A scenario that is common with moms of multiples: You give birth to these two amazing little people, you are just figuring out how to be a mom, and then your maternity leave is up and you have to go back to work. Aside from all of the emotions that go with going back to work, you have to figure out how to get your new little family out the door every morning! I definitely don’t have all of the solutions but here are some tips to help make mornings simpler and give you more time in the evenings with the kiddos.
Iron out the details in advance.
Whether you are sending your children to a relative’s house or a day care center, you will need to iron out some details about what you need to send with your children.
For day care
You need to know what is included in the cost and how the weather/seasons affect what you need to pack. Some questions to ask…
- Are diapers and/or food included in the cost?
- If you need to provide them, can you send everything for the week on Monday?
- How do you need to send bottles? (It seems that most require you to mix bottles and have them ready to heat and serve)
- How do you need to label bottles/cups for each child? (Sites such as inchbug.com make labels that can stay on through washes, or you can use painter’s tape)
- Do you need to leave outfits at daycare? If so, how many?
- Is there any seasonal or weather specific stuff you need to have on hand (sunscreen, hats, jackets?)
For a relative’s house
It is a little easier to be cut and dry when asking these questions of your daycare service. But it can become a little more awkward when discussing topics (such as payment) with family. When we asked our moms to watch the girls, we made it clear that we couldn’t afford to pay them, and it was up to them if they OK with doing this for no payment (thankfully, they were.) Some couples who are able to pay leave it up to that person what they want to do with the money. Some relatives choose to use this money to take the kids on outings, some put it in a college fund, and some have quit their jobs to provide child care and need the money as income.
If you are paying, you can add on the cost of diapers, wipes, and food and ask that they have these at their house. If you are not paying, plan to send these things unless you hear otherwise. When packing for the relative’s house, count out how many diapers you will need for the week as well as how much formula/baby food and send it in one bag on the first day of the week. For breast milk, unless you are a super producer and have tons in storage, it might be easiest to just leave what you pumped that day at work for the next day when you come to pick the kids up.
Organize everything for the week on Sundays.
On Sunday morning I did any laundry that we’d need so I could pack up extra clothes for the week while the girls napped. I used five XL Ziploc bags labeled for each day of the week (Monday, Tuesday, etc.) In each bag I put 1 outfit for each twin, 2 undershirts, and 2 pairs of socks. I labeled the bags so that I could plan appropriate outfits for the weather (as much as you can rely on the 7 day forecast!)
Then each morning I grabbed the babies’ clothes bag, the bottle/milk bag, and the “Mary Poppins diaper bag” (where I always kept 2 jackets, 2 hats, 2 extra outfits, 2 pairs of extra socks, and shoes) and packed up the car.
When I finish organizing the clothes for the girls, I organize my clothes for the week. Being post-preggo, I was pretty picky about the clothes that I felt comfortable in. After one morning of trying on almost every outfit I owned and being almost late for work, finding the one shirt I wanted at the bottom of the laundry hamper (under hubby’s sweaty gym clothes), and leaving the house frustrated, sad, and uncomfortable—I decided to make the time to organize my clothes for the week as well. I would try on each outfit and lay out of all of the pieces for five outfits (including camis, socks, even jewelry if I was feeling fancy). The whole outfit was hung on one hanger, ready for the week. Most weeks I would even have a backup outfit just in case I didn’t like the way something fit when I got dressed in the morning.
The night before a work day, prep as much stuff as possible. I would pack my lunch, get the coffee pot ready, put milk storage bags in the fridge to thaw for the next day, wash and bag the bottles for the next day, and pack my bag for work. I found that the more things that I could do the night before, the better my mornings went (especially everything that can go wrong in the morning with babies!)
Try to work your “getting ready time” around their schedule.
When I went back to work, my girls had a 4 am feeding and I had to leave the house around 6 am. So I got up, did the feed/change routine, then I packed them into their car seats to go back to sleep (they were 3 months at the time). Then I pumped, showered, and got packed up for the day. If I had a little extra time, I could get to work early and then be ready to leave quicker at the end of the day. Due to the fact that I packed and organized everything for the week on Sunday afternoon, our mornings went much smoother than if I didn’t take the time to do this.
Take notes and share with caretakers.
Regardless of who is watching your children, it would be helpful to keep a journal (especially with twins or more!) I kept a journal of their schedule for the first few weeks anyway so I could figure out our routine. We recorded feeding times and amounts, sleep schedules, and numbers of diapers (with one column per twin) until we had a good view of what was “normal” for each girl. We had two grandmas watching the twins, so it was very helpful for them, as well as us to see how things were going.
Going back to work with a newborn (let alone TWO or more!) can be stressful, and the last thing that you want to do is spend every evening after work, getting ready for the next work day instead of spending time with your kids. I found that some of these tricks made the week of work much easier, and hope that you find them helpful.
Stephanie Cleland is a high school teacher who traded in her teen students for adorable twin toddlers and now spends her days entertaining her 1 year old “twinadoes”. She married her college sweet heart, Kirk, and her hobbies include scrapbooking and other creative projects. She also is working on a blog ilovemytwinadoes.weebly.com.
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Are you a new twin parent? Check out Natalie Diaz’s new book “What To Do When You’re Having Two: The Twin Survival Guide From Pregnancy Through the First Year”, available in stores now!
The rate of twin births has risen 79 percent over the last three decades, and continues to increase. A mom of fraternal twins and a national guru on having two, Natalie Diaz launched Twiniversity, a supportive website with advice from the twin-trenches.
What to Do When You’re Having Two is the definitive how-to guide to parenting twins, covering how to make a Birth Plan checklist, sticking to one sleep schedule, managing double-duty breastfeeding, stocking up on all the necessary gear, building one-on-one relationships with each child, and more.
Accessible and informative, What to Do When You’re Having Two is the must-have manual for all parents of twins.