It’s a small mercy that I barely remember my first day on my own with both kids: Predictably, it was a disaster. The day involved a lot of tears, boiling over macaroni, leaking boobs and at least one text informing my husband in no uncertain terms that we were done having kids. But we survived—and you can, too, when it comes time for your first day on your own with kids.
After all, as hard as that first day was, it wasn’t all bad. I managed to put Peeper down for a nap (success!). And as I was rocking both kids in the rocking chair, Peeper kept reaching over and petting her newborn sister’s fuzzy head. It was beautiful. It was tender. It was a moment that kept me from completely giving up.
To get through your first day on your own with kids, New Mom, I’m offering a few tips. Some of these helped me during the early and hard months of having two kids, and some I’ve heard from others.
Until it gets easier—and it will get easier!—here’s how to make it through your first day on your own with kids.
New mom of 2 kids: You can do it!
- Accept it’ll be hard. Going into your first day on your own with two kids with the expectation you’ll cruise right through it will make you feel like an utter failure. Know ahead of time that it’ll be hard—and you’ll be less hard on yourself.
- Reach out. Text a friend (or ten) throughout the day, and pick ones you feel comfortable venting to. Another mom of multiple kids will totally not judge when you admit your toddler has been naked for the last two hours because you just can’t manage to get her into clothes.
- Try to get out. Home can start to feel like a prison if you don’t make sure to leave it once in a while. So go to new moms’ group, check out your library’s story time, join a Hike It Baby outing or just go to the grocery store (and don’t forget to restock your ice cream).
- Don’t worry about being late. If you do make it to something out of the house, know you’ll probably be late. It’s hard getting everyone out of the house anytime, not to mention when it’s your first day on your own with kids. Everyone will understand.
- Prep the night before. Trying to make a PBJ one-handed while you wear the baby and hold your toddler on your hip is futile. Do yourself a solid and prep as much as you can—snacks and lunch, packing the diaper bag, unloading the dishwasher—the night before. Even better, have your partner or a friend do the prep for you.
- Build in self-care. When motherhood feels this hard, as it inevitably will the first day you have two kids by yourself, you need to treat yourself. So lie down when you can (even if it’s just on the kitchen floor for 60 seconds—been there), find something small that feels rejuvenating (chocolate!) and take as many tiny breaks as you can throughout the day.
- Find away time. Prepare your partner or whoever is helping later on that you will need a break—emphasis on need—as soon as he or she gets home. I know from very personal experience that this is often the witching hour when Baby is crankiest. So get everyone on the same page (“I know Baby will be grumpy and probably crying, but can you please take her for a 15-minute walk so I can take a short bath?”) and then hold yourself to it.
- Be gentle with yourself. Yes, millions of mothers have managed to take care of two kids (and many more!) by themselves. Yes, your super-perfect neighbor always looks flawless while caring for her kids on her own. Yes, you wanted this. These things do not mean it will be easy for you—especially your first day on your own with kids. So try not to beat yourself up. You’ll get better at taking care of two (or more) kids. And pretty soon you’ll be the one offering advice to new moms on how to survive—no, excel—at taking care of kids with no help.
Do you have any wisdom on how to make it through your first day on your own with kids?