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It’s hard when you’re making this adjustment to think clearly; at least it always has been for me. The goal is to meet everyone’s needs. Not one or the other, or just this one or just that one. Sometimes that involves learning what a need is, and what it isn’t. I would never advocate “leaving a baby to cry it out.” At the same time, you can’t have your child peeing on the table. The TV can be an occasional tool. But you can’t leave your daughter unsupervised until the few moments a day that you get the baby calmed down and asleep. You have to find balance.
Looking for ways to do something that will benefit everyone is a great goal. If you are dressed, then put the baby in a sling (even a fussy one) and the toddler in a stroller, and you can get out and walk around the block in some fresh air! When you can coordinate it, group naps are my favorite.
Being a mother of more than one requires the skill of multi-tasking! The more creatively you can think about things, the better! I love bits in movies where they do crazy things, and I think, “Hmmm, that just might work.” I can imagine having a fussy baby in the sling and strapping sponges to my older kids hands and having them mop the floor while we play some crazy game. I’ve never done that, but that kind of stuff gets me thinking.
The thing is, both of your babies need you to be their mother and meet their needs. There is just no getting around that. A baby that requires more from you is simply not going to be balanced out by a toddler who suddenly doesn’t need you at all. Neither, though, does a child crying out for attention and boundaries mean that you set the baby aside completely to give that.
But life must go on! Your daughter still needs a mommy. You still need to meet your basic needs. This is not the same as some of the parenting “experts” saying your life shouldn’t change just because you have a baby. But a nursing mother needs to eat. A toddler needs to not be allowed to pee on the table. And balance must be struck. It might not happen overnight, but you can slowly work towards order and being rid of the chaos.