When I had just one kid, I could usually stay one step ahead of him. Not including the newborn stage of course - that stage was cloudy, foggy and downright blinding. I was at least ten steps behind and probably not even on the right path. (But that story is over here, if you want to read it.) This story, what I'm trying to say, is with my son, I could fairly easily make progress each day. Beyond putting dinner on the table and keeping up with housework, I utilized nap times for DIY projects, planning a Pinterest-worthy first birthday party and getting all the other to-do's and to-like-to-do's crossed off the list. Sure, my world still revolved around him, but I just moved him around so my orbit could easily get everything done. He was my side-kick. My buddy. My partner in crime. There wasn't anything we couldn't get done in a day (barring sickness or teething - if you had that, well, all bets were off).
But life with two? I'm trying, I really am - but I am always, and forever will be, one step behind. It's one of those things that with each task, I have a decision: I can unload the dishwasher or supervise the toddler while he "plays" with the baby. If I choose to unload the dishwasher, I will find my toddler feeding the newborn's wide-open, bird-like mouth, mulch and poisonous berries while humming "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star." (Can you say creepy?) Or, let's try another example: I can try to beat the clock by bringing in all the cold groceries from the car on a hot day, only to make the newborn irate from hunger and giving the toddler time to dig through the trash for a train he threw in there, dumping coffee grounds, spoiled food and diapers all over the floor.
Basically, if I'm to get anything done during the day, one of two things will inevitably happen. One: The toddler gets into mischief making a giant mess that probably nearly kills the newborn - and of course, I'll need to do double time to clean up while he "helps." (And we all know a toddler helping ain't really any help at all.) Or two: Both kids end up bawling.
And honestly, I don't really like either option.
Over the past month or so, I've juuuust started getting them both napping on the same(ish) schedule and while it helps, usually I'm so zonked by the time the greatness of Nap Utopia comes around, all I wanna do is pour myself another round (Of coffee of course!) and zone out to social media/tv/a blank wall/anything that will turn my brain turn to mush. I'm learning to try to use at least that first 1/2 hour to hour of the nap to be productive and give the apartment a quick blitz, fold some laundry and make sure the meat is de-thawed for dinner, but after that, I give myself some much needed downtime. Honestly, all bets are off for how long the kids will sleep after that first hour, so at least if they wake I'll feel a little more prepared for the afternoon.
It's not to say there are no moments where both kids are happy and I can zip around getting things done. Just yesterday in fact, Eli played on the patio with Colette (She just sat like a vegetable on her bouncer - but he seems to like to hand her things on her face, so let's call it "playing.") for a solid half hour while I cleaned the kitchen and started dinner while watching them out of the corner of my eye. I suppose I just want to take a bit of time to recognize that - and recognize that I know it'll get easier as they continue to play more and get a bit older.
But right now, I'm learning to be content being one step behind. As I sit here and type this, I'm staring a laundry basket that needs folding, non-refridgerated groceries and toiletries that need put away from this morning's trip to Target, three dirty diapers and a couple boxes of new diapers that are needed to restock our empty stash - and I even used the first half of nap time to be productive. (I know, I can hardly believe that myself.) Today, I'm a whole lot more than one step behind and the old, mom-of-one me would really, really, really struggle with it. But these days, I'm learning to embrace it.
I'm learning to take each task slow, expecting interruptions, setbacks and delays and to lower my expectations for what each day looks like. When I was a mom of one, Eli and I could get a whole lot done in a day. Sine he was so young, he was content to just hang with me and do what I did, and since he was my world, I could easily give him all my attention and meet his needs in a heartbeat. But with two, I'm divided, bouncing from one need to the next, babygirl, Eli, the house. Plus, now that Eli's older, he has a whole lot of wants that he loves to make known in the loudest way possible that plays into a day too.
So, if I choose to take the kids to run out and be productive by picking paint colors and new hardware for the new house and stop at a park afterwards to make my toddler's day, I may not have time to clean up breakfast or fold laundry or unload the car until nap time, and that's okay. Nobody sees it but me. The dishes can wait. The laundry can wait. The bags from our errands can wait. The dirty diapers on the floor can't wait though - GET THAT STANK OUTTA THE HOUSE.
I'm okay with being one step behind, because I'm one step behind for two pretty wonderful reasons.
pssst. The winner of the Little Tikes Scooter Giveaway is Thao Habeck! Thao, check your email for a note from me to redeem your prize. And everyone else, get excited, because Little Tikes wants to do MORE giveaways with Oakland Avenue for all of YOU - so you'll have more chances to win awesome toys in the future!