My first pregnancy was a dream. I barely had any symptoms, I gained exactly the right amount of weight throughout, and everyone waited on me hand and foot. It was magical.
This second pregnancy has been…something else. I’ve had all the symptoms, I’ve gained all the weight, and everyone is too busy trying to stop the two-year-old from maiming himself to even remember that I’m pregnant, let alone wait on me.
Now that I’m in the home stretch of the third trimester, it’s only gotten more difficult. I’ve never been so tired in my entire life, my brain has all but completely died out on me, and every single part of my body hurts.
But my toddler? He is in his prime. He’s got more energy and endurance than an African gazelle, more attitude than a ’70s disco diva, and less desire to sleep than literally anything else on the planet. We make for a less-than-ideal team.
If you’re in this same pit of exhaustion with me, I’ve got some good news – I’ve cracked the code! I’ve figured out how to survive pregnancy with a toddler, in three easy steps:
1. Caffeinate Yourself
The March of Dimes says you can have 200mg of caffeine per day – embrace it. Depending on the type of coffee you like, this typically translates to one big cup or two small cups a day. I prefer to have a small cup in the morning and a small cup in the early afternoon to get me through the day. If you catch any judgmental eyes in the Starbucks line, just point to the Tasmanian devil whizzing around the café tossing Splenda packets into the air. They’ll understand.
2. Embrace the Leggings & Dry Shampoo
I know, it’s cliché: the mom in her leggings or yoga pants, hair in a messy bun. But clichés exist for a reason. This is basic survival, y’all. When you haven’t slept in three weeks because of heartburn, insomnia, and/or your stubborn toddler’s never-ending sleep regression, don’t waste an extra second on washing your hair. And real pants? Forget it. I’m uncomfortable enough as it is; don’t you dare make me put anything on the lower half of my body that can’t stretch to five times its original size.
3. Throw Your Parenting Principles Out the Window
I hate to say it, but it’s time to give up on all those big ambitions you had as a mom. Limit screen time? Not a chance. The only way I’m making it through a full day by myself with this two-year-old tornado is with the assistance of Ryder and the Paw Patrol, and back-to-back viewings of Trolls and Moana. Organic, home-cooked meals? Yeah, right. Allow me to introduce you to microwave chicken tenders and yogurt pouches. Potty training? HAHAHA. No, just no. It’s not happening.
The reality is, there will be days (or months) when you feel like you’re failing everyone and everything. You’re not able to get enough rest to support the baby in your belly, because your toddler needs you at 3 a.m. every night for weeks on end. But you’re not able to entertain and stimulate the toddler like he wants, because you’re too exhausted from growing the baby in your belly. You certainly can’t think straight for enough hours in a day to get anything productive done at work. And don’t even mention your husband – because Lord knows there’s not enough time and energy left to give him even a sliver of the attention he deserves.
But the good news? It’s temporary (or so I’m told). Do what you have to do to survive the last few months of pregnancy, and then you get to bring a new little bundle of love into your family, and start to work on finding your new normal.
Second-time moms: do you have any other survival tips? Share them in the comments!