“Good luck!” That was the standard reply when people would find out I was pregnant, see me already with a baby and ask “what will be the age gap”. My reply of “about 14-15 months” would be met by glances that changed from joy at my pregnancy to concerned stares and general confusion about how that was possible.
The next second most common question was “oh – well was that on purpose”. This was normally followed by more concerned stares, or crazy laughter and violent head shaking. Nothing evokes complete honesty like a pregnant woman. Luckily I’m a pretty nosey person, so no questions ever bothered me (I’d probably be asking them if it wasn’t me)!
Well whether it was on purpose or not – it happened. As I get a lot of questions about it, I thought I might give my point of view on what it’s really like.
The truth of the matter is having children is hard – period. It doesn’t matter how far apart you have them, there are different challenges each step of the way. Closer together means you have two babies on your hands (which, to be completely honest, is very,very difficult at times!) – further apart means you have to deal with toddler tantrums and jealousy.
The best thing you can do to deal with having “Irish twins” (as our paediatrician labelled it) is to be organised. Did someone say organised?! Yay!
Here are some tips for anyone in the same situation:
- Me time: take me time every day! This is number one as it’s so important. Even just sitting for 10 minutes with a cuppa will help. It might sound impossible but you can do it…even if it isn’t until later in the evening. Here is something to consider:
- Find out what “your thing” is…what in earth do I mean? Think about something that makes you truly happy that you do on a regular basis. A coffee & reading the paper? Walking? Mad Pinterest pinning (guilty as charged!)….work out one simple thing you love & try to do that each (or every other) day. It makes a big difference to your positivity!!!
- Routine: a couple of weeks after you come home, get into a routine. It may sound boring, but it helps! Plan a time where they will be asleep together (this might take a little while, don’t worry!). I also bathed my girls together, so the bedtime routine didn’t go on FOREVER!
- Calendar: keep a calendar to organise your appointments and catch ups. I have a monthly whiteboard on our kitchen wall which you can rub out and reschedule each month.
- Use your calendar to be prepared – if you have a birthday that month think about the present a few weeks before – then you can buy the gift online (as per point 7!).
- To do list: write a to-do list (either electronic or on paper). Categorise things as “must do” for the week and try and do one of those each day. The others are “nice to do” and no so important. Be realistic – both about what is urgent and how much you can get done!
- Set aside time in the morning to do things if you can. This is the most effective way of getting your “must dos” done – once the kids are having a morning nap (if that happens!), make yourself a coffee or tea, jump on the computer and work through your list!
- Shopping: be efficient with shopping – this goes for food and in general. Do food shopping online. It takes a while the first time, but set up a regular orders list and use this each time. Find good online stores for clothes/gifts/kiddie things and use those for purchases instead of running around the shops – unless of course you want to!
- Meal Prep: try to plan your weekly meals. Cut up extra food (like cubes of cheese or carrot sticks) when you are preparing dinner or make larger meals so you can save some for lunch or freeze for another meal.
- Activities: before your second baby comes, be prepared with activities for your older child to keep them busy when you need to do things (busy books, imagination boxes etc.). Try and spend some one-on-one time with them for a little while each day if possible.
Don’t worry if you feel overwhelmed in the beginning – that’s normal (well I think so!). It will get better, promise!
All in all remember you are in charge of how you feel – remind yourself this will pass! If you have a bad day, just let it go and remember tomorrow is another, different day & will be better. And if your dishes aren’t done – who cares!
Does anyone have a smaller age gap than 14 months? Or some tips to add?