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Q&A: I’m pregnant & have a toddler & I’m overwhelmed!

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I’m going through your seven day Say Goodbye to Survival Mode Challenge and am really having a hard time implementing some things. I am almost 20 weeks pregnant and have a 2- year-old.

I honestly want to spend each day with some coffee and mindless TV while my boy plays. This pregnancy has worn me out way more than the first. I’m still getting laundry, cooking and cleaning done when I can put on Barney for a bit or when I’m not napping during his nap, but getting up early is so hard. I went to bed last night at 9 and still was solid asleep until 7am.

I have so many books I want to read, hats I want to knit for my friends moving to China, baked goods I want to make for families, biblical studies and better prayer time that needs to happen, etc. How do I implement both grace and discipline in my current situation? -Paige

{Hugs} Paige! You are in a hard season of life… I well remember those days when you’re trying to care for a toddler’s needs and you’re feeling exhausted from your pregnancy, too!

Here’s my encouragement to you:

1. Give Yourself Grace

There will be time for reading and knitting and baking and studying. Now is not that time. Right now, focus on getting as much sleep as you can, loving on your toddler, and taking care of yourself as you nurture a life inside of you.

When you are feeling discouraged that you aren’t getting much done, remind yourself that this is just a season. Before you know it, your children will be more independent and you’ll probably have more energy, too.

2. Don’t Play the Comparison Game

Whatever you do, don’t compare yourself and what you’re able to accomplish to other women. Each of us has our own strengths and weaknesses, our own struggles and difficulties.

It’s easy to feel guilty if we’re not doing as much as someone else. But the thing is: we can always find someone who is doing more than us in every single area. So no matter how much we do, we’ll always come up short when we play the comparison game.

Instead of comparing yourself to others, do the best you can do with the time and energy you have and then give yourself grace for all you aren’t doing.

3. Focus on Your Top 3 Priorities

I encourage you to sit down with your husband and discuss what your top three priorities should be for this season of life. Decide on these together and then write them out and stick them some place where you are reminded of them daily.

When opportunities arise or you have creative ideas, look at that list of three things and decide whether these opportunities/ideas are in line with your life. In most cases, I’m guessing they won’t be. And this will allow you to guiltlessly say “no” or set aside the idea for now. This doesn’t mean that you are failing; it means that you are being very intentional about how you spend your time.

If you find it helpful, you can keep a running list of all the projects and ideas that come to mind that you really want to accomplish — but add to this list and then stash it away for someday. That way, you have a record of the ideas, but you are clearly delineating that they are for someday, not now.

If the list ever starts to bog you down or make you feel guilty, give yourself permission to literally rip it up and throw it out. You might find this simple exercise is incredibly freeing to you!

4. Allow Lots of Breathing Room

I cannot encourage you enough to plan lots of margin and breathing room in your life right now. Write out a loose routine for each day, but be sure to plan at least a few hours of wiggle room in your day. This can be for you to take a nap, lie down and watch a movie with your toddler, to cuddle with your toddler and look at picture books, or to do something restful.

If you’re anything like me, by planning rest and relaxation as part of your routine, not only will it make your days much calmer, but it will also allow you to kick back and just “be” without the guilt that you really should be doing something else. If you’re tired, take that as a queue to rest and relax!

What advice and tips do the rest of you have for Paige? Share in the comments!

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80 Comments

  • says:

    Oh, my word. I’m there also!! 18 month old, and just a hair over 20 weeks along. This pregnancy has been so much more exhausting than the last one. And we are moving in 6 weeks.

    But on the other hand, I have been feeling SO CREATIVE. I want to create, and plan and do. Some days I have enough energy for it, some days I don’t. But that combined with packing, buying a house, being pregnant, and keeping up with a toddler can lead to frustration.

    I haven’t read the comments yet, but I am looking forward to reading each one. And to all the other young mamas—(((hugs))) We’re going to make it. One day at a time.

