I still don’t have “being” a twin mom figured out. Far from it. I will be figuring out how to be a twin mom for the rest of my life. However, I have a few things figured out in their 18 months of life so far. I thought I would share a bit of what I’ve learned. If you’ve found this post and you’re already a twin mom and have some tips and tricks for me that would be amazing too. If you’re a new twin mom or are pregnant with twins I hope this post helps in a small way.
10 Realities of Being A Twin Mom
Here are some of MY Realities of Being A Twin Mom. I do have to caveat this that everyone will have a different experience:
- Be prepared for a lot of intrusive questions.
- You will compare your pregnancy to singleton moms. TRY NOT TO!
- You will compare your experience to singleton parents. TRY NOT TO!
- You will have bouts of jealousy toward first-time singleton parents. Despite however hard you try not to.
- You might always feel like your attention is split two ways.
- You’re going to have to be efficient with your downtime.
- Acknowledge when you’re tired and rest.
- Friends or strangers might call you supermom and you’ll feel far from it at times.
- You think about whether or not the double stroller will fit wherever you’re going.
- You have to budget for double things soon out of the gate.
The questions begin in pregnancy. Most pregnant women will experience intrusive questions. If you choose to divulge that you’re carrying twins the questions just seem to increase in volume. Then there are questions or comments on the pregnancy depending on your size. So here’s what you can expect:
“When are you due?”
“Are they natural?”
“Do you know what you’re having?”
“You definitely look like you’re carrying twins” or “You don’t look like you’re carrying twins”
“Are you having identical or fraternal?”
“Are you planning on a c-section or natural birth?” and then when they are born “Did you deliver naturally?”
“Do they both sleep well?”
“You must have your hands full!” (This is a good one when we go out for a walk as a family with our two dogs!)
“Are they twins?”
“Do twins run in your family?”
So here’s the thing. You get to choose how you answer or if you even answer. For fun, you can come up with your own sassy responses. My go-to is “Do you like nachos?” “Well, it’s NACHO business”. I think we even answered one time “Are they twins?” “No they are 3 months apart.” Just to see if the question asker could do the math.
2, 3, and 4. Comparing Your Pregnancy & Experience
So we all know the blessing and curses of social media. We can use it to connect with others and learn things we didn’t know. But also the comparison game is real and a struggle. Well, at least it has been for me at times.
I didn’t truly understand the multiple to singleton comparison thing until I was in the midst of the pregnancy. And then again when I became a twin mom.
During the pregnancy, I would see images or stories of other pregnant women. I only connected with a few expectant twin moms. For the most part, I would look at how easy most women’s pregnancies “appeared” to be. I was so jealous about how easy it looked. I know that social media is a highlight reel. But you very rarely see women truly complaining about their pregnancy so I wasn’t ready for the hardships which made me feel very alone in my experience.
I wasn’t ready that I was going to start peeing myself at 25 weeks. My belly was already quite large and looked like I was full term. Ask my husband how hard I cried when he cleaned pee off the bathroom floor for the first time? I was slightly embarrassed that he packed another pair of underwear for me if we went out. He inevitably knew I’d need to change my underwear (as I was still too stubborn to wear pads). I wasn’t ready for the number of appointments I’d have to go to, to monitor the twin’s growth. It didn’t help that I was going to them alone, during a pandemic. And on the flip side, I wasn’t ready for the joy of feeling them both move at the same time!
When the twins arrived earth-side, I knew tandem breastfeeding was going to be hard. I didn’t realize how hard it was really going to be. I wasn’t ready for the full-blown exhaustion of having to take care of two tiny humans at once. Our breastfeeding experience was stressful and far from the blissful images and videos I was seeing from singleton families. Now I’ve always said that everyone experiences their own types of hard. I just wasn’t prepared for being SOOO jealous over a singleton mom’s experience.
One of my good friends avoided complaining to me after she gave birth. She said, “it doesn’t even compare to what you went through”. Which just makes us more lonely instead of being able to lean on each other for support. My only solution to this is to find your twin mom friends. Find them and keep them close. Talk to them when you’re tired and exhausted. Lean on each other for support and tips and tricks or even just to vent. I was introduced to a twin mom who had her boys one month ahead of us. We had similar birth experiences so it was so nice to not feel alone.
