The Hardest Part of Raising Two Kids Under the Age of 2

I looked at my sweet baby girl, just two months old, and I realized that I didn’t know her. These past months I had been feeding her, rocking her to sleep, and changing her diaper, but she still felt so distant. It was almost like I was just a caretaker and not her mom.

Everyone has a different parenting experience, and this is mine. I struggled big time when I had my second daughter just 18 months after my first. Here's why…

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“Honey,” I softly whispered to my husband, “I don’t know my baby.”

“I know. I feel the same way.” He gently responded.

small-girlsOver the past months since our second daughter’s birth, we had all endured sickness, and our oldest was still just a baby herself, a mere year and a half. Along with these two stressors, I still hadn’t come up with a great flexible routine for our days, and I was barely making it through each day.

Getting out of my pajamas was reserved for special occasions, which didn’t happen.

Leaving the house was almost impossible. I just didn’t have it in me to get all of us ready to go anywhere. Since sickness had found it’s way into our home several times, I didn’t want to go out and get more of it.

I knew that having a second child just 18 months after our first was going to be difficult, but I didn’t know how so nor how much.

grabbing-her-faceMy Biggest Struggle with Raising 2 Under 2

I could make a laundry list of reasons why having two kids under the age of two is a rough job. But, for me personally, there is one overarching reason why it is truly the hardest thing I’ve ever had to go through.

It’s not the inability to cook and clean for the first few weeks or months. If only that were the hardest part.

screaming-babeI don’t even believe it’s the fact that you still have a baby to care for along with a newborn. Although that is a real factor, it’s not the biggest reason.

There’s also the lack of time, the inability to care for yourself, and also a distance that you might feel between you and your spouse.

All those reasons are valid and can make the experience of raising two kids under the age of 2 a bit overwhelming. The real reason for me, though, is that you cannot enjoy the little moments with either child. Bonding time is cut short or nonexistent.

I was so distant during the first few months of my youngest daughter’s life, and it was hard to sit down with my toddler and just be with her.

I barely remember my youngest’s first months. We have pictures, I have written a few things down, and we have some video, but overall, that part of her life is not ingrained in my memory like my first baby’s was.

The Best Moments

There is a silver lining to this. Now my youngest is nearly 2 years old, and the hardest part of raising two kids under the age of two is far behind us.

Things started to get easier after my youngest was about 4 months old. Although, I wouldn’t say they ever got easy.

I finally could soak up more time with each girl and feel like a loving mom again. I also got to witness the most beautiful bonding going on between my daughters.

young-chicksThere were the kisses.

2-under-2

The hand holding.

helping-sister-girl

The helpfulness.

sweet-things

And my personal favorite, the chillaxin.

I wish I could go back in time, change my priorities, and love on my baby girls as much as possible. After my husband, those girls are my world, yet I missed out on a few months of their early lives. It’s a sad thing for me, but it’s also good news for you if you have not ventured into that territory yet. You can do better than I did. I want you to do better than I did.

You can surely figure out how to be more present and be able to bond with your children, but I highly recommend you read two books that I know would have helped me with my second baby.

The first is called Help Baby Sleep* by Janeen Maxwell. If you have any desire to get sleep the first few weeks of your newborn’s life, this book is incredibly helpful. I did an entire review in the post Should Your Baby Sleep Through the Night at 6 Weeks?

The second book that I think could make your experience raising two kids under the age of 2 a bit easier than mine is if you read Rhythms, Routines, and Schedules: How to Simplify Life with Kids*. It’s amazing how well children, even small ones, respond to a daily rhythm in the home. I did a review on this book as well in the post How to Save Your Sanity with Baby #2.

Feeling as though you are a caretaker to your own baby can be painful and heartbreaking. Do your best to eliminate the stress in your life and just relax and love your babies. Figure out how to be a mom. You will be profoundly grateful you did.

What would you say is the hardest part of raising two kids under the age of 2?

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Charlee

I'm a mom of 3 on a journey to feed my family healthy-er food. Personally, I believe that you can feed your family healthy, delicious meals without spending a fortune or slaving away in the kitchen.

Comments

  1. Chelsea says:

    Oh, how I wish I could go back in time myself! I can’t relate to having 2 babies close in age but I can relate to letting too many other things keep me from bonding with all 3 of my newborns. In fact, it was the 3rd that was toughest on me. Even though my kids were older, 8 & almost 5, I allowed life to consume me which took the focus off what was most important and my baby felt it. Thankfully my littlest dude is so loving to his momma (often expressing in word, kisses on the cheek, and sad tears when I don’t take him with me for a quick run to store) and I don’t have to wonder if I made up for lost time in the months and years after.
    Those books sound helpful and I need to visit those blog posts as well.
    Love those sweet pics and those sweet girls & I’m so happy you reached the silver lining so quickly! ♡

    • Oh, I’m sure that it doesn’t matter how far apart in age your kids are! I guess the more kids we get, the less focused we become on the newborn stage. I also think little Bella is the most sweet thing that ever happened to me. She loves her kisses, being held, and hates it when I leave as well. I am so blessed to have a strong bond with both girls now!

  2. Jules33 says:

    I found out I was pregnant early December with my 2nd and my 1st is just 6 months! Nervous and excited but ultimately know that its in 3 hands, myself, my wonderfully supportive husband’s and our awesome GOD’s. I was going to go to graduate school but may have to postpone it as our next is due July 27th. It is all a bit surreal at the moment.

    • Thanks for sharing! I found out I was pregnant with my second when my first was 10 months, so I can only imagine your surprise. You will do great, and I am sure you’ll be able to go back to school once things calm down a bit! Congratulations!

  3. Emily says:

    My first two were Irish twins – just 11 1/2 months apart. Five minutes after my mom left to go home (out of town) both babies were crying and so was I. I felt so overwhelmed. The hardest part for me was I had to carry them both because my older one didn’t walk until she was 14 months. But it got a lot easier as the younger one hit 2. Then I had 2 more babies 13 months apart (yes I’m THAT crazy) so it was 4 kids 5 and under. I tried to keep my schedule as unbusy as possible – we stayed home a lot, no extra outings, etc. But now that my youngest is three, they are all potty trained and can communicate with me I am really enjoying life! I love that they are all so close in age and in friendship. It is still hard, and there are still days I cry in frustration but I wouldn’t trade it for anything.

    • Wow, you must have had a lot of really tough days! I am so glad life is much better for you now and your kids are all getting to an independent age. Thanks for sharing your story, Emily. 🙂

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