  • says:

    I’m right there too–2 year old and 20 weeks preggo! And if I’m lucky enough to have slept all night (which unfortunately doesn’t happen this time around…), when I do wake up it takes me a good 30-45 minutes to feel awake. At least my little guy sleeps in decently most of the time 🙂

    Anyway, I’ll tell you I just haven’t done a ton of the things I want to do–making food and meals for friends, having lots of company, crafting, blog writing, or organizing. I keep telling myself how much better I felt after my son was born–this feeling of dragging through every day is here for a reason (I’m growing a human!) and it’s not my “new normal” that I have to learn to overcome. Knowing that my reason for slowing down is genuinely physical and not just laziness or lack of discipline helps me a lot.

    Anyway, hang in there! We’re halfway done with this exciting 9 months! (And I didn’t read the other comments, so if I said exactly what everyone else said, sorry!)

  • laurie says:

    A note from the other end…
    I’m a 53 yr old mother of 4. my baby just turned 21. you will make it! evaluate your priorities with a Godly heart, and you’ll be amazed at how everything falls into place! God doesn’t care if our houses are worthy of Better Homes & Gardens. we have the prrivilege of nurturing His creations into maturity. celebrate the joy in each day! allow yourself rest – consider where your family will be if you wind up sick. taking care of yourself is a very important part of your job! teaching your children how to love is … I’m lost for the words. rewarding. circular. paramount. commanded. and more. make a list each day of bare essentials that must be done, including rest, one item. if you accomplish it, celebrate! if not, just move it to tomorrow’s list. love those babies and your spouse and yourself. noone has the right to expect more than that!

  • Kelly says:

    You can get Joyce Meyer’s devotionals which are very easy to read because they are short. They have a small bible portion already in them so you don’t have to look up the scripture. Joyce even talks about when she was in your situation and she discovered the best thing she could do was to be and enjoy the person God made HER to be. Women have been cruelly conditioned to compare themselves. It is all based on a system of lies. See if your church has a teen girl who would like some extra spending money to help you. It will give her experience in homemaking and being a mom.

  • says:

    Your advice about writing down your top 3 priorities is great! I am implementing this right away. I get side tracked with projects and events that don’t line up with my current season of life all. the. time. I’ll be sharing this post. Lots of wisdom here 🙂

  • Linda says:

    I am 51 and a mother to 4 who are now ages 22-28. I remember feeling like you have mentioned. I believe the 2 greatest jobs in the world are being a godly wife to your husband and raising your children to know the Lord. Be kind to yourself; do not compare yourself to others, and keep your eyes on the Lord.

  • says:

    LOVE LOVE this post and the precious community of woman who have taken the time to encourage one another. What a treasure to tread! I have a 1 year old and a 2 year old and I’m 36 weeks pregnant with our third little treasure. Been a sick pregnancy with lots of complications which have required me to rest. The Lord has taught me so much from it and I’m thankful buts it’s been very hard. Been blogging a little about it and it’s been a great blessing to get feedback from people who have felt the same way & also from godly ladies that have made it through these tough seasons and are on the other end of it now. I’m so grateful that the Lord cares more about my HEART during this season then how perfect my HOME is 🙂 be encouraged your not alone.

  • Katie says:

    It gets easier, and sooner than you think! I have just begun to crawl out of the exhaustion, and I can see the light! I have a newly 4 year old, a 2 year old, and my baby turned 1 a couple of weeks ago! So, yes…my life is still very busy and exhausting, but I find that I can get up early, have time for bible study, make dinner, exercise and work in my garden…all things that seemed like pipe dreams even just a few months ago! So, it definitely gets better, and sooner than you think! Being pregnant and having toddlers is the most exhausting!!! Grace, grace and more grace in this time, Friends!

  • JC says:

    You brought back so many memories… my kids are now 9 and 11, yet I felt your every word as if it was only yesterday. I can say this, it gets easier and your priorities will shift through the seasons. Treasure these childhood moments because it will be over before you realize. Hang on to every smile, bed time stories, giggles… All the little things that used to take my time away from the many other things I wish I could be doing, is clearly what I miss the most. I have more time now to do some of the things I want to do, but don’t get me wrong, the work of a mother is never done.

