5 Ways to Help Moms of Multiples (Part I)

How do we do it?

Most of us do it without any help at all, but that’s not how most of us want it to be. Most of us thought people were going to come out of the woodwork to help us care for our darling multiple babies. Most of us thought people actually meant it when they said they would help out.

If you’ve read my blog, you know I struggled the last couple weeks with feeling alone, and much like a failing mother because I just couldn’t keep up the energy and stamina and passion for all the hard work mothering twins has been.

The thing is, though, that my husband and I have done it primarily without any outside help for the last 2.5 years. That’s nearly 1,000 days of constant, consistent parenting without extra hands to hold two babies, rock two babies, feed two babies or hug two babies. And yet the rest of life — household chores, running errands, household maintenance — still has to get done as well.

It’s always been a wonder to me why people drop off the planet after just the first month of a child’s birth because the hard work of raising kids, as we’ve all realized, doesn’t end as soon as the babies start sleeping four hours at a stretch — or even eight.

And that leads me to this list. It’s too late for me to get what I needed these last two years, but it might not be too late for those of you new to mothering or who are expecting.

Please be bold enough to pass this list along to a grandparent, cousin, aunt, neighbor, friend or spouse of a mother of twins, triplets, quadruplets, or other higher order multiples under the age of 4 and encourage them to use it frequently for as long as they can do so.

And, in the comments, share some of your own thoughts on what would help you as a mother of multiples.

5 Ways to help Moms of Multiples

  1. Listen AND Empathize: Use kind, caring words to show empathy. Please do not compare your situation to a mother of twins. No two mothers’ situations are ever alike. Our homes, both physically and emotionally, are different. Our children are born with unique personalities and challenges. Consider phrases like this: “I cannot imagine what you are going through, but I do know how hard it is with just one,” or “Parenting is so hard, I can’t imagine what it is like with two (or more).” Do not say things like, “Mine were 16 months apart so it was like having twins” or, the dreaded, “Double trouble.”
  2. Offer specific help: How about bringing her a cup of coffee on your way to work? Going to the store for your own groceries? How about calling or emailing the new MoM in your life and asking her if she needs anything. This goes not just for the first few weeks but for the first few years. Do you know how hard it is to get two or more non-walking or new walkers out of a car and into a store just for a gallon of milk or a loaf of bread? Picking up your dry cleaning in the local strip mall? How about asking the new MoM in your life if she has any laundry she needs laundered? You could pick it up on your way. No need to go too far out of your way, but your efforts will be greatly appreciated.
  3. Household chores: Can you do dishes? How about sweep floors? What about take out trash or clean bathrooms? If you are capable of doing any of this then that would be a great help to a new mother. You do not need to do it often and you do not need to do it perfectly. Just show up and clean during a regular, scheduled visit.
  4. Bring soul food: I remember very little during those first few weeks other than the crying. But, I remember the oatmeal raisin cookies my mother made and the huge meat and cheese tray my aunt brought one night. We feasted on those sandwiches and cookies for the next several days in those mini-meals we ate a couple times a day. That was the kind of food I wanted – that, and take out. Casseroles are great, but even planning to put them into the oven, eating and cleaning up was too much for us in those first couple months. And, I needed other soul food, too. Chocolate. Flowers. A relaxation CD. A card. I would have loved a card that told me how I was doing a great job and to hang in there.
  5. Put in some time: People are alwayswilling to hold a baby, but sometimes that’s not what is best for a new mom. Parents of multiples are more isolated than most new mothers because it is not easy to just pick up two babies (or more) and go out of the house. Some homes are better laid out for easy outings than others. Two arms are never enough for just one parent with two babies. So, please, offer to go along for doctor visits, offer to go out to lunch, offer to go to a local park, offer to stay in the car while she runs in the store, offer to help her shop for some postnatal clothes. Help her get out of the house and be a part of the world, again. And do this often and for as long as possible. Because there comes a time when her babies will be out of infant carries, but not yet walking. And then, after that, they are new walkers and still need to be carried. And then after that they are runners — going in two different directions.

