Why Raising Toddlers {close in age} Is Really, Really Exhausting AF

Hi. *yawns*. O, I’m sorry. I’m just rubbing my tired eyeballs as I try to chug my second cup of coffee before icicles form on top of my “World’s Best Mom” mug. I’m also trying to prevent one child from grabbing a knife from the kitchen counter while screaming at the other one to not jump off the sofa.

Contrary to what that mug says, I’ve been feeling less than anyone’s ‘best mom’ these days. Perhaps I’m too hard on myself but lately, I feel like my kids are getting the short end of the stick. They’re both going through some rough ‘phases’ right now and it’s hell. Why? Because raising toddlers is really, really exhausting.

No, I’m not just really tired, I’m exhausted. I’m emotionally, mentally, and physically exhausted.

The moment when I peed on that stick and those two faint lines appeared, I knew how hard it was going to be having kids just 18 months apart. It was like all of the worse things flashed before my eyes: double dirty-diapers, double melt-downs, double teething, double the fights, double the chaos.

In the beginning– it was hard. Now? It’s harder. You may think that I have my hands full and you are absolutely correct. 

Motherhood was golden when my second son was just an infant– he slept 95% of the time and wasn’t mobile. Sure, I had to factor in the multiple feedings per day and my first son going through the whole ‘big brother transition’, but looking back, THAT was the easy part. Phew. I was so naive back then.

I now have a 2.5 and 1 year old and I’m drowning. I’m not being dramatic, by any means, because I really, really am drowning– let’s just say that the {proverbial shit hit the fan} once my youngest turned 1. Game. Over.

If you’re curious as to why, I listed some of the reasons below. (And if you have two kids really close in age, then you feel me on this sista.)

 


 

They are beginning to fight with each-other.

I thought that I had a few more years before I would be refereeing my boys–my oldest will put my other son in a  headlock and pin him down. I’m breaking up fights more than I get to sit down.  O, and it’s not only physical they fight over ANYTHING… who has the better toy, who has the better sippy cup (they’re BOTH BLUE), who has the better food (YOU BOTH HAVE STRAWBERRIES). I feel like my day is 98% telling them to leave each other alone.

One of them is ALWAYS grumpy AF.

The only time my boys are content at the exact same time is when they’re eating or sleeping.

One of them is ALWAYS awake.

 THEY NEVER SLEEP AT THE SAME TIME. It would NEVER, EVER happen if both of them napped at the exact, same sweet time. Never. That would mean, falling asleep and waking up at the exact, same sweet time. And night-time is a gamble since our oldest sleeps IN our bed and frequently tosses and turns.

There’s always a phase.

One of them is ALWAYS going through some sort of ‘phase’ that makes life hard AF– because, like I said earlier, one of them is always grumpy.

Going out of the house feels like a freaking marathon.

If I could stay in my house 24/7 (without the risk of my boys or MYSELF going completely insane) I would. The whole process of going out is soooo daunting that if I’m planning on being out with my two boys, it better be worth it.

Grocery shopping is Hell.

If I had a to describe what Hell would be like, it would be grocery shopping with two toddlers. I can’t say much more about it except… I loathe it with every fiber in me.

They feed off of each-other.

Ugh. Yes. Whenever one of them has an uber melt-down moment, it’s a guarantee that the other one will! My youngest is notorious for being a ‘sympathy crier’ so if my oldest is in time-out and crying, my youngest immediately reacts. The worse is probably when we’re in the car and THEY BOTH start going off.

 

So there are a few {of the many} reasons why raising toddlers is exhausting! Can you relate? Don’t forget mama, we’re in this crazy and hectic mom-life together. x.

3 Ways You Can Help Your Partner Through Postpartum Depression

In the early days of my battle with postpartum depression, it was a lonely and scary time for me.

It felt like nobody knew what I was going through.

If you have never experienced postpartum depression (basically every male on the planet) or even depression, it’s impossible to understand the daily struggle of it.

I imagine that it’s also very frustrating.

 I know how hard it was for my husband to see me suffer from something so debilitating– he even told me how lost he was on being able to help me.

Truthfully, while I was at my worst, I didn’t need someone to talk to (that was actually the last thing that I wanted)— I didn’t need a therapist for a husband. I just needed my husband. I just needed him there– period. There was no secret thing to say because this was my battle and he could gush out all those lovey-dovey words he could think of and it would still not be enough.

Man, that’s real exhausting, isn’t it?

I can’t tell you how guilty I would feel because I was putting my husband through my depression– silly, isn’t it? Isn’t that such a mom/wife thing? Even when we’re going through a terrible struggle, we’re still worried about other people.

 

Perhaps your partner is struggling with postpartum depression (or there’s a strong chance to believe that she is– read the difference between the baby blues and postpartum depression here) and you have no idea what to do for her. And maybe you feel like you really can’t do anything…but I promise you that you can…and even though it may feel like she doesn’t need you right now, she needs you now more than ever.

