Do you know how it feels when you are tired and need to rest yet your toddler is requesting a play time and because you refused, she is having tantrums?
Every pregnant woman would no doubt love to enjoy her space and rest at will but with a toddler in the picture, rest definitely is unpredictable. Your pretty little toddler is often in your way asking for your attention, for play or for snack or just getting into those moods that gets you anxious.
Indeed, the process of managing pregnancy with your cute toddler might seem like a herculean task especially when you are an older Mom. You struggle with hormonal changes and the new ‘you’ at every phase of the pregnancy, yet the fear of how to draw the balance is often a major issue. You are sometimes torn in between caring for yourself and the guilt feeling rising from inadequate care for the toddler; who seeks your attention every minute and clings to you. Sometimes, hearing her cry “Mummy” a few minutes after nursing her to sleep, can give you a migraine.
The truth is that the demand and discomfort of the unborn child is sometimes incomparable to the enormous demands of the toddler who is innocently desirous of a cuddle, or seeking to share moments with the Mum. No doubts, Toddlers can be fun to have around but when expecting a baby, the difficulty in pleasing the toddler is often a case for concern.
Situations of this nature are capable of causing tears to an overwhelmed pregnant mum and if not properly handled, it can sometimes lead to regret, confusion and depression. However, there is always a way out of every challenge, no matter how tough and unbearable.
Here are a few tips on how to manage pregnancy with a toddler
- CREATE ACTIVITIES FOR YOUR TODDLER
In managing pregnancy with a toddler, you might need to engage her in different interesting activities. Toddlers are easily distracted hence they need varieties of fun things to engage in. You can have a reward system whereby whenever she helps mummy do a task or obeys mummy she gets a biscuit for instance. You can also set your toddler on a seat and have her watch interesting and educative cartoon or have her fix a book puzzle, arrange LEGOs or you can equally give your toddler a “Grain task”- here you pour a milk cup of Beans in a tray and mix it with a milk cup of Rice. Then you give him a bowl to pick the beans into. This task will not only keep your toddler busy but it will also help his ‘motor skill’.
- ENROLL YOUR TODDLER IN CRECHE
Your time and the time of your cute toddler can be better accounted for when you enrol your toddler in a Crèche or a Preschool. By so doing, the child is learning and building an independent mind while you are resting. In managing pregnancy with a toddler, a school system can equally help you caution your child’s excesses a little and at the same time, you would have ample time to think well and manage other things. For working Mums, Pre-School is the best option to live long. All you need to do is to have a system that takes care of your child while you are at work and attends to your toddler until you return.
- PLAY DATE
In other to properly manage pregnancy with a toddler, you may need to look around you for a friend or family who shares your values and principles in parenting, to have your toddler stay at her place for few hours. In doing this, you would be able to rest and attend to a few other crucial things.
- SPOUSE SUPPORT
Most times our spouses are often too busy to understand our challenges with the toddlers. Sometimes they just tell you, “Oh sorry “and before you wink, he is off to bed. In view of this, there might be a need for you to speak to your husband. Calmly make him understand how stressful and overwhelming it can be to manage pregnancy with a toddler. Further share your thoughts with him, especially the need for more of his support. Now his support might include the provision of a few things that will make homemaking seamless for you. Other things may include helping to drop off the laundry at the dry cleaners, bathing the toddler on weekends, taking the toddler on a walk sometimes or even carrying the child to the sitting room to watch cartoons while you cook. No doubt the support from our spouses vary, as some of them do not enjoy assisting with chores or attending to children as such. At this point, you will need to tolerate your spouse and appreciate his little support to earn more.
- SUPPORT SYSTEM
Majority of Mums who experience challenges in managing pregnancy with a toddler, do not have live-in Nannies or external Help, hence they are sometimes overwhelmed when unable to give adequate attention to their chores, toddler’s demand, work demand, husband and more. Alternative to live-in Nannies and Helps, are the external help whom you can schedule to come over to your home at weekends, twice a month, depending on the task available and your availability. You will only make a list of the things they are to do, show them how you prefer to have it done then supervise later. This external help can be a paid Nanny, paid Help, facility cleaners, your parents, relative, bosom friend or a women community you belong to (like momat4ty community). The thought and presence of an external help will alleviate your fear and give you rest of mind. You would have achieved the desired balance psychologically with the thought of the support system.
- MODIFY YOUR ROUTINES
I understand it is often pretty difficult for pregnant mums with toddlers to properly plan routines but please you have to try this trick as it works like magic. Schedule your chores and routines properly in other to have ample time to rest. You might decide to do your chores later in the day or push it to the weekend, depending on what your capacity allows. However, it will be of immense benefit if you also do your shopping monthly and buy needed items in bulk to reduce your frequent market visit. Schedule cooking to your free time and endeavour to cook different soups at the weekend depending on how convenient it is for you, and refrigerate them in plastics containers, so you can easily dish them when needed. For instance, if you do your cooking on Saturday, you can rest on Sunday and make a light meal for the family on Sunday. Another important factor in managing pregnancy with a toddler is to ensure you buy cartons of biscuit, sweets, and juice then stock it at home to avoid a crying toddler. Sometimes a little juice, snack or fruit is all you need to earn a sane mind. Plan them in your routines as well. Hang out with your toddler by taking her on a walk while you take in fresh air and enjoy the garden or environment. You can even do an ice cream hangout.
In managing pregnancy with a toddler, there are many things to do to lessen your fatigue or avoid being a crying mum or sinking into depression. You only need to understand yourself and your environment then leverage on the things and people that can make homemaking and parenting seamless for you. Every Mum is a super Mum, so please do not overwhelm yourself with unnecessary fatigue rather seek help and enjoy motherhood.
Post by Busola