Real life with a baby and a toddler (two under two)

Having two under two is easy.

Ha. Ha.

I wouldn’t say that “two under two” is easy… but truth be told, it’s not as hard as I thought it would be.

Sure, there are days now and then that I literally ask myself questions like, “Why did we decide to have our children so close together again?” and “Why did we think this would be a good idea?”

Many days it feels like I have two babies. Um, double blessing yes absolutely… but double trouble as well!

But overall, having two kids is not the insurmountable task I thought it would be.

All throughout my pregnancy with Judah I wrestled with thoughts like: “Am I capable?” and “Will I ever sleep again?” and “I guess I’ll have to say good-bye to my social life/free time/hobbies/sanity.”

I also thought silly-but-very-real things like: “Can I love my second child as much as I love my first?” and “Will I be able to give them both the attention they need?” and “What if I struggle with comparison between the two of them or favoritism toward one or the other?”

I also worried about things like how in the world I would do household chores, keep up with the laundry, cook dinner, or ever finish a cup of coffee while it’s still hot. (For the record, I do struggle with many of these… the last one in particular!)

Life has certainly changed. It’s very… ummm, full.

I have two sets of diapers to change (and wash and hang and stuff and fold). I have double the gear to lug around in a diaper bag if we leave the house for more than an hour at a time. And I have no room left in my small hatchback car for anyone but a skinny eight year-old stuffed between the two car seats in back. (Too bad I don’t know any eight-year-olds.)

just fyi… levi is giving a kiss here, not attempting to eat the new family member.

These days I spend a heck of a lot of time nursing… and playing blocks… and rocking… and making snacks… and changing diapers… and settling the baby… and disciplining the toddler… and washing grubby hands… and burping the baby… and reading stories… and doing laundry… and answering the same question a thousand times… and doing more laundry.

You get the idea. Like I said, life is very full.

And although I’m tired and I don’t have much time to myself at the moment, I also know that these days are numbered. They will be over and done with forever before I know it.

The busyness, the responsibilities, and the demands… they will only last so long before they morph into new ones that coincide with a new phase of life and motherhood.

And in the meantime I have my own little coping mechanisms to help carry me on through these early days. Most importantly, once a day I try my best to coordinate Levi’s nap with one of Judah’s. I deliberately forget the laundry that needs folding, the floors that need cleaning, and the emails that need returning… and I collapse into my own mid-afternoon nap.

Sometimes twenty minutes, sometimes a glorious hour-and-a-half… That little nap is my saving grace.

And despite the fact that I sometimes feel stretched incredibly thin, life with two littles is good.

Levi loves his brother. He’s quick to give kisses, share toys, and “rock” the baby when he’s crying. He’s been fantastic with independent play. His language is exploding making it easier for us to relate to one another. His understanding is through the roof, which is so helpful on so many levels. He’s really grown up in so many ways over the past little while… and he and his brother just “fit” together so perfectly.

And as much as he’s growing up… I think I’m growing up too.

I’ve stepped up to the plate. I’ve gained confidence. I’ve grown in my capacity.

And I know more about what I’m doing.

The steep new-parent-learning-curve is behind me, which has made a world of difference. Of course I have to learn how to care for Judah as an individual with unique needs, but most of the time getting it right is coming much quicker the second time around. (Though I still have my moments when I don’t know what to do!) But overall I really do think that going from zero to one child was far more challenging than going from one to two. (There are days where I might utter something different under my breath in the heat of a tantrum-infused or a newborn-who-won’t-settle moment… but for the most part I really do believe this.)

I am loving having two kids. They are different in so many ways and I continue to be stretched to meet both of their needs (which, admittedly, are sometimes overlapping). I’d be lying if I said that it’s always a walk in the park. But I’d also be lying if I said it was harder than having one. It’s different, yes, but not harder. (Ok, sometimes it’s harder.)

But mostly it’s just fuller. It’s awesomer. (And so what if that isn’t actually a word.)

Two children under two? Double trouble… and more than a double blessing.


Dear friends, if you have two kids (or more), how did you find the transition from one to two? And if you still only have one, what do you fear most about adding to your brood of littles?