And it’s all hard. Every last bit of it. So, she needs you. And by mothering the mother, you’re helping her be a better mother.

32 thoughts on “5 Ways to Help Moms of Multiples (Part I)

  1. thank you so much for for posting this…i was just thinking this morning it would be a great follow up to my last article. it was very thought out and well written and touched on just about everything that had crossed my mind! the only thing i would add is to designate someone (or someones) to coordinate all of the help. i think that the help people offer is not to an empty offer, but it is simply that people don’t know what to do so they do nothing at all. i think that when people offer their help if you could say, thank you so much, just give so and so a call or send them an email and they will let you know what you can do, it would make things so much easier!

  2. Wonderful list! I know that with the exception of my irreplacable parents, all of our offers for help started to dry up around 6 weeks. They were completely gone by 3 months when I went back to work. And, honestly, once I started working 8 hours a day I needed more help than ever to take care of life at home! Like you said, even running to get milk and bread takes coordination!

  3. I spent a lot of the first four months so frustrated that family (family!) and friends talked a lot about helping, but many weren’t able to follow through with much. There were some notable exceptions (a friend who would stop by on her way home from work, drop off dinner, empty the dishwasher and fold laundry before going on home an hour later—and, of course, my mom who CONTINUES to help a ton). I was so stressed and so tired and needed every little bit of help. Once the first 4-6 months passed, I felt much more able to do things, and wasn’t so frustrated. Not that I don’t still appreciate help, but it’s different now. But those first four months—-I was desperate for help.

    Note: My brother is giving his pregnant friend & her husband the best baby shower gift ever! It’s a gift certificate for 8 premade meals from a place like Let’s Dish or Dinner Concepts—and he will go put them together for them once they’ve decided what they want. Doesn’t that beat onsies or some receiving blankets?!

  4. I really think that being specific is so helpful. We’d have the occasional person say “oh, let me know if I can help!” But as nice as that thought is, I’m just not that likely to pick up the phone. Whereas, if you say “I’d like to bring you dinner. Which day is better, Wednesday or Friday?” Now that’s something I could wrap my sleep-deprived head around…

  5. I wish I would have had this 2.5 years ago when my twins were born. We were alone for a long time, trying to “deal” with two.

    “Let me know how I can help” just didn’t cut it for me. And I had a hard time asking for help.

  6. One word: Laundry.

    Four words: Please help with laundry.

    Seriously, this is a great list. And I couldn’t agree with you more on #5… I always got so tickled at the well-meaning (but delusional) offers to “help” of “Oh, I’d be happy to help you hold the babies.” That’s the PERKS of the gig, not the challenge of the gig! ;)

  7. Great advice. My in-laws were fantastic at doing things around the house so my husband and I could concentrate on learning to parent. My mother, not so much. In fact, I spent most of my time chauffeuring her around when she visited, and had to put off returning to work to babysit her, since she ignored our specifications of the timeframe in which her visit/help would be welcome. We didn’t have help at home after the first 3 weeks out of the hospital, but since we both work, daycare gave us the break we needed.

    Your first point, I can’t emphasize enough!

  8. I am so sorry you have not gotten the support you need. I have been blessed with so many family and friends who have been helpful. My extended family is about two hours door to door for me, and often my husband can’t come to parties or whatever when I head there. I don’t hesisate to go by myself, because I know once I arrive I have arms to help.Usually, I have to go to the bathroom after the drive…so as my uncle approaches the car when I pull up and says, “What can I do?” I say – “Just watch them so I can run in and go to the bathroom! I’ll be back in a minute!” Anyway, I know I am blessed and you make me very thankful to all that I have. A warm hug to you!

