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Learning to Juggle Two Children

How a new mama of two overcame her fear of being alone with her toddler and baby.

Learning to Juggle Two Children

Let me make a confession: since becoming a mother of two, the idea of being left alone with my two children is incredibly petrifying. Both have such intense needs of such different scopes. The four year old wants to play, build, and explore. The baby wants to nurse, snuggle, and be held. And what about me? When do I eat, pee or get back to an email? Somehow the idea of managing these two very different realities simultaneously has resulted in a confidence shutdown and ultimately the belief that I need pretty consistent support to do the juggle of two. This puts an inordinate amount of pressure on my busy husband and an over-reliance on childcare. But worst of all, by far, is my own overwhelming sense of powerlessness when it comes to the care of my kids.

This lack of confidence in handling my two children was bleeding into other areas of my life, like how I manage a business relationship or speak for myself in a moment of tension with a family member. Confidence is confidence, and if it’s lacking in one area it’s likely an issue somewhere else.

It was time to change the dynamic. My husband brought us to our upstate home on a Saturday morning and headed back to the city for the work week on Sunday night. A friend took my son to the park one morning, and another friend helped pack up the car before we headed back to the city. But otherwise, I purposely refused childcare from Sunday night through Thursday afternoon. I was on mom duty and I was embracing it all, the good, the bad, and the ugly.

There were numerous meltdowns (my sons), some tears (mine and my baby’s), and lots of laughter and snuggles when we all woke up together in the early morning. Since I often got the “worst” of my son’s behavior, I utilized our time to step up my voice and get the respect I deserve. I also refined my multitasking skills (dinner prep while baby naps and child does an art project) and gave myself permission to utilize the tools I have. After all, one hour of TV so that I can properly put the baby to bed at night will not kill my son and in fact and will in fact reward him with a more focused mom during his bedtime! Letting up on all my “rules” on things like screen time and treats can help me get it all done in a peaceful manner -- as long as nothing is abused and mom has the upper hand, I’m where I need to be.

By the time Thursday morning arrived, it was time to head back to the city, and I had never driven a long drive with the two kids. The fun began when my four year old began demanding a piece of gum…I reluctantly handed him a piece when it fell to the floor. He began to wail. A few threats later (I will drop you off on the side of the highway), everyone calmed down. But not long after, the little one started to sob! I thought, for sure she was just tired and needed to settle down and fall asleep -- and so, I kept driving. At the final stop before crossing the George Washington Bridge, I finally decided the crying had gone on long enough. My little girl was not only covered in massive amounts of snot but had a diaper full of poop. We ultimately made it sanely back to the city and since I had intelligently arranged child care to meet me back at our apartment, I promptly booked myself a massage -- and boy, did I need it!

But even after all of that, the days in the country, just the 3 of us, were beautiful. I loved playing outside with both of them, watching the two of them laugh at one another, and listening to the forest of birds on our porch first thing in the morning. In my heart, I know these are the moments I will treasure forever.

I can’t tell you how proud, how confident, how badass I felt. Knowing that I could handle my two kids solo and not just handle it, but enjoy it? Clearly this was a place I needed to reach,and I’m so glad that I faced it head on.

What’s challenging you right now? What beliefs do you hold in one part of your life that may be limiting you in another? Can you slow things down a bit to face a fear and begin to realize that you are more capable than you believe?

Photography by Nafisa Skeie Photography.

14 outdoor toys your kids will want to play with beyond summer

They transition seamlessly for indoor play.

With Labor day weekend in the rearview and back-to-school in full swing, most parents are fresh out of boxes to check on their "Fun Concierge" hit list. It's also the point of diminishing returns on investing in summer-only toys. So with that in mind, we've rounded up some of our favorite toys that are not only built to last but will easily make the transition from outdoor to indoor play. Even better, they're Montessori-friendly and largely open-ended so your kids can get a ton of use out of them.

