When you step into the great wide world with your beautiful babes in a side by side stroller it’s hard to avoid the sometimes painful, and quite frankly, nosy, questions from well-meaning strangers. Going out to get groceries shouldn’t feel like a circus sideshow, but sometimes that’s the reality. Having twins is exciting, special and novel and not everyone has seen baby twins. That excitement can spill over into sometimes not the most appropriate questions you can expect as the mother of twins.
Mothers of multiples, if they didn’t have them before, have to develop shrewd multi-tasking skills. Multiple kids will turn you into a multi-tasking mama.
If you’re like me, when you found out you were having twins, it was both a complete shock and a major adjustment to your life. My family size went from a comfort 4 (mommy, daddy, daughter, son) to a very crazy and gender-unbalanced 6 (mommy, daddy, daughter, 3 sons). But aside from that adjustment, I made so many mistakes as a mom of twins it’s not even funny. Although I had 2 kids already, I flubbed it by not thinking how different twins would actually be. So please, listen up and practice what I didn’t preach, it’ll save you time and many gray hairs!
The mistakes new moms of twins often make:
1. Not having enough stuff. When you find out you’re blessed with twins or even more, start stockpiling. Seriously. Diapers, wipes, formula, clothes, equipment…whatever. Even if the diapers and clothes are too big, take them, because your babies will grow and they will fit eventually. Shop in bulk. Go in on package deals with friends and family. Believe me, you’ll need it all. Having plenty means an immeasurable amount of peace of mind, and that’s priceless.
2. Skipping naptime. No, not baby naptime–your naptime! You need to be sleeping when they’re sleeping. Heck, sleep when they’re awake if you can! If you’re nursing, it’s especially important, because milk supply is adversely affected by poor sleep habits and stress.
3. Not having the right equipment. You may think you can skip the twin stroller, but you’re wrong. You need it. Also, make sure you have the right kind. If you can afford it, get 2: one side-by-side for wide-open spaces like for taking walks outside, and one tandem for things like shopping, where your space and maneuverability is limited. Sometimes you’ll have to take the babies out alone, and you’ve never been through the hell that is having to hold one twin while trying to drive the other in a regular stroller. NOT recommended.
4. Getting your babies confused. I confess, I didn’t have this problem that often, as far as confusing them with each other, since my boys are fraternal. However, I DID get confused, constantly, about who’d been recently changed, who was nursing when, etc. I ended up doing things like carrying around a washable marker, which I used to dab a little mark on the foot or hand of the twin that had recently been fed or whatnot. I also used the same tactic with my own breasts…juggling two boys on opposite schedules, I forgot which breast had been nursed from last…ack.
5. Being nitpicky and obsessed with perfection. Face it: your house will get dirty. The laundry will go un-folded, the dust will accumulate. Let go of your OCD-based standards, especially if you have older kids adding to the chaos. Embrace reality: your house doesn’t need to be a fashion plate. What can’t be postponed is your twins’ childhood. They’ll only be tiny for so long. Cherish every moment, which is so much more important than keeping your drapes dust-free!
6. Forgetting about yourself. What I mean is, you’re not just a mom of twins or whatever. You’re a woman, you’re YOU. Take some time to remember that. Take off the spit-up encrusted shirt and shower. Put on something pretty, even if it’s just to lay on the couch. I recommend asking hubby for a nice silk bathrobe, a short one, the kind that makes you feel like a princess…or a geisha…whenever you wear it. Shower. Brush your teeth and hair. Take a walk, see the sky, have a meal that doesn’t involve “here comes the train!” or sterilizing bottles.
7. Not getting support. This is a broad one. At home, get as much support as possible, from friends, family, neighbors, whatever. Accept any and all offers to cook, clean, carpool, it doesn’t matter. It also means, seek shelter and advice from other moms in your position. Twin resources abound, and other proud twin moms love to support each other and share their experiences and advice.