5. Splitting Your Attention
I wasn’t ready for not being able to split my attention well. If one child needs a cuddle and you pick them up and then all of a sudden the other twin wants your attention.
I wasn’t ready for how frazzled I’d feel or how fast I’d try to do things. I’d be changing one twin’s diaper and then the other one would start to cry. You can’t really rationalize with a 3-month old that you’ll be right there. You can’t really explain to them that you just need to finish wiping poop off their brother’s butt. I learned that sometimes you just have to let one twin cry. When you finish you’ll get to them and comfort them. Needless to say, while I leaned into reality, it has definitely heightened the fright/flight response in my nervous system. I’m easily triggered by noise, especially crying.
Our solution moving forward to ensure they are getting focused attention is to always explain why mommy (or daddy) is doing something. And then showing the complaining twin attention after finishing whatever action I was doing. My husband and I are also going to make sure that at least once a week we take one twin out on a date and then switch the next week. This will help us ensure they are getting ample solo attention time with each parent.
You have to be efficient with your time when the kids are awake. But you have to get even more efficient with your downtime and your parent partnering.
I am very impressed with how much of a well-oiled machine my husband and I are at times. Monday to Friday we have the babes from 5 pm (when the nanny leaves) to around 7 pm (bedtime). My husband starts making dinner around 4 pm, we eat around 5 pm. While the twins finish eating, I will usually set up the nursery dehumidifier/diffuser with essential oils and water. I’ll lay the sleepers and PJ’s out and start running the bath.
We’ll take one kid each, strip ’em and put them in the bath. Then one parent will watch the twins while the other makes their bottles. Then we’ll get some joint playtime together in the bath. One parent takes one twin and does the essential oil, fresh diaper and PJ routine. Start reading to one, give them their bottle while the other parent does the same for the other twin. My favourite moment of the day is when we each pick up a child and do family kisses and hugs before putting them down to sleep.
Naptime is another time for efficiency. When they shift to 2 – 2.5 hour nap time when they are a bit older it’s golden time! You don’t realize how much you can get done in 2 hours until you have to!
Now before the twins came I did hear that you need to rest when the baby(ies) rest. I was so worried about things always being perfect. I used the babies’ downtime to clean, do laundry and work on my dōTERRA business. When the exhaustion really started setting in I knew I needed to ask for help. We hired a nanny to come in for a few hours every morning, even though I was on mat leave. She would help me with the babies and help with cleaning. This would allow me to have a shower or nap while she was in the house. My husband was let go from his job in November 2020. We kept our nanny so I could work full-time on my side hustles during the time she was at the house.
8. The Supermom Term
I didn’t expect to get the supermom term. And at times it came across as the nicest compliment. But because I was struggling with everything at the start I felt like a fraud. And I felt that I had to live up to unrealistic expectations of myself.
9. The Double Stroller Dilemma
I swear on my Bugaboo stroller that I seriously thought it was going to fit through every doorway. Unfortunately, that just wasn’t the case when the car seats are snapped in.
I remember heading out to get a coffee. We piled into the car. I put the stroller in the back, drove to the coffee shop, pulled the stroller out, put the twins into the stroller, pushed it up to the door, opened the door and I didn’t fit. I hadn’t figured out that I needed to take one car seat off to actually fit through the door. While many onlookers looked at me from inside the shop, I struggled a few more times and then gave up. Embarrassed and slightly annoyed, I piled the kids back into the car, put the stroller back into the car and went to a different coffee shop that I knew had a bigger door. A 10 min trip took well over 30 mins. I don’t think it helped that we lived in a small town with older buildings with smaller doorways LOL.
While I knew it was going to be expensive. I wasn’t exactly sure how to build a budget for having twins, let alone budget while on mat leave.
The good news is that once you’re done with something (if you only planned on having twins) you can sell things right away. You only have to go through pregnancy once (if you didn’t enjoy it) and you only have to give birth once (if you didn’t enjoy it either).
So while having twins is HARD there are some blessings (other than your twin blessings) to look forward to.