High school is in full swing around here with my freshman twins. They are almost 15-years-old and I feel it has been my job to encourage my girls to find what interests them individually. As they have gotten older there has been less and less overlap. Add in a 10-year-old brother and scheduling can become downright overwhelming. I have one girl who is obsessed with all things track, another who seems to be majoring in socializing, a boy who plays baseball, and a husband who travels for work just enough to be disruptive. There comes a point where you will begin to wonder how you will ever manage. You wonder if it's even possible to be in two (sometimes three) places at once. Spoiler alert: it isn’t.
Not to worry. I’ve put a few some of my best tips to help keep the days running a little more smoothly.
6 Tips to Avoid Scheduling Chaos with Teen Twins
#1. Write it down.
I don’t care if you have the best memory known to mankind. Write it down anyway. If you get in the habit of it early, like before they have their own individual interests, it makes it much easier later. I have learned this the hard way myself. These days I have a wall calendar that my family can write on and my own planner where I keep track of the family and myself. Some people prefer to use electronic calendars you can sync together. Just find something that works for you and start using it today!
#2. Don’t overschedule yourself (or your kids).
It can be easy to fall into the competitive trap of overscheduling. Resist the urge. If I’m being honest with myself, I can only handle one activity per kid at a time. I allow 1 per semester per kid in my home because that’s what it takes to preserve my sanity. Anything above and beyond our current system is bound to be a disaster. Signing your kid up for soccer, Spanish, and piano might be doable for just one kid but with twins, you wind up living in your car. If you’re okay with eating on the fly and never (and I do mean NEVER) getting caught up on your DVR then you do you. It’s just not for me.
#3. Let go of mom guilt.
Seriously. Take all the shreds of mom guilt you have tucked away, roll them up into a tight little ball, and throw that ball into the nearest trash bin. Be okay with telling your kid you just don’t have the time for tournament soccer this season and the city team will just have to do. Be okay with missing a practice or even (gasp) a game now and then. We all have an identity separate from being a parent. Every so often a work commitment might make seeing Friday nights’ game impractical. Skip it. It's going to be okay. Let your kid know you will expect a play-by-play at home and you will be cheering them on from the conference room. Once in a while won’t matter to them in the long run.
#4. Talk with coaches and other parents.
Most parents I know aren’t comfortable with sending their child off with some random stranger to practice. That’s okay because I am one of those moms who wouldn’t do that. I make an effort to get to know other parents. I let them know I am open to play dates and carpooling. If nothing else, at least there’s another parent you know if you get caught in traffic to pick your kid up and maybe they can bring her home as a one time favor. Maybe that mom can take a few extra pictures at the track meet and send you a couple of your girl speeding towards the finish when you’re driving her sibling to a baseball game.
As I write this I am sitting on the bleachers watching my daughter conquer my fear of her learning to be a pole vaulter (YIKES!) I’m becoming pretty good at dictating story ideas in the car and haven't made a phone call from home in quite some time. Need to check in with mom? Give her a ring while you’re waiting for practice to end. Scheduling appointments can be done while waiting for your kid at the school pick up if you’re parked and waiting. I haven’t watched TV without folding, ironing, or dusting in ages. These little things can add up to getting a bit of reprieve time in the evenings, which is kind of the name of the game at this point in my life.
This is something most of us twin parents should already be pretty familiar with from those chaotic newborn days. Being pulled in two different directions is nothing new. Nobody needs to do it all alone. Maybe one kid can be responsible for folding laundry or making dinner on Thursdays when you don’t get home until 7:30 pm. Maybe you have a close family member who is always asking to help out or come see your kid practice on the weekends. Let them be in charge of Saturday practice drop off for one of your twins. Pawn off anything you can and should and then refer back to tip #3.
Like many parents, I had wrongfully assumed that the hard part of parenting would be behind us by now. In some ways, it's even harder now that my twins are older and into different things. Since they are in high school, I feel the overwhelming urge to soak up every minute I can with my twins because I know they will be off to college in just three short years. I often need to remind myself that balance is imperative during these last few years while I try my best to stumble through with some semblance of sanity.
Megan Loden is a stay home home mom to twins identical 14 year old girls and a 10 year old son. She, her husband and kids live just outside of Phoenix. Her writing can also be found on Bluntmoms, sammichesandpsychmeds and scarymommy. Follow her on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter