‘You are not getting bored, aren’t you?’ -This is the phrase I’ve heard most since I moved to Spain with my family.
When I was leaving in London, well, I was getting the typical ‘double the trouble’ and ‘your hands are full’ along with pity faces. People avoided making eye contact with me (in case I asked them for help, I imagine). A few runners, too; scared of what was coming! I would get curious mums and parents asking: how I was doing? or how I was managing with twins and an older child?
Advice that I was given from a good friend, also a mother of twins, was to have a military organisation and to stick to an extremely detailed routine. I remember with my firstborn, I was improvising most of the days, deciding on the day where we would go; where we would eat; and what we would do. We explored local spots and other areas around London, as it was easy to travel with one kid.
When the twins arrived it was game over, I don’t want to sound drastically but that’s what it felt like to us. Everything multiplied by two: clothes, nappies, naps, bottles, breastfeeding time, expressing milk, lack of sleep, interrupter sleeps, baths, games, weaning, love, hugs, smiles, laughs, dummies, high chairs, pushchairs… I could carry on forever. But the most important factor you need to consider is the time. It will multiply by two (or more) whether you want to go out or stay in. So if you want to keep time on your side you need to organise, well in advance!.
Clothes need to be ready the night before, changing bags packed and ready to go, and food as pre-prepared as possible. Bus and trains times checked well in advance. Preparing as much as you can in advance will help you to reduce headaches, crisis or tantrums.
Of course, no plan is bulletproof, but it will help keep you sane to have one. Remember don’t punish yourself if things don’t go as you’ve planned – just let it go. With twins you can’t prepare for everything, even with one kid it’s 50-50.
One more thing to consider is your expectations.
If you have twins after your first child, then don’t expect to have the same experience you had the first time around. It’s important not to compare, as having two babies at the same time is so different from having one. Plus, every child is different, so you can never have exactly the same experience, even if you don’t have twins.
The most important thing after having twins is to ask for help. You might think you don’t need it, but maybe one day when your family aren’t around or your friends are busy. Don’t be ashamed to ask for help, it’s ok, and asking won’t make you less person or weak, actually just the opposite, ask for help make you human and strong.
There are few charities, which can help you before and after having twins. If you are struggling, ask your local NCT branch coordinator for twins courses. They are great and done by twins mums. Tamba association is a great start too, with many resources, helpline, and membership benefits for twins and multiple parents. Home-start can help you too, it runs a volunteers help program, which means once a week a volunteer will come to your house to help you few hours (I used them and it was a great help!)
And, try to relax whenever you can, drink tea and keep calm; you are doing a great job!