Before I begin, let me preface this article with the fact that I feel incredibly lucky to be a twin mummy. After years of infertility and two rounds of IVF, we definitely feel that we struck lucky with our buy one, get one free deal. That being said, parenting twins is HARD! Not like a quick sprint hard, more like a barefoot marathon over the toy shrapnel that covers your floors hard.
If you want a more positive spin on the twin thing, go check out my Perks of Twins piece but for some of the tough stuff, here it comes. So as not to be all doom and gloom, each one has a tip to make that twin struggle a bit more bearable.
1) One Maternity Leave
Before they even arrive, the injustices begin. There are two babies, so why only one maternity leave and why the same maternity pay as with just one bambino. There are two tiny ones to feed, clothe etc!
TIP: Join TAMBA and take advantage of all the twin discounts out there.
2) The Guilt
However hard you try, you never quite feel like you get the balance right. Too much attention here, not enough there. Pick this one up, the other one wants picking up. Twin mummies get super strength pretty quickly.
TIP: As Elsa would say ‘let it go’. You are doing you’re best and that’s all anyone can ask. Don’t beat yourself up.
3) Missing some of the Newborn Wonder
You can baby wear, co sleep and breastfeed twins. Of course you can but it’s not as easy and it’s not the same as with a singleton. Missing the idyllic special early snuggles and cuddles is something that you only realise has passed you by when the newborn stage has gone.
TIP: Try and capture the double cuteness with loads of photos.
Or lack of. The sleep deprivation is real. If you get two hours in a block in those early week, you feel you are winning. The days and nights merge and you go into total survival mode.
TIP: Shut out the world, ignore the clock and sleep when you can.
5) Car seats
Putting then in car seats can take up half your morning. Try popping to the shops, realising they don’t have something and so needing to make another stop. That’s 12 car seat bucklings or unbucklings. TWELVE
TIP: Invest in swivel car seats. Your back will thank you for it.
6) Not being able to go
Turning down outings or events because it is just not worth the hassle or just practically nigh on impossible. Swimming is a great example. The thought of taking babies or even toddler twins swimming filled me with dread.
TIP: Take more chances with helpful friends. More often than not, the thought of these outings is worse than the actual trip
7) Feeling different
There is certainly a novelty to twins but once your are over the initial oohs and ahhhs, you can just feel different. It’s hard enough juggling your double bundles, it’s certainly not as easy to ask someone to watch them why you pop to the loo. Twin groups are the exception here.
TIP: Find a local twin group and join online twin groups too.
8) Meal Time Mess
If you think one baby can make a mess, weaning twins create carnage. The kitchen floor, up kitchen cupboards and their high chairs are barely visible beneath it all.
TIP: Buy easy to clean high chairs.
9) The Opposite Dash
Once they get up on their feet and get moving, they learn to move fast. Out and about this is terrifying especially when suddenly you realise they are heading in opposite directions and you have milliseconds to decide which is in greater danger and thus which to grab first.
TIP: Backpack reins give some freedom but allow you to stay in control.
10) Potty Training Double Whammy
Twice the wee and poop to clear up. Double the washing. Potty training two together isn’t easy. You are on such high alert and watching them so closely for signs that by the end of the day you just flop. It’s exhausting.
TIP: Encourage a bit of competitiveness with sticker collecting
….and finally not the worst but oh sooooo annoying.
11) Form Duplication
This is one of those irritations that you forget about each time and then arrrgh ‘I’ve got to fill all this in twice?’ Of course you want them treated as Twindividuals but writing your full address twice, likely ticking all the same boxes twice and then signing in six different places twice is just annoying.
TIP: There’s not much getting around this one…buy a nice pen?
What do you think are the toughest challenges parenting twins? I’d love to hear your ideas.
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