Second kid coming.. what kind of help would help most?

Hi BPN!

tl;dr - what kind of help worked well for you when your 1 kid family became a 2 kid family? Part time Nanny? And/or cleaning/cooking/chores help? Au pair? 

We have an awesome 1.5 year old and hope for another soon. Live in 2 bdrm, current situation is nanny share (not at our house) 4 days/week and mother in law 1 day/week. We both work full time  

Anticipating that 2 babies/toddlers is much harder.. and thinking maybe some additional help would be amazing for preserving happiness, marriage, sanity, etc at least for first stretch of having two kids, if not longer. Blessed to be able to maybe afford something hopefully.

What are some options that have helped you most?

Trying to think through variations of part time nannies (a few nights? Weekend? Pickup/dropoff/evening help w our then 2 year old and some cleanup help?)... or a nanny a few days a week plus a cleaning/cooking help 1-2x/week?... or something else..

Thank you for any and all wisdom!!

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When we had our second, I completely outsourced cooking and grocery shopping for eight months or so. I used a meal delivery service and had fully-cooked meals delivered weekly to our house, which we heated for dinner every night. For breakfast, lunch, and staple foods I did grocery delivery once a week. This was a huge time and sanity saver. No one had time to cook when there was a baby to nurse/hold and a toddler to entertain, and if I ever had a rare spare hour, I sure wasn’t going to use it to go to a crowded grocery store. We also have our house cleaned every other week, but we’ve been doing that since even before we had kids. : ) Good luck and enjoy!

I think a lot can change with your current family life between now and when this future baby comes so it's tough to plan but it's good you are thinking about. What helped us the most was full-time childcare for both (but fortunately I don't work full time so I had time during the week for 1:1 with each kid separately as well as my own "alone" time). Help from grandparents is great but we found that they could not handle both a toddler and baby. We hired a house cleaner every other week. Having so much less "alone" time for myself was the biggest adjustment so carving out that time and making it a regular "date" with yourself may be valuable (depends on your personality I guess!).  Also, mom guilt is real and I felt like my toddler was getting so much less of me but they really do adjust and the extra screen time she survived on for a few months is OK! The first year with two will likely be hard no matter what and there's no way around it but through it. Good luck :)

Congratulations! I would vote for help with meals and cleaner 1x, 2x/month if you can swing it! Also feels any way you can limit the distance for drop offs (or have someone come to you) is so helpful! But after a long day even having to do lots of trekking around for drop offs and pick ups, what I was most grateful for was a solid meal and not having to do the deep cleaning.

I think you're wise for thinking about this early on! When our second was born, we were caught by surprise by how hard it all was, and it took months to think through the kind of help we wanted and that would be most useful. Some of this is likely personal preference, but for our family, housekeeping help was the #1 thing that was useful. Neither my partner nor I wanted to be doing tons of laundry or washing dishes or keeping the house generally in decent shape when we were sleep deprived and taking care of babies. We've found that having someone come for an hour or two 3-4 mornings a week to do laundry, dishes, light cleaning, and general straightening up makes a WORLD of difference. We posted a Craigslist ad describing what we were looking for and got many responses. The other thing that we didn't have, but would have been wonderful in hindsight, is someone that could take our preschooler to/from school.

One challenge for us was figuring out how Mom could do bedtime for both kids solo when the baby was breastfeeding at odd intervals and thus Mom wasn't able to be super present (physically, cognitively, emotionally) with our preschooler. This felt impossible for us so Dad was home for most bedtimes for a while. If you anticipate one of you will frequently be doing bedtime alone, it might be worth thinking through if there's anyone that might be able to pitch in to help, such as a grandparent or a babysitter. Best of luck to you - I hope your transition to two kids goes as smoothly as possible! 

I think you're on the right track with the help you are thinking of - it's just a matter of how much. Perhaps find someone who is open to being flexible as you figure things out. I found the most difficult thing about having 2 little ones is the fact that your toddler is at an age where s/he still needs you a lot, and I really echo another poster's comment about the importance of a 2-person parental presence in the early months. You can divide/conquer better that way, whether it's the 4 of you doing family time, one adult takes one child and spends time, etc. It is really hard for one adult to take both children, esp. if both are awake! While I've gotten the hang of going out with a toddler and baby by myself these days, I still find doing morning/bedtime routines hard to do by myself (and get nervous when my partner says he'll be home late), as well as trying to put the baby to nap while keeping my toddler at bay. My parents helped watch both kids too as we also work full-time, but both of them said that they would not be able to take 2 on, if it were just one of them. I think if you can outsource the chores, start there (meals/meal prep, housekeeping). Just keep in mind that it is easier for you if you are a team of at least 2 because you are up against MORE than 2 (baby+toddler > 2).

Such helpful advice!! Thank you all so much!!