Your first pregnancy was a breeze. All you had to worry about was taking care of yourself and your baby-to-be. But this time around things are completely different: you’ve got a toddler to care for, too. The thought can be daunting, I know (and I saythis as someone who gave birth to three babies in a little over three years). Here are five things you need to know in order to make the most of this fun yet busy time in your life.
1. Make sleep a priority.
Sleep matters—a lot. You’ll find it easier to ride the rollercoaster of pregnancy emotions and to keep up with a busy toddler if you manage to stay on top of your pregnant body’s increased need for sleep. So take a quick power nap while a friend or relativetakes your toddler for a walk around the block or, better yet, tuck yourself into bed at night the moment you’ve tucked in your toddler. Remember: sleep isn’t a luxury, it’s a necessity. And, these days, you’re sleeping for two….
2. Create a “quiet time” bin.
You want to hit the couch for some quiet time. Your toddler wants to do something fun. Fortunately, you can have it both ways, if you’re smart about it. Start out by making a list of all the ways you can entertain your toddler while you’re sprawled outon the couch: playing with finger puppets, putting together puzzles, and reading stories, for example. Then round up the various bits and pieces you’ll need to buy yourself an hour or two of low-key relaxation and fun. Finally, store everything in aspecial “quiet time” bin so that you’ll have it when you need it.
3. Have realistic expectations of your toddler.
Sure, it would be great if your toddler acknowledged your increased need for sleep by letting you sleep in—or if he decided to cut you some slack so that you could battle morning sickness in peace, but that’s not likely to happen anytime soon. Your toddleris still a toddler, after all. And expecting a toddler to behave like a mini-grownup is a recipe for frustration, for him and for you. Bottom line? Try to keep your expectations of this little person toddler-sized.
4. Don’t be afraid to ask for help.
If it takes a village to raise a child, it takes a village to nurture that child’s pregnant mama. And pregnancy is the best excuse for waiving the white flag. So pare down your to-do list to the essentials and look for opportunities to delegate as manytasks as possible to friends and relatives—at least until you catch your pregnancy second wind.
5. Remind yourself that this is a limited time offer.
You won’t always be pregnant – and you won’t always be the parent of a toddler. Soon you'll look back with fondness on these precious early years of parenthood.
Image : Getty