- Go for a run or do a 20 minute workout. This may be impossible for a lot of people but the adrenalin after a workout is a great way to start your day off feeling energised. Sometimes the workout getting two children washed and dressed in the morning can also count, we have a wriggler!
- Have a shower in the morning. This is a great way to wake you up if you’ve had a night of terrible sleep, child inflicted or not. Having the shower slightly cooler than normal helps you feel fresh and if this is done after a workout then you will be ready to take on the day, at work or at home. A morning shower also frees up your evening for other fun things such as cooking, loading the dishwasher, ironing, you know, all those things you put off doing because you’re ‘washing your hair’. You’re welcome.
- Eat a small nutritious breakfast. Have you ever eaten a large meal and said ‘that’s made me so sleepy’? I do all the time and I used to always have a large breakfast to ‘fuel my day’ as that’s what I’ve always been told. Having a smaller meal will keep you going until the elevensie snack time or lunch and you won’t feel sluggish after a large meal. I tend to have a mixture of fruit and yoghurt smoothie with a slice of toast.
- Drink 500ml of water. After a long night of sleep (or tossing and turning, getting up every hour to settle a baby) you will wake up dehydrated. You won’t necessarily know you’re dehydrated, so drinking 500ml of water every morning helps rehydrate you, wake you up and it also helps your smaller breakfast fill you up. Fill up a bottle or a glass and guzzle it in one.
- Set your alarm for when you need to get up. Are you one of those people who set your alarm up to an hour before you actually emerge from the bed? Stop it. Mr Firstooth is guilty of this and I cannot describe how bloody annoying it is! It doesn’t help you wake up easier, you risk overlaying and you’re losing out on an hour of sleep. Setting an alarm and getting up with it is much more beneficial to your energy levels.
Our second child who is now 8 months old slept through (or as good as) from 6 weeks. I then stupidly bragged about how well she was sleeping, considering our first never slept. He was always awake. So after all the bragging and the blissful nights, it’s no surprise she decided she would start to wake in the night. Not just once and not just for a quick feed. No. That would be too easy. She would wake every two hours and sometimes for a three hour long stretch of crying. Aren’t we lucky.
Every night we put her to bed hopeful. Cooing over that sweet face drifting off in to sleep. Wondering ‘could tonight be the night?‘. And let me tell you, tonight is most certainly, not the night. Minutes after we leave the room she’s wide awake. Screaming at maximum volume, standing in her cot and swinging from the railings.
She doesn’t want milk, of course she doesn’t she’s just had her bottle. What does she need? is the question we ask each other every night. Sometimes we even ask her ‘what do you need?’.
After a period of persistent rocking mumbling for fucksake under my breath, over and over because that programme I’ve been looking forward to watching has started (and the mass of housework that needs to be done). I give up. It’s not easy rocking a baby who obviously is not in the mood for rocking and cuddles and at the risk of waking the toddler, the risk that’s never worth taking, I bring her downstairs. She’s now beaming with a smile from ear to ear. Wanting to bang my head against the wall.
So, what now? She’s tired, but she won’t sleep. I can never understand that. Tired but won’t sleep. Jesus, if someone said to me ‘go on, get yourself to bed’ I’d give them a swift high-five and be in the bed before they’d even finished the sentence. We usually spend an hour downstairs, watching the same episode of Mickey Mouse we’ve seen hundreds of times because I keep forgetting to record another. You know the one, Pete is a leprechaun and all the crew want to find the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. Scratches eyes out. Towards the end of this hour there’s a glimmer of hope that she may just go to sleep! You’re shitting me? She might actually go to sleep? That’s right, you were shitting me. She’s not going to sleep.
By now I’ve lost all hope, me and Mr Firstooth are drowning our sorrows, wine for me. We can’t win here. She stays up with us, she’s restless and crying. She’s in her cot, screaming her little lungs off. It brings me to tears every, single, evening. It’s a mixture of sadness because nothing I can do will settle her and anger, I’m not ashamed to say, it annoys me. The constant crying and no reasoning throughout the evening is enough to tip anyone over the edge. I have to hand over to Mr Firstooth for a breather, a walk in the garden and a top-up of wine.
Eventually a calm daddy settles her to sleep. How the hell? I don’t care, she’s asleep, hurrah!
