You double your workload when baby number two arrives. It amazing that your heart has the capacity to love more. Your brain has the ability to work and worry twice as hard, too. But no worries, working mama, because you can handle this!
Becoming a working mom of two has its challenges. If you're heading back to work with two small kids in your arms, here are six suggestions on how to handle your double duties
Recognize That Each Child is Different
It'd make going back to work easy-peasy if everything one kid needed the other one needed, too. Unfortunately, that's not reality. You are dealing with two different personalities. For example, how they will want to say goodbye to you will be different. One may cling to your legs for dear life and the other will run off without a kiss on your cheek.
You'll be better off if you adopt this mindset early on. You'll save yourself some grief when you accept that every child is different, even your own. Avoid comparing them because they are each unique in their own special way.
If you don't want to double your worrying pay attention to each child's actions and other people's observations of your children. Get to know their personalities and appreciate their differences. Also, get your spouse into this mindset, too, so you can help each other learn about your children.
Worry Less with Mad Organization Skills
With double the kids, you're going to forget things. Did you forget to pack her blankie? Did you tell his teacher his nightmares last night! Ugh! You forgot to hand in the permission slip!!
Be prepared to grow some amazing organization skills, mama! You must start writing stuff down as soon as you think of them.
Start an excel sheet or buy a pretty notebook and get your to-do things organized. Keep lists of things to pack, things to mention, and things to plan. Get a big calendar and plan out your week, month, and year. With two kids comes double the activities, birthday parties, and doctor appointments. But if you make it habit to focus on organizing the double demands of your kids your worrying should subside (a bit).
Time and Prepare Your Meals
Meals will be double the effort and take twice as long to eat. You can make it easier on yourself with meal planning and a timer. When there's no guess work involved and an end time in sight meal time is less stressful.
To help make your first meal run smoothly set the table for breakfast the night before. Lay out bowls, spoons, cups, and bottles for everyone. Before you sit down to eat set a timer so your older child doesn't take too long to eat. The earlier you start this habit the better off you'll be when you head back to work. You don't want to be rushing into work because your kiddo took forever to eat their Cheerios.
At dinner time you'll need to breastfeed your baby or make their bottle and then make dinner for everyone else. Offer your oldest child a healthy snack to munch on while you feed the baby.
If your spouse is a chef you're the luckiest girl in the world! Otherwise, try to prepare meals that the three of you can eat so that you're not making two different dinners.
Managing Twice the Clean-Up
Another kid means double or triple loads of laundry, set of toys to pick up, and a new room to keep clean. Phew! It's time to step up your clean up skills!
It's great if you can do one load of laundry per day. Folding and putting away one load isn't so bad. But if you run up against a mountain of clothes, sheets, and towels to fold make the best of it and listen to a podcast that will enhance your career. I suggest the James Altucher Show or This is Your Life with Michael Hyatt. Since you'll be spending more time doing laundry you might as well use the time wisely!
Repeat after me, "Baskets are my best friend".
It's hard to keep things organized with double the toys and double the kids scattering them all over the house. Until you are able to assign everything in your home a home use baskets to clean-up quick!
Make Rest a Priority
You aren't going to get much sleep for the next few years. Yet you'll be amazed at how much you'll be able to accomplish on four hours of sleep. Just because you're sleep deprived doesn't mean you forget about the habits you had in place before baby number two arrived. You ambition doesn't die off because you popped out another kid! If you want to succeed you're going to need to squeeze in rest when you can.
Small chunks of rest will go a long way. You'll get a few hours of sleep per night, so look for a time during the day where you can rest. There's the obvious lunch time break where you can do more than just eat. Get away from the office, find a quiet place, like your car or under a shady tree and close your eyes. Make sure you set a loud alarm on your phone in case you doze off.
This is a great time for you to learn meditation. It's not that hard! Do you ever wish you could just turn everything off and take a break? This is what meditation can give you. Look for a guided meditation app to start you off like the ones Tara Brach offers (she also has a podcast) or the Mindfulness App.
Anticipate the Fight For Your Attention
There is one of you and three of them. Your kids and your spouse will always want your attention, sometimes at the same time. To ease frustration, you'll need to manage their requests and expectations.
Teach everyone what the word interrupt means. Your newborn won't get it but everyone else should. When more than one person is trying to talk to you say, "I can't hear anyone because you are all talking at the same time. If you want me to answer your question please talk one at a time without interrupting."
The fight for your attention will never stop so get creative with your responses. Most of my children are in elementary school and I still to manage their fight for my attention.
When it frustrates you look on the bright side, you are one popular gal.
Your double workload will take some time to get used to. Once you find your groove things will get easier and everyone will adapt to your new lifestyle. If you start to feel overwhelmed close your eyes and take a deep breath. Then say to yourself, "I'm a working mom of two now. I can do this."