Welcoming two children in quick succession is a gift and a joy. It’s life-affirming. But it’s also INCREDIBLY challenging. You start to feel like a factory worker facing an endless production line of diaper changes, feeding, and cleaning.
You sleep little, work a lot, and spend all of your days in a constant haze of exhaustion.
As a new member of the “Two Under Two” club, I speak from a place of experience.
It’s hard to focus on your well-being while looking after two children, so your health suffers. You may seek solace in high-energy foods and caffeine, as it’s hard to get into a “salad mindset” when your energy levels are low and your body is craving a pick-me-up.
In this post, I’ll share some top tips for staying in control while juggling the needs of two little ones.
I get it—you don’t have time to cook and you don’t feel like a salad. It’s so much easier to grab a candy bar for breakfast and tuck into fast food for lunch. But the more you submit to high-energy, low-nutrient foods, the further down the spiral you will get.
The trick is to combine “healthy” with “convenient”. It’s not easy, but that’s where a little prior preparation comes in.
When you have a little time (before the birth is best) prepare and freeze LOTS of meals. You can cook a big pot of stew, soup, or even Buddha bowls and freeze them into half a dozen portions.
Check out my guide to postpartum meal prep for some great meal prep ideas.
Your friends and family will also want to help. So, tell them you’re eating clean and wholesome foods. That way, instead of bringing you chips, candy, and fast food, they’ll bring home-cooked meals and healthy snacks.
The same applies to your partner.
It doesn’t matter how bad they are—or claim to be—in the kitchen. Let them help.
Discuss recipes together. Cook together. Plan meals. Make healthy food fun, and you’ll be more inclined to cook it and less willing to grab takeout at the first sign of hunger.
Speaking of hunger, keep plenty of nutritious snacks on hand, including protein bars, fresh fruit, dried fruit, seeds, nuts, and oat balls.
Make Time for Fitness
You’re already running around the house and standing on your feet all day, so you’re getting some exercise. But a little more movement can make a BIG difference.
You’ll feel better for it. More energized. More awake. And less prone to aches and pains.
Take a look at my postpartum workout program for some top tips on staying active and healthy. You should also consider some health-boosting supplements. And remember, working out isn’t just for the gym. You can do some physical activities with your kids, walk more, swim a little, and do the things you enjoy.
Manage Sleep Deprivation
Sleep deprivation can contribute to many health issues, and if you’re in the Two Under Two club, there’s a good chance you’ll be sleep deprived.
Remember that this period is short and while you may not get all the sleep you need, it will pass. Try to relax more. Take power naps. Ask friends/family to take over for a few hours so you can sleep.
If you can’t fall asleep when you have free time, turn off your phone and read instead. You’re exhausted and you don’t need the stimulation of TikTok or Instagram right now. Reading a book will relax you and tire you out.
You might not actually read or remember anything, but it’ll do its job and you’ll be asleep before you know it.
Manage Stress and Your Mental Health
You will get stressed and your mental health will suffer, so take time to focus on yourself. Here are a few things that can help:
- Build a Community: Spend time with other mums and build a network of people that can support you. They’re going through the same thing as you, and they can help you when you’re struggling.
- Keep a Journal: Document the precious moments you spend with your kids and write about your struggles and stresses. Writing is a great tool for self-reflection and it feels good to open up.
- Find Moments of Joy: Being a new parent is tough, especially when you have two kids to deal with. But it’s also joyful and fun, so spend time with them, cherish them, and create moments of joy.
- Let Yourself Cry: There’s nothing to be ashamed of, and it’s better than bottling it up. Crying can be cathartic, so go for it!
- Find Balance: Avoid the things that don’t matter, ignore stressful situations when you can, and balance the important things. Prioritize!
- Reach Out: If you’re struggling, reach out and get help.
Simplify Household Chores
It may feel like your list of chores is never-ending, and that’s okay. Try to embrace imperfection and accept that everything doesn’t need to be pristine all the time.
There’s a time and a place for perfection—this isn’t it. Trust me; your friends, family, and neighbors won’t care if your home is a little messy.
You have more important things to deal with!
If you’re struggling with the basics, get some help. Ask a friend. Ask your partner. Or lean on someone in your support group.
Summary: Members of the Two Under Two Club
The Two Under Two club takes you on a wild ride, one that’s filled with stress, tears, and fatigue, as well as laughter and joy. As a paid-up member of this club, I’ve experienced the highs and the lows and I know how hard it is to focus on your health throughout.
But it’s also essential, and learning that fact has made a big difference for me. Not only has it allowed me to focus more on my own mental, emotional, and physical well-being, but it has made me a stronger person for my children. After all, if I’m stressing less, sleeping more, and dealing with fewer physical issues, I am in a better position to help and support them.
Happy and healthy moms raise happy and healthy children! The least selfish thing you can do is take care of YOU!