  9. Amen to #1. I get SO bugged when my sister-in-law (a mother of one) constantly tells me she ‘knows just how I feel’ or tries to constantly one-up me when I relate a horrible experience that I’ve had. In fact, I’ve stopped telling her anything because it drives me up the wall.
    I would also add that the biggest help I’ve received (my twins are 2 months old and my son is almost 2) is people taking my older son for walks or play dates so I can *just* take care of the twins. When he’s home, I can never leave the twins just sitting in their bouncy chairs or bassinet because my son sits on them or climbs up into the bassinet to give them loves. I also feel so divided with my attention that it’s nice to just hold a baby without my older son also on my lap!

  10. Sorry to be a downer. Maybe it’s because I have a singleton. But I don’t think it’s realistic for you to expect a lot help with things like folding your laundry and picking up groceries and dry-cleaning. I mean, you had a baby (babies) – you didn’t lose your spouse, you don’t have cancer or something like that. In my experience, my friends with multiples have gotten lots of delivered meals (for 1-2 months about 3x/week – excluding family cooking for them). And when people come over and say “how can I help?” then tell them, “would you mind helping me fold this load of onesies?” But don’t treat your friends as your hired help. I want to hold the babies, too; not just bring your Starbucks and breakfast (which I’ve done plenty of). And you have to take some responsibility for ASKING for help. If you don’t make specific requests and if you shut yourself in, never inviting people over to meet the babies (after they’ve asked to) or returning emails/calls – you’re not going to get much help. People are not just going to stop by with coffee on their way to work. Your friends are busy, too! They have their own challenges. Don’t be so myopic as to think life is only hard for MoMs.

  11. Great post! One other thing I would like to add is volunteering to take older siblings out for a fun activity for a few hours is also a big way to help. I’ve had what seems like nonstop guilt over the amount of TV my older daughter has watched since our twins were born four months ago. We used to get out every day for some kind of activity (playgroup, park, library) but since the boys have arrived we are limited by naps, nursing schedules etc. It would be a great treat for both of us (DD and me) if someone took her for a morning of fun out and away from her stressed Momma and fussy siblings.

  12. i linked to this from another post and it follows up with something i read on this site yesterday that struck a cord.

    my eyes were opened to the isolation and lonliness, b/c i honestly had NO clue that was something mothers in your position experience. from the outside looking in, it looks completely different. call it ignorance, but it’s the truth.. when i look at my close friends, their lives seem busy and full. they finally have what they’ve longed for, children, and there is much to celebrate..
    i say all of this to suggest that those who have ” disappeared” may not know what you’re really feeling/ experiencing. unless you tell them, or ask you can’t expect them to know. many people want to help, and i don’t think the majority are empty offers, but life is busy for all people, and after awhile i stopped chasing my friends down and assumed they didn’t need my help.

    i appreciate the list, and suggestions because it’s a starting point, and is something i can actually do. i understand that mom’s may not even know how they need the help, and so i think these are great suggestions.. however, i have to say that the tone you have is almost of entitlement and while you have a major task before you, you’re not the only one with alot on your plate. i am not trying to belittle the task of raising multiples, i think it would be insanely busy and exhausting. i am just trying to remind you that life is still life to everyone else and eventhough their chaos looks different, or has a different name, it’s still chaos and most are doing the best they can.

    while you and people in similar circumstances want to be understood, remember it’s a 2 way street. maybe it’s just the tone, but it almost appeared bitter, and as if you deserved the things you listed.

    i am just giving my input, and i could be completely off. i guess i am just saying to consider both sides, and like you’ve done, ask for help, and ask for specifics, and accept what people can do for you instead of focusing on where they are falling short. remember that they are still helping you, and if you hired them (as someone mentioned in a reply above) you could treat, or expect whatever.. but they aren’t hired, they are volunteering, and doing it out of love for you and your family..

    give them the benefit of the doubt, and realize that while there are some people who just have flaked, and suck.. many just don’t know how to help, or where to begin and maybe were given the impression you were ok, or they weren’t needed? i am sure they’re just as willing as they were when you’re babies were just born.. you just have to ask.

