How to Deal with the Stress of Raising Two Kids

A big thank you to Murris from familyhype.com for sharing this piece with us! We all know how stressful one child can be, and these tips for coping with two are great!

Having a second child on the way can be amazing, but it can also be the most stressful time of your life if you’re not prepared. Here are some ways you can deal with the stress and have the best time of your life.

Tell Your Child About the Sibling

Sibling rivalry is a trope that doesn’t have to exist. Inform the sibling to be about what is going to happen. You can show them books, videos, or other information about the child, and perhaps they can think of what the child’s name is and help with the room for the new baby.

For more information on how to tell your child about it, go to familyhype.com.

Obviously, they may be jealous, and their feelings are valid. Just make sure that they realize they will be loved just as much, too. If they express jealousy, don’t guilt trip them, but ensure them that everything is gonna be okay.

Also, the firstborn’s opinions may change. At first, they may love their baby brother or sister.

However, whenever the baby grows older and becomes more independent, there may be some challenges. For example, the toddler may take toys or mess with the sibling in different ways. Be vigilant.

Teach Your Firstborn to Be More Independent

Preparing the food and making the beds of two kids can be a challenge. If your firstborn is old enough to be in school, they can learn to dress themselves, prepare snacks, and be more independent. Teaching your child about adult tasks is always a good idea, but besides that, it can help make everything so much more easier.

You as a mom need to make sure that your mental health is also at the forefront too.

Teach The Sibling to Be Protective, Not Jealous

As the older sibling, they should learn how to protect their baby sibling against any danger.

The child is now the caretaker too, and they can help feed, burp, rock to sleep, and take care of the baby in general. Don’t let the child feel like they aren’t being treated equally.

Budget

Laying out a budget is a good idea for any situation, but especially for having a second kid.

One kid is costly enough, so when you have two, that is a bit of problem. Think about the cost of everything and set aside even more money to cover it. Make sure you have all expenses paid. Eliminate any unneeded expenses. Cook more at home. It doesn’t take long for you to set up a good budget that works for you. Find that budget, and you’ll feel much better afterwards.

It Doesn’t Have to Be Perfect

With the firstborn, there is often overprotection and perfectionism. Everything has to be completely safe for the baby, and there shouldn’t be anything that goes wrong. However, as you give birth to the second baby, some parents realize that they can be more lax on their second born. You don’t have to worry as much. With that said, you shouldn’t be lazy, but you can relax a little more.

Make Sure to Take Care of Yourself as Well

One of the best pieces of advice we can give you is to take care of yourself. No one is going to take care of you, after all. Stressing is natural, but too much stress can hurt you. Instead, take some time to wind down. Work out a little. Get outside and take a walk. Make sure you’re sleeping and perhaps have someone else help with the chores. Take some time to yourself too and work out any stress you may have.
Perhaps you can go out for the weekend and have your parents watch the kids. This may seem like a cop-out, but not only do the grandparents love watching their grandkids, but you need time to recover from the stress. While some stress is good, too much can hurt you in the long run, and it’s something you should avoid at all times.

Enjoy Parenting

One of the best pieces of advice we can give you is to take care of yourself. No one is going to take care of you, after all. Stressing is natural, but too much stress can hurt you. Instead, take some time to wind down. Work out a little. Get outside and take a walk. Make sure you’re sleeping and perhaps have someone else help with the chores. Take some time to yourself too and work out any stress you may have.

Perhaps you can go out for the weekend and have your parents watch the kids. This may seem like a cop-out, but not only do the grandparents love watching their grandkids, but you need time to recover from the stress. While some stress is good, too much can hurt you in the long run, and it’s something you should avoid at all times.

Parenting is a part of life, so why not make it fun? Show new places to your children. Play games. Make memories. Don’t spend most of your life stressed if you don’t need to. Parenting with two kids doesn’t have to be a challenge; it can be the start of an even bigger family that can go on many adventures.

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Mental Health Monday: Anxiety about having more children after PND

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When I was a 14 year old, my dream for my family life was to have twin girls (Lily and Olivia) and then a boy (Henry). I don’t think i need to go into the whys and wherefores about how that changed, but it certainly did.

Following the birth of Olivia, I suffered with Postnatal Depression for the majority of her first year. Having also had antenatal depression and just not being in the best mental state generally, I sort of knew that I would suffer with PND, though I didn’t expect it to be as bad as it was or to last as long as it did. Whenever I think back to her being a baby, it makes me sad. I didn’t enjoy her being a little baby because I was under so much mental stress at the time. Of course, I can think back to happy times as well as times when I was in the middle of a breakdown, but on the whole, reflecting on her baby stage just makes me feel angry at myself, and terrified it will happen again.

Like I said, I no longer want twin girls and a boy (and my plan for having the twins first has gone to pot anyway), but I have written previously on the blog about why I don’t want any more children now and why I never want to be pregnant again. The PND plays a huge part in that.

I carry so much anxiety with me from my experience of having Olivia that things would be the same again. I honestly could not face that same depression again. It was quite crippling in many ways, and 2 years after Olivia was born I am still dealing with the aftermath and the guilt.


There’s a great twitter chat hosted by Rosey at PND & Me which has covered this topic before, and I liked reading the comments of people joining in and their very mixed experiences…

Some had PND only with the 1st child, some with both, some only with the 2nd or subsequent. I suppose, the point is, that everyone will have different experiences and every pregnancy will be different.

But we knew that already! So…

What are the actual statistics?

  • PND affects more than 10-15% of women within a year of giving birth (that’s about 35,000 women!)
  • Up to 1 in 10 fathers also suffer from postnatal depression following the birth of a baby
  • 33% of mothers who experienced depression in pregnancy then suffered with PND
  • A history of depression makes it more likely that you will suffer postpartum depression
  • Mums who have had postnatal depression with one child are more likely to suffer again with subsequent children

I’d like to think that I’m not the only mum who worries that this would happen again, after all, there are so many of us who have suffered with it once, twice or however many times.

My husband and I often look at each other when Olivia does something unbelievably cute, suggesting another one, but he knows that I don’t want anymore and I feel guilty for that too. But at those times when we think “aww, look how cute our baby girl is,” I do wish I could bring myself to have another child. I wish I could do it knowing that I would be able to enjoy the baby stage like I couldn’t with Olivia, but there are no guarantees, and really, I don’t think I’m cut out for doing it all again.

In my moments of weakness (as I call them) when I think I want another baby, I feel so conflicted because as much as I would love to have another child, I can’t face feeling like I did during my pregnancy and feeling all of the guilt afterwards of not being able to bond with the baby and feeling like I’m simply inadequate!

I know that things are really quite different now – I have none of the external drama going on that I did during my pregnancy with Olivia, so maybe because my life is more stable now, my mind would be too. If I do end up having another one I’ll be sure to let you know 😉 but, for now, Olivia is more than enough, and I am enjoying being her mummy. I can’t go back to what I was when she first arrived, so I’ll carry on being the best mummy I can be to her and we’ll just see what fate has in store for us.

Have you survived PND and gone on to have more children? How were things a second time around?

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