Being a mum with a baby and a toddler is a wonderful gift but it’s not without its challenges. Lately I’ve been finding some routine things difficult and have often chosen to not do some things because the effort out weighs the benefit.
This is something I have ranted about before but seriously in Australia we need more pay at bowser petrol stations. What should be a quick convenient service turns into a nightmare when you need to take two kids out of their car seats into the shop to pay and then load them back in the car. Now I know some people leave them in there but I just can’t do it. On a super hot day the idea of them sitting out there even for a few minutes send my anxiety into overdrive!
Running out of milk is a nightmare. Again getting two kids in the car to the shops, setting up the pram, buying the milk, loading them back in the car, driving home, unloading them from the car all for the sake of 2L of Milk is such a mammoth effort. For the sake of mums could someone please invest in me opening a drive thru deli store???
Keeping your family safe not the road should not be hard! I booked my car in recently and asked for a courtesy car. Apparently courtesy cars were books out for the next 3 months. There was not shuttle service available either. So what do you do with two kids. Sitting at the service centre for 6 hours isn’t an option. Long story short I had to ask my mum to help me. She met me at the mechanics at 8:30am , where I uninstalled two car seats and installed them in her car. We all then got in her car and went back to my house. There we sat and waited for hours upon hours. The mechanic rang me to say I needed new tyres to which I approved and he said the car would be ready at 12. At 2 I rang to see what was happening and he apologised that he’d put it on the later pile and it wouldn’t be ready until 4. At 4 I rang and was told I could get the car at 4:30pm. We headed off to pick the car up, after paying I took the car seats out of mums car and reinstalled them in mine. By the time I got home it was dinner time, everyone was grumpy because we’d been stuck inside all day. Dinner wasn’t cooked, and I just can’t help but think that there has to be a more family friendly way to get this done.
Having your two kids tag along to your medical appointments is a nightmare. My 2.5 year old cries if anyone touches me, apparently the chiropractic table is going to kill me, and don’t even try checking my ears. These appointments need to happen, they’re a fact of life, and part of taking care of ourselves. But going on your own with kids is tricky there’s no easy way about it.
Why are these always scheduled in the middle of the day during nap time! The kids fall asleep in the car, your loading and unloading them between houses, or you have to enlist a babysitter to watch them just so you can spend 10-15 minutes wandering around houses..so frustrating
Cafe’s have been my soul food for many years. Not only do they sell my favourite beverage they make me feel human. Each cafe brings back memories of time well spent with friends, favourite dishes, or cold mornings waiting for a hot caffeine hit,
Recently my favourite drive thru cafe closed and it really got me thinking about just how important it was for to have a place like this when I was in the early newborn days.I couldn’t tell you how many times I loaded my eldest in the car and drove around the suburbs just to get him to sleep. That cafe was my sanctuary. I was so regular I could hand over my keep cup without having to speak my order. They’d let me know when my favourite mini carrot cakes were in stock and made the best breakfast toasties complete with gooey cheese . I could rely on them to make me nutritious food when I was sleep deprived and could have easily be lined up in the machos drive-thru instead. Now with my second son I regularly think of that cafe, there is no where close to home to get a good drive thru coffee and the thought of having to get two kids out of the car to meet my caffeine needs is exhausting. The only thing that could have made that place better is if they did drive thru milk and bread as well because I would be there daily.
Drive thru cafes are also amazing because they don’t make us mummas feel like unwanted and burdensome. So often when I do get to a cafe they have failed to consider young mums in their design. The staff want to hide you up the back, or outside if they can.
When my first son was a year old I stopped at a shopping mall cafe trolly loaded with groceries it had been a long morning and I just wanted a coffee and some morning tea. My son got hold of a spoon and started tapping it on his highchair, the lady on the phone at the table next to us shoosed me and rudely indicated to me to make my son be quiet. I know it must have been frustrating for her as she was on the phone but we were at a public place in a mall. She wasn’t entitled to make me feel small. I had every right to be there with my 1 year old. We need to support young mums. Getting out of the house can be hard and we should be supported when we actually do it. Forcing us to stay inside is not good for our mental health.
I recently went to a cafe with my two kids where I could barely get inside because of my pram. Once inside I felt in the way as they really wasn’t anyway to have the pram and highchair set up without blocking a walkway or someone else’s table. Later that week I went to another cafe to meet a friend again with the two kids in the pram. The waitress watched me struggling to find the highchairs and get the boys organised. When I asked her where they were she explained they were out the back of the restaurant making it pretty clear she want going to get it for me. I’m not sure how she expected me to get the highchair and carry it back whilst pushing the pram, or maybe she thought I’d leave my two boys unattended to go and self serve the highchair. I don’t know but both options made me feel uncomfortable and unwelcome. Instead I had to wait for my friend to arrive, then I went and got the highchair. The whole thing was awkward. Later on when ordering our coffees I also ordered my son eggs and toast from the kids menu. When his food arrived it came with adult cutlery..he’s 2. When I asked if they had kids cutlery I was told again it was self service at the back of the restaurant, once more making it pretty clear I was expected to go and get it. . Look I get it some places don’t want to be family friendly and I pay that for bars and fancy restaurants but cafes come on. My son wasn’t eating for free and it really made me feel like I was being treated as lesser because I had little kids. Sometimes us mum’s just need to be cut some slack. Most of the day these cafes their empty, and us mums are good business. We not only order coffees and food, but babyccinos and snacks! We’re desperate to get out of the house and it’s highly likely we will go for the second coffee in house and maybe even a takeaway too. Try to consider us in your cafe layouts and make us feel welcome when we enter your establishments. It means so much to us and makes our lives a hell of a lot easier!