  13. sorry, just read through alot of the responses and have one more thing to add..

    i honestly think some of the expectations mentioned here are too high.. especially considering that some of you expect your friends/family to just know what you need on top of it. many of you have criticized the help you have received, or were offered, and maybe that same tone is being put across when you’re actually dealing with these people.

    many people don’t have multiples, just like many of you may have not had cancer, both present different challenges and for you to put down and mock those who don’t intuitively know what you need is discouraging and makes me not want to reach out. i am just saying you all agree because you all have this in common.. take a step back and look at what you’re saying..
    just from what i have read from this entry, and the responses:
    1. i am supposed to just know what you need, and when you need it..
    2. commit the next months/ years of my life to you regardless of what’s going on in my own life because in all scenarios yours trumps mine.
    3. expect to be a let down or talked about if i don’t know exactly what you need, or am not able to give the time you require or the help you’d prefer.
    4. expect to be mocked if i say i will hold your babies while you take a shower, or nap, or whatever.

    Since the majority of you don’t accept “please let me know how I can help” as a sincere statement, the responsibility completely falls on me to figure out what you need, all while trying to not overwhelm you and deal with my own life.

    Do you see how this is may be coming across to those around you? It’s a 2 way street, and while you have every right to be overwhelmed, it doesn’t open the door for entitlement and lack of courtesy or appreciation.

    Just wanted to throw that out there..

  14. I know in my situation, I’m upset at my two closest friends for not helping me, not because they should be “hired help” and not because I’ve lost a spouse or something terrible, but because we’re best friends and I need help and that’s what best friends do! When my friend quit her job, I proofed her resume, called up all of my contacts on her behalf, went interview clothes shopping with her, sent her encouraging emails and sent my husband over to mow her lawn when she went out of town for an interview. So, I was thinking that right now (w/ newborn twins) is my tough time and so yes, I expect her to help out!

  15. I think that was a GREAT POST! I totally agree with everything. I hired an au pair for the first 6 months since i also had a 2 year old that really needed some attention. She ended up being my 2 year old’s playmate..while i took care of my twins.

    Thinking back 18 months…the thing i really wish i had was more friends asking to come over. Totally true that everyone kinda disappears after you have the babies. I also felt isolated…i cried a LOT. I wish i had had some friends pop by and say hi, hold a baby or even just HELP me fold laundry. Maybe watch the babies while i had a NAP! AHH..that would have been good.

    I would have REALLY appreciated if more people HAD brought over food. We were desperate…and i only had one person bring me food…and believe me, that was THE BEST FOOD EVER!

    My friend Melody, who had micro preemies and had just brought them home from the NICU after 4 months…somehow put together the best MEAL i ever had in my life! I still feel like i owe her for that.

    SO, all in all, FOOD was what we needed. SO, if you know someone that has just had multiples..i feel the best gift to give is FOOD(sorry, i think i said FOOD WAY TO MANY TIMES,LOL). Having 2, 3 or more babies at once really leaves no time to cook. And who wants to eat pizza EVERYNIGHT???

    I think your post was WELL SAID! Great JOB!

  16. i think this is a great post. constructive, direct and raising a very critical point no matter how many children you have: the importance of raising a family w/ a community of support. our kids are better for it, mamas and dads are stronger (and saner) for it, and our world, no matter how small or large, is a much happier place. i joined a mama/baby group when my boys were 8 weeks old. i was scared, to say the least, how we would all do. i was delighted with what i found. our instructor almost always held one of the boys the entire time. other mothers helped with the boys. i helped other mothers with their babies. we commiserated. we rejoiced. we had peaceful, smiling babies sometimes. other times we had crying, miserable babies. but we were in it together. and when it got tough, it seemed a lot less tough to handle it within a community, then when i was by myself. it made me really question why, in our culture and society today, it is the norm to raise our babies in isolation. it just doesn’t make sense. not for a parent of one; not for a parent of six.

