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How to take care of two kids alone

People ask me how I manage alone with 2 babies. And keep the house (relatively) clean. And blog. And work (from home). Truth is, I honestly don’t know. There were some tears (from all parties involved), some hair falling, some meltdowns, some hiding under the kitchen sink and lots of bubble tea. Somehow or other, I’ve survived the worst and I can only imagine that it will get better from here.

So here’s my secret if you really want to know. I take help from wherever I can get and I make it a day at a time.

Most of the help comes from Superdad, who brings home the bacon and also feeds it to the kids. So I don’t have to worry about work and I can enjoy being a mom. Then he comes home from work and helps with the chores, feeds the kids and puts them to bed. And he listens to me so I can exhaust my 40,000 words a day. Most of all, he tells me that it’s going to be ok, which means that if it doesn’t turn out ok, it’s all on him and I get to scream “it’s all your fault“. That’s strangely liberating.

On weekends and occasional weekdays, my folks help out with the kids. My mom is their default babysitter and my sister does a decent job of watching them for us. When I’m desperate, I let my brother and aunty Bernie have their turn getting tormented. The key is rotation so they don’t get overwhelmed and they actually *want* to do it. Too much and it’ll scare them off permanently. You don’t want that.

Sometimes we also have friends who will help babysit. I know parents who can’t leave their kids or kids who refuse to be left with babysitters. We’re all too happy to let other people enjoy the merits of spending a whole evening with 2 babies. Again, the key is having cute kids so that they also *want* to do it. If you have brattish kids, this will not work. Then I recommend that you leave them with me for a week of boot camp training. Don’t worry, I’m fully certified by Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International.

When the house gets unbearably filthy and I start to find giant hairballs in the babies’ mouths (don’t ask), it’s time to get a cleaner to restore some order. Ideally, once every fortnight is optimum. They will help with stuff that I refuse to do, like scrubbing the toilets, picking up hairballs, ironing the clothes, washing the kitchen, stuff like that. When they’re there, you also get to yell at them to let off steam.

Finally, I send my kid to school for 3 hours everyday so he can inflict torture on new people learn stuff while I go gallivanting around town. Plus point: they are so tired when they get home that they’ll take a 3-hour nap while you chill out some more.

There you have it. Tips to surviving motherhood without a maid. It’s all about managing the tools in your disposal and making people think that they want to help you. If that doesn’t work, then you just have to suck it up and pay them to do it. You’re welcome.

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  • Reply Jordie January 12, 2010 at 5:14 pm

    You are amazing and i absolutely admire your tenacity and good humor in the face of what can be a draining and mundane task of being a stay-at-home mother. And you put it into prose perfectly – you must have had a career in writing or journalism?

  • Reply jennifer May 31, 2011 at 1:34 pm

    Don’t mean to be rude, but alone you absolutely are not. I’m trying to find information on caring for a newborn and toddler by myself. Not simply daytime care. You also have help on the weekends!! I hope your hose is more than relatively clean. If your amazing then I can’t even think of a word to describe myself. I’ve never had a night without my child who is turning two next month. The first time will probably be when i’m in labor end of august. Even then i’m planning on coming home asap to care for her. I am the definition of “alone”. Dad doesn’t spend much time with her and even when he does never takess her by herself. On top of that all my family is across the country. So pardon me if I get a little upset when people comment to you “I don’t know how you do it”. Come on!! I never make comments but probably would have a difficult time sleeping if I hadn’t. I simply am in need of real tips on caring for two children. And the tip should not be to take help whenever I can because I have none.

    • Reply jackie June 11, 2011 at 8:16 pm

      I am also a single mother of three, not because I am alone, but he doesn’t want to help (if i understood correctly). I have a six year old, 1 1/2 year old and three month old. I can only recommend taking it a day at time and, creating a schedule. I have benifited a lot from a nap schedule because I am a full time student online, and that requires a lot of reading. Also for my oldest since it is summer i bought her activity books and my son has blocks that he can focus on for awhile while i take time for myself (with them under supervision). it takes work but be strong, nobody knows but you what works, so play with it.

    • Reply Anonymous February 17, 2016 at 2:32 pm

      I was thinking the same thing as you when I read the blog. The writer seems to have the easiest position for raising children. She doesn’t work, and she is married to a husband that supports her and helps out. I once was a single mom of my two babies. The father did not pay child support and did not do visitation. It was very, very hard. I got no sleep and was exhausted. The only thing that really helped me out was that I am a professional with a pretty decent income. I chose to work 4 days a week instead of 5 in order to take care of things that otherwise would not get done. This meant that I made less money so I sacrificed by buying a cheap car and living in a less expensive home. I did work rather than going on government assistance as people suggested. This opened up opportunities for meeting other people who did offer to help. I also met my current husband and now I work part time and take care of my children. Being a single mom is hard, but rewarding…don’t be negative around others about your situation, and don’t play the single mom card. People do get it, and they will be inspired by you, want to be close to you, and offer to help as well. Don’t ever act like a victim. I’m not saying that you are, but I have been there and this is my advise to you. My life is much easier now…and as the children grow, yours will get easier too.

