Expecting a second baby? Congratulations! While being pregnant is an exciting time, it can also be a very difficult time. And it’s even more challenging when you have a toddler to care for. I’ve been through this twice, being pregnant while caring for a toddler. The second time was a little easier since I had some help from my eldest daughter. But during both pregnancies, I had been beyond exhausted from early on and I found myself easily stressed and irritated by my toddler. I learned a lot during both pregnancy journeys and dealing with a toddler while experiencing all the glories and difficulties of pregnancy. Here are some tips to make it through your pregnancy while caring for a toddler.
Get Some Rest
One of the best pieces of advice when you’re pregnant, whether you have other children or not, is to rest. It’s definitely easier said than done because who has time to rest. But you need to make time for it. I used to nap while my child was napping. If your toddler doesn’t nap, try to lay on the sofa while playing with them. You can still interact with your child while you’re relaxing.
Accept That You Can’t Do As Much As You Used To
Before I got pregnant, I was able to play with my children everyday, going to the park, running around the yard, or going for a walk. Then I got pregnant and exhaustion overtook me. I ended up letting them watch a lot of TV and movies and felt guilty about it, but I didn’t have the energy to move on some days. My sister told me that this was okay and that all I could do was my best and I had to accept what that was.
Go to a Play Place
One of the most convenient things I liked to do while pregnant was to take my child to a fast food restaurant and let them play in the “play area” there. These places are great because your child can play on a playground setting with other kids and they’re safer than park playgrounds and less crowded (especially during off times). I could let them run around while I enjoyed some “me” time while I watched them. Then we could have a snack and go home and take a nap.
Enroll your Toddler in Preschool
If your child is old enough, you can enroll them in preschool. My child was old enough when I was pregnant, and since the pregnancy took a toll on my energy level where I couldn’t keep up with her, I thought it was best for both of us. She would have supervised playtime with other kids and I would get the extra rest that I needed. Usually preschools are only a few hours a few days a week, but it will give you a few extra hours of “me” time that is greatly needed when you’re pregnant.
Ask for Help
I have to admit, asking others for help isn’t easy for me. I feel guilty for asking someone else to watch my child. I feel like I’m burdening the person and I feel bad for not spending time with my child. However, there were a days during pregnancy that I just couldn’t be there for my child, and I asked my sister in laws and friends to watch her for her for a few hours so I could get some rest. I know it’s hard to ask for help, but trust me, it’s worth your guilt and pride, and honestly, my daughter had so much fun spending time with someone else, she didn’t even miss me.
Leave the Housework for Another Day
This is a hard thing for moms to accept, but on some days, you’re going to have to leave the housework for another day. There may be dishes in the sink, piles of laundry to do and floors to mop, but there’s always another day to take care of those things. You shouldn’t exhaust yourself from doing too much. Do what you can, when you can and then get some rest.
Give Yourself Some “Me” Time
When you have kids, it’s essential to give yourself some quality time to yourself, even if you’re not pregnant. It’s hard to find extra time to go out with friends or get a manicure, so I would steal some time while grocery shopping at Target. Even though I was still running errands, I didn’t have an impatient toddler asking if she could have candy, asking me to buy every doll she saw, and after hearing “no” hundred times, asking me when we were going to go home. Instead, I got to spend a few extra minutes to enjoy perusing the clothing, beauty and home decor aisles.
Ask Your Significant Other for More Help
I’m very lucky to have a husband who is very helpful with our kids, but until you’re pregnant, you never realize how much you do for your child until you can’t bend over as easily, moving around is hard and disciplining your child is extremely frustrating and stressful. Whenever my husband was home, I had him get my kids dressed, change their diapers, give them baths, and do as much as he could so I could finally relax. This may sound lazy, but when just getting up off the couch alone drains your energy, it’s a lifesaver. Hopefully, your partner realizes how much you need their help, but if they don’t, explain to them how hard it is for you to do certain tasks and how much help they would be by doing them for you.
Have you been pregnant while caring for a toddler. What tips do you have to make things easier?