Hey there Mama,
I know how you feel. I know you're tired. Stretched to thin. Hungry. Wondering if your husband will be coming home on time. I know it's not easy, and sometimes it feels like you're never going to get a break. Yeah. I get you. But I have some words to share.
Before J was born, I had the same anxieties as any other mom about to welcome another child into the world. I wondered how I was going to care for them both, get them both feed, bathed, etc. I worried about being able to give enough attention to each of them and how I was going to make sure my first still felt just as loved and cherished. I also thought about the everyday errands like grocery shopping, Target runs, etc. And play dates. How was I going to do it all?
Two months in and I can say that I have conquered all of these fears. Well. Kind of. I still struggle with dividing my attention, but I guess that's just the way it is when you have more than one child. I've taken them both grocery shopping and survived. We do have to make two trips usually, but that's okay. We've gone to Target, many, many times (if only just to get out of the house), and have been on several play dates. Some days are great and J will nap the entire time we're out. Other days he'll wake up mid way through and I'll have to hurry or take him out of his car seat if we're at a play date. I've given them both a bath, one after the other. Bedtime is still tricky, I'm alone many nights when my husband is working and it continues to be my least favorite time of the day. But it's gotten easier. Hopefully it will continue to as J gets older.
Honestly, it's all about perspective. As I talk to other moms with two, or three, that seems to be key. You will not get everything you want done in one day. There will be good days, and there will be bad days. Accepting mess, chaos, and mediocre dinners will get you far. I keep telling myself it's all a season, it will change so fast so soon that these days will become great memories that I will look back on sweetly. I won't dwell on the fact that my kitchen was always a mess, clutter was in every room, and my hair was never done. I'll remember laying on the floor with my children, shaking a rattle, reading a Clifford book, pushing them both in a stroller for a morning stroll. I'll remember how loving Miss A was with her brother, how she'd tell us to pick him up if he was crying, or wanting to push him in the swing. Sweet, sweet memories.
As for outings, the best piece of advice I can give is to have a well stocked diaper bag. That is ready to go at all times! I can't tell you how many times I feel the walls closing in and I grab our diaper bag, get us all in the car, and drive. Maybe we'll stop for coffee or to look at the lake in the neighborhood. We may go to the park to kill some time. Or we just drive..listening to music, singing together as J falls asleep. It helps to have that bag there, ready for you. Diapers, extra set of clothes, snacks for the toddler, water, tissues, wipes, and whatever you might need for yourself (wallet, chapstick, phone). Grab it and go!
I've also realized how important it STILL is to make time for yourself and to have mom friends. Without these two things, I would not survive. I'm lucky to have met a great group of moms shortly after moving here. They are amazing and so supportive. Weekly play dates are good for everyone!
Before I had kids, I loved having time to myself. Now that time to myself is in short supply, it's even more necessary. I crave it. Miss A doesn't nap anymore, so that precious quiet time is over. Lately I've been experimenting with other forms of quiet time. I tried keeping her in her room to play but that didn't last for very long. Now I'm trying the blanket method. I lay out her Frozen blanket in the family room, give her some toys, books, and a snack. I tell her it's time for quiet time, put on a timer (I'm aiming for 40 minutes a day) and leave the room. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. If it doesn't work I accept it, no sense in dwelling on it and we'll go outside or get out of the house. "Me" time will come later, usually after they're both in bed. Whatever didn't get done that day will get done tomorrow. You won't find me picking up the house or doing any cleaning after they're both in bed. That's my time!
So, hang in there Mama, you are doing an amazing job. You are so, so lucky to have your beautiful children and they will one day tell you how happy they are that you stayed home with them when they were little. It's all a season. A short, short season. Find the joy while you can.