  • Teresa Albrecht says:

    Gosh – moms who have toddlers and are pregnant. Please make your first priority your own health. You are growing a new life! If you can sleep, sleep. Do not be concerned about the never-ending to-do list. You are already doing THE most important thing a mom could possibly ever do, guarding and safe-keeping that little one inside, and nurturing the ones who are already here. Nothing else compares in importance. That is the most Godly work. .

  • says:

    As a mom of 3 very active boys ages 7, 5 and 3 with the 4th boy due Dec. 9th I have given up. I do what I can when I can but my house is a mess and my to do list is forever long. I have had to give it all over and trust that all this is meant to be. This fourth baby was not planned by my husband and I by a long shot. We thought our family complete. Being home for 5 more years was not the dream I had for myself. But what is is and I just have to trust that this child was supposed to happen to push me and my family in a certain direction. But I am tired and I can’t keep up so I do the best I can with pelvic pain and contractions.

  • Amy says:

    I’m a mother of 6 (10 and under) Mine are all about 2 years apart so I went through this exhaustion stage many times.

    I would encourage you to rely on God’s strength and not your own. “I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.” Philippians 4:13 focus on His word and priorities and life will not feel so exhausting. I would encourage you to download a free bible app that has devos. They can be sent to your phone and you can choose a theme right for you.

    My next encouragement is to get lots of sleep. I was never a napper but learned to nap and what a difference it made in my attitude and energy levels. I was able to be more productive and more patient with my kids.

    Exercise daily. You can take a walk around the neighborhood with your child or I liked to get videos or exercise on our elliptical and treadmill. Exercising actually gave me an energy boost. And yes, if my napper and I woke up at the same time, I would put on an educational video for them while I was on the exercise equipment. I tried to choose something that would either nourish their mind or soul.

    Eating right will also make a difference in you attitude and energy levels. If you find yourself struggling in this area, take an hour and prepare some healthy snacks on grab and go bags. Make some healthy energy bars. Be sure you’re eating enough protein for you and your baby.

    My last piece of advice is to make lists. I make a new one each night before bed and try to put the most important thing at the top. I knew I wouldn’t probably finish it all, but at least I wouldn’t forget something I wanted to accomplish. I often will send myself emails of things to add to my list at night or throughout the day if I am not home near my list. In addition, I use the Notes app on my phone. When I was pregnant, I would keep a list titled “things to do before baby arrives” and just keep adding to it. These things might include things for myself and my husband as well. Memory is definitely lacking during pregnancy, so I used whatever method I could to remember things.

    I hope this helps!

  • Cindylou says:

    Oh thank you so much for this article, I have a 2.5 month old (1 month adjusted) and a 4 yr old and I’m barely trying to get into a routine

  • Wendy Briscoe says:

    Great article!!!!! I enjoyed reading the comments too! Thank you all for your input. I am a mother to a 7 year old son, and am NOT expecting, but I think the tips, and pointers here could help anyone during a stressful season in life.

    Also, have a menu plan made out. That way dinner is figured out a week or even a day ahead. Is there something you need to thaw out for dinner for tomorrow night. Get it ready today. Do one or two laundry loads a day so you don’t feel overwhelmed with “so much to do-itis.”

    If you have older children ages 5 and older have them help with chores. Everything doesn’t have to fall on Mom’s shoulders. The little ones love helping Momma, so let them help!

    Congratulations on your new baby. Enjoy this season of life. I miss having a newborn in the house.

  • Ashley says:

    A little late jumping into comment on this but YES! I am in a weird cross season as my older 2 kids are almost 7 and 5.5 (so I’m seeing just how fast it goes and how independent they become quickly), but I also have a 21 month old and a baby due in 2 weeks.
    I can say from experience that my biggest regrets with my older 2 were allowing myself to stay in “survival mode” and not really appreciate the moments as they come. Most of the people I felt I needed a perfect house and fancy meals for when my first babies were little aren’t even in my life anymore.
    Lastly, if you can see you are overwhelmed take LOTS of pictures and especially videos. My older kids were 18 months apart and I literally can’t remember so much of my second child’s early life. Anything that sparks those memories is INVALUABLE to me now ❤️️

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