When a friend sent an email introduction to me and his
pal, who’s expecting twins this summer, it got me thinking about the stuff I
wish I’d known when I was pregnant with my now 3-year-old boy and girl.
I ain’t gonna lie – parenting twins is tough. But it’s
also pretty awesome. I mean, when else in life are you going to have two
human beings want to be near you so much that they will literally push one
another out of the way?
1. Don’t worry
if you’re a little sad or upset at first
Even though I was thrilled to finally be pregnant,
part of me mourned the loss of the image I had of me and Luke with one baby,
being a sweet little family of three. Suddenly I wasn’t just having a baby—I
was having a project. But as I let myself sit with the idea of twins,
ultimately I realized how lucky I was: I was getting an instant family! When I learned I was getting the “variety pack,” as a friend called it, I was even more excited that I’d get the chance to have a
son and a daughter. Not only could my wedding gown potentially make a re-appearance,
I could now impose my Duran Duran fantasies on a tall, skinny boy who will
learn to play bass guitar whether he likes it or not.
2. Be kind to
your ever-expanding body
There’s no way to sugarcoat this, sister. You are
going to get large. At five months into my pregnancy, I was fielding
“Any day now?” questions. At eight months, motorists were rolling down their
windows and yelling "You're having twins!" at me as I walked down the street. Start some kind of exercise regime right now, even if it’s
just walking or prenatal yoga. Lie on the floor and put your feet up the wall. Take
heart that getting dressed will be a cinch—flowy sundresses and flip-flops
will be your uniform for the last few months.
3. Say HELL, YES!
to any and all offers of help
Being a can-do kind of girl, I’ve always avoided
asking other people for assistance. You need to scratch this philosophy ASAP.
There are two of them and, even if your partner is super-involved, many times it
will be just you. From big offers like relatives letting you take a night away
to a random stranger offering to hold the door open, put your pride aside and
make life a little easier.
4. Leave the
The first time I placed the two car seats into the
Snap N’ Go I thought, "Go where?" Suddenly, a simple trip to the grocery store
seemed like an obstacle course devised by the twisted producers of a "Fear
Factor"-type reality show. What I discovered was, when there’s a will there
really is a way almost 99 percent of the time. Being outside in the fresh air,
even if it’s just for a random errand, will remind you that you’re part of the
world. So go, and go right away.
5. Keep it in your bra
If you’re one of those amazing goddess twin moms who
actually manages to breast feed, more power to you. I gave myself a pass on
this one and felt no guilt or remorse (well, except for that one time my
daughter tried putting her mouth on my nipple. Sorry, chick.) Believe me, no one
will look at you sideways when you whip out your formula—you have TWO BABIES
at once and with that comes a certain level of awe and respect.
6. Find your
I resisted subscribing to a listserv for Brooklyn twin
parents, and this is one thing I actually regret. At the time, I didn’t want to
pigeonhole myself in some sort of freak club. In retrospect, it would have been
so helpful to swap stories and tips with other moms and dads going through the
special type of insanity that is raising newborn twins.
one-on-one time when you can
One of the biggest drawbacks of having twins is that
you miss out on giving each child undivided attention. Many times I had to stop
snuggling with my daughter to pick up my screaming son, and vice versa. But some of the best times we’ve
had were when we didn’t pressure ourselves to be one big traveling family show.
I’ll never forget the times I got to take my daughter to brunch, just the two of
us, or the subway adventures I've had with my little guy.
8. Schedule twin-free
Having twins was definitely a shock to our
relationship. Once upon a time, we were that couple who decides to jet off to Montreal for the
weekend. Now we're the downstairs
servants to a pair of small yet demanding aristocrats. The time you spend parenting together does not actually count as
couple time, so make sure you get out once in a while just the two of you. Equally, if not even more important, is for you to go out by yourself without a
diaper bag and do that thing you do.
9. Laugh when
The sound of two infants screaming in stereo is
actually quite comical. It’s loud, it’s all-encompassing, but most of the time
your babies are just fine. The upside to all this is that you won’t be one of
those moms who freaks out at the first tear—you simply can’t be or you’d be
going crazy all the time. Try to keep your sense of humor and the babies will
pick up on that vibe. (And when that’s not feasible, just go hide in the
bathroom for a few minutes and inhale the scent of your Suave coconut body wash.)
Like anything that comes in pairs (cute shoes, boobs,
ceramic cat bookends), twins attract a lot of attention. Most of the comments
you’ll get will be the typical clichés ("You’ve got your hands full!" "Double
trouble!" or "A boy and a girl! Are they identical?"). These comments, for the
most part, come from a place of genuine interest in and admiration of your cuties. So
be nice. Or be like me and say, "Yeah, identical except that one has a penis!"