    we’re all in this together. unfortunately some people get this better than others. i feel crazy lucky to be in the community i am, where i had friends bring us dinners for three whole months after the boys were born, where neighbors and friends would call and come by regularly to help, where i could walk to the park and be greeted by three other families i knew. and even with all of this, i still had feelings of isolation. i can’t imagine the despair i might feel (which the hormones unduly exaggerate) had my community fallen apart when i needed them the most. and then it’s even harder to ask for help. it’s a downward spiral. it’s even more interesting what you learn about the people in your life. some people i “expected” to be really helpful and present were MIA or utterly not-helpful; other people i had no expectations for were amazing and there for me every step of the way. go figure.

    i don’t think most new mothers and/or fathers feel entitled to an onslaught of help from their friends and family, nor do i think parents of multiples feel their friends should automatically know what they need and put their lives on hold to help, or support them every second of their free time. that is the whole point of this post – to offer those close to you, or those asking if they can help, or just some person who happens to know someone who just had a singleton OR multiples, with some simple and concrete ways to make the new parents’ lives easier.

  17. Wow. So much hostility! I appreciate this website sooo much because I love reading about MoMs who are experiencing/have experienced the same things I have. I have had an outpouring of generous service since my twins were born but you know what? 95% of it has been from people at my church (some of whom I had never even met before) and 5% has been from one of the 32 family members who live within an hour of me. My best friends whom I have helped in their times of need have all but disappeared. My emails have not been responded to and the ‘let me know if I can help’ comments from my baby shower have been completely ignored now that the babies are here. I honestly don’t get it. I’ve been comforted reading that other MoMs have experienced the same things and that more than likely it must be a fear of helping or not wanting to ‘bother’ me instead of an ending of a friendship. When my friends have solicited my help, I’ve given it. Isn’t friendship supposed to be reciprocated? Is it wrong to expect a family member to help when you’ve helped them? I really don’t like feeling reprimanded from someone who has never walked a mile in my shoes. I REALLY appreciate the moms who take time out of their busy busy lives to post help and support for those of us who need to feel understood.

  18. This post was so helpful…and then Bessa and Em’s comments totally upset me- can you remove them? This isn’t a place for non M.O.M.’s to reprimand us for voicing our issues/concerns/advice. But then again, as my husband would say: “Don’t we have enough to worry about without worrying about what people say/do/etc?”

  19. Lots of good and interesting stuff here!

    I know that my experience has been this:

    My eyes are now opened to the rigors of parenthood, especially the first few months of total exhaustion. Before I became a MoM, I just didn’t “get it.” Sure, new parents were tired, but they could nap, right?! Right?! :)

    My own experience has taught me to be gentle with new moms, as their hormones and emotions are all out of wack. To tell them they look great, and to affirm the frustrations they are experiencing. Also, encouraging a mom who is trying to breastfeed, or acknowledging that sleep deprivation can make you feel crazy.

    Entering parenthood is not something I could really understand until I went through it. I never ever realized that my new parent friends could be having such a tough time. I figured that they should be over the moon happy because they had a new baby! (Infertility caused me to view new babies with a tinge of jealousy and rose colored glasses).

    Now, when I see a new Mom out and about, I smile, hold the door for her and help her get the heck out of the store during her few precious moments of quiet! My world has opened up to be compassionate toward this group of people, much as it was toward older adults when I began my studies as a gerontologist. It is all a matter of perspective.

  20. I was a much better bridesmaid after being a bride. I am much kinder to my new mom friends now that I am a mom.

    Beautiful post Shawn, and very insightful. I want to print this and give it to every expecting mom I know (or will know) and tell them to give it to people.