About Author

Adriel Booker is an author, speaker, and advocate based in Sydney, Australia who believes storytelling, beauty, and the grace of God will change the world. Adriel has become a trusted voice in areas of motherhood and parenting, Christian spirituality, and global women's issues. She's also known for her work with the Love A Mama Collective—serving under-resourced women in developing nations through safe birth initiatives—as well as her years spent as a Bible teacher and leadership coach. Her latest book is Grace Like Scarlett: Grieving with Hope after Miscarriage and Loss and she's made the companion grief journal available for free. Find Adriel across all social media platforms at @adrielbooker or sign up for LoveNotes, Adriel's 'secret posts' that aren't published anywhere else online. ✌️


  • Katherine
    13 December 2011 at 11:04 pm

    I think the best part of two under two is synching up their schedules. We dropped our youngest’ morning nap much much earlier than we had with his older sister so that they could both be on the same naptime schedule. This has given me a glorious 2-3 hour break every afternoon since he was 11 months old! My friends who spaced theirs out a bit more don’t get a break, since their oldest is not napping anymore. Also- I found that the transition to two was easy on my oldest because she very quickly forgot that she was ever an only child!
    I know there are pros to spacing your kids apart as well, but having them close together has been great for us!

    • Adriel
      15 December 2011 at 11:26 pm

      As much as I don’t want to rush these baby days… I can’t wait for the one long nap a day time to come! It’s the best!! 🙂

  • Nessa
    14 December 2011 at 12:04 am

    Thank you thank you… I was having a day where I was wondering if I had lost my mind to be bringing #2 into this word when I feel like I am just figuring out handling #1. This made me cry – just because it was like you got in my head and then told me it was going to all be okay… better than okay, wonderful. I needed this.

    • Adriel
      15 December 2011 at 11:26 pm

      you will do great, i know it. 🙂

  • Rachel J.
    14 December 2011 at 1:39 am

    Well, I’m only two weeks into it, but so far adjusting to two has been easier than I thought it would be too! Life is definitely more “full”, but I think it helps so much that I have more confidence this time around. Also, I tried to prepare myself for the worst…ha!

    • Adriel
      15 December 2011 at 11:27 pm

      prepared for the worst – yes i think that was me too! i’m SO glad the worst isn’t what we got!!

  • Life As Wife
    14 December 2011 at 2:34 am

    I want to make sure we can give J everything before expanding our family. I want him to have that special time as an only! I’m scared I won’t e able to give as much with another.

  • Chelsea
    14 December 2011 at 3:37 am

    Beautiful pictures! I found that the transition from 1 to 2 children was easier than I had expected as well. However…the recent transition from 2 to 3 children has proven to be waaaaaaaaay more difficult. I wouldn’t trade it for anything but it’s definitely a whole lot different! And now I’m 100% sure that we are done having children because I’m at my capacity, lol.

    • Adriel
      15 December 2011 at 11:28 pm

      oh gosh, quit scaring me!

  • Jodie Ansted
    14 December 2011 at 7:09 am

    What gorgeous boys you have. 🙂

    I was very worried after my second son was born. My sister was over from Perth to help out, and the day she was leaving, I asked: “How will I cope when you’re gone?” She said, “You just will, because you have to.” And literally, as soon as her taxi pulled away, I took control and all was well. Yes…there were challenging days just as you explain, but like you, I didn’t find it as difficult as I assumed I would.

    Going from two kids to three though…boy! Did THAT take me by surprise! 😉


    • Adriel
      15 December 2011 at 11:30 pm

      it’s amazing how we find the capacity to just do what needs to be done, ey? (well, most of the time at least!!)

      but hey, quit scaring me about going from 2 to 3!!! let me live in blissful ignorance that i will be a pro mom by then and will sail through it! ha! 😉

  • Micheline
    14 December 2011 at 8:59 am

    I completely agree that going from zero to one was more challenging than going from one to two because there is just a bit more confidence going into the whole parenting a newborn thing that seemed so scary the first time. There are some days when I feel like having an almost 3 year old and a 3 month old is too much to handle and some days when I feel like it’s not as crazy as I thought. Like right now when both are sleeping at the same time, hallelujah!

    • Adriel
      15 December 2011 at 11:31 pm

      double nap times are the BEST!

  • Lindsey Whitney
    14 December 2011 at 1:59 pm

    I agree totally. Having two under two is overwhelming, but not totally crazy. I can do it. So can you! And yes, it is very full. I remember when we brought Malachi home and Mike would return from work. He’d ask, “What did you do today?” I would reply, “We survived. That’s enough.” Now, it’s easier, and I love that they are starting to really interact!!

    • Adriel
      15 December 2011 at 11:32 pm

      haha, yes i say to ryan… “um… i took care of the boys!” anything else that i accomplish at the moment is a huge bonus!

  • Rachel
    14 December 2011 at 10:10 pm

    I love the photo of Levi eating…uh…kissing Judah! I showed Jason and he takes one look at Judah’s nappy and says ‘uh yeah, that’s gonna leak. Poo is going to come flying out everywhere.’ Interesting what Daddies notice these days hey?

