I came across the e-mails I sent to my friends with two kids or more for their input on how they handle life with a toddler and newborn. Below were their answers and some other tips that I found to be very helpful:
1. Accept the fact that I won't have good night sleep (at least for this season of life). The first month of his life, Wes woke up almost every hour. I remember being so tired and cried while rocking him to sleep. In my mind, I recalled my friend's newborn baby who slept 5 hours at time. Then in still small voice, God reminded me, "Kiki, you asked me for this child. Do you know how much tears some people shed to have what you have?" That settled the issue. It doesn't make me woke up cheerfully every time I hear Wes cry, but it does make me woke up with thankful heart. Although there are times when all I could do was asking Chris, "Can you please take this one?" I can't thank God enough for giving me such a caring husband.
2. Have a low expectation of how my day goes - this one is from my dear friend Elisse. Exactly the advise that I need back then. I don't have smart phone so I jotted down my goals, plan, schedule, to do list in a journal. Everyday (before Wesley birth) it's almost always full with lists. In the weeks following Wesley's birth, all I could do was wake up, nurse the baby, eat, and sleep. The pages in my journal mostly blank. Sometimes all I put on my To Do List was: Take a Shower! :)
3. Communicate to my husband what I need NICELY!
My husband can't read my mind. Well no body can except God even so He still want me to pray to Him. So anyway, I need to communicate to him what I need or feel not assuming he know it. I intentionally capitalize nicely because after giving birth, my hormone often cause me to be emotional so I need to be aware of this. Also, let him do things his way.
4. Pray and Soak in God's Words. When I was down with anemia and had postpartum blues/ depression; I started to believe in lies: If God loves me how comes he gave me headaches this bad?; My husband cares about his work more than me; Maybe I'm not ready to have another baby. and so on and so on. I cried a lot 'till one day I decided to fight the lies with TRUTH. I started to memorize God's Words starting from my list of Bible verses for labor and beyond.
Jesus said, "If you hold to my teaching, ... you will know the truth and the truth will set you free." John 8:31-32
5. Count my blessings. I wrote down on my journal every blessing: each meal that my friends brought me, gifts, visit, kind words, prayers and encouragement. It makes a whole world different in my attitude and perspective.
"Do not be anxious in everything but in every situation by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your request to God." Ephesians 4:6
Another friend advised, "When they both ask for your attention at the same time, assist your first born first unless in case of emergency. Crying baby can wait."
Have Max 'read' books for Wes, help throwing his diaper, giving him milk so he feels special and knows your expectation of him, and that really helps his confidence and security.
A great tip I found from the book: 7 Highly Effective Family: Whenever I nurse Wes, make it a reading time with Max that way he doesn't feel left out every time mommy has to nurse the baby.
7. When I was doubting myself whether I really do this on my own. My friend Eve answered, "You don't have to do it own your own; Accept help!" So I did and my dear friends willingly helped with bringing hearty meals; babysitting Max; taking over our volunteer schedule, and so on. We also hired someone to clean our place one time, order take out/ catering at least twice a week, and buy bread instead of baking them myself.
8. Practice Grace on myself and others. Don't sweat the small stuffs. It's okay if the blinds are dusty, the toilet stinks a bit, the laundry piled up. I need to focus on taking care of myself and my love ones. Rest as much as possible. Remember I just delivered a baby. Take it slow. The first few months of Wes' life, I stop blogging and take nap every day. Chris and I extremely grateful for my mom who was here for 5 weeks to help us out. She cooked, cleaned, helped us with night shifts, and accompanied Max when I was recovering. We can't imagine what would we do without her. Thanks mom! We are so blessed to have you.
9. Take it one day at a time. I got this advise from a young mom of three boys who lost her husband to brain cancer. Things will get better. The storm will pass and soon I will be back on my feet again. The last line was from my sweet friend, Vanini. Thanks Van!
10. Last but not least is to Treasure your love ones. Who knows Wesley maybe our last baby, Seize every moment!
"There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens:
a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot,
a time to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build,
a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance,
a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them, a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
a time to search and a time to give up, a time to keep and a time to throw away,
a time to tear and a time to mend, a time to be silent and a time to speak,
a time to love and a time to hate, a time for war and a time for peace.
...He has made everything beautiful in its time." Ecclesiastes 3: 1-11