  21. Great post!
    Like Brenda, we had a nanny for the first 3 months, just so I could figure out how to make it all work, but boy was it rough when she left to return to England.
    I think hardest for me was that my mom had two sets of twins, so she just kept saying “twins are easy” and it wasn’t easy. She made me feel like I was inadequate.
    Even though I had LOTS of kids prior to my twins, I was not prepared and help would’ve been nice, esp. with the laundry and grocery shopping.

  22. twinmommy, and others..

    i can’t really take back my shock at the responses here, but i can apologize for the tone.. i am not intending to reprimand anyone here, and i apologize for offending you. i didn’t realize only mothers of multiples could post here especially since this is a how to help moms of multiples post..

    think about this.. you are all on the same page, and you are all experiencing the same thing. while some of you have unfortunately seen your friend’s “true colors” i hoped to represent what a majority of your friends who do care about you and want to support you may be experiencing.

    my thoughts come from what i have read.. i am not generalizing, or assuming anything. my initial reaction was obviously not productive, and so for that i apologize.

    from what i have read from your responses, you wonder where these people have gone, yet in the same paragraph criticize their attempts to help. it seems like a can’t win situation, and that’s not a personal attack, or reprimand, it’s just (again) a response to what i have read here. you don’t have to like me, or read my comments but if you do, i hope that maybe i will show you another perspective like you have shown me. we all can learn from each other, or we can stick our head in the sand..

    i saw a common thread in some of the responses and the post itself and decided to say something. i could be completely misreading, but i am giving you the initial reaction from someone other than people in your same situation.. if this is the general attitude you’re putting out there with your friends, i really don’t understand why you’re surprised they’ve stopped coming around, or what you’re expecting?

    if you want help, or want to keep relationships i think it’s beneficial to make sure you’re not the common thread in these people backing off.. i know for me personally, i don’t realize the way i come across sometimes.. i obviously have some not so pleasant flaws that come out.. i would prefer knowing so i can correct them, as opposed to not being told. it’s not fun, but if i stick my head in the sand, it’s ultimately my loss if i drive people away. Or course there are situations with people where it’s just not about me, and knowing my part in it at the very least allows me to be confident that it’s about them, and not take it personally. i guess what i am trying to say is if you’re seeing this over and over again in your life, you may be the common thread and if you really want support and help, you wont get it by acting like what is represented here. people will move on and do what they need to. no one wants to sit around and feel like crap, especially when they are trying to help. it’s not a one sided deal, friends need to reach out and take the initiative, and some of ya’ll may want to reexamine their parts.you can’t expect people to see it through your eyes, and so if you want something productive to come from it, or you really want the help just be open to new approaches, i am sure you’ll see some of these people really step up to the plate.

    i appreciate the feed back and honesty here.. i have learned a ton from you guys, and have realized how i am falling short for some really close friends..

  23. I, like you, had many well wishers but no one that actually offered to truly help. It was hard and things got very lonely but as my girls got older I was able to see how strong I truly was for being able to do it alone. I know it sounds silly but I honestly do feel as though I am a better mother to my girls for it. If I could go back and be offered help that doesn’t mean I wouldn’t take it in a heartbeat. My house still hasn’t bounced back and they just turned a year old!

  24. I, like you, had many well wishers but no one that actually offered to help other than to stop by how a few minutes to cuddle with the babies and dash off. The day my girls were born my family left to go out of town for two weeks. I had a scheduled c-section and they knew of the exact time and date for over a month! They planned their trip last minute and left town an hour before their birth. I was hurt but I knew that I had to rise above it and be the better person and prove to everyone and myself that I didn’t need their help. It was hard and things got very lonely but as my girls got older I was able to see how strong I truly was for being able to do it alone. I know it sounds silly but I honestly do feel as though I am a better mother to my girls for it. If I could go back and be offered help that doesn’t mean I wouldn’t take it in a heartbeat. My house still hasn’t bounced back and they just turned a year old!

