The Dirty Little Secret About Raising Twins
When I found out we were having twins, images of bottles, diapers, and strollers flashed through my mind. Our baby registry read like a novel and I checked it daily. I was so consumed with being prepared that it never crossed my mind how my home, car, and life would get flipped upside down. dirty little secret
When they finally came home, things were rough. Diapers and bottles everywhere, baby equipment in every room, but it was manageable from a cleanliness standpoint. I was still on maternity leave and, let’s face it, they slept a lot. It wasn’t until they started to walk that I realized I was never going to have a clean home again. When I say walk, I actually mean run, and in opposite directions.
Life with twin boys can be challenging. It certainly isn’t for the faint of heart. I truly believe those of us with twins have an extra gene that allows us to adapt to the dirt, bugs, tree climbing, and acrobatics times two. We have adapted to feeding two at once, to soothing two and we have learned not to sweat the small stuff.
If I worried too much about the dirt my boys ate, I’d be in a mental institution. If I worried about the stained shirts, muddy pants, and their overall appearance, we would never leave the house.
I have a rule of thumb for their appearance: as long as they are dressed appropriately for the weather and they don’t look homeless, we are good to go. Shoes and pants are optional at home. If I am being honest, there are days that underwear is optional at home too but I do require all of the above to go out in public. –Something my boys have fought for a few years now.
I have learned not to worry so much about germs because I bought stock in hand sanitizer after the first time they grabbed a urinal cake, at the same time with the same look in their eyes. Wonder what this tastes like? Don’t worry, I lunged and slid across a nasty public bathroom floor to grab it out of their tiny little hands before it made it to their mouths. dirty little secret
We are constantly being bombarded with images of the perfect family, the perfect home, the perfect life. Facebook tells us when our “friends” go on vacation; everyone in their photos is smiling, there are no tears, and, well, life is perfect.
Twitter reminds us in 140 characters or less that some other mom is doing it better in less time. Instagram shows the perfect sunset from the perfect day with the perfect kids. And Pinterest gives us the unrealistic tools to get there. You feel like everyone around you is doing it better, doing it easier, and getting it done. dirty little secret
Well, I have news for you, they aren’t. The perfect vacations included meltdowns every morning because one kid wanted to go to the Magic Kingdom and the other wanted to go to the Animal Kingdom (no kid wants to go Epcot; that’s strictly for parents to drink.)
That mom you follow on Twitter? She forgot to tweet that she is currently hiding in her bathroom with the door locked because she just can’t take them anymore.
Instagram. Filters. Need I say more? P.s. she took that photo forty-seven times before they were all looking the same way and no one was crying. (You know how I know — I took the same picture forty-eight times.)
And the women who pin their overachieving “how-to” tutorials on Pinterest need to seriously step back and relax. No one has ever needed to know how to fold a washcloth into a swan or make a seven-tiered first birthday cake.
As twin moms, we have to use our time wisely. In our world, there is no perfect anything. I have amassed some more realistic tips for us. We are special. We are the chosen few. dirty little secret
1. Don’t watch too closely too what they are doing. More often than not, you will be disgusted. I first learned this the day one of my boys was examining the other’s butt. Or the time they were comparing penises. There is no logical explanation. None. There never will be. Try to just look away.
2. Talking about penises…it starts young and from what I can tell, the fascination never goes away. Just go with the flow because you have a lot of years with them. Invest in a good disinfectant because their aim will never get better. Unless you decide the subway smell is a good addition to your home. Then, by all means, don’t bother to remind them to lift the seat. dirty little secret
3. Dirt. Get used to it. Become friends with the dirt. The dirt will serve multiple purposes. First, it will keep them entertained for hours. Second, it will teach them to bathe more efficiently. When you are bathing three times a day, you learn quickly how to best use your time. Thirdly, the faster you become friends with dirt the easier it is to handle the messes.
4. Because there are two, most people assume there are just two messes to clean up. What I have found, more often than not, there is one giant, ridiculous “might as well condemn the house” mess. Be prepared. Always have the appropriate tools to clean it up. From poop on the walls to butt cream on the couch, be prepared. My cleaning cabinet is so well stocked I could hand every person in the country their own Magic Eraser. #notsponsored dirty little secret
5. Don’t compare yourself to singleton moms and their houses. In fact, don’t compare yourself to any mom; even fellow twin moms. Please don’t believe what you see on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and especially not Pinterest.
6. After cleaning up mess after mess all day, no wonder you’re tired. Chasing two kids around all day, praying for an early naptime, and still standing at bedtime is an accomplishment all in itself. Pat yourself on the back, pour yourself a drink. Tomorrow is a new day to fold that laundry — oh hell, who am I kidding, the laundry never made it to the dryer. dirty little secret
7. Enjoy the small victories with your children. They jumped over the mud puddle instead of in it. They lifted the seat. They bathed themselves outside with the hose. The cat came home and his whiskers grew back. #truestory
8. Have fun. Get dirty with them. Don’t worry about the neighbors. One day your twins will look back and remember how awesome you were. Mud washes off, memories are forever.
9. Let them paint, use glitter, and be creative. Just do it outside. Preferably in someone else’s backyard. Maybe not the glitter.dirty little secret
10. Remind yourself daily (or, if needed, hourly) how lucky you are to be a twin mom and how lucky they are to have you as their mommy.
Laura Birks is a freelance writer and essayist and the Twiniversity Social Media Manager. She lives in New Jersey with her twin boys, a dog, a couple of cats, and a husband. When she’s not doling out medicine or cleaning up vomit, she is writing. Her house is in a constant state of disarray and the laundry is never put away. She likes to pretend she is superwoman but the truth is, she is a mere mortal with a messy house. Find her on Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest.