Everyone knows that parenting is one of the hardest jobs that any parent will ever have. When you are expecting multiples most of us expect that some aspects of parenting will be easier and others will be significantly harder. When I was pregnant with twins I read every book possible about parenting multiples. However, the best advice I got once the twins were born came from a mother of triplets. Here are five tips that only a parent of multiples can share.
It will take a village.
Twins are usually born prematurely and often require more care than full term babies. In the beginning a new mother is likely recovering from a cesarean section and needs more rest than newborn twins can allow her. It will take recruiting some help with feedings and household tasks until you are fully able to rest and heal. Doulas can also be an amazing source of strength and help train you in some of the best ways to care for you twins. The help that I got from friends and family as well as a doula allowed me to recover and be ready to care for my babies.
Be ready for lots of stares and attention.
If you don’t like the spotlight you will need to get used to some staring and questioning about your twins. People are fascinated by twins and multiples. It will amaze you how many times you’ll be asked in one mall trip if your babies are twins. You’ll be asked if they are “natural” twins – another way of asking if you had fertility treatments. You’ll always be asked if they are identical if they are the same sex. You learn after a while to push the stroller a bit faster and avoid unwelcome attention.
They are different children.
You may believe that you have this idea already in your head but you really don’t. If one get sick more often, doesn’t learn as fast or just doesn’t behave well you will compare them. Their teachers will compare them. Your family and friends will compare them. The odd thing about that is that people do realize they are different people but they are always compared. This does get easier as they grow older with well-defined personalities. In fact, as they mature you may find people commenting on how different (or opposite) they are!
There is good and bad to double.
The good to double is that you can get away with one birthday party for two kids! They can get shots at the doctors together and will even lose their teeth around the same time. It really stinks to have to pay two tuition to anything (classes, school, lessons) but remember to ask for a sibling discount. Lots of stores also offer discounts for a 2nd item (like furniture). Ask if they have a “multiples” discount.
You have to find individual time for both.
Twins and multiples still need to feel special. You have to carve out time whenever you can to spend time with each one alone. This gives you individual bonding time that keeps them from always feeling like they are a unit that is competing for your affection. Twins need their own parenting time apart from each other.
Good luck twin parents!