From sunny backyard afternoons to rainy mornings stuck inside, these toys are sure to keep little ones engaged and entertained.

Meadow ring toss game

Plan Toys meadow ring toss game

Besides offering a fantastic opportunity to hone focus, coordination, determination and taking turns, lawn games are just plain fun. Set them up close together for the littles and spread them out when Mom and Dad get in on the action. With their low profile and rope rings, they're great for indoors as well.

$30

Balance board

Plan Toys balance board

Balance boards are a fabulous way to get the wiggles out. This one comes with a rope attachment, making it suitable for even the youngest wigglers. From practicing their balance and building core strength to working on skills that translate to skateboarding and snowboarding, it's a year-round physical activity that's easy to bring inside and use between Zoom classes, too!

$75

Detective set

Plan Toys detective setDetective Set

This set has everything your little detective needs to solve whatever mystery they might encounter: an eye glasses, walkie-talkie, camera, a red lens, a periscope and a bag. Neighborhood watch? Watch out.

$40

Wooden doll stroller

Janod wooden doll strollerWooden Doll Stroller

Take their charges on a stroll around the block with this classic doll stroller. With the same versatility they're used to in their own ride, this heirloom quality carriage allows their doll or stuffy to face them or face the world.

$120

Sand play set

Plan Toys sand set

Whether you're hitting the beach or the backyard sandbox, this adorable wooden sand set is ready for action. Each scoop has an embossed pattern that's perfect for sand stamping. They're also totally suitable for water play in the wild or the bathtub.

$30

Water play set

Plan Toys water play set

Filled with sand or water, this tabletop sized activity set keeps little ones busy, quiet and happy. (A mama's ideal trifecta 😉). It's big enough to satisfy their play needs but not so big it's going to flood your floors if you bring the fun inside on a rainy day.

$100

Mini golf set

Plan Toys mini golf set

Fore! This mini golf set is lawn and living room ready. Set up a backyard competition or incorporate into homeschooling brain breaks that shift focus and build concentration.

$40

Vintage scooter balance bike

Janod retro scooter balance bike

Pedals are so 2010. Balance bikes are the way to go for learning to ride a bike while skipping the training wheels stage altogether. This impossibly cool retro scooter-style is built to cruise the neighborhood or open indoor space as they're learning.

$121

Wooden rocking pegasus

plan toys wooden rocking pegasus

Your little will be ready to take flight on this fun pegasus. It gently rocks back and forth, but doesn't skimp on safety—its winged saddle, footrests and backrest ensure kids won't fall off whether they're rocking inside or outside.

$100

Croquet set

Plan Toys croquet set

The cutest croquet set we've ever seen! With adorable animal face wooden balls and a canvas bag for easy clean up, it's also crafted to stick around awhile. Round after round, it's great for teaching kiddos math and problem-solving skills as well.

$45

Wooden digital camera

fathers factory wooden digital camera

Kids get the chance to assemble the camera on their own then can adventure anywhere to capture the best moments. With two detachable magnetic lenses, four built-in filters and video recorder, your little photographer can tap into their creativity from summertime to the holidays.

$179

Wooden bulldozer toy

plan toys wooden bulldozer toy

Whether they're digging up sand in the backyad or picking up toys inside, kids can get as creative as they want picking up and moving things around. Even better? Its wooden structure means it's not an eye sore to look at wherever your digger drops it.

$100

Pull-along hippo

janod toys pull along hippo toy

There's just something so fun about a classic pull-along toy and we love that they seamlessly transition between indoor and outdoor play. Crafted from solid cherry and beechwood, it's tough enough to endure outdoor spaces your toddler takes it on.

$33

Baby forest fox ride-on

janod toys baby fox ride on

Toddlers will love zooming around on this fox ride-on, and it's a great transition toy into traditional balance bikes. If you take it for a driveway adventure, simply use a damp cloth to wipe down the wheels before bringing back inside.

$88

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