We then convince ourselves that the amount of milk that she’s just had and the amount of crying she’s just done, must be enough to wear her out. She will sleep for at least 4 hours before her next waking, perhaps even until morning, she is exhausted after-all. Ha! We have no hope. None whatsoever. She wakes another six times following this horrific evening.
I will lay rigid for a few of these night-feeds (not even a night-feed she has a few sips, a cry and then back to sleep, it’s a midnight snack every hour) Mr Firstooth will experience an elbow in his ribs and a small amount of shin-kicking as gentle persuasion to just feed the baby. You do it. I’m not doing it. I hate my life I hate my life.
Morning arrives and the baby wakes up like nothing has happened. Bright as a button. Probably because the lucky little bugger gets to nap when she fancies it. Sneers. I, on the other hand, am struggling to keep my eyes open and instead of putting the milk in the fridge, it somehow always ends up in the cupboard. I am now officially a grumpy mum for the rest of the day.
Overall, night ‘feeds’ *rolls eyes* are shit. They are the bloody awful part of having children. I don’t really hate my life, but I hate night feeds.
- Have lunch readily prepared before they arrive. This keeps you as free as possible with your guests to toddler-watch and have mum-chat. Also, it’s much easier for the guest mum to not have to worry about packing lunch along with the dozens of other necessities that need to be stuffed in the changing bag. Ideally checking with them first what is best to prepare. If they are super healthy or vegetarian it wouldn’t be appreciated if you serve up a meat-feast pizza. Toddler would think you’re a hero. The mum will probably ignore your subsequent playdate requests. I stick with sandwiches for the kiddies and quiches, sausage rolls and veggies for us. To be honest the kids join in with us. Once they hit toddlerhood I think we’re less precious about what they eat. PS don’t forget the pudding!
- Prepare yourself for when shit happens. You have a house full *not full but feels like it, of toddlers. Chances are something will get spilled, broken or damaged. In our house it’s not much different from a day without guests, toddler terrors don’t have concepts of these things so if you have anything you aren’t prepared to let anything happen to, then hide or cover it *carpet washer is a must-have just in general but perfect for playdates. I always give strawberries, never give strawberries, these will be ran around the house and smushed into your lovely cream carpets *covers eyes and pulls out the Vanish. You’ll then probably explain to your mum guest that ”it’s ok, the carpets need a clean anyway” while thinking ‘it’s not ok’ but it is ok because you like your guests. Just don’t serve strawberries. Problem solved.
- At some point throughout this date, shit. will. get. real. Toddlers are territorial and unpredictable little creatures and seeing someone else playing with their toys can lead to a whole ”No! Mine!” situation. Probably *definitely with some pushing, shoving and sometimes a cheeky head-butt. They mean no harm, just remember to keep an eye, mid-gossip of course. You will find yourself saying ‘‘share’‘ hundreds of times during the visit and this is how they learn. Don’t feel embarrassed either, if your child throws a wobbler or mass meltdown because the guest toddlers grapes look much more delicious than their own. They don’t care where they are or who’s around for a freak-out. You may do, but chances are you guests toddler is about to do exactly the same. You’ll laugh about it later.
- Keep a neutral kid friendly channel on in the background like the Disney channel, try to avoid Peppa Pig or there won’t be any toddler interaction because for some reason every toddler in the world is fixated with this bloody programme. Having TV on in the background is just another entertainment outlet. That, or put the radio on in the background (for your entertainment really).
- If you have a park nearby or a nice area to walk around then this could be a nice way to spend an hour of the time. I tend to skip this as the children play happily enough in the garden and in the house. Plus it’s hassle for guest mum to drag out their stroller while you drag out yours and coax all the children into these contraptions. Not to mention the bribes you may need to keep them happily sitting in their stroller or to get them off the swing as pain free as possible. I go for the safe bet, but it could be a welcomed outing for everyone.
- If you think your tornado toddler makes a mess, that’s nothing compared to the toddler bomb that is about to explode in your lounge. Toys will be everywhere and every toy will be out. You can use that as your best excuse for not tidying when Daddy arrives home ”What would be the point in hovering darling, when you can’t even see the shitting floor”. It’s bittersweet when a playdate comes to an end. You have a mountain of toys to clear away, you still have dinner to cook and your toddlers friend and entertainment has just left, so has your own friend and adult conversation *sighs. On the other hand you can finally tidy away without being followed by a toddler who’s mission is to untidy everything. Mission accomplished.
