Have you ever been at the grocery store while your child is throwing a tantrum and an older person approaches you by smiling and gently saying, “You’re going to miss this. The years fly by.” You’ve also heard comments throughout pregnancy like, “Oh it will be GREAT to have your kids close in age… You don’t want to wait too long, ya know.” And in these moments, you want to scream or cry, or both. You’re frustrated and you just want to grab your groceries and leave without someone telling you that you’re going to miss these horrible tantrums. Comments like these, though aren’t intentionally frustrating, are THAT much tougher to grasp your mind around when you’re pregnant. Emotions galore.
What’s harder to grasp is you know they’re right. You know they mean well and they’re just trying to help, but at that moment you came to grab your groceries, pack your kids in the car and get back home, as soon as possible.
Pregnancy is physically AND mentally draining. Daily tasks take more effort and energy than they normally would. Your toddler doesn’t understand why mama is exhausted and as hard as you’re trying to keep the normalcy present in the house, it seems nearly impossible some days.
There are SO many mamas that are juggling life with a toddler while preparing for their second baby on the way. Below are some tips on surviving pregnancy while making it easier on yourself and your toddler during this stage of both of your lives.
Lower Your Expectations
This is something I REALLY need to work on, but I’m slowly wrapping my brain around lowering my daily expectations. Instead of using five minutes here or there to pick up the numerous toys scattered across the living room, I’ve learned to use that time to grab a bite to eat or take a few minutes to myself. OR honestly, sit on the couch for the entire five minutes. There’s nothing wrong with lowering your expectations when you aren’t feeling 100%.
Ask For Help
Learn to express your needs to your partner and both of your families (if they live close like ours do). When you need your husband’s help with the household chores, ask him. If you need to sit down for a breather quick, tell him that. If you want him to change your toddler’s diaper/clothes, express that to him. Your loved ones will not think any less of you for asking for help. With my hubby and our families, they have always been happy to help by taking stress off both of us.
Prepare For Your Morning, The Night Before
This one has been a lifesaver for me throughout this pregnancy while toddler mommin’. Getting our outfits together, the diaper bag repacked, and my work essentials prepped the night before ensures I’ll have enough time in the morning. (OK, let’s face it – the morning still seems rushed, but it’s a HECK of lot less stressful.) I even go to the extreme of putting a new k-cup in my Keurig and placing a clean coffee mug on the tray. Every little bit helps, especially in the morning. I wrote 9 Daily Morning Habits to Become Healthier & Happier last year, but it outlines morning essentials that have helped me tremendously.
REST If You Need It
Too often, us mamas forget that we have to take care of ourselves. More specifically, sleep when you need the rest. We’re so busy chasing our toddler and ensuring their needs are met that we forget to serve our most basic needs. If your toddler is content, sit on the couch for a few minutes. Take a few breaths to recuperate. Caring for a toddler AND carrying a baby is HARD work. Allow yourself to unwind when you need it.
My husband and I have encouraged independence since our daughter was an infant. We really think that independent playtime allows our daughter to create her own imagination and learn simple tasks that she may not have without that independence. It also teaches her patience and critical thinking. Allowing your toddler to play independently is NOT a bad thing and you shouldn’t feel bad for them. To your surprise, they actually really enjoy learning on their own!
Drink LOTS of water
If you were to ask anyone I know, what I (generally) am always seen with, they would say my Yeti FULL of water. I’m a gal who believes in drinking the daily recommended amount of water. I truly believe the more water consumption, the better you’ll feel. Water is the key to feeling great and believe it or not, drinking MORE water has DECREASED my swelling that began around 26 weeks. Almost every day or at least every other day, I squeeze one lemon into my water. It not only has amazing benefits, but it adds flavoring without using any artificial sweeteners or flavors.
Tackle Chores After Your Toddler Goes to Bed
I know you want to lay down in the evening after taking your toddler to bed, but pick up the big stuff, prep for the morning, and THEN lay down. If there’s a chore that needs to be done that very night, do that one chore. Chores are chores and sadly, they’ll be here for you until you get back. If you can’t finish them the very night, don’t fret.
Don’t put all the stress on yourself to have a spotless house. Think about it. For what reason? If you’re having a party the next day, then sure, spend your whole night cleaning. If not, R-E-L-A-X, Mama Bear. Use this time to rest.
Train Your Mind to Listen to Your Body
Last but not least, while you’re in this stage of mothering your sweet toddler while riding the rollercoaster of pregnancy, learn to listen to your body. If you’re tired, go to bed. Don’t tell yourself you need to do XYZ because you simply want the task complete. Learn to do what your body is trying to tell you. You will be more rested, less tired, and feeling better if you listen then perform.
Have faith in yourself. You can do this, mama!
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