Being a mom is tough. It takes a lot of time, a lot of patience and a lot of good hiding spots around the house when you need a break. I thought I knew what mom life was about with one child. I learned real quick that I was wrong. Twins were a rude awakening for me. BOOM, instant family. I was not eased into the mom life with one child at a time like many are. Anyone wrangling kids will know it’s no walk in the park. So along the way I’ve learned a few things that I’d love to share with you to keep your sanity.
The first thing I want to tell you is that twins are not as hard as people make it seem. If you do it once, do it again and you’re done. The first month was a bit challenging getting used to the hustle with three kids. Once you establish a routine that works…it’s a breeze. Just be flexible! Things pop up here and there and instead of letting it ruin your day, accept it and handle it. Then move on. Cry about it later. That’s exactly what I do with a glass of wine in my hand at night on my couch after all the little humans are in bed. Anyone who knows me knows I just go with the flow. And that’s seriously what I do. Work through all the mom problems with your Momma bear claws and a smile on your face and it will get your so far. It works so much better than getting bent about something going wrong (that’s probably out of your control having kids) and letting it bring you down. Expectations lead to disappointments. And that goes for momming as well.
“Every child is different”. I’m sure you’ve heard this a hundred times, as did I. And I let it go out one ear and out the other. I found myself constantly comparing my twins to my oldest son and what he was doing at certain ages. It drove me crazy. I finally learned to accept it when my one son, Levi, was diagnosed with sensorineural bilateral hearing loss at six months. In English, it means that he has partial hearing loss in both ears due to an issue with the inner ear nerves. It was such a shock to us, and it took some time to sink in. And in that time Levi was also diagnosed with Thyroid Hormone Resistance. This was another punch to the gut. I felt a lot of guilt, as if it was my fault. What mother hasn’t felt that? I was constantly clouding my brain with all the “what ifs” that having a developmentally delayed child brings. It was exhausting. It brought me down more than it should have. And the whole time I had the answer in my back pocket. I ignored what all the other mothers before me have told me. Every child is ACTUALLY different. DUH! It was like a light went on for me. That’s when I stopped comparing Levi to his twin brother Winston. That’s when I stopped comparing the twins to their older brother, Tucker. I accepted each of my boys for who they are. They all bring their own personalities, their own struggles and their own love. I finally saw each of my children for who they were.
When I tell people that I have a four year old and 14 month old twins, the most common question is if I ever sleep. YES! I do sleep. And I will tell you how. Ask yourself “do you like to be stimulated when you are tired?” You’re answer is probably “NO!”…What adult likes to be kept awake when all they want to do is sleep? I hear crickets… No one. Same goes for children. Why stimulate a child when you are trying to get them to sleep? It’s counterproductive. You’re making more work for yourself! Whether you are co-sleeping, sleep training, using the cry it out method, or rocking your child to sleep, this is a game changer. There’s no need for the fancy crib mobile with all the bells and whistles. There’s no need for the vibrating crib mattress pad. No need to sing to them until you no longer have a voice. All they need is to know is that you are there! The way I stuck to my guns with this was develop a nightly routine with them. Dinner, bath time, diapers, pajamas, a bottle, put them in their cribs while they are woozy and then lights out. Babies like to know what to expect. It makes them less stressed which leads to an easier transition to fall asleep. So what happens if they just won’t fall asleep and you don’t want to let them bust a lung? Go comfort your kid, but DO NOT stimulate them. Go into their bedroom and do not turn on the lights. Do not talk to them. Do not sing to them. Do not pick them up right away. Use your hands to lightly touch them to try and calm them down. Stroke their cheek or hair. Let them hold your finger. Just let them know you are there by touch and gradually leave them when they calm. This takes times and patience listening to them cry and feeling like you’re not doing anything about it. Sometimes you need to resort to a calming rock, but keep the stimulation very minimal. If you give this a go, stick to your guns, comfort them as long as you have to until they calm down and make it a routine, I assure you it will make bedtime a lot easier than having to stimulate a baby until they eventually zonk out from so much activity. This has worked like a charm for all three of my children. I wish I learned it sooner with my first son.
Logistics… I never knew what they were before kids. Now I do, and they are you best friend with three kids. I’ve found that it helps so much before you run out the door with kids in tow. As much as I just “go with the flow” I do have a basic idea of how to arrange the kids while we are out. What works for me and reduces my stress is planning out the arrangement the night before an event and prepare for it. So I lay in my bed at night and mentally play Tetris with my kids and the location of where we will be, in the car, in parking lots, car seats, strollers, and the diaper bag. And the day before is normally when I repack the diaper bag, get strollers in the car, make sure I have all the carseats ready. If its a super early morning we need to be out the door I will also lay out outfits for each kid. Doing these small things ahead of time reduces your work load with the kids in the morning while getting ready to go. It’s the small things that you think do not take much time that make you late to those doctor appointments looking like a hot mess. I’ve learned this the hard way. So prepare ahead of time and you’ll have more time for that unexpected diaper change or change that outfit you told your 4 year old not to get dirty before you leave. I know you all know what I’m talking about…
Whew, that was a rant.
But thanks for staying with me and I hope I’ve encouraged you to take this all within your stride. It’s hard to always be that patient person everyone expects you to be as a parent when you’re on your last ounce of energy. I’ve found that just having this mindset has kept my motivation and patience all in check. It’s become a lifestyle for me and it’s a happy one that I’ve been able to enjoy more than ever since I’ve figured out not everything has to be perfect, not every child is the same and things rarely go as planned.