    • Adriel
      15 December 2011 at 11:33 pm

      oh please, tell him to just let me have my photo shoot! jude was only about a week old there – definitely not grown into our cloth yet. (duh!) just look at those chicken legs!! hahaha 😉

  • Teva
    14 December 2011 at 11:22 pm

    I just blogged about contemplating the right timing for #2 or #2 at all. Our fears are time and money. Because I work full time I also don’t know if it I can give enough attention/love while being away from the home 40 hours a week and them sleeping an additional 10-15 hours when I am home. It is sad really. I pray that I get to have more children and the resources to give them the best life I can give. Glad you are enjoying your transition. Scares me that people say going from 2 to 3 is a whole different ball game. I would love to hear Mel Davies perspective or pick Michele Duggars brain.

    • Adriel
      15 December 2011 at 11:35 pm

      i’m sure you will have enough love! yup, that i’m SURE of!! 🙂

  • tracy dickinson
    15 December 2011 at 1:24 am

    i was pretty worried about having two under two also, until it happened. it is just like everything else in life, you adapt. i am so thankful now that i had my girls so close together. they are able to play together and the things they enjoy are ususally the same making it easy for me to plan fun activities. now that i am getting ready to have three (ages three and under) i am a little more nervous, but know that just like last time, i will adjust and things will be just fine. it is one of the wonders of being a mother, we just do it. if you ever figure out how to get all the little stuff done, like laundry, let me know. the way i look at it (or try to look at it) is that laundry can wait, but loving on my kiddos can’t. great post!

    • Adriel
      15 December 2011 at 11:37 pm

      yes! i’m looking forward to that too – the boys being so close in age and playing together with (hopefully) some shared interests.

      congrats on #3! are you having another girl or is it a surprise? 🙂

  • alison
    15 December 2011 at 12:49 pm

    i had the same fears when i went from one kiddo to two. and when we went from two to three?? worried about having “enough love” again…i always struggled when the newbies arrived, but then we’d settle into a routine and now i don’t know what i used to do with all my free time! my biggest saving grace? all three of mine take a nap at the same time each day. (well, now it’s just on the weekends anyhow since big sister and i are at school all week long). when ava finally got to the point where she wasn’t napping every other hour and eventually settled into that one big nap after lunch with hannah and chandler….oh my, the blissful alone time 🙂

    • Adriel
      15 December 2011 at 11:40 pm

      that one big nap really is the best isn’t it? you’d think lots of naps through the day would equal lots of breaks… but it actually just feels like lots of work! i love the transition to one and can’t wait! (though i don’t want to rush the baby days of course.) sounds like you’ve got a great routine going now. nice!

  • Julie Sanderlin
    16 December 2011 at 5:49 am

    I’ve so enjoyed your blog since finding it a week or so ago. This post takes me back to when we brought our second home a little over 19 years ago. Our oldest was only 12 months old when our second was born, and for us, that transition was much more difficult than the transition from none to one. Our first was a very easy baby – even as a new mom I knew that not all babies were quite so easy, and sure enough, number two proved it to be true. There were many days the three of us cried together until I started to get my bearings as a mom of two under two.

    Amazingly, the next year when we added our third, adjusting to three under three was MUCH easier than adjusting to two under two. The same for the next year when we had our fourth under four!

    You are so wise to nap when you can. Messes will still be there after naptime, as will the laundry, and it’s so much easier to deal with it all when you have had even a small amount of rest. And you are so right – these days will be a memory before you know it.

    This year we added number 11, and I still try to nap when I can. Some days I feel like supermom, and others I am doing well to just do the next thing and be able to get them all safely tucked into bed at night. 🙂

  • Branson
    24 December 2011 at 8:55 am

    This post filled me with joy! I am so happy for you! There is so much sweetness that it almost makes me want another… And your words make it sound far less daunting an idea 😉

  • […] most popular post was about how having two under two is easy. You know, like why-isn’t-everyone-doing-it easy? *ahem* You guys had lots to say about that […]

  • Chantal
    23 February 2015 at 6:22 pm

    Hi, I literally just found out in expecting bub number two later this year. I literally just found out yesterday!! DS will be around 21 months when the other comes along and I am FREAKING OUT!!! I had such a difficult time with DS when he was a newborn. Silent reflux that was undiagnosed until he was three months plus being born with sleep cycles equalled a very tired stressed and overwhelmed new mother! Up until a few months ago I swore I would never have another. It feels like I am SO not ready right now. I still have baby weight to loose and the house isn’t big enough for a dog, two cats, toddler AND newborn! But reading these comments has made me feel a little easier about the whole thing. I’m so aware I will probably have a breakdown twice a week for the first three to six months. But you ladies have reminded me that I did it the first time when I had no clue what to do, plus we are women and we just simply don’t give up we have no choice but to carry on!! Fingers crossed the next bub is a little easier than my current cheeky DS and that I will finally be able to get consistent sleep in a few years time! Wish me luck ladies!