  • Reply Anonymous June 9, 2011 at 7:00 am

    jennifer, I can understand what u r going through. We are on the same boat

  • Reply Jennifer P. July 14, 2011 at 4:53 am

    I enjoyed reading the original blog… it was funny and it made me wish I had more help. I do have an amazing husband, but due to finances, we both work. I am a teacher (which, yes, means I have summers off, and days throughout the year where I am home– but also means, I put in a lot of EXTRA hours and worry for my 30+ students even when I am off, because unfortunately, those little ones are always on my mind too!). My husband commutes to work 2 hours ONE way. So he leaves at 6 a.m. and comes home at 7 p.m. When the school year is in session, I wake up, get myself dressed while taking care of my 2 year old, feed him, and drive him to daycare. I work until 5, pick him up, come home, and have mommy-time with him, cook dinner, bathe him, and then have dinner with my husband. My husband does daddy-time with him, and then we both take turns putting him to bed. Once he is asleep, my husband and I do household chores (dishes, clean the cat box, vacuum, laundry, etc.) or we both “work” on things for work. I sometimes have to use my evenings to do lesson plans, e-mail parents, grade papers, or do research. Sometimes, my husband is even “on-call”. We both feel that we are just getting by. We spend our weekends with our son completely. He gets our attention amidst getting chores done, groceries, etc. We wanted him, and we want more! In fact, baby number 2 is due next month. I will likely work part time because I don’t want to have kids and have to keep them in daycare everyday! I want to raise them! :) I feel we have been blessed with such a good child. He is so happy, fun, and eager to learn. He likes to help, and he has always stuck to his schedule and routines. He will be a great big brother. My main concern is, it’s tough with one, how do you do it with two. I already fear the guilt of not being able to do as much for my first child, my husband, or our house. I fear that baby 2 will get less attention because there is always so much going on. My family is far. The only “sitters” we have is daycare, of which we ONLY use when we work (i.e. when we HAVE TO). It’s not even that I don’t trust someone to watch our son, it’s that we don’t have anyone available and willing to come help. I am hoping that I can maintain my energy levels with two, let some household things slide, and continue to count on my husband for as much help as before. I don’t know what else I can do. That’s why I have been researching online, to see how others have multiple children and get by. I am even worried about having to recover from my c-section with my first son still needing me. Thoughts cross my mind about things like, picking him up to get him into the car. I know I’m not supposed to lift… so do you just do it anyways? Beats me. I could come up with a million little concerns, and my answers seem to come back to “when it happens, you’ll find a way and be okay!” Unless anyone can offer me some other advice for raising two or more… :) Thanks.

    • Reply Meekah June 19, 2012 at 12:13 am

      Jennifer you just gotta make your firstborn feel cool about being a Big Brother. I was afraid of my son hating me when I had my daughter but shes 1 1/2 years old and he’s 3 and still goes by the name Big Brother, he liked it so much he renamed himself that. You just gotta be careful and easy when picking your older son up until your c-sec heals.

  • Reply Meekah June 19, 2012 at 12:04 am

    I found this annoying. I have a 3 year old son and a 1 1/2 year old daughter. I am alone because their father passed in an accident a few months ago. Its hard to balance work, being a single mother of 2 and life.

  • Reply Vic November 18, 2012 at 8:16 am

    I agree! My husband is away from home four days and nights a week. I was looking for tips on how to look after my 3 year old and 6 month old by myself!! Ridiculous!

  • Reply Anonymous February 21, 2013 at 2:49 am

    Agreed….. Rediculois lady! Sounds like you just want help all the time! This is not helpful at all!

  • Reply Anonymous May 24, 2013 at 1:32 am

    In other words you are not doing it on your own!

  • Reply Anonymous December 28, 2016 at 7:34 am

    I am lone with a 2 yr old and a newborn! I also work full time. I have no maid or family around. This lady does nothing on her own…. she even has one at school for 3 hours a day. I feel like her poor husband got the short end of the stick…. to those of us who really do it all alone… pray for strength and take it one day at a time. Putting a toddler and newborn to bed Alone every night is worse than running a marathon… but I do it…. sometimes with silent swear and tears!

    • Reply Ginger January 2, 2017 at 5:17 pm

      This is inspiration to me. Not the blog I just read. It’s 3 am and my soon- to-be 4- month old and 2 year old are still awake. The father of my children ended our relationship a few months back, but I left the day after Christmas. He said it was all me. I didn’t clean or take care of myself. I was lazy. I took care of my 2 year old a 3 month old and his 7 year old. I did clean the house and I barely had time to do for myself. Things were never good enough for him. I took care of everything . He had his own problems and masked them with drinking and blaming me for things. Hell, if I yelled at him saying it was all his fault, I would have been yelled back to and left emotionally abused.

      I am alone now, but happier. I just was up still getting so frustrated with my kids not going to bed. Nervous because I have to leave them tomorrow for the first time while I go to work. Nervous because I didn’t pump enough milk so far, so I gotta wake up earlier to pump more milk. Nervous about my living situation and what’s gonna happen tomorrow.

      We all know our lives raising babies alone will not last for ever. We just want to know we are not alone at times when things are hard. This blogger seems like the picture perfect stay at home mom I wish I could be.

      Things will get better and the kids will grow up and one day not need us. I’m cherishing every moment.

  • Reply Sandra April 24, 2018 at 8:07 am

    My husband and I really don’t have help too. My mom always says she will come stay for a few days to help me but never does. I have other family members but no one offers help. My husband does grocery shopping and works. I stay home with a baby and 3 year old. I am the main household cleaner. I do most of cooking. I just wonder how people do it. Clean and take care of two kids.

  • Reply independent living May 5, 2018 at 3:10 am

    Give them everything that you can. When you get old, They’re the once who you could count on.

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