 

 

 

1. Let her know that she’s not alone.

You don’t have to understand what she’s going through but you do have to let her know that she isn’t alone in this; depression is a very lonely time and our mind can take us to some pretty dark and twisted places.

Let her know that you will weather this storm with her– this storm will pass.

Here are a few ways in which you can let your partner know that she’s not alone in this struggle:

*let her know that you are always available to talk.

*remind her that there are blogs, facebook groups, and an abundance of resources out there for ppd.

*remind her that no mom is ever perfect and it’s okay to not always love motherhood.

*sit up with her in the middle of the night when it’s the loneliest time for her.

*ask her, “how are you feeling today?”

*never make her feel wrong for having ppd.

*connect her with other moms that experienced ppd so she has someone to relate with.

 

I want to add– don’t be discouraged if she’d rather talk to other moms about her struggle than to talk about it with you. Remember: this isn’t about you…her choice to not share these emotions is her decision. Respect that and be grateful that she can share the struggle with someone else.

 

 

2. Offer her your support.

She needs you THE MOST right now so your support is very needed.

Here are a few ways in which you can offer your partner support:

*reassure her that she’s doing a fantastic job with motherhood.

*respect her boundaries of not wanting to share every emotion but always offer an open ear.

*when she does open up, let her vent about it freely.

*never judge her.

*research postpartum depression on your own time to know as much as you can about it.

*if she wants to take medication, support that.

*if she wants to go to talk therapy, support that.

*if she’s not into being intimate, support that.

*urge her to do more things for herself while you watch the kids and support that.

 

3. Pay attention to her cues.

Have you ever felt like your partner is going off the deep-end and you have no idea why?

Why is she always snapping at the smallest things?

Why is she so moody every-night after dinner?

Why is she never happy to see me when I come home from work?

Listen, it’s the postpartum depression that is doing all that ugliness and until you begin to pick up on her cues, it will be much harder on her (and you!). She may be moody and snapping over a dirty kitchen sink and you need to just get over that and really pay attention to what she’s trying to tell you.

You can literally begin to make this time a little more easier for her (and again, you!) by simply paying attention to her cues and needs.

For example:

Why is she always snapping at the smallest things? – She probably reached a limit for the day and ANY tiny thing- from spilled milk to a whiny child- can send her over the edge.

What you can do: tell her to go take a walk, a bath, or you take the kids out to the park or a movie. She needs time alone. Kid-free.

Why is she so moody every-night after dinner? – It’s probably because the kitchen is now loitered with dirty dishes, a dirty stove, and grumpy kids that didn’t eat the 35 minute meal she prepared.

What you can do: offer to clean up the kitchen or to give the kids a bath– if she doesn’t tell you which one to do, make the move and start helping.

Why is she never happy to see me when I come home from work? – It’s not that she’s not happy to see you, it’s just that she’s tired and overwhelmed from a long day. She needs YOU to take over now.

What you can do: instead of jumping on a video game or going to the gym, here are three things you can do to ease her mind.

1. ask her if there’s any-thing that you can do now that you are home, 2. make dinner…if you can’t cook, order take-out, 3. give her some time to herself.

Postpartum depression can be a very lonely and scary struggle– remind her that she’s not alone, offer her support, and pay attention to her cues. You can weather this storm together.

 

Resources:

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My Postpartum Depression Story: Published by Scary Mommy

In November, I had the pleasant experience of getting my first article published by Scary Mommy; the story that Scary Mommy wanted to feature was about my battle with postpartum depression–I want to share with you my postpartum depression story that was published by Scary Mommy. I knew how important it was to get my word across to every mom out there that was, at some point in her life, dealing with what I was going through.

And, this was the outlet that I was looking for to get my voice out about my battle. Truthfully, nobody besides my husband knew that I was struggling with PPD– I was kind of nervous for this to be out in the open. Holy moly. People will read this….and then what? Think I’m a bad mom? Think I’m a terrible person?

Then the anxiety kicked in….

So, the day came when my article came out and I sat back (with chewed fingernails) and awaited all of the responses– and trust me, I was ONLY expecting the worse.

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Except, something kind of amazing happened. I didn’t read NOT ONE negative comment– instead, there was an outpouring of support and kind words. A few of my mom friends even reached out to me and expressed how they, too, suffered from PPD and how reading my story made them feel not alone.

 

**Go here to read my postpartum depression article published by Scary Mommy.**

 

Since my story has been seen by the world (or at least a lot of people), I became an advocate for moms that struggle with PPD and anxiety as well as mental health. I’m so fortunate that Scary Mommy gave me a chance to get my story out.

So, momma, I want you to know that Postpartum depression is REAL and you are not alone! I promise.

 

Self-Care For Those That Suffer From Depression

When you suffer from depression, it’s not always easy to find things that make you feel good. I really had to dig deep to find things that make me happy. And not just that, but to actually apply it to my daily life. 