    • Adriel Booker
      25 February 2015 at 7:05 pm

      Hi Chantal. First of all, congratulations! 🙂 How wonderful.

      What I’ve found is that we only have the grace for what we have, meaning, when we have one child we only have the grace for one. When there’s two, there’s grace for that. When you’re pregnant with another, there’s grace for the pregnancy, etc. It’s reassuring to me to know that grace for the season will always be there as we need it.

      All the best to you as you expand your family. Very exciting!! x

  • Emilie
    11 May 2015 at 3:01 pm

    Great post! Thank you very much.

  • Melissa
    29 May 2015 at 10:07 pm

    This is such a beautiful article. Like Chantal I also just found out that we are having #2! We found out that I’m 18 weeks pregnant on the day baby boy turned 11 months! What a shocker. And – its a girl! I’m feeling a bit out of my depth, but i believe that God wouldn’t give us this blessing if we couldn’t handle it. The minute I laid eyes on our little boy I immediately knew I wanted more children (3 to be specific). I struggled for four years with infertility and when we were finally going to be parents we were so excited. I didn’t in my wildest dreams think it would happen again so soon. I’m so happy, and so scared. Now I need to bond with this little bundle I didn’t even know was there.

    You have a beautiful family Adriel!

  • Precious
    7 April 2016 at 12:31 pm

    I am single mother of 2 under 2 that are fourteen months apart. I was blessed to have round the clock help until my infant was 3 months old. After those first 3 months, it seemed like a breeze – well at least breezier. My infant – who was now colic free, and my toddler, who gained independence overnight, just love eachother. It just melts my heart to see them play together now. I am looking forward to the day my infant to walk or at least crawl. They will definitely be able to entertain eachother. The key that I have learned that saves me on a regular basis – a baby sling/wrap. Sometimes I even stuff my toddler in it if he is feeling extra babyish. I also give them both one on one time at least 1 day a week with me. Somehow in the middle of this super busy life, I still manage to work full time. Needless to say, most of their clothes that are laid out for the next day come off of the pile of clean clothes that I insist that I intend to fold and put up. I have yet to do either – and that’s ok.

  • Sue
    16 July 2018 at 11:16 pm

    Hi Ariel! Thank you so much for sharing this insight. Its beautiful how positive you are! I am pregnant with my 2nd and feel more at ease reading this as well as inspired that you have the time and energy to write this article 😀

  • Sarah
    10 November 2018 at 4:10 pm

    Man I wish I could say the same. I have to admit that I find two under two much harder than expected. I feel that I became a worse mum because I am just so exhausted all the time and have way less patience for my toddler. My kids are 16 months apart and my husband works off shore so I spend lots of time alone with them. My biggest struggle are evenings. Bed time routine, a toddler that doesn’t want to eat dinner and is so so jealous of her younger brother. He has terrible colics for over 3 months and literally screamed day and night without a break. Yes there are great moments too and with every week they grow older things become a little bit more easy. I love them both to bits and I look at pictures of them and get sad when I see how fast they grow. At the same time I miss so much to have just a bit of time to myslef. I also feel pretty isolated as leaving the house is almost impossible. We live in Indonesia and there are no sidewalks, parks, playgrounds or clean beaches I can go to. So yeah, I feel often like a single mum with twins. And in the nights I try to keep my business up and running . Life definitely has changed a lot

    • Adriel Booker
      21 November 2018 at 2:53 pm

      My heart goes out to you, Sarah. This does sound terribly difficult with your children close together, your husband away, and very little support system. I can understand why you feel so exhausted. I think bedtimes can be a difficult time for any parent, but your situation sounds extra tiring. Hugs.

  • Kali
    20 June 2019 at 2:44 am

    This post made me feel so confident and relieved that I can bring baby #2 into the world…my daughter is going to be 1 next month and I am 5 weeks pregnant which makes me due in February. I was 22 when I had my daughter & will be 24 when I’m due with my next baby. They are going to be 17 months apart. I will be a single mom parenting these two children. My boyfriend is not happy at all that I am pregnant so this is making it a little bit more challenging for me. I have to choose my children. Relationships come and go but your babies are forever. This really gave me the strength I needed. Thank you

  • Jennifer
    12 December 2019 at 3:01 am

    This read was exactly what I needed. We’re trying to conceive for our second now, and our son is only 9 months old, making about an 18 month gap. Sometimes I think we’re insane for doing this and have no idea how we are or why we are. And sometimes I’m just so excited to have both kids so close. Thank you for sharing the honesty of how hard and how rewarding it is!


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