I feel like I need to start this off by saying that my wife and I are TRULY blessed beyond measure to have our twin boys and that any “complaining” that may come across in this article is from a place of severe sleep deprivation.
Being a dad of twins is all that I know. Being a “stay-at-home” dad of twins is fairly new and I’m still trying to find my groove. I put it in quotes because I wouldn’t consider that my job title. I’m a writer and filmmaker, but I get to thankfully do most of that from home. I haven’t won any Oscars or made any movies starring The Rock lately, so my wife and I both still work.
I don’t know what it’s like having one child at a time, and I don’t know what it’s like having three at a time (I pray that I never find out).
It’s really difficult at times, and the question I always get is “How do you do it?” That’s easy. Because I have to. What other choice is there? You don’t even think about it. You can’t, or it would be too overwhelming.
Having twins will surely have its advantages at some point in life, we just aren’t at that stage yet. Sure, they’re cute, it’s fun to dress them up in matching outfits, and the attention from strangers constantly asking, “Are they twins?” without any sort of follow-up as to why they asked the question is nice, but I wouldn’t necessarily call those advantages. I’m sure having one baby can be a struggle at times, and having one baby with a toddler running around has its own challenges, but please, FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, do not say you know what it’s like having twins. You don’t. I promise.
We’re almost five months in and we have found a few things that help make things easier. Our most important thing we have is a schedule, and we are VERY adamant about staying on it. Feed at the same time. Nap at the same time. Bathe at the same time. Without that schedule, our world would be total chaos and I would get absolutely nothing done.
To all my overwhelmed stay-at-home parents of multiples out there, we are blessed to be this tired.
The (close) second most important thing that we do is let someone else watch them at least once a week and go on a date. I would recommend that for every new parent of however many kids. You have to let some of your week not be about babies and feeding and poop. Shower, put on something nice-ish, put on deodorant, directly inject caffeine (don’t) and go out. Talk about anything other than babies. Have an adult beverage, if that’s your thing. Immerse yourself in the world you once thrived in and reconnect with your partner over things that don’t involve your kids.
Lastly, this piece of advice came from our therapist. (Yes, things got so crazy in the beginning, we literally thought we were losing our minds. No shame. If you need help, get it.) If you are feeling overwhelmed and both babies are crying, set them down in their cribs, take the monitor with you and step outside for just a moment. Breathe in the fresh air and thank God for all of the amazing things that you have that others only dream about. The babies will be fine. I know it’s hard to do, and I’m still working on it myself. You want to fix everything right now, but you getting worked up while they’re getting worked up isn’t gonna de-escalate the situation. Center yourself, breathe and then jump back in the ring.
If you see someone brave enough to take their twins (or more) out in public alone to, let’s say, the grocery store, watch them for a minute and see if they need help. They most likely do and would love another pair of washed, up-to-date-on-vaccines hands, if even for a brief moment.
If in your gut of guts you feel like you have to say something, just say how cute the babies are. Don’t ask if they’re twins unless you have a follow-up story or question. A word of encouragement will boost their morale more than you know. (Lookin’ at you, Todd, the Costco cashier. You’re the real MVP.)
To all my overwhelmed stay-at-home parents of multiples out there, we are blessed to be this tired. Maybe one day we’ll run into each other and nod knowingly, without needing any words.
I’m proud of you. You can do this. Husband, wife or other gets home in 4 hours and 13 minutes. Traffic is light today, so they should be on time. You can make it.
You can make it.
This post was written by Matt Martin and reprinted on mom.me sister site CafeMom with permission.