Let’s face it… parenting is hard. No matter what your situation is, chances are, you feel guilt like you have never felt before. For me, transitioning to life as a stay-at-home mom has been challenging, and brought on feelings of guilt I never expected. As I’m writing this, I already feel guilty saying anything negative because I know how fortunate I am to be able to raise my kids myself thanks to my incredible, hard-working husband and his wonderful job. I am one of the lucky ones with a husband who, despite working more than full-time, still helps around the house, and helps care for the babies whenever he can. I don’t know what I would do without him. All you mommas (or daddies!) out there doing it alone are actual superheroes.
I feel guilty about not contributing financially like I used to for our family. I feel guilty for hitting the pause button on all the career goals I have worked so hard at for years. I feel guilty for complaining about how tired I am when my husband comes home from a hard day at the office. I feel guilty about not keeping the house spotless even though I am home all day. You get the picture. I constantly feel the need to justify myself and list every single thing I have done during the day so my husband knows I am working hard. (Side note: this has nothing to do with pressure from him and is completely in my head. He tells me all the time to relax and not worry about little things.) The best advice I can give for dealing with these feelings is speaking up. If you feel like you are hitting a wall, don’t let yourself get too deep in a hole before telling your partner, a family member, or friend. Hopefully someone will be able to give you a break, even if it’s just long enough for a shower or trip to the grocery store alone.
Although I know all parents experience this, I feel like there are aspects of twin parenting that create even more guilt than a parent of a singleton. One such issue is worrying about giving each twin enough individual attention. At first, I couldn’t figure out how this was going to be possible with two babies and only one me. Over the past five months since my twins’ birth, I have come to realize although Twin A may get more attention one week, Twin B will likely get more attention the next. Therefore, it all seems to even out eventually. Twins seem to intuitively know when their sibling needs to be the center of attention, and take a step back so you can focus on who needs it more. If they don’t, invest in some noise-cancelling headphones to drown out some of the screaming, and do the best you can.
You can love your babies more than anything and still want to do other things without needing to feel guilty. Just because I’m staying home for a while to take care of them doesn’t mean my goals or ambitions have magically gone away. I have to remind myself it’s not forever, it’s just temporary for this stage of life. Whenever my twins are screaming bloody murder in stereo, I try to remember there will come a day when they are in school and I will miss them terribly.
Even though I am surrounded by two little people all day, sometimes the loneliness is crushing. This is one of the worst sources of guilt for me, as I love spending time with my babies, but sometimes I miss my “old life.” I know part of this is my own fault for not making more of an effort to be social (which I am getting better at), but sometimes the stress of getting twins out the door and caring for them at an unfamiliar location outweighs my need for getting out. One way I have recently started to combat this is by connecting with other twin moms via multiples groups I have joined and setting up play dates (definitely more for moms than babies at this point). Of course, I still try to get together with my non-twin mom friends as well, but there’s something about being with another mom of multiples that provides an extra feeling of comfort. I know that whomever I’m with will instantly understand my unique worries and challenges, and will relate to me in a way others cannot.
I wish there was a perfect solution for everyone feeling that parental guilt, but for now, all I can recommend is to communicate your feelings, and try to focus on the positive things in your life. No one is a perfect parent, whether they have one child or ten. If you are feeling down or guilty about any aspect of parenting, please know you are not alone. Some days will be better than others, but those little loves smiling up at you will let you know none of the minor things you are stressing about really matter. Your babies love you more than anyone, and are so lucky to have you.
Heather Nichols Rosenfeld is a full-time mommy to fraternal twin boys, Justin and Ryan, wife to Mike, actress, social media manager, and writer originally from Barboursville, WV and currently living in Los Angeles, CA. She is an only child who is working hard to figure out the twin dynamic! You can connect with her on Facebook here.
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