"Uh-oh, double trouble!" "Boy, do you have your hands full!" "I don't know how you do it..."
These are comments I receive at least once every time I am out and about with the twins, usually from complete strangers. The general perception of twins is that they are adorable, but all that cuteness comes with an overwhelming amount of extra work. If only I had a dollar for every time someone said to me, "I love twins! But I would never want to have twins myself."
I get it- really I do. When I was a little girl, I often imagined that I had twins when playing "house" (the irony of this is not lost on me). My cousin Stephi and I were often mistaken for twins in high school, which we delighted in. My opinion growing up was that having twins, or being a twin, was awesome. But when I actually became a grown-up and found out I was actually having twins, I literally started trembling. My mind was consumed with one panicked, repetitious thought, "Double stroller, double stroller, double stroller."
For some reason, the thought that I would soon be wrestling a double stroller during all my outings really freaked me out. The Double Stroller represented how different being a mom of multiples would be from having just one baby at a time. I was completely overwhelmed by the thought of caring for two babies at once. So I understand people's "that's awesome, but I could never do it" attitude. Now that the twins are almost 20-months-old though, I have a very different opinion of being a twin mama than I did that fateful day that I sat quivering in the doctor's office.
Sure, there are times when I am exhausted and overwhelmed (and out-numbered) by the boys (especially during those first few months, hoo-boy!), but I have also discovered a lot of benefits to having multiples. So I thought that I'd pass along some of those good experiences. Maybe it will be an encouragement to a soon-to-be twin mom or of interest to anyone who is curious about what it's like to raise twins.
Five Awesome Things About Having Twins:
5). You Learn That Every Baby is Different: With all the parenting "experts" out there offering so much contradicting advice and the "mommy wars" raging with opinionated (and often insesitive) battles on the "best" way to care for a baby, I was thankful to learn early - because of our twins - that every baby is different and there is no one, perfect way to parent them. Our boys - raised in the same environment - were very different from the start and each had needs that were unique to him. This taught my husband and I early to rely on our instincts and pick up on the cues that our boys were giving us. It was the greatest lesson we've learned so far in our parenting journey and one I don't think we'd have gained so quickly had we started with only one baby.
4). Sleeping Buddy: When we moved the twins out of our room around six weeks, I found great comfort in the fact that they had each other in their big ol' nursery. They shared a crib until around three-months-old and I'm convinced they found the presence and sounds of their close-by twin soothing. They didn't necessarily sleep better than your average baby, but it was nice somehow to know they weren't alone. Even now that they are older and in separate cribs, they jibber-jabber to each other every night before they go to sleep. I imagine this is comforting to them as compared to being shut in a dark room alone at night.
3). Not Double the Workload: My cousin, Sarah, (who has identical twin girls) gave me some great encouragement when I was expecting the twins. She assured me that twins are not twice the work - more like 50% more work. "You're already changing a diapers," she told me, "so what's one more? You're already making one meal, so it's not big deal to make twice as much." And she was right - twins really aren't twice as much work - which was a great relief to discover.
2). Attention Getters: When I first started going out with both boys in-tow, I was a little irritated by how often I got stopped in the store and on the street by well-meaning twin admirers. Being a task-oriented gal who tends to overlook people in order to check off my to-do list, I found these stops deterrents to my progress. But I have since changed my tune and now really enjoy being stopped by strangers. Not because I like "showing off" my cute kids, but because it gives me the opportunity to share a smile and a friendly conversation with a stranger. I look forward to going out with the twins and chatting with new people, and I work these expected interruptions into my schedule. Because of the attention the twins bring, I've learned to slow down and put people first. I've had some really nice interactions with folks who I normally wouldn't have spoken to in my rush to accomplish a task.
1). Instant Playmate: The older the twins get, the more they entertain each other. Unlike a singleton, they don't need me to be their constant playmate - they have each other. As a stay-at-home mom, this gives me a much needed break sometimes. Yes, at times, having two kids the same age results in more fighting than with one kid (hopeful a single child is not fighting with themselves... otherwise, you've got bigger problems that entertaining him or her by yourself). In general, the twins have a great time keeping each other company.
These reasons (along with many others) are just a few ways that having twins, while a lot of work sometimes, is overall really fun. So hang in there twin-mamas and acknowledge the blessings you have because of your multiples. And if you know someone with twins (especially a new mom), encourage her with a few of these benefits to her new, double-stroller life.