I had 6 kids, 2 more weren’t going to have that great of an impact. Honestly, we had children close enough together they even looked like twins! Babies; no problem – we had two in diapers at the same time for years! We have lots of help with all the children we have; my 13 year-old was certified in babysitting through the YMCA. That was my way of internally processing how my wife and I were going to handle having twin boys. We were 36 years old with 6 kids; we were basically professional parents. Reality quickly set in once they were born. All that cramming we did right before they were born, the last minute planning on what to do; if we could have just pushed the re-start button. Well, at least I can give everyone else some pointers to help make their experience better. These are all from our own experiences, not out of any book or reference!
- 1. Whatever you do could have an impact upon them later in their life. One example is giving your twins names that are “cute” and rhyme; “Joey and Joy”, “Ron and Don”, “Pete and Re-Pete”. Another example would be dressing them in the same clothes all the time… for years. Each of your twins needs to grow up with a healthy vision of their own unique identity. This way they will have an independent self-worth and confidence especially when on their own.
- 2. Breastfeeding (or even bottle feeding for that matter) can be an arduous task with twins. The father must be an active participant in this, no matter what time of day or night. Doing chores around the house or any errand running must be a planned and shared responsibility. Face it guys, whether this is your first experience as a father or if you’re an old pro like me; you will have to be ready for double, triple, quadruple the effort – depending upon your level of Multiples. It will be truly a family affair.
- 3. Have the right equipment for the job. Make sure you get the 2 seated stroller, two separate cribs (it’s cute to have them both in the same trailer while they are small, but don’t wait too long to get them in separate cribs – twins are naturally “team oriented” and will help each other do some crazy stuff if they are together and unsupervised; like at night while everyone is asleep). It’s better to be fully prepared and equipped than to think you saved a couple of bucks.
- 4. Engage your children; do not overwhelm them with responsibilities. Have them share in the joys of multiples each and every day!
- 5. Don’t sweat the small stuff. The pressure can get pretty rough, so the worst thing you can do is to vent on each other over little things. Take time for each other, even if it’s only 5 minutes.
Do not stress yourselves out by trying to go to family get-togethers that just aren’t the right fit for Multiples. Have a meeting with your families and communicate to them that if they want your family to come to these functions, they need to keep in mind the limitations you face. Describe and even demonstrate what complications and problems you are faced with when trying to get to these functions. This way your families can be as accommodating as possible when planning these events out. Remember, it’s much easier for them to visit you, than it is when you have to visit them. You have all your “stuff” set up and ready at your home – they don’t.
There you have it in a nutshell; the thought of multiples can be overwhelming. Getting the right information early enough, being prepared physically and mentally, partnering with each other and getting the other on sharing duties and responsibilities, getting the correct equipment and supplies, and finally gaining the understanding and cooperation from all of your loved ones and extended families will set you on the right track. It will leave you both feeling prepared and confident to face these challenges and provide the foundation for a healthy and happy family with multiples.