Having a playdate is a great way for toddlers to interact and learn one-on-one social skills. You get to have somewhat of a break. Well not really, you’re the host! But the adult company and toddler entertainment to occupy all children, will be a much needed relief. I don’t want to jinx it so I will whisper this one *you might get to have a hot drink*. Remember all above points, call up a mummy friend and book them in for a playdate!
This is the toddler on a playdate. He got travel sick on the way down and had to borrow her clothes. He just went with the whole ‘being a girl for a day’ idea.
I don’t know how to stay in the house all day without losing my sanity or my shit. I’ve not often ventured out of the house these past few months, this was down to choice. I chose to stay in the house, all day, most days. What a stupid choice. My excuses for this were naps, lunches and having things to do. What a load of rubbish. Truth be told, I chose to stay in because I didn’t know where to take them, what to do and I’m just so bloody exhausted.
I couldn’t be bothered to take them out, thinking how much more difficult it would be with a toddler sticking gravel up his nose and a baby who won’t stop crying. Ever. But Jesus Christ it’s a nightmare to be stuck inside with them all day. What do we do? What. Do. We Do?! Other than suffer through countless episodes of Peppa Pig, whilst I claw my own eyes out. Or attempt a crafting session. No-one wins during this. The toddler tries to eat the glue ‘It’s not yoghurt, darling’ and he doesn’t do it right. Crafting times is more me making something, while the toddler watches. And gets annoyed. Boring. Then there’s the baby. How do you entertain a baby indoors? Books, toys, blocks, cups. Not my baby. She would rather chew the shoes and fulfil her mission of climbing Mount Sofa. Stop her from doing these and there is suffering. A cry, an ear piercing one, that can be heard streets away.
Staying in all day is also boring. Don’t get me wrong, my children aren’t boring. In fact, they’re bloody hilarious! But stuck inside the same four walls all day, is boring. They find it boring. Which is why the toddler will ‘misbehave‘ when really he’s just finding something to do. But climbing onto the toilet to reach the tap in the sink, running the water so it overflows and then throwing the soap all over the floor, that’s not something to do. That’s a ‘mummy is about to freak out’ situation, right there. In fact it’s more like ‘mummy is about to go effin crazy and cry’ situation. The cute bundle of baby we have also goes stir crazy. The hardest part for me is, when they cry or whinge, it’s at the same time. Or sometimes they are kind enough to take it in turns, this is then a continuous upset for the whole day. Brilliant.
So I’ve spent months, almost every day having a mini breakdown, fingers in ears, hiding and crying. Perfectly normal right? Well lately I’ve just thought ‘sod this’ I’m not putting up with this everyday. I’ve got to explore, get out, see what’s in our new area. Screw naptimes and lunch can always be sandwiches, so it’s portable. So that’s what we’ve done. We’ve been out everyday, playgroups, local farms, picnics in parks and the beach. It’s been bloody amazing. I feel free. As free as you can feel with two very dependable children. Tears are now a rarity. (not really we still suffer in the evenings *bangs head against wall). The children are more entertained, the days go quicker. I’m not wishing my days away with them but those long drawn out days are challenging bordering on mission impossible for survival. Shit, really shit. I’m not cut out for it!
I’ve put my awful excuses to the side and even if we only go out for a few hours, it beats sitting in, with my head in my hands, waiting for daddys arrival 8 hours away. Now I’ve realised how horrific our buggy truly is, so we’re having to ditch it in the hopes that a stroller will be easier. So our new-found outdoorsiness is costing a big outlay (cue over-time from Mr Firstooth, tee-hee) but it’s worth it! Mr Firstooth hasn’t had a ‘please come home, I’m losing my mind’ call in a while. A week. I can’t lie, he still had that call a week ago. Just for old times sake.
In conclusion, if you can’t cope with being indoors all day. Go out. You will thank yourself for it. So will your children. Everybody wins, high five!