    As for those who have offered criticism saying that we should ask for the help instead of just assuming people will volunteer makes me a little upset. I appreciate ever bit of support I got but I don’t feel as though I should have to beg someone to do something that they obviously don’t want to do. If they offer to help then, yes, we do state what we need. And if you honestly think that every single one of our personalities are the reason for our friend and family going astray I am deeply offended. People don’t know what to do with multiples, every stranger in the store who makes a comment about how “we have our hands full” makes it perfectly clear. People are frightened of the idea of the awesome amount of work that has to be done with multiples (at least my family is/was). As my girls have gotten older my family and friends have come around more and are willing to help but many of them have said that in the beginning they were worried about what needed to be done and stayed away. I really could go on with specific examples but I choose to stop there. I really hope you reconsider what you have said about us.

  25. As a new MoM (my boys are almost 4 months old) I have been pretty surprised by how the friend/family/help situation has shaken out.

    I am actually pretty happy just to have people come over to hold the babies, and have been let down by a number of friends who would say they were coming over – just to hang out and meet the boys – who’ve flaked at the last minute.

    If you just don’t bother to show up and I get a call hours after the fact, (or worse, I have to track you down to find out that you’re not coming) don’t be surprised if I’m not tracking you down to try to set up another visit. Life is too short and my down time with the boys is too precious for that kind of nonsense.

    In terms of ‘help’, I’ve actually been relieved when people who were visiting to ‘help’ left. That may sound perverse, but I have found it a lot easier to take care of the boys on my own schedule and to take care of my own needs following the same. Visitors tended to make more busy work than I felt was necessary.

    I don’t need a three-course lunch Mom! You don’t have to iron the babies’ sheets!

    I’m lucky because live in Manhattan and can get so much delivered. I’m lucky because my boys were full term and can best be described as mellow and delightful.

    I’m also lucky because I have one friend in the neighborhood – a new mom herself (to a singleton, with many challenges of her own) who has been a shoulder to cry on, an ear open to listening, and the best resource I ever could have hoped for.

    When I came home from the hospital, she was there with ‘new mommy’ foods, she showed my husband how to set up the breast pump and clean the parts. She organized our changing table and the boys’ massive amounts of clothes.

    She was my cheerleader and mentor. And all of this was after having her own baby in the hospital for open heart surgery the very day I was delivering the boys.

    For me, it doesn’t take a lot of people helping, just the right person supporting me and showing me how to help myself.

  26. maybe I should clarify..
    my responses really aren’t regarding circumstances like the one above where family goes out of town the day your children are born.. they’re also not directed towards people who have been let down by close family members.. i am not trying to bellittle dissapointments, or any of that.. i can’t imagine how upsetting that would be, and i think it’s completely normal to expect for people to step up the plate, especially those you’ve done the same for. i am not trying to devalidate anything you guys are saying, so hear me on that. my response is a general reply to some people’s unrealistic expectations, and critcism towards friends (not family). i mentioned this in another post, but 3 of my very best friends all have had kids, in the last few months, 2 of them had multiples (twins and triplets) and so i was linked to this website and found it interesting and informative. the first article i read was absolutely amazing, and the person who wrote it had a way of being completely honest and transparent, but also productive with it. it opened my eyes to what i could be doing differently for these friends and i definitely am appreciative of that. in that post i expressed that i was completely naive about the emotions that go along with this experience, and all i am trying to say is your friends may be like me.. completely clueless on what to do, or how to help. the hustle and bustle of their lives looks like they are full, having children has been their dream, and their immediate families have been there, and so I personally felt like I was in the way, and have backed off. i have since realized i may be wrong in my assumption, and have seen all of this from a new side.. i really am grateful for that.

    my only reason for posting anything on a site i obviously can’t relate to is to offer another view. i didn’t go about it the best way, but i hope some of you see your friends a bit different, or realize it may be about them and not you.
    I don’t take back what i have said about the unrealistic expectations i saw in comments or posts, or how appauled i am by the criticism, and lack of grace shown to people who are trying to help but just don’t understand because they are not you. i have seen insults towards questions, people not doing enough, people doing too much, people not holding the babies, people only wanting to hold the babies, and it really struck a nerve because it feels like you’re belittling those around you who are just trying to help or understand. all people are busy, and time is valuable in all situations and so what i have read, and the lack of appreciation shown by some people just turned me off as someone who is a friend trying to help. my response was fueled by that, and i understand that wasn’t neccesarily productive. i can’t speak for others, but for me personally,
    i am not trying to offend, or reprimand. just giving a response..

