Hear advice from a twin mom to stop making your twins your excuse and start making them your reason to start pursuing your passions and have more fun.
When you have twins it’s hard to do things. Things most people take for granted like taking a shower and eating food while also sitting in a chair at a table are major accomplishments for busy twin parents.
Let’s be honest: As parents of twins, we have every excuse in the world for turning down invitations, staying at home, not working out, and neglecting things we were once passionate about. We don’t have time, we’re too tired, it’s too hard, we’re outnumbered, it takes too long to get out of the house, we can’t find a shoe, by the time we’re ready to leave, it’s feeding time again….and on it goes.
At first, twin life is all about survival and so we gladly use all of our excuses to get out of any and everything that is overwhelming, because honestly just putting on pants is stressful. But eventually there comes a point where making excuses no longer serves us, and we have to venture out with our twins and figure out how to navigate the world with two babies.
Just because you’re a twin parent doesn’t mean you can’t still pursue your dreams and passions, or just get out of the house for fun from time to time. It does mean that doing these things may take a greater amount of creativity and determination. There may be times when you wonder if it’s worth it, and there will be days when the best option is to just stay home and keep stress to a minimum. But making it a point to do the things that fill your sails is important, and it is worth it.
When my twins were two years old, I ventured back out into the world. I had not spent their entire first two years at home but it felt that way. Trying to get them ready and fed and buckled into car seats to go places left me sweating and questioning my decision to do something so ambitious as leaving the house, so I had avoided going places as much as possible.
But finally, my very stubborn brain grew tired of hearing my defeated self repeating “I can’t, because I have twins.” One day I dared to ask myself why I was letting the fact that I had twins keep me from doing things, going places, and pursuing my passions.
It had become a bad habit, an excuse, which led to a hidden resentment and isolation. Going to the park was a challenge because they ran in opposite directions. Grocery stores were hard because most shopping carts didn’t have two seats. Things that parents of singletons took for granted (I knew because I had been one), were more challenging with twins. Working out was frustrating because of the level of destruction my body had endured during my twin pregnancy. There was no getting this body back to normal.
Day after day I continued to notice all of the things I couldn’t do because I had twins, and, I’m sorry to say, they became my excuse. Of course, I loved my twins more than anything and was grateful they were happy and healthy. But there are things that are more difficult to do with twins than with a singleton, and these things stood out to me anytime I turned down an opportunity for fear of finding myself in an overwhelming situation with two babies.
However, I grew tired of missing out on things I really wanted to do. Waiting for the day when life got easier was taking too long and what if life never really gets easier anyway? I kept waiting for the day when I was less exhausted, when life was less chaotic, when I had more time. And so far that day had not come. I decided to stop wasting my time waiting for the right time, and to go ahead and figure out a way to do some of those things I so badly wanted to do.
And so, I ventured out. I joined a women’s hiking group and signed up for a three-night kayaking trip. I added a book club to the schedule and made myself read a set amount of pages a day. Who says a twin mama can’t finish War and Peace?
Whenever I caught myself using my twins as an excuse, I’d ask myself, “Who says a mom can’t have twins and also do this?” Just making the conscious choice to stop making excuses and start trying to do more things that I had avoided because of the twins led to a shift in energy from defeated to hopeful.
And I realized that the thing about excuses is just because you have a good one doesn’t mean you have to use it.
Another thing I realized is that there is a difference between letting my twins be my excuse and letting them be my reason. Letting my twins be my excuse to not work out indicated a level of frustration and even resentment. Letting them be my reason for working out, knowing that the healthier I am, the better I can care for them, changed my perspective and motivated me to make better choices not just for my own benefit, but also for theirs.
I’m sure you’re all familiar with the guilt that accompanies any decision you, as a parent, make to do something for yourself. Even though there is nothing wrong with taking a trip, or going to a class just because you enjoy it, guilt likes to wrap its fingers around your joy and attempt to stifle it. But a healthy, happy mom who is wearing pants and confidently able to leave the house is a great benefit to your twins.
Making the mental shift from letting your twins be your excuse for not doing things, to letting them be your reason for doing things gives intention to your actions.
So venture out, mama. Is there anything you wish you could do but have been putting off because you have twins?
Is there a way you can figure out how to get out and make that dream a reality?
You created two humans at the same time, so you’ve already proven you have superpowers. Now is the time to creatively come up with a way to take both twins to the park or go out with your friends one evening.
Instead of thinking of all the reasons why you can’t, try to think of reasons why you can.
The twin life is never going to be easy, but that doesn’t mean twin parents can’t still find ways to do the things they love. Taking care of multiples is a lot of work. Don’t forget to make the time to take care of yourself too.
Natalie Downey is a stay at home mom to six rambunctious but lovable kids. Her two-year-old boy/girl twins were the surprise of her life and keep her on her toes. She gets by with lots of help from coffee and yoga and enjoys literature, spontaneous dance parties with her kids, and playing guitar.