Pregnancy can be tough enough as it is without having to look after a toddler that’s for sure. Though I have to say I have found pregnancy so much harder this second time around. Though that could be due to the fact that this time I’m not laying in until 10 am most days, instead it’s about 7 am and I’m not taking it slow, I’m taking it at full paced toddler speed, which, if you didn’t know is constant.
Looking after a toddler in the first and third trimesters has certainly been the hardest. At the beginning I felt so sick and tired, I didn’t want to leave the sofa most days, the room constantly spun around and I would feel myself nodding off constantly. Then now, at the end of the pregnancy my body aches, I’m breathless and I’m carrying around this huge boulder on my belly meaning practically any position other than verticle is difficult.
As much as you want to cherish this last 1 on 1 time with your toddler, you start to find the days more increasingly difficult. Harder to get down to the floor to play (and to get back up!), harder to carry your toddler and certainly harder to walk meaning days-out and adventurous walks slowly come to a halt.
And sometimes it can just be totally overwhelming.
Don’t be fooled, I’ve definitely cried over 2435837 times this pregnancy. Remember, emotions and hormones are all over the place and it’s so normal to have a cry just because your toddler is so damn cute. It’s also okay to feel like you’ve ‘had enough’ of being pregnant’ and ‘just can’t wait for it to be over’ – we’ve all felt like that.
So here is my advice to juggling pregnancy and a toddler.
Sleep When Your Toddler Sleeps
Remember the old saying ‘sleep when the baby sleeps’ when you had your firstborn? Well, guess what it’s back! If you’re lucky enough to still have a toddler that naps in the day then take that chance a couple of times a week to just get yourself some extra shut-eye. You might still be getting the recommended 8 hours a night but boosting up a couple of extra hours will really help.
If your toddler doesn’t nap anymore how about one night a week going to bed around the same time they do? Theodore goes to sleep at 7 pm, and usually one night a week I find myself tucked up in bed at 8.
Encourage Independent Play
Hopefully something your toddler will already be good at. But if not try to encourage it more. Bring out different toys and/or activities to get them interested and explain how ‘mummy’s just going to watch’. Sometimes this works with Theodore and other times I get “no mummy play”.
Introduce ‘Quiet Time’
This might be something you already have, but if not it will become a lifesaver! We stick a film on and cuddle up on the sofa with a couple of biscuits. Sure it doesn’t last the whole film but usually, I can get 10-20 minutes of sitting still together which can just sometimes be enough to give me that little bit of energy boost to play after.
Lower Your Expectations
When I first fell pregnant with baby 2 I told myself I would take Theodore out at least once a week somewhere nice for some 1 on 1 time AND I would set up at least one ‘new’ activity at home at least once a week (something I think I did for probably 2 weeks until corona hit and a lockdown was upon us).
Though I could have definitely carried on with the exciting at-home activities, I didn’t. Why? Pregnancy was completely sucking the energy out of me, the idea of setting up anything made me eyeroll. At first, I felt so hard on myself, but I had to give myself a shake and remember I was growing a human inside of me, and that also, Theodore isn’t going to completely ‘lose me’ once the baby arrives – there will always be time for days out and activities!
Do Housework as you Go
I’m assuming you’re the one who does the majority of the cleaning in the home. Write down your cleaning tasks into a weekly to-do list (I post mine on Instagram stories every week and show completing them!). They will become so much more manageable when you can just do one small easier task at a time. Instead of cleaning the whole bathroom at once, I might just clean the sink, and the next day the bath etc.
Also wiping surfaces as you go along will help massively. I keep my anti-bac spray and sponge out on the kitchen side so I can always have a quick wipe of the counters and dining table.
Invest in a cordless vacuum*. I mean, I think everyone should have one pregnant or not. They will make your life SO much easier. There is no daunting “must drag the vacuum out and untangle the cord” feeling. It literally clicks and you go. You can do whole rooms or just a small area within seconds. It means there is no huge vacuuming task every week to do the whole house!
Involve Your Toddler in Your Pregnancy
Depending on the age of your toddler (Theodore is 2.5yrs) there will only be so much they understand about you being pregnant and the soon arrival of a baby into their lives. Theodore is fully aware that there is a baby in my tummy and that there is ‘baby stuff’ popping up around the house. He even knows that the spare bedroom is now ‘the baby’s room’. Talk to your toddler about their new brother or sister. What would they like to name them? What colour hair/eyes will they have? This will help them know that they are also coming on this journey with you.
We bought a few books like I’m a New Big Brother/Sister* that we read to Theodore that help him understand what home might be like when the baby arrives, it’s very toddler friendly and so easy to understand. We’ve also been reading him Lets Talk to Mummys Tummy* which is more focused on pregnancy and what’s going on inside mummy’s belly!
Don’t get me wrong, not every day is easy. Sometimes I just stick the television on for the whole interday just so I can get a little peace and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. Whatever helps you get through the 9 months of pregnancy and toddlerhood will do.
Just don’t be so hard on yourself.
Have you got any tips you could share with me to make my last few weeks of pregnancy easier? I’m really starting to feel it now at 34 weeks!