When you have twins, most everything you experience with them will be double, both the good and bad. Double the kisses, snuggles, photo ops, first steps, first smiles… it’s truly amazing. But there’s also double the diapers, laundry, middle of the night wake-ups, sickness, and guilt. Double guilt. That’s something I didn’t think about prior to becoming a twin mom, but something that is very much my reality.
I know I shouldn’t compare my experience parenting twins with my experience parenting a singleton, but that’s human nature. Let me paint a picture for you.
Meal Time with 1 Baby
Spoonfed: When Theo was eating purees, I would sit with him and talk to him. I told him what he was eating, what color it was and describe the flavor. Between each bite, I would teach him signs: more, all done, eat, drink.
Finger foods: When he was old enough for finger foods, I would still sit and eat with him. We still talked about the foods we were eating, and practice sign language and words.
Meal Time with Twins
Spoonfed: When I spoon fed my twins, there was no time for conversation or sign language. I would barely have the spoon out of one babies mouth before the other was screaming for more.
Finger foods: I started finger foods with my twins after a few weeks of purees. I just didn’t have the time to sit there and feed them, so I smashed up some soft foods and dropped it on their trays. I didn’t sit there and eat with them like I did with my son; no, when they are contained in their high chairs to eat, I take full advantage of those precious minutes. I empty the dishwasher, fold laundry, prep the next meal, or jot down a few frazzled sentences of a blog post.
Play Time with a 1 Baby
With my son, every morning after breakfast, we would play together. Stacking blocks, singing songs, reading books… he received SO MUCH 1 on 1 attention and was constantly learning because I was constantly teaching.
Play Time with Twins
Usually, I try to get them to play by themselves so that I can prep a meal or wash some dishes. The number of things to get done compared to when I just had 1 baby is just incredible. I’m not even talking about keeping my house spotless (because it’s NOT), I’m just trying to keep everyone fed and in clean(ish) clothes.
When I do actually sit down on the floor to read or play with them, they both try to get into my lap. Then they both scream and hit/push each other because they want to be the only one in mommy’s lap. If I try to do a puzzle with them, one of them, they scream because they both want the same piece. If I try to read a book to them, they fight over who gets to hold the book.
Activities out of the House with 1 Baby
Theo and I were constantly on the go. Library, music class, parks, play dates, we were always doing something! I could follow him around when he was little, or take him out of his stroller to show him animals at the zoo.
Activities out of the House with Twins
It’s SO MUCH WORK that we don’t leave the house as much. However, the main problem is that when I’m by myself with our twins, it’s often not safe. If we go to a park, they usually both climb something high and dangerous and go in opposite directions. If it’s an activity such as the zoo, they don’t get to get out of their stroller and see things. They’re just stuck sitting there because sorry girls, there’s two of you and mommy can only run in one direction.
How to Overcome the Twin Mom Guilt
There are two realizations that helped me overcome feeling guilty about every little thing.
It’s not apples to apples. You cannot (or should not) compare parenting twins to parenting a singleton. People tell me all the time “I don’t know how you do it!” Well, I don’t ‘do it’ the same way I did with my son. There are no daily baths before bed; I stopped cloth diapering; my house is not as clean; my cooking is (way) less extravagant; I don’t do ANY Pinterest worthy activities with my kids.
Realization # 1: It’s For Us, Not For Them
But guess what? MY KIDS DON’T CARE. I feel like less of a mom because my house isn’t sparkling and I no longer whip up kale quinoa burgers for lunch. That’s not about my kids, that’s about me. My kids are spectacularly happy eating macaroni and cheese and it doesn’t bother them one bit that there are 11 loads of laundry piling up.
Realization #2: They’ve Got Built in Best Friends for Life
Since there are two of them, I can’t be my girls constant playmate; but they have each other! Having a best friend for LIFE has got to be better than having a mom who can play with you whenever you want.
This one is hard to see for me as my girls are only 1.5 and don’t interact with each other a whole bunch… at least not in a nice way. They are quick to steal toys from each other and push each other out of the way, but they don’t play with each other a ton yet.
When they are both crying and want to be held, my instinct is to feel guilty that I can’t hold them individually with my arms wrapped fully around them. Recently, instead of feeling immediate guilt, I try to picture their future together and imagine how close their bond will be.
Having twins is nothing like having a singleton…not better or worse, but definitely harder. Do what you gotta do to survive, and try not to let the guilt consume you.
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