Having 2 kids under 2 was completely different from what I expected

Am I happy we had them so close in age? Absolutely! Are there tears? Oh yes.

Having 2 kids under 2 was completely different from what I expected

My son was 10 months old when I got pregnant with my daughter. We were thrilled! We had always wanted a small age gap between kids.

I guess part of that was driven by me. I have five siblings and the closest to me is five years older than me. I was seven when my oldest sister moved out, promptly followed by my other three siblings. I always joked about having three moms and four dads. So I always knew I wanted a closer relationship for my children—more of a sibling relationship than a parental vibe.

I knew the guilt of dethroning my son as the only child was going to hit me at some point, but I decided I was going to make the most of the time we had with only him. To soak him up. We worked so hard on our bond over the next few months.

Robyn was born a few days after Max turned 18 months. And that's when the reality of it all hit me. Don't get me wrong, we knew it was going to be hard, but wow. The jealousy and the guilt were even harder than I thought they would be.

It was one of the toughest periods of my life. All my son wanted was me and, of course, my newborn wanted me—and my boobs—constantly. He just didn't understand and how could he? He was just a baby himself and we didn't want to make him grow up any faster than he had to. I remember thinking, What have we done? We turned his little life upside down.

The original plan was to keep him in daycare and not have him lose his routine. Plus, I knew I would have my hands full with my newborn. It was my first time breastfeeding—which was an emotional rollercoaster I never saw coming. The work that goes into it those first few weeks. We had formula fed my son, so I had no idea the work that went into those first few weeks of figuring out a breastfeeding relationship. It hit me like a freight train.

I felt so guilty for sending him to daycare every day while I was at home. There's that word again. Guilt. So, after too much guilt, we pulled him out which was one of the best parenting decisions we've made. He changed drastically because he was happier He stopped lashing out at me. Our bond came back and strengthened tenfold. I had my little sidekick back.

But oh, was I tired! When two are babies crying at you, who do you go to first? I'm still trying to figure that out. When they each have their "needy" days and all they want is me, when I'm unable to put them down—well, suffice it to say the housework seriously suffers, which is something that really bothers me.

I survived on chocolate for a good six weeks once my partner went back to work. It was such a hectic time. Did I mention we had just bought our first home too? And we were renovating some of it. So, it was me, on my own, for a solid nine weeks with work being done to our home and both kiddos—morning, noon and night. I learned the true meaning of the word exhaustion.

Am I happy we had them so close in age? Absolutely! Are there tears? Oh yes. Mostly mine due to hormones and exhaustion, the rest are from my toddler because I likely gave him his juice in the wrong cup. The baby doesn't really cry so I can't complain on that front. The house is chaos, and nothing gets done anymore.

Every time my mom comes over she gives me the look, you know the "what have you been doing all day" look? The "I had six kids and ran a tight ship" look? Yes, my standards have dropped—but something had to give. My house is no longer pristine, dinner is never on the table by 5, and I rarely have perfectly applied makeup and perfectly styled hair.

It's still chaotic four months into having two kids. I used to shower daily, now I'm lucky if I shower twice a week. The exhaustion is just ridiculous. I feel like I'm on overdrive, constantly.

Only our kids can bring us to the highest of highs and the lowest of lows. But one thing's for sure, I'm trying to be present for every second of it—, the good days and the bad days—because one day we'll wake up and they'll be gone. There won't be any cuddles on the couch or comforting them when all they want is you. They'll be no more messy bath times or dinner times, and our beds will be empty. The noise will dissipate.

And then we'll long for the days where we felt like pulling our hair out. (Or in my case, now falling out. Yes, the four month postpartum hair loss has hit me for the second time.).

So right now, even in the chaos of raising two under two, I'm trying to enjoy this special time when my two children are still my babies. Even the bad days, even the tough moments. We are all working mamas, housekeepers, teachers, parents, referees, nannies, nurses, handywomen, chefs, cleaners and cuddlers. We don't get vacation time and there are no real days off. We are amazing and we do it all with a smile on our faces (well, most days).

I'm finding that happiness truly is the highest level of success. I'm in love with this life I live and I'm so grateful to be called "Mom."

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14 sweet 'just thinking of you' gifts for every mama

A sweet surprise that tells her you've been thinking of her might be the pick-me-up she needs.

Who says you have to wait for birthdays or holidays to give your bestie a great gift? A sweet surprise that tells her you've been thinking of her might be the pick-me-up she needs in these more-than-trying times. We've rounded up some of our favorite go-to gifts that are certain to be a bright spot in her week. But be warned, you may want to snag a few for yourself. (You deserve it, mama.)

Here are some our favorite "just because" gifts to give our hardworking mama friends.

New Mother face + body care duo

volition face + body care duo

This correcting oil and stretch mark minimizer is perfect for the pregnant mama looking to keep her pregnancy glow. The correcting oil brightens the skin while reducing dark spots, and the stretch mark minimizer works to smooth her ever-growing belly.


Allover roller

esker allover roller

This jade roller goes beyond your typical face roller and can be used anywhere on the body. It works to increase stimulation and reduce puffiness and is perfect for applying any oils to the face or body. Plus, it feels like a mini spa treatment.


