Some Tips From Twin Mama
When I was a little girl, I distinctly remember playing with my Cabbage Patch baby dolls and pretending they were twins.
Twins seemed like such a novelty—an extreme rarity even—to an only child like myself. And as only child, I always knew I wanted to have more than one child, but never in my wildest dreams could I have imagined what my future had in store! I am the proud, yet frazzled, mom of two sets of twins—Jack and Liam, 6, and Lillian and Mallory, 5. There are 18 months between the two sets. Now that they are all entering school age, it is interesting to reflect back on the early days of twin motherhood and recall all of the things that no one warned me about! I have since found a Moms of Multiples support group and I am now able to offer pearls to expecting mamas and new Mamas of Multiples. At our last support group meeting, there was an expectant twin mama in attendance and I was chuckling to myself as I drove home about the abundance of information we threw her way! It inspired me to make a list of things that either no one tells you about when your expecting twins or things you yourself don’t think about when expecting twins.
1.) Strangers will undoubtedly ask you wildly personal and sometimes even outrageous questions and/or offer up negative comments.
Every parent of multiples reacts differently to being accosted by a barrage of questions while out in public. My husband thinks I am crazy for entertaining people’s questions and engaging with curious bystanders. His reaction to people is just to give a cordial smile, maybe a one word answer and then continue on. Over the years we, seasoned parents of multiples, have developed core one liners in response to certain questions we get constantly. For example... Question: “Are the twins natural?” Answer: “No, we think they might be aliens.” Question: “Do twins run in your family?” Answer: “Well, they do now! They run everywhere, in fact!” Or then there are the comments. “Whoa! Your hands are full!” Response: “Yes, and so is my heart.” Or “God Bless you!” Response: “He has blessed me times 2!” Or “Are they all yours?” To help with that question, I recently purchased a shirt that says, “Yes, they are all mine!” The one time I have worn it, I did get less questions, so it appears to work like a charm!
2.) Always try to bring someone with you to yearly physicals or doctor’s appointments involving shots.
Picture being a toddler or young child and seeing your twin sibling receive a vaccination knowing that you are inevitably the next victim. When the multiple babies are very young, they won’t necessarily know what is happening to the other(s), but once their awareness develops, it’s better to have someone in the room with you and ask for two nurses so that they can do the vaccinations simultaneously. This will save a lot of stress on the part of the parent and the children. I know it is not always possible to get someone to come with you, but if you can, it will improve your doctor experience greatly.
3.) You will never match all of your pairs of socks in the laundry ever again.
I seriously don’t know where the socks go. I used to have a bin of singleton socks that I hoped would find mates. Finally, one day I realized that this was the epitome of ridiculousness so I dumped the bin and went out and bought all new socks. Once in awhile, I’ll take a peek under beds and find the veritable mother load of singleton socks and make some matches, but those times are few and far between. So, if you are expecting multiples, just know that you are not crazy—that socks do go missing never to return.
4.) People will judge you if you do dress your twins/multiples alike and they will judge you if you don’t. Everyone has an opinion.
I have always chosen to dress my twins alike, but once the boy twins hit about age five, they started to have more of an opinion about their clothes, so now if they don’t want to dress alike, I don’t force the issue. I do like everyone to look similar for parties or photo opportunities if possible. I usually end up buying them mostly the same clothes because they like the same things, but that doesn’t mean they always wear the same clothes on the same days. So far, the girls who just turned five, are still ok with dressing alike. I’m pretty sure they won’t require therapy because I dressed them alike, but if they do, I will own it!
5.) People who have had children close in age will try to tell you “it’s just like having twins.”
Not true. I certainly do not want to imply that having children close in age is a walk in the park—not at all! Parenting is never easy, but when you have two babies the exact same age needing the exact same things at the exact same time, things get complicated and very stressful.
6.) Buying two of everything will help prevent fights.
This is also not necessarily true—particularly when the babies are just starting to navigate the art of sharing. Most of the time, one twin will inevitably want what the other one has no matter if there are two of the same item.
Now, please understand that this is just one multiple mama’s take on twin life, but issues such as the ones contained in the list I just wrote, come up frequently in my multiple moms group. That is why if you are expecting multiples, don’t wait to find a support group in your area! I joined my group a little later in the game, but cannot imagine where I would be without my mamas to lean on!