Blogging from the seaside town of North Berwick, mother of two, Amy Lorimer is author of Diddle Diddle Dumpling where she documents her journey through motherhood. We asked Amy to share with us her take on going from one child to two and her tips on how to make it work.
Hi Amy, can you share a bit about yourself?
I’m a 24 year old mother to toddler John (2.5 years) & baby David (10 months). We live in Edinburgh, right by the beach. I blog over at Diddle Diddle Dumpling, a blog I started back in 2011 whilst trying to conceive a baby which eventually turned out to be John! It’s since followed me through my first pregnancy, John’s life, my second pregnancy & now life with John and David. I work part time & the rest of the time I spend tripping over toy cars, making meals & taking photos of our boys. It’s a pretty normal life but a great one nonetheless!
What’s been the hardest adjustment going from one to two kids?
Sleep deprivation is much worse, as unlike first time around, you really can’t sleep when the baby does, or just have a long lie after a rough night. Plus you need to quickly realise you can’t split yourself in two, nor evenly divide yourself between two kids. Ones needs will always be higher than the others which is a tough reality but one that you have to accept quickly as not to push yourself over the edge!
Do you have any tips introducing a new baby to his/her siblings?
Since I had a hospital birth with an over night stay afterwards, I can only advise in that environment. We made a point of making sure David was in his fish tank (aka. hospital cot) when John first came to see him. Only once I’d had a cuddle with John did we show him David, asking if he’d like a cuddle. Once David was out, we gave John a wee parcel from him (a Big Brother t-shirt, a copy of My New Baby book & a new toy car). My parents then cuddled David so I could get a proper catch up with John & read his book to him. And as we now tandem breastfeed, I also made a point of feeding David before John arrived, as not to make John feel he’d been replaced or lost his Mummy.
How do you make sure both your children get the attention they need?
If I’m brutally honest, a lot if the time they don’t. Of course, they get everything they really need but some of the time I struggle to evenly split myself between them. Too often I have to leave one kid crying whilst I deal with the other – usually it’s a case of who can shout the loudest. It’s not ideal but it’s reality. I do make a point of doing one-on-one time during naptimes though and try to make time for days when Daddy takes one & I take the other.
How do you achieve a good work/life balance?
I’ve only just returned to work so we’re still adjusting to this new hurdle. With everything else in life right now, we make things work by prioritising. My house may be a wreck and I have no social life but the bills are paid and the kids are clothed. Plus packing bags & choosing outfits the night before helps too. And I’d be lost without my iPhone calendar to remind me what day it is and where we need to be.
How do you deal with childcare?
We opted for nursery with John, with David now joining him at the same fantastic local nursery. We chose nursery for a variety of reasons but mainly because the hours worked best for mine & Daddy’s contrasting work hours. As Daddy works late, he does the drop off and as I work early, I do the pick up. The boys do two days a week there & my Mum watches them one day too. I’m also trying to do as much overtime at the weekends when they’ll spend the day with their Daddy. It’s a bit of juggling but it quickly becomes routine.
Do you have any essential parenting advice you’d like to share?
When leaving the house, dress the baby first & toddler last. Why? Because if you do the toddler first, it’s guaranteed they’ll be naked by the time everyone else is ready. But really, the best advice I can give, regardless of the number of kids you have, is that the house will still be a mess, the windows still in need of a clean & the floors still in need of a mop in 18 years from now. Your kids though, won’t need you same. Forget the unimportant things & enjoy the now. You’ll have plenty of time to tidy up when they’ve gone!