To the cafes that are already family friendly and provide those kids corners, or colouring books and pencils THANKYOU! You will never know how much you do to make me feel human again and allow me to steal 10 minutes of peace to drink my coffee.
My eldest son hated the car. This was not particularly helpful when we needed to drive in the car with him for 40 minutes minimum every single day. To this day the thought of getting in the car with him when he was a newborn fills me with dread. The gut wrenching screams from the back of the car. My anxiety levels rising with every minute of being trapped in there with him. The stress of repeating “its alright we’re almost there” even through we were no where close. The inability to do anything because I was stuck in traffic and couldn’t reach him to comfort him. The choice to turn up the music and try to ignore the cries so that I could focus on driving safely. It was the definition of hell!
Even now two years late we can have ‘hell-rides’ as I like to call them. The exception is that this time they’re caused by my son dropping a toy or book, and the crying is just his frustration that I can’t just magically pick them up whilst driving and give them back to him. To date my second son likes the car but only when it’s moving and he generally falls asleep which causes other problems but let’s not go there right now.
So here’s a list of things that have helped reduce our hell-rides that work… most of the time:
Check the car seat: Our sons first car seat was a capsule with a suede like lining. We think it made him too hot and uncomfortable. We replaced it with a Britax Safe N Sound Graphene Convertible which has bamboo fabric that keeps him cool. The change was instant, the crying stopped!
Check the car seat straps: I find when you pull the car seat straps tight they really dig into the shoulders. After pulling tight I pull on the leg straps which always gives a bit, then I move that give up to the shoulder area and pull tight again. This creates a more even firmness across the hold harness. My boys are more comfortable and more secure this way.
Time your car rides: For newborns make sure they’re fed, have clean nappies, and if you can do some tummy time beforehand so that they’re worn out and more likely to sleep. For toddlers tell them the night before that you’re going in the car the next day and where they’re going. This helps the next day because they’re prepared. When I had regular car rides to work I used to put my eldest straight in the car when he woke up pyjamas and all. That way he was still sleepy, then I’d dress and feed him at my mums house. This way we weren’t rushing activities at home or interrupting his play. Now days I’m at home so car rides are more casual. I always make sure he’s got a clean nappy and we pick a book or toy to take in the car with us.
Music: My toddler loves music in the car and has become quite picky! He now tells me when he doesn’t like a song, or when he wants to hear one on repeat. I got a much needed reminder this week when he commented the music was too loud. It wasn’t louder than usual but he found it too much. Remember you have little ears in the car, so maybe try changing the volume levels and see if it helps. Also try changing up the playlist and see if different styles make them more comfortable.
Avoid rewards in the car: Whether its food or technology try to avoid things in the car that you’re not willing to give them every single car ride. This may be hard because you want a quick fix but I promise its worth a few hell-rides sticking to a safe car routine then dealing with tantrums because they want rewards every time you need to go somewhere.
Being a mum of two is really hard. I have a newfound admiration for mums of multiples. I literally do not understand how you do it when kids in your household outnumber the adults. I get anxious enough thinking about all the things I need to pack for two just to leave the house. Let alone the amount of washing, cooking and entertaining!
A lot of people have been asking how I’m coping. The word cope literally means to ‘deal effectively with something difficult’. Yes we’re coping but life with two kids is difficult. Some days they’re both chirpy and I have no issues. Other days they’re both crying, and I have to decide who needs me more in that moment.
I constantly feel guilty for not paying attention to each of my boys enough. My day revolves around putting one down to pick the other one up on repeat. I would literally pay someone to teach me how to get both of them to nap at once.
No, I don’t have a routine for my newborn yet and I’m fine with that. In fact, I’m trying not to over think it all. The only structure that exists in our day revolves around my toddler’s routine:
Breakfast by 8am
Morning Tea 10:30am
Nap time 12:00pm
Bath time 6pm
Survival is key, and the activities that we do between these mealtimes are all about coping.
I keep books on the couch so that I can I feed on demand whilst reading to my toddler.
The TV goes on when I need a moment to prep food or change a nappy and I refuse to feel guilty for the screen time.
When I get a chance during my toddler’s nap, I set up activities outside such as playdoh or water table so that when he gets up, he has something to occupy him for 20-30 minutes.
His play table always has pencils and paper our ready to go.
We go to the park if its sunny or walk around the shops if it’s raining just to get out of the house.
Luckily my toddler loves babyccinos (just milk foam) and will sit quietly at a café drinking one so that I can have a coffee. I save this activity for mornings following nightmare sleepless nights.
Mum is on speed dial to lend a hand or take my toddler for the day so that I can catch my breath and prepare to do it all the very next day.
Coping with two is crazy but we’re doing it, and you can too. Don’t be too hard on yourself, you’ve got this one day at a time.