapting our home and furniture to her abilities was our lifesaver, because at just 17 months my daughter was able to start doing a lot of things that she hadn’t done before, allowing her to develop her autonomy and making our task much easier.

The power of routines

We know that routines are necessary for children, as they give them security, tranquility and confidence. However, with my oldest son, I was never particularly faithful to routines, and although there were certain practices that were repeated on a daily basis, it also allowed me a lot of flexibility.

But when my two young children were born things changed, and establishing firm routines became a necessity .

In addition, we followed what I call “European time” , and although in a country like ours this time means going against the tide of the rest (for example, arriving at the park when there are hardly any children and leaving when they are starting to come, or eating and have dinner at unconventional hours), having my three children bathed, had dinner and went to bed at 8:00 p.m. allowed my partner and me to find a time at the end of the day to rest and dedicate ourselves to ourselves , and therefore recharge batteries for the next day.

Over time, our routines and schedules have become more flexible, because as my children have gained autonomy, I no longer consider it necessary to manage such marked times, although of course each family must choose what works best for them.

relax your expectations

We would all like to have a magazine house, plan a perfect family celebration, always arrive on time for any appointment or look spotless at all times. But when you become a mother you must learn to adjust your expectations , especially if you have two or more preschool children.

I confess that for a maniac of order, planning and cleanliness like me, being able to relax my expectations and let loose has meant a lot of inner work . But I assure you that when you learn to relativize and not stress over trivial things, you live much better.

Before I commented on the importance that the power of routines had for us, but at this point I would like to point out how necessary it is also to learn to relax in order to move forward and enjoy.

Accessories and practices that will make your life easier

In my case, buying certain gadgets and accessories, as well as following some organizational practices, made my task a lot easier in those difficult first years of parenting, and they continue to do so today.

For example, buying a dryer was a success, because there came a time when it was not enough to hang one load of clothes after another . I also found it very helpful to get a food processor, as well as cooking large amounts of food and then freezing it to avoid having to cook every day.

But without a doubt, the “star” practice that I always recommend is an indoor portage . And it is incredible how much you get to take advantage of the time carrying your baby inside the house , because there is practically no housework that you cannot do while you have your little one always attended to.

I hope that some of my advice can be useful to you and ease the difficult times that sometimes come with raising two children with little age difference. In any case, always remember the importance of enjoying the moment, asking for help and learning to “let go”