In preparation for writing this article, I said no to three things. THREE THINGS. I feel like that deserves some kind of reward. None of the things were bad. They were all good things. But the truth is that I’m tired and spread too thin. So I said no.
But why is it so hard to recognize our boundaries and limitations? It could be the fear of missing out, the worry of letting a friend down, or the fact that society tells us we’re failing if we don’t do it all. But those are all lies. None of that is true. I think the truth is we’re all tired and overscheduled and when we say no we give others the freedom to do the same.
I had to dig deep to write this because I am guilty of overextending myself, and, in turn, my family and my sanity. Below I’ve listed three reasons to say no so that as a parent of multiples, we can focus on our yes.
1. The Schedule Needs to Include Rest
If I pulled up your Google calendar what would it look like? Carefully scheduled blocks of time that you move around like a Jenga game? Oh wait, I just described myself. I am SO guilty of micromanaging the schedule so I can squeeze in one more coffee or work meeting or activity for the kids. Just today I scheduled time for me to sort through old clothes to contribute to the neighborhood garage sale (yes, I have a problem.)
As parents of multiples, we have to be organized. We live and die by the schedule. If it is 7:31 pm and my kids aren’t in the bath I am going to flip out because momma needs a moment and that moment needs to start right at 8:00 pm.
In order to deal with my OCD schedule, I have to schedule rest and days off. Saturday mornings we say no to anything and everyone so we can eat pancakes in our PJs for lunch.
I understand the urge to say yes and just squeeze in a playdate or birthday party because parenting multiples is isolating. It’s hard to leave the house and get things done so when the opportunity arises to be social, it’s easy to say yes. But don’t sacrifice rest or downtime for one more social obligation or else you may lose your mind in the process.
2. Set and Protect “Me Time”
From email to social media to doctors appointments and school plays and volunteering to bring snacks to preschool — life gets crazy! Whether you are a stay at home parent, work from home parent, or drop those kids off at daycare parent, it’s all nuts. None of it is without stress or guilt or the constant tendency to run at least five minutes behind.
As a parent, especially when you have little ones, it’s easy to lose yourself. From the never-ending work projects or sick visits to the doctor, your plate is overflowing. But the truth is, you haven’t changed as a person, you just have grown and added to your character. It’s important to do something for you. Whether that is yoga or reading or taking a walk, when you commit to one thing for yourself every week, it’s easier to say no to other things that pop up. Protect your “me time” at all costs, because it’s so rare to have any.
3. Kids Grow Up Way Too Fast
You know when you’re in Target and your toddler twins are having an epic meltdown because you wouldn’t let them wear their Paw Patrol pajamas? And then at that exact moment, a more seasoned parent approaches you and reminds you to savor the moment because they grow up way too fast? Okay, fast forward past the part where you want to tell them to take your tots because you give up. Now, after you tuck in those precious puppies for the night, maybe (just maybe) you know they are right?
I’m still amazed that my girls are two. TWO. They were just born and I was just preggo — what is even happening? They can now poop on command, feed themselves, have preferences (like candy over broccoli), and occasionally drink the dog’s water.
Every day I think, “This is the longest day of my life,” and then the twins go to bed and I think, “OMG they’re growing up way too fast, how is it July already!?” Yeah, this one is both a blessing and a curse. Some days you are so ready for them to start speaking in full sentences and bathe themselves, and then other days you just wish they were tiny little infants who barely said a word.
It’s okay to say no because in the blink of an eye they’ll be backpacking Europe and rolling their eyes when you tell them to text you every day. When an opportunity to hang with your friends or take your kids somewhere really speaks to you – say YES! When you’re just not sure or exhausted or frankly not excited about something, say no. It’s okay, truly. People understand. Focus on what you have to do right now to survive this crazy season of twinadoes and the rest will be there waiting for you when you’re ready.
Stefani Zimmerman Drake is a wife, twin mom, and lover of rescue dogs. As a strategic communications consultant who runs her own business in Charleston, South Carolina, Stefani and her husband spend their time capturing all the sweet moments of their girls, while always dreaming about their next big adventure. You can follow their adventures online or via Instagram stories.