My husband and I had only two weeks’ notice to prepare for becoming parents of twins. From the day of my daughters’ births, it’s been an adventure being a mom of twins. It also continues to be my greatest source of joy.
Through the years, I’ve learned some lessons about parenting twins. Here are five that come to mind:
Just because they were “womb mates” doesn’t mean that twins are clones of one another. My girls had different sleeping patterns, activity preferences, and noise-tolerance levels. Occasionally, I’d dress them alike because it is fun to do the “twin thing.” But, when they were old enough to pick out their own outfits, my twins seldom chose to dress alike.
Ensure Alone Time With Parents
Each twin needs alone time with parents. This is true for all children, but it’s especially important for multiples to discover early on that they occasionally get to receive undivided attention from their parents. Trips to the park or even excursions to the grocery store offer each child opportunities for separate self-expression and growth as an individual.
Expose Twins to Other Children
Twins are built-in playmates for one another, and it’s tempting to allow them to develop social skills while wrapped in their own little twins world. Introducing other children into the mix develops twins’ ability to bond with and befriend people apart from the other twin. Beginning early helps. Before twins start school, interacting with peers teaches twins to expand their understanding of the differences and preferences of others.
Although encouraging individuality is important, it’s enjoyable to honor the unique experience of being a twin. We’d take time to talk about how attuned my daughters were to one another. Sometimes, my girls would reveal to me the meanings of their special “twin words” that only the two of them understood.
Maintain a Sense of Humor
When twins are infants, it’s crucial to take lots of deep breaths and to laugh about the frequent chaos. One twin just falls asleep and the other one wakes up crying, which, of course, wakes up the sleeping twin and soon both are crying.
When they’re older, twins are fiercely loyal to each other. It’s entertaining trying to determine which twin needs disciplining for a misdeed as you listen to a litany of creative excuses and deflection.
Being a mom of twins has taught me patience, tolerance, easily triggered laughter, compassion, and unbridled love.