22 Jan How Do You Do It?
I get asked quite a bit about “how I do it with twins.” That question is usually coupled with either a look of horror or the look of “OMG” because they have just digested that I had more than one child at the same time. I don’t think the person asking me that question actually expects a specific answer so most of the time I just smile and give them this “Yes I know I’m a rockstar” kind of a look and call it a day but there really is a much deeper response and I wanted to put it out there. The answer is, “I don’t.”
I keep my kids alive and give them the necessities that they need and as much love as my heart could possibly give but in actuality I fail at being a mom of multiples regularly. Having multiples doesn’t mean you have anything figured out by an stretch of the imagination. The black and white answer to that question one could say is, “I don’t know anything else,” but that doesn’t really cover it although true in its entirety. I have two toddlers at the current moment who feel more like teenagers with their mood swings. Most of the time I have no clue how or what I’m doing. I will have one kid crying to be held and then the other gets triggered because his brother is doing it. One wants the blue cup, the other wants the blue cup. I swear it’s two bodies but one mind. When they want to be held at the same time I nearly feel as if my arms will fall off because well they aren’t as light as they used to be. I remember the hot mess that walked in and out of their daycare when they were still in their snap-and-go infant seats. I’m talking about me by the way and I miss those snap-and-go bad boys like no other. Getting two into the 4-Ever car seat is like performing some kind of parental initiation every. single. time. Now I’m the hot mess with the two toddlers at the bottom of the stairs taking 10 minutes to decide who will go up what side of the stairs and then once we actually get thru the doors to go to the car guaranteed one doesn’t want to get in the car so while I’m strapping one in the other is having a tantrum on the pavement of the parking lot. Getting them ready to go anywhere is as smooth as sandpaper. I used to think to myself, “Well if I could change one diaper and get one ready then I can change two.” Yeah that was when they were stationary. Two baths (and when I’m flying solo someone always gets the shaft and is left in the bath ring shivering (don’t worry the water is drained) while I get the other ready, two outfits, two diapers, two pairs of socks that end up getting lost before they even get on their feet, two to chase around to get coats on because they think it’s fun to taunt me and watch me squirm, then two more diapers because they hold their poop until we change them just so we have to change them again. Dinner time just means more food to throw out right now because if one doesn’t want it guaranteed the other doesn’t either. If one is “all done” the other tends to be as well. Also there is no decompression time with twins (some would call this a time-out), at least not in my house, because the other is always feeling as if a “pep-talk” is needed when the other needs to have a moment to themselves. I try not to overuse, “No.” Actually the real truth is they started to mock me, in unison, so “no” has lost it’s luster. With multiples it tends to happen quickly because you are guaranteed to use it pretty much continuously throughout the day on both. I just had a flashback to the first few months and the way we used to feed them. It would take at minimum an hour each feeding. Here is a picture of my husband during one of those feedings. Hey, it got the job done so moms of multiples if you need some feeding position ideas I recommend it!
There is also the emotional side of having multiples. They are, for the most part, at the same stage thus in turn I feel like I have to be two people. I constantly worry that I may have given one more attention than the other and the truth is I probably have. I have one that wants me for everything and is much more emotional and quite sensitive. The other is far more independent and strong willed, we call him the one man wrecking crew, but because of the other I feel as if I don’t spend as much time with him. We do bottles before bed and many nights my sensitive one just wants me and the only way to get him to settle down is to remove him from where his brother is and take him into his room where it is quiet (just a phase like anything else but our reality right now). The other one would drink his bottle anywhere. Again that push and pull. In the beginning I used to compare them all the time. If one reached a milestone and the other didn’t I would fixate on that. As they have gotten older I’m not as hyper focused on that and really do look at them as two different individuals. I have learned that in order to let them be who they really are and embrace them in all their uniqueness you just cannot compare. That is incredibly challenging when you are a mom of multiples.
I’m very grateful that my husband and I are a team because it just wouldn’t work. Actually on many days it doesn’t. We wake up with a plan for it being a great day and then everything goes to shit all because they didn’t want cheerios in their cup and wanted to hold the box. Despite all of the mess, the craziness, double the tantrums, double the illness and whatnot I would not trade a thing. These two look out for each other and the older they get the more pronounced that is. They have a bond that could not be explained by any logic or science. Maybe next time when someone asks me “how I do it” with twins I will reply, “I will take that as a compliment” because I guess at the end of the day we do it somehow. We all do it somehow, even those that do not have multiples. We all have challenges and days where we think we may have things down and days where we can’t wait to call it a day.
Sending love to all our moms and dads out there who wake up day in and day out to the unknown and keep giving it their all.