- We laid in until 10am like lazy bastards and when we dragged ourselves downstairs we could enjoy a hot beverage vs Being in bed past 7.15am is now considered a lay-in. Whilst juggling breakfasts and food throwing, any hot (turned cold) beverage we have, has to be microwaved twice before the first sip
- A late night out of choice because we were enjoying wine and laughing loudly or dare I say, in a restaurant enjoying a long leisurely meal vs A late night because one of the children (sometimes both of them) refuse to go to bed without a fight and evenings have to be spent tip-toeing around the house avoiding every creaky stair and talking is kept to a whisper. They still wake up.
- We used to sleep vs Never. Sleeping. Again.
- Your social life was once a happening thing vs A social scene consisting mainly of Whatsapps to friends with pictures of your children. Sorry guys. Did you all get the one I sent today? Plus playdates with friends. My favourite kind of dates. Children happy. Mums swapping stories *gossiping.
- Going to a restaurant as a couple, what did we even talk about back then? I remember it was peaceful vs Visiting a restaurant and eating the food as quickly as humanly possible. Ordering everything on the menu the toddler mildly likes so he is distracted by a tasty offering of food. Toddler eats none of the food and chooses to dance on the table instead. Bruno Mars style. Whilst the baby is crying loudly and everyone is staring. Conversation consisting of ‘here I’ll have her while you eat your chicken’. Not to mention we’re paying for this privilege.
- You could eat anything you wanted vs Your food is never your food. Never again. If you’re eating it, they will want it.
- Leaving the house took a matter of minutes whilst we threw on our shoes and our biggest smiles vs Taking over an hour to leave the house due to numerous nappy changes and one that’s managed to leak through every sodding layer. Walking out of the door sweating and huffing juggling children, car seats, bags and Teddy. Shit, don’t forget Teddy!
- I used to work a 9 to 5 job, lunch breaks, adult chat and hot drinks included vs I now work a 24/7 job lunch is an on-the-go occurrence, I still have a boss. Knee-high he’s known as. Park visits and crying (me, hiding in the wardrobe with wine) is also part of the job description.
- All of our clothes would be clean, fresh and possibly even ironed (just kidding, I hate ironing) we could even afford to buy new clothes on a regular basis, should the unthinkable happen and something stain or tear vs Leaving the house in something the baby has just been sick on and not even caring because we’ve successfully left the house. Using Our leggings as a kitchen towel, every spill or food residue ends up wiped down our legs. Always wearing leggings because everything pre-children won’t go past my knees! Wearing the same outfit on rotation because the luxury of buying anything new is a distant memory, meaning some things are ripped and stained but it fits. We always seem to find money to splash on regular new clothes for the children. Funny that.
- It used to be just us two vs Being the very proud owners of this crazy pair
I can remember my life before the whirlwind of children but I can’t imagine life without them. They’re brilliant.
We have two under the age of 2 and there have been quite a few nights where I’ve had to bath them both by myself. It’s quite a daunting thing to do but I just had to come up with a plan of the evening and attempt to bath them both, then put them to bed as best I can without upsetting their evening routine.
Before they get in the bath here’s what I do to prepare:
- Get milk ready for both children. Mason will have his before his bath and Mia has hers after so I will leave her milk in her bedroom ready.
- Get both of their night clothes and nappies ready. Masons will be laid out on his changing table and Mias Will be laid out on the floor of their bathroom.
- I lay Masons towel on his changing mat so its ready for him to be laid on top and dried. Mias towel gets laid on her changing mat in the bathroom.
- Run the bath so it’s ready
Once everything is prepared it’s time to get them ready for a bath so I take them both up to Masons bedroom and undress them both. Mason follows me into their bathroom while I carry Mia in there and then put them both into the bath.
We have lots of bath time fun as normal and a good scrub down. Then once it’s time for them to get dried and dressed I take Mia out first, I get her dried on the towel id already laid out and then get her dressed. Doing it this way means I’m still right next to Mason while he’s in the bath.
When Mia is dressed and ready for bed, I get Mason out and he runs into his bedroom I will pop Mia on his bedroom floor with a teddy for her to play with while I get Mason dressed.
When Mason is dressed I put him to bed in his sleeping bag and carry Mia in to her room. Then all that’s left to do is feed Mia her milk and put her into her bed.
Job done! When you’re so used to having an extra pair of hands to help every night it’s really hard adjusting to doing it by yourself. I’m used to it now and it’s not as daunting as it used to be, if you’re a bit worried about bathing two by yourself I hope this helps!