I remember being pregnant with the boys and searching every blog I could find that had tips for moms expecting twins. I was impressionable and thought other peoples’ experiences, I was able to gain insight on how to make life easier for myself. But realistically, most new moms of multiples don’t have the time to update blogs that often. It was hard but I was determined to make sure I document things that I learned in my first year of having twins.
Here is some practical, wow-why-didn’t-i-think-of-it advice I have for moms expecting twins (and already have a toddler).
- Teach your toddler to stop running and jumping on the couch. No more dissembling the couch cushions to jump on. No more running from one end to another. No more jumping and sliding. When you’ve just delivered and you’re trying to nurse or tandem bottle feed, you’re not going to be sitting on the ground to do it. You’re going to want to be comfortable but you’re going to be so cranky and tired and in pain that sitting anywhere but the couch or bed. But if you have a toddler running around on the same couch that you’re sitting on to feed or even rest, well, let’s just say there will be no feeding or resting going on with all that jumping and sliding.
- Do yourself a favor and get them ALL on the same damn schedule. My twins had to be fed one after another and I could not do tandem feeding for almost 4 months due to allergies and acid reflux. Before I even sat down to feed one, I was sure to have all bottles prepared and snacks/stickers for my toddler in case she was starving for attention. The first few months, when I was on my own during the daytime, the twins were fed and changed 15-20 mins after each other. But the first feed and the last feed was at the same time because Sanj was there to help most nights. I also got ALL THREE on the same schedule by month 4. It sounds so easy to do, but that shit was hard as hell. The boys had an extra nap and this allowed me to have dedicated one-on-one time with Serena. During their first nap, I was 100% focused on her, whether we were cooking something together (read: she was making a mess in the kitchen) or she was helping me with laundry (read: wet clothes on the ground), or we are learning shapes and colors (read: there’s markers on a lot of walls)
- Toddler first. Obviously, there are certain times where the twins come first, but for things outside life/death situations, give attention to your toddler first. The newborn twins really just want warmth and comfort; they need to be fed and changed. They do need to know your affection, but they just need affection, and it’s okay if it’s not always from you. I know a lot of moms will disagree, but to each her own. Your toddler is understanding and learning to process feelings. You want to teach him/her problem solve as s/he grows into this new role of being an older brother/sister. As I aforementioned, I take advantage of the extra nap in the morning and spend that time one-on-one with Serena, teaching her ways to be independent. This quality time shows her that I’m here for her, but it also helps her recognize that there are times when I have to make her brothers a priority. Also, if your toddler can talk by the time you’re a twin mom, s/he may be vocal with their desires and feelings. If you don’t tend to your toddler first, you’ll have three crying at the same time. The twins will be easier to quiet down, but your toddler… you don’t even want to be in that position!
- Don’t underestimate the notion of being prepared. Efficiency is a highly underrated skills of many moms. Basically, when you’re outnumbered, there is not a moment to spare or waste. For me, getting some sleep was the most important thing. Even now, a year later, sleep is still paramount. Since that was and is the driving force, I made sure to do whatever most people can do in just 1/3 of the time. Partially because the kids ended up crying before I could even finish anything so I had to train myself to move quickly; and partially because that meant that I could rest longer. If the kids were napping, I was usually doing some type of work, whether it was prepping dinner, folding laundry, or even blogging. I was sure to use that time effectively because that meant I would have more time to rest when Sanj came home.
- Be calm and lower your expectations. This was a hard one for me. If my laundry isn’t folded the right way, or the house slippers aren’t where they should be, or there are wrinkles in my jeans, I get stressed out. Let’s just do some basic math:
Sleep > Showering
Sleep > Cleaning dirty dishes
Sleep > Running the load of laundry only once through the washer (so overrated just so you know)
Sleep just wins. Always! It has taken a long time, but I’ve kind of figured out that cleaning up after the kids every five minutes means less play time with them and less me time to rest. I’ve actually gotten so good at not pushing myself to be a perfectionist at home that I’ve not done the dishes in the past three days! Some days, we all wear clean clothes and there’s a good ratio between protein and carbs for all means. Other days, I’m eating left over pop tarts that I found in the backseat of the van and everyone is still in pajamas.
Look, being a mom is hard shit. Whether you’re a mom of multiples, an allergy mom, a mom of threenagers or teenagers; doesn’t matter because mom life is hard life. But you can do it.
I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again: Things don’t always get better, but you do. For some moms, it’s hard, and not just in the beginning, but even later. But the thing is, YOU get better. You get better at getting places on time, you get better at handling spit up and explosive poops, you get better at balancing your marriage and kids. You. Just. Get. Better.
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