There is an invisible gap between multiple mommas and singleton mommas and it’s so hard to explain I’m not even sure I can. I am a first time momma of twins. And I do what I’m sure a lot of new moms do: ask for advice. I ask advice from all sorts of friends and family, I compile it together, and then I pick and choose wisely the pieces of info (ALONG with my motherly instincts) to come up with the right decisions or plans or products for my children. Just because I am asking for advice does not mean I do not know what I am doing or that I am following every piece of info to a tee.
But we have this huge resource at our fingertips… social media! Facebook, Twitter, Twiniversity, tons of parenting forums! I can basically poll a group of my closest friends and family on parenting advice (some of which are twin mommas) and then decide what info I want to use. Or, in some cases, what info to not use… In fact, I probably don’t follow a lot of advice because I don’t like the way some people parent. There, I said it. I may ask for advice and then do the opposite! But for the most part a lot of people give me great advice and tips and parenting “hacks” to follow and guide my twins into the world. And I am thankful to have so many wonderful mommas in my world to ask advice from!
But I have also noticed a gap. The blank stare when I am talking to a singleton momma…
Come on multiple mommas, you know what I’m talking about! When you are flustered because you are uncertain which baby to grab when both are crying in their cribs and you’re home alone. Or when you have to master feeding multiple babies at one time and make sure everyone gets burped correctly. Or when your friends talk about how you need to stay on the “schedule”, but to you “schedule” means a running tally so that you don’t accidentally feed or change one baby twice and forget the other…. (This does happen! In your sleep-deprived, husband’s at work, everybody’s crying (including yourself) state, this WILL happen. Luckily the hungry baby will remind you with a series of shrieks that he has not been fed!) There is a gap, a blank stare that singleton moms will give you when you talk of these things. They will try so hard to give you advice or tips but it seems like child’s play when it comes to what you go through in a day.
This gap goes both ways. I remember sitting with my girlfriends and all their babies listening jealously about their struggles with breastfeeding. I wanted so bad to have that one-on-one bonding time with one of my babies snuggled up against my chest but I never even attempted it (for so many medical reasons I don’t even want to get into). Or the “freedom” that they had to just stop at the store with their little cutie in tow and do some one-on-one shopping and kind of “show-off” the new baby…. The thought of walking into Target with twins without a helper scared me to the core.
I know many of you have lost friendships because of this gap. I have read your articles and comments here on Twiniversity about it! I understand and see how that could happen. I felt like many of my friends didn’t understand why I quit coming around. I started hearing more complaints about my absence at gatherings than cheers about my presence when I did show up. It seemed daunting to get myself and two babies all dressed and fed and happy and out the door without a helper of some sorts (don’t worry new twin mommies, it does get easier, I promise.) Just like anything, daily life becomes routine and you can finally get into a rhythm. Getting yourself and two kids out the door in under an hour becomes a big accomplishment! I’ve learned to pick and choose special occasions and events to go to or to make sure I always have someone designated to be a helper when I arrive at those events. It doesn’t mean you are lazy or an incompetent mother, it means, you have twins! You have TWO little human beings that are the same age, needing the same things, at the same time. I love when people say to me, “Mine are 18 months apart, its practically the same thing as twins!”… Nope. Just nope. It’s not. It’s really, really not.
No one will fully understand what a twin momma goes through, the bad days and the wonderful days, unless they have been a twin mommy themselves. Not your momma, not your best friend, not even your husband. But if they are true, they will stay. No matter how many blank stares you give each other and how large the gap grows, they will still be there through it all.
I am lucky, my friends are my friends and they are true. If there is a gap between us of months or years or states, they are still there. We pick up like there was never any time lost. I do still feel the “gap”. I do still get the blank stares and sometimes I feel the guilt of not coming around, but I don’t care. THIS is the life I have always wanted. These are the kids I have always dreamed of and this is the family I live for.
So twin mommas, do you feel this gap? Have you lost relationships because of it? How do we bridge this gap and meet in the middle?
Mikenzie Oldham is a full-time twin mommy, a full-time wife, a full-time employee, a full-time maid, a full-time chef, and a full-time writer. Juggling life as twin mommy in a kid-centric world, she survives all this with a steady intake of caffeine and wine. She has perfected the phrase “don’t hit your brother” and her main expertise is cleaning mud out of someone’s ear, kissing “owies” and finding four shoes. Check out all her boys’ shenanigans at meandallmyboys.wordpress.com.