Kombucha making kit

farmsteady kombucha making kit

What could be a more perfect gift for the health-obsessed friend? This kombucha making kit comes with everything you need to brew your own homemade green tea kombucha. They'll think this is the tastiest gift ever.


Laetitia lipstick

cupid & psyche laetitia

This red lipstick is perfect for your makeup enthusiast bestie who is looking to spruce up her life in quarantine. Crafted in the United States, these bee and vegan-friendly and cruelty-free lipsticks are created to flatter all complexions. Cupid and Psyche Beauty makes finding the perfect red lip way too easy!


Jigsaw puzzle

inner piecec jigsaw puzzle

Mamas need to destress now more than ever during quarantine. This adorable jigsaw puzzle is perfect for the mama who needs a brain break! The 500-piece puzzle designed by artist Ray Oranges features an abstract gradient design that fits a standard frame when completed. Bonus: It's printed on recycled paper and the company donates $1 from every puzzle sold to youth mindfulness programs.


Matilda's Bloombox

matilda's bloombox

If we have to be stuck inside, we might as well have some gorgeous florals to brighten up the space. Matilda's Bloombox locally sources blooms, delivers them to her door and provides simple tips on how to arrange it into a beautiful bouquet.


'I Am Enough' bracelet

I Am Enough bracelet

Let this dainty bracelet serve as a constant reminder to your bestie that she is enough. She'll wear this on her wrist and read this daily oath to herself, "I Am Enough."


Glow assorted teas

vahdam low assorted teas

This tea gift box set covers the entire spectrum of flavors from sweet to spicy. Individually packaged in beautiful tins, your gal pal will feel like a queen sipping her morning tea. Originally $40, this set is currently on sale for just $24. We'll take two, please.


Find your voice journal

find your voice journal

Journaling is a great way to ease anxiety and will slow your bestie's racing mind before bed. This gift is perfect for first time journalists and includes prompts, daily quotes and coloring pages to help her unlock her potential and find her voice.


Premium frother

shore magic premium frother

This gift is fitting for your latte-sipping bestie who can't go a day without her coffee. All she has to do is add two scoops of collagen to her favorite drink, and she'll have a perfectly foamy drink ready in seconds. Skipping the drive-thru line has never been so easy!


Bath soak infusion kit

maude bath soak infusion kit

Say hello to hydration! She'll be feeling smooth and relaxed as ever after a long bath soaking in these salts. This vegan + cruelty-free set incorporates dead sea salt and dehydrated coconut milk powder for an ultra hydrating experience.


Tiny Tags 'mama' necklace

Tiny Tags 'mama' necklace

It's a hard-earned title she answers to a hundred times per day. Whether she's new to the club or a seasoned professional, this delicate script 'mama' necklace is guaranteed to be a perfect fit.


Superfood honey

Beekeeper's Naturals B.Powered honey

With a lack of sleep and jam-packed days, getting through the afternoon can be a real challenge. Send her a powerful pick-me-up in the form of a therapeutic blend of royal jelly, bee pollen, propolis and raw honey. It makes the ideal companion for tea, smoothies, yogurt or even on its on.


Calming midnight mask with melatonin

Who doesn't deserve a reminder to pamper themself every once in awhile? Even better, this mask does all its work at night while you're sleeping with no extra effort needed. It's an amazing plant-powered antioxidant-packed mask that has melatonin, wild dandelion leaf and hyaluronic acid to rehydrate, repair and reset facial skin. It's so good, you might want to gift it to yourself. We won't tell, mama.


We independently select and share the products we love—and may receive a commission if you choose to buy. You've got this.


This incredibly soft comforter from Sunday Citizen is like sleeping on a cloud

My only complaint? I've slept through my alarm twice.

When it comes to getting a good night's sleep, there are many factors that, as a mama, are hard to control. Who's going to wet the bed at 3 am, how many times a small person is going to need a sip of water, or the volume of your partner's snoring are total wildcards.

One thing you can control? Tricking out your bed to make it as downright cozy as possible. (And in these times, is there anywhere you want to be than your bed like 75% of the time?)

I've always been a down comforter sort of girl, but after a week of testing the ridiculously plush and aptly named Snug Comforter from Sunday Citizen, a brand that's run by "curators of soft, seekers of chill" who "believe in comfort over everything," it's safe to say I've been converted.

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This viral post about the 4th trimester is exactly what new mamas need right now

"We are alone. Together. You are surrounded all the other mothers who are navigating this tender time in isolation. You are held by all of us who have walked the path before you and who know how much you must be hurting. You are wrapped in the warm embrace of mama earth, as she too settles into this time of slowness and healing."

Artist and teacher Catie Atkinson at Spirit y Sol recently shared a beautiful drawing of a new mom crying on a couch—leaking breasts, newborn baby, pile of laundry and what we can only assume is cold coffee, included. Everything about the image is so real and raw to me—from the soft stomach to the nursing bra and the juxtaposition of the happy wallpaper to the palpable vulnerability of the mother—I can almost feel the couch underneath me. I can feel the exhaustion deep in this woman's bones.

My heart feels the ache of loneliness right alongside hers. Because I remember. I remember the confusion and uncertainty and love and messy beauty of the fourth trimester so well. After all, it's etched in our minds and bodies forever.

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