My Twin Mom Survival Guide: Make it a Double
When Beyonce broke the internet a few weeks back with her twin announcement, I couldn’t help but think — finally! — a tiny break from the relentless Trump coverage. While Beyonce needs no advice on how to make eye-catching birth announcement photos, I thought, “I could give Beyonce a few pro tips about being a twin mom.” The truth is, expectant twin moms need all the advice they can get. I live for my twin toddler girls, but nothing could have prepared me for the amount of work (paired with equal parts total and complete exhaustion) that came with twin motherhood. Here’s what I wish I had known three years ago.
1) Binge watch TV now. I’m not joking. You’re pregnant now? Put your feet up (please!) and binge watch some TV: Stranger Things, Breaking Bad, Twin Peaks, Gilmore Girls, etc. Twin pregnancies are notoriously rough, so your doctor has probably let you know that getting enough rest is critical. But one thing your doctor probably won’t tell you: right now your time is still your own. Soon, it won’t be. While I cherish evenings and weekends with my girls, a part of me also longs for lazy afternoons watching TV, reading the entire Sunday paper and then falling asleep on the sofa. Those days are over once the babies arrive.
2) Sleep training. These are the two most important words for parents of twins (or any parents for that matter). Whether you choose to do it early, at around five months, or you wait until their first birthday, when you’re on the verge of a nervous breakdown from your pair of lovely infants taking turns keeping you awake all night. (Yes, I speak from experience.) We did sleep training at the one year mark and even though some people think it sounds kind of mean, it’s really not. It took our precious pumpkins less than one week of crying it out a bit and they’ve been fantastic sleepers ever since.
3) Enlist Help. This sounds so obvious, but with twins, having an extra pair of hands (or two or three) is crucial. Beyonce can and should capitalize on her vast resources to ensure she gets enough time to herself. For non-famous twin parents, hire a babysitter on the weekends once in a while to help with laundry, meals and date nights. Our girls stayed at home with a babysitter for the first two years and her help during the day with the cooking and cleaning was priceless, especially for me as a working mom.
4) Socialize. I could go on and on about twin mom advice — but my last piece of counsel is to make sure the twins begin preschool by around the two-year mark. We waited a bit longer than that (we had the aforementioned babysitter, so they were alone with her most days) and the adjustment period can be tricky. My twins were quite co-dependent and it was harder to get them to socialize with the other toddlers at daycare. The bond is cute, but not if they can’t make other friends. Luckily, they have finally adjusted and love their new friends too — but it took a good five months.
When my husband and I found out we were having twins during our very first ultrasound I laughed and cried. It was truly shocking because I knew that carrying twins is not easy. My road was a tough one. I was hospitalized and on bed rest for a month due to my complicated pregnancy — and then the girls were in the NICU for two months. But while it was hard in the early days, today, the girls are thriving. Along the way, I heeded advice from many different moms and dads.