  27. I don’t usually comment, but I just wanted to say that I thought this was a great post and to add my two cents, before the girls were born I made up a list of household things we might not get around to doing (i.e. changing the cat box, doing a load of laundry, cleaning the bathroom) and I stuck it up on my fridge. I know my brother did a few chores while he was staying at our house when I was still in the hospital and anyone who stopped in or said “what can I do” got handed the list. That helped a lot.

    That said, I think that it’s hard to ask for help and some of the comments to this post are illustrative of why. Those of us who have been blessed with more than one baby at a time understand that it’s completely unimaginable to someone who hasn’t. That’s not to be elitist or anything, but there’s no way I could’ve really understood what my life is now like. It’s a little lonely at times especially when you feel like no one “gets” you. It’s hard, but please don’t think it’s the same as having cancer or losing a spouse. that’s a whole lot more grieving than I am ready for. Having twins is a whole different kind of stress.

    I guess all I’m saying is walk a mile before you tell people to suck it up and deal. we are dealing. that’s the point of this blog. HOW DO YOU DO IT?!

  28. I thought this was a great post!! My husband and I have very little outside help from family (not because they aren’t available though…they just do NOT want to help). So I suppose we’ve gotten used to managing our household by ourselves without expecting any help. A lot of people did step up when I was on bedrest with my last twin pregnancy but as soon as I had the 2nd set of twins, everyone suddenly disappeared and that’s when we could’ve really used the help!!! However, in my attempt to see the positive in this, I think it might have been a good thing that we didn’t have any outside help from family/friends because I feel that might have cramped our ability to do it on our own, 24/7. I didn’t have anyone to rely on so I had to rely on myself to take care of all 4 kids all day by myself and on weekends, my husband and I just forged through, hour after hour after hour. I learned to feel confident in my mothering skills, I learned how to take all 4 kids to the grocery store with me by myself, I learned how to grab a meal with all 4 of them at the mall’s food court…if I had had extra help, I might not have ever braved all those experiences by myself.

    With that said, it would’ve been nice though to have the help…just to have someone call and say “hey, I’m in the neighborhood, why don’t I drop by with some coffee and we can catch up with one another”. I didn’t necessarily want someone to help care for the babies or do my laundry or cooking…I just wanted to not feel so isolated all the time (hence, my reason for dragging all 4 kids with me everywhere just to get out of this God-forsaken house every once in awhile).

    So that would be my biggest piece of advice for new MoMs or any mom who is expecting multiples….if/when friends or family ask if you need anything, don’t be shy and don’t feel bad for coming right out and saying “I’d love some company”. You’ll soon learn who your real friends are…if someone offers help and then skips town when you actually say “I’d love you to come over and visit”, she’s not your friend. But if your friend says “why don’t I come over today at 3:00?”, she’s a true friend!

  29. I’ve often wondered if new moms like us — the ones without direct family support and hands-on help — should have a type of flag to wave to get the attention of our loved ones. An email with a smiley that simply says, “I’m lonely; please visit.” Or, a banner that runs at the end of each email that reads: Have multiples; send chocolate.” lol

    The sad thing is that I asked for help and was denied because they were too busy with their own lives. And, this by my own mother.

    I, too, got more help from strangers than relatives. And now I get the most of my help from moms of singletons than moms of twins.

    Thanks for all of your great wishes. I hope the list provides some of you — or other new moms with multiple crying babies — a little bit of extra love and support in the coming weeks.

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