Advice comes from far and wide the moment a woman announces a pregnancy, sometimes there is enough advice to make your head spin. When we announced our twin pregnancy, we got more shock and disbelief than advice but once the shock wore off, the advice started to roll in.
One of the biggest pieces of advice I received from other twin parents was to survive the first year. I didn’t quite understand the seriousness of that piece of advice until I got past the first year and looked back. It is so hard to enjoy the moments when there are two mouths to feed, two diapers to change and two babies to get to sleep, so it really does become about survival. The first year with our twins is a blur, I don’t know where it went or what exactly happened, all I know is, we did actually survive it. I definitely have moments of sadness because I didn’t get the one on one time with the twins like I did with my first but that is part of being a twin mom.
The second biggest piece of advice was to get the babies on a schedule as soon as we possibly could, that didn’t seem so difficult, until we were living it. It’s hard to wake up a sleeping baby simply because their sibling is up. It’s hard to feed that baby that doesn’t seem to want to wake up and eat. It took over four months for the schedule to really feel like it was falling into place and there were definitely times we wanted to just give up on the idea. Sometimes flying by the seat of your pants can work but the sanity that came with a schedule was worth it.
There are some very common pieces of advice that I see articles about regularly, pieces that I decided just didn’t work for me.
Sleep when the “baby” sleeps.
OK, which one? Because I’m telling you, once they were past the stage of pretty much sleeping all day, mine did not sleep for the same length of time and would not fall asleep at the same time. Also, if you sleep when the baby sleeps, you get nothing else done, whether it be showering or keeping the house clean.
Which brings me to my next piece of advice that I did not follow:
The dishes/laundry/house work can wait.
Yup, it sure can wait, but the longer it waits, the more it becomes a daunting list of stuff to do instead of a quick five minute clean up. I don’t know about you but, mess absolutely stresses me out, I can’t be surrounded by it. I do the dishes after every meal, I tidy up before I leave the house so I don’t come home to a mess, I put laundry away the same day it’s done. I find it so much easier to complete a small task the make myself available to my children than to spend time with my children knowing that there is a list of things to do.
I think either of these pieces of advice may be easier to follow when you have one baby, but when there are two babies, it’s a whole new world. When you have twins, you have to be ready to go go go once your feet hit the floor. I get to sit at meal times and on the floor when I’m playing with the children, otherwise I do not stop until all the tiny humans are in bed. I’m solo quite often, it can be for weeks at a time, I don’t have the option to slow down.
Do not compare the twins to each other.
OK really? How can you not compare? I understand the context of that statement but it is in our nature to compare one person to the other, there’s no way we wouldn’t compare the twins. The important thing is that we compare in a positive manner without putting down the one that hasn’t reached that milestone. There is nothing wrong with stating who walked first, who spoke first, who slept through the night first etc. Heck, we compare the twins to their big sister more than we compare them to each other.
One thing I’ve realized since becoming a mom, is that we truly need to do what works for us. I will skim advice pieces, take from them what I need to and disregard the rest. We can’t overwhelm ourselves with every parenting article out there or we won’t be true to ourselves and our children. Every parent is different just like every child is different and it is up to us to determine what best suits our individual family. I appreciate and respect the different ways everyone around me parents, and sometimes, I even learn something new from them but I don’t try to be them or try to force them to be me.
So, If I were to offer you one piece of advice, it would be to do what feels right for you and for your family, don’t worry about what your neighbours, friends, sisters or the moms in your birth club are doing. You have to do what it takes to stay sane in your world because the people writing the articles or offering you advice aren’t living your life, so they can’t fully understand it. Stay strong in your beliefs, stay true to yourself and own all of your decisions, that way no one will question whether you’re cut out for this crazy world of parenting multiples. (Just so you know, I do question myself multiple times a day, every day, but the rest of the world thinks I’m rocking this.)
Christine Johnson is a military wife and stay at home mom to a threenager and one year old twins. Before becoming a mom, Christine was employed in the auto industry and had a passion for anything automotive related.
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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.
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