As you may know, it can be a real battle to get moving on your hardest day when struggling with depression. However, it’s still so important to practice self-care and I’ve learned that the smallest things can really help my mindset; here are some things that I like to do when I’m in need of some self-care.

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This post contains affiliate links. That means, at no cost to you, I will receive compensation if you purchase something through one of these links. For more information about this, see my disclosure here.

 

Essential oils-

I’ve never been the type to get into the hooplah of essential oils but once I tried them, I’m not really sure why I shyed away from them for so long. I make sure to incorporate essential oils into my daily life- lavender, cedarwood, orange and grapefruit are just a few of my favorites and I use them by rubbing on my temples/wrists or diffusing. 

Check out my favorite brand of essential oils that I purchase through Amazon.

Epsom salt bath-

Whenever I can, I love to soak in a hot bath…accompanied by epsom salts and some lavender oil. It’s extremely relaxing and also a good way to detoxify the body.

I also would recommend these Dr. Teal’s epsom salts because they’re amazing!

Step outside-

It’s just a proven fact that the sunshine & warm weather puts me in a better mood. I love being outdoors so much and I try to get out even for a few minutes a day. In the summer time, I make it a habit to lay outside in my hammock to enjoy the fresh air. 

Move your body-

Even when you don’t feel like it, move your body… a short walk, a jog, anything. I can guarantee you to feel better because of those amazing little endorphines that will put off your “feel good” senses. 

Put the phone down-

It’s not an easy thing to do, especially in today’s modern society, but whenever I’m feeling very overwhelmed and stressed out, I turn off my phone. My phone is such a huge distraction and sometimes social media is a real mood killer. I’ve found that the days when I don’t check facebook, my mind feels better.

Buy yourself flowers-

This is something I recently started to do and for some funny reason, it helps my mood. Once a week, I try to buy some fresh flowers at the local market to put in my kitchen. I always try to pick the brightest colors and for about 2 euro, I have an instant mood booster in my home.

Create a routine-

Once you establish a routine of self-care make sure to stick with it. When we’re not feeling our best, it’s more important than ever to take care of ourselves!

There you have it.

Those are some of the things that I love to do for self-care. 

Let me know which ones you try out and tell me your favorite self-care methods!

 

Why I Will Actually Miss the Toddler Years

Toddlers. Tiny rambunctious humans with way too much energy and too many emotions to contain…full of NOs, questions and curiosity…they can be a handful. You may have heard of the terrible 2s, terrible 3s and so-on….but, what if I told you that I will actually miss this phase?

Just wait a sec and hear me out on this.

My oldest will be 3 in September and he’s now entering a really fun phase. He is potty trained, he can communicate more with us and is saying new words every day, he gets VERY excited about his favorite things and his attention span has lengthened so he stays occupied for longer periods. He is understanding the world around him more…what makes him happy & sad and so on. He is learning just what he is capable of doing…even when he thinks that he can’t, he will try it and be amazed at what he really can do. It’s really quite amazing for me, as a mom, to see him progress and learn as much as he is. It’s also so rewarding….because all the days of talking, repeating what things are and so on seem to be paying off.

It’s amazing and yet so incredibly bittersweet. Of course I want my babies to learn, grow and be independent, but it’s always a battle of wanting them to grow and wanting them to stay little forever.

There’s also the affection that my toddler gives us which may be the BEST type of reward for those long and hard mom days. He will randomly give me kisses or hug my leg. He gives us long hugs and squeezes…and then there’s the pats on the back that come with those hugs. It’s when his little hand reaches out for mine that makes my heart melt or how he stays glued by my side when he meets someone new. It’s when I lay down with him at night and he hands me his train book & declares “read”; one by one he will tell me which color each train is and the excitement on his face is priceless. It’s in that moment when a train in a book is enough to light up my son’s face that I know how precious this age truly is.

And how fast it will fade by.

Pretty soon, faster than I would like, my toddler will be heading off to kindergarten. He’ll be off making friends and he won’t want to hold my hand anymore. When I pick him up from school, he will excitedly tell me about his day and what he learned about, and I will sit back and smile. And as much as I long for the days of a little more time to myself, he will also grow a little more away from me.

Pretty soon, he won’t want the extra cuddles or kisses…and the random squeezes around my leg will become less & less. He will also grow out of his love for certain “kid” things and find the world around him less exciting. He won’t want to chat about the simple things and he will probably think I’m not so cool anymore. He will lose his baby face, grow taller & won’t want to be tucked into bed at night. And then will come the dreaded day when he won’t want me to kiss him in front of his friends (although I still will) & instead of picking flowers for his momma, he’ll be picking flowers for a girl. (although I hope he will still think of me from time to time)

So as hard as it can be parenting a toddler, I desperately try to remember that some-day when I have a moody teenager with a crackling voice, I will want these days back. And so I give my toddler one more squeeze and read him his train book one more time.