After surviving 8 months with 2 under 2, I have had dozens of moms with 1 year olds at home and growing baby bumps reach out for advice, so figured I would put together a 2under2 blog post for you!
First off, it is not that bad if you are prepared! I had heard so many horror stories, and let me reassure you -- women have been doing it for thousands of years, and in the modern era, we are so much better prepared!
First off: Lower your expectations. So many friends have their second baby and are right back out there -- but usually they have 2 years different between kids. When you have just a few months (14 in our case) you need to be realistic. First off, your 1.5 year old doesn't need to be attending every activity, class or party. Sure it may exhaust them and give you a microbreak, but it is also okay to be home. Same goes for TV-- if youre exhausted and at your limit, don't feel a milisecond of guilt for throwing on some Daniel Tiger and plopping the toddler infront of it. Everyone will survive and probably for the best!
Second: Prepare your home! You will be spending a lot more time at home as you balance a newborn and toddler nap/feeding schedule. If you have time to prepare, nest-away and make at least one room totally destroyable for the toddler and another a place of sanctuary for you (it can be the toilet!). Secondly, acknowledge that you will spend the first few months needing to feed the newborn constantly. I set up baskets near almost every seated surface specifically for Grace to play with curiously -- filled with books, quietly/non-noisy/battery operated toys, crayons, legos, etc. so whenever I was breast/bottlefeeding, she had an activity to do right beside me. This was key. Buy up the dollar spot at Target (seriously, 6 of each, I am telling you!) Also, if it is in the budget and you have the space- buy the fisher price bounce house. I am telling you, it saved us. We've had it blown up outside for dance parties of 2, pretended it was a ship, tent, castle, etc. and even brought it inside on rainy days for mindblowing fun. Everything is better with a bounce house and for under $200 it is a great investment since you won't be getting out of the house as much.
Third: Schedules -- don't push too hard to get them on the same schedule. After being away from Grace for so long between my hospitalization and Emery's NICU saga, I needed some quality time with Grace and was elated to find it. I loved that my girls were on polar opposite schedules. I didn't sleep much, but its just a phase and looking back now with a 2 and 3 year old, I miss the one-on-one bonding time I had with each of my kiddos while the other one napped. It was madness, but also a beautiful time I will cherish with a fondness for the rest of our lives.
Fourth: Technology! Okay so I already commented on how TV is a-okay in my book when you have a toddler and newborn and need some relief - but lets talk about other ways technology can help you. Does your pediatrician let you book online in the middle of the night? Such a help, trust me. Do your bills online during midnight feedings. Order groceries and diapers via PrimeNow and other essentials via GoogleShopping express. There is no reason you should have to bring your toddler and baby both to Target. Rely on the interwebs - we are a lucky generation of moms!
Fifth: Don't worry about moving toddler to a big bed, potty training, etc. right now. Not worth the tears. Borrow/Buy/Find an extra crib for the newborn and let the toddler remain secured in a crib as long as you can. (we made this mistake. trust us.)
Good luck!! I wouldn't have changed a thing -- I love having my two girls so close in age and we are reaping the benefits now as they play together and have a sisterly bond 3 years ago I would have found unfathomable! It is the best of the best!
Oh and P.S. if you want the best umbrella stroller -- order a Zoe Double. Its the best. Just trust me.