So here we are. You have made it through a pregnancy that you thought was never going to end. You are home from the hospital and feeling on top of the world…. Maybe exhausted, sore, and drained, but on top. Those sweet little bundles of joy have made every tough moment worth it and you are prepared with a capital P! The unknown is always a little nerve-racking however…. You have read every parenting book, you have taken advice from every mother figure in your family, and then some, you have matching outfits ready to go for every day of the week, and you plan to shower daily.
Quickly your first day home from the hospital turns into 5 months down the road. Those months were a blur to say the least. A reoccurring question that still to this day…. (And I say that like I am some pro, mind you I am only 4 years into this “raising twins journey”) the question remains… How do you do it? Many times I giggle and say the first thing that comes to mind, and other days I want to agree and say… I have no idea how I do it. Yet I manage to keep them happy, constantly fed- and I mean constantly, and keep their bright innocent spirit alive.
It rings true that twins are a double blessing, yet with quadruple stress. Each stage presents its own struggles from infant, to mobile babies, to toddler years. Oh those toddler years, I could write an entire blog about the 3rd year alone. Year 3 felt like I was in the front seat of a roller coaster. You know how your hair looks once the ride stops after sitting in the front seat of the ride? Eyes watering, no words, catching your breath, looking next to you to see if the person sitting next to you felt the same way and hoping you still look like a human… yeah that’s year three. Oh I could go on and on… BUT, I’ll save that for another day.
While the rewards of raising twins outweigh the challenges, it is a tough navigation of the right things to do to make sure you don’t screw them up as a human being…. And I promise- you aren’t! Instinct, quick thinking, deep breathing, and a little wine. This is how I wrangle two at a time. 🙂
You do what you gotta do.
Remember all of those books you read, all the advice you took from all of those strong women you look up to, and all those cute magazine covers with perfect family pictures? All of these are great, and also great in theory. Some days you could have written those parenting books and other days, you are happy that they are just alive and breathing. I would love to take the time to explain why we don’t write on the walls, why we don’t pee outside from the back door, or why smacking your brother with a fly swatter is not a friendly thing to do. Yes, most times I do try to explain this quickly, and yes these are all true moments of learning in my house, but unfortunately there is a lot of monkey-see monkey-do and trouble happens quickly. So don’t feel bad when you didn’t have matching outfits today – or outfits at all, breakfast, lunch, and dinner were all the same meals… (cereal in my case), and watching Daniel Tiger on loop because hey- Daniel Tiger really does teach great skills, and also because I am tired.
Oh the schedule. I seriously could not have survived without my schedule. From infant stages of having a dry erase board with a different color marker for each kid, who was breast fed last, who had formula, to napping schedules. From the first minute home they were on strict eating and napping schedules. Yes, this meant that I would tell friends, “No, I cant do that”, because they were napping. I was THAT mom- but I also knew once we got the schedule down pat, we would be able to go out and do these fun things because they AND I were rested. With twins, you have to have that strict schedule and same schedule or you will be up 24 hours a day. And to this day at 4 years old- they have the exact same sleep schedule and wake schedule- within a minute of each other. That my friends is what I call success! 🙂
Unfortunately there is just no way around it. With twins you aren’t able to give 100% of your time and effort to one little body which means you have to let one or the other cry sometimes. You do learn different cries very quickly, and learn to prioritize each cry. This is what I call superwoman power! (Bet your singleton friends cant do that!) It also taught me that it is okay for your baby to cry a little and it is not the end of the world.
We Ask For Help
This was the toughest for me to accept as a new mom. How could I ask for help? I was going to be the one everyone talked about how extraordinary I was as a mom. How I held it together and looked presentable every outing. I wouldn’t need to ask for help. The truth is, I got to a point that I essentially said, yes to anyone who offered help. I will take all the help I can get. There is no truer saying than it takes a village to raise a child, let alone two! You offered to come to the pediatrician with me- you better believe I wouldn’t let you finish that sentence and I will scream from the hilltops YES! Because well… have you ever taken twins to the doctors by yourself? Yikes.
No means No
I will admit, nothing is harder than listening to your sweet angel whine about the snack they want, or the millionth glass of milk, knowing darn well they will pee the bed, and wanting to give in. But sticking to your guns is the best survival tactic there is. Compare it to a machete in a dense jungle. That is your only weapon you have and you use it for all of the important things needed to survive in a jungle. Just like those jungle predators, a toddler can smell weakness a mile away. Now imagine two. Sniffing out your weakness and as one loses energy to keep fighting with you, they high five and tag team the other one fresh and ready to rumble. The best tool in this situation – “asked and answered” it took some time BUT this phrase is something used almost as much as “ I have to go potty” in my house.
No Bond is Better
As much as I gripe about the hard truths of raising twins, I hope that someone reads this, and says…. This is me. This is my life. And brings emotions of both happy and sad tears. Because the cold hard truth is- raising twins is the hardest thing I have done thus far in my life, but at the same time, no amount of money, time, or heartache beats a hug from both of them, at the same time. Nothing beats the unparalleled feeling, as they say in unison “I love you so much momma.” Nothing.