How do you balance raising a toddler and an infant?

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Answered by: LaKendra, An Expert in the Life of the SAHM Category
Balancing Toddler and Infant Care

Being a stay at home mom has its perks but it can be hectic. In fact, I am in the process of entertaining my two littles right now as I write this article. My 5-month old has been screeching for the past few minutes to show her disdain for her rocker. She is sitting in my lap because she’s more interested in what mommy is doing. My 22-month old wants me to be audience to her and only her as she twirls in our living room to the alphabet song.

Needless to say, balancing raising a toddler and an infant can be exhausting and frustrating. Here are some tips to help you keep your sanity as a stay at home mom.

• Remember they are children.

They are your lovable bundles of joy, your precious jewels. And they will be themselves. Babies cry. This is their most common way to express their needs. They can’t tell you if they’ve wet or soiled their diaper, or if they’re hungry, or if they’re ear hurts, or if their sibling just poked them in the eye. The best way to say these things is to cry. So just remember when they cry that they are being babies.

Toddlers are balls of energy. They love to move. They throw things. Their attention spans are short. They think they’re independent but don’t really know what they’re doing. My daughter in particular gets frustrated quickly if she wants something and it’s not working out for her. (We’re working on helping her to handle her emotions.) I help her channel that energy into something positive: go on a scavenger hunt in her room for certain items, entertain the baby (who’s been crying for the past few minutes), get outside, throw a ball, call a relative, write a “letter”, “read” a book, stack some blocks and knock them down. The possibilities are endless.

Again, remember that children will be children. Babies will be babies. Toddlers will be toddlers. Teenagers will be teenagers. So don’t be surprised or frustrated when they act how they do; they’re just being themselves. And when they are being themselves, you remember that you are the parent. You are in control. You are their support and provider. You are their guidance.

• Use your support system.

If you are fortunate to live near family, let them watch the kids for a while. They are happy to take them off of your hands.Now that we have moved out of state, I really miss that aspect of our lives. I realize now that they were a great way to help me get some alone time, or to give me and my husband the opportunity to have a date night.

• Your spouse can help.

There are days when I find myself watching the clock at the end of the day because I can’t wait for my husband to get home and take the littles off my hands. I try not to bombard my husband as soon as he gets home from work; I give him a few minutes to settle in. But shortly after that, I ask for help if I need it. He hadn’t seen the littles all day, so he’s happy to play with them and keep them busy while I cook dinner or go catch a breather.

• Make time for yourself.

When you are more relaxed you will find yourself being more easygoing. Some people will say, “Sleep when they sleep.” This is great…when you can actually do that! My toddler has a set sleeping schedule, so it’s a little easier for me to know when she will be sleeping. My infant likes to take little cat naps. Maybe 15 mins, maybe 30 mins, maybe 2 hours! It really just depends on what she wants to do. This schedule is a little harder to work around. Even so, with my toddler asleep, my infant tends to sit quietly so that I can get some peace and quiet.

I’ve found that if I don’t get a chance to rest during the day like I wanted to, I just ask my husband to help out more in the evening (or I skip a load of laundry) and I go to bed early. That makes all the difference for the next day.

I am NOT a morning person, but I have found that waking up early in the morning allows me to have some quiet time to myself to be able to work out, read or do whatever I want while they’re still sleeping.

Balancing a toddler and an infant is not easy, but it’s fulfilling. Though there are days I want to pull out my hair (including the gray ones they have graciously given me), I wouldn’t trade my babies for the world.

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