We are a two-mom household of boy/girl twins. We both work, although I did take 12 weeks of maternity leave. Or, from my employer’s perspective, vacation. We had a nanny from the time they were 9 days old (yes, we did have help while I was home, and yes, we know that’s cheating), but long before their birth, we had committed to putting them in daycare around 15 weeks.
Today, the twins are one day shy of 17 weeks. Which is also two weeks into our experience with daycare. And in the world of parenthood, two weeks of anything done consistently and relatively successfully qualifies you as a veritable expert.
It is with the confidence of a seasoned rookie that I come to you with how it is we get ourselves out of the house each morning in a two-parents-that-work-outside-the-home household. It is working for us. So far.
To keep track of all of this, I made a checklist using
my therapist also known as Excel spreadsheets that I laminated and keep on the kitchen counter next to a dry-erase marker. We may not always take the time to check all the boxes, but it serves as a visual cue of what needs to be done.
The moment I find ten minutes on a Sunday, I pull clothes out for the kids – for the WEEK – and put them in a shoe organizer in their closet. I do the same for their pajamas. There are two advantages to this method: (1) by the time we get home with the kids after work, we’d rather have those precious minutes to play with them than to fumble through drawers and find PJs, and (2) in selecting clothing, I’m likely to come across clothes or PJs that no longer fit them and I can take those items out of the closet and put them in my to-sell-at-the-next-mom’s-of-multiples-garage-sale bin in another room. I’m constantly stood still by how quickly they grow. And notice I said Ten Minutes. Those mornings I imagined babies babbling happily in their cribs while I spent an hour pairing the cutest outfits and maybe even ironing them while birds chirp outside? NOT HAPPENING.
Sunday through Thursday nights, after the kids go to sleep (usually around 7:00 p.m.), our fast-paced preparation begins. First, one of us gets the wash cloths, towels, diapers, and PJs set out for the next night’s bath/bottle/bed routine. The other person goes to the kitchen and makes enough formula for their next morning and next evening bottles. This way, all we have to do is warm them up. And since prepared formula lasts 24 hours, making the next night’s bottle allows us more time with the kids. (Before they were sleeping through the night, we made enough bottles for the night, too.)
Next, one of us washes all the bottles and nipples while the other writes down their intake for the day on some books I created. We continue to track this, along with notes about disposition and poopie diapers because we can note trends and changes and discuss with caretakers and health care providers, as needed.
After that, we make enough formula to fit in a sports bottle, usually 32 ounces (which, by the way, only gets them through early afternoon the next day) – we also keep formula and water at the daycare so they can make those afternoon bottles. We do this for them as a courtesy, not a requirement. Most of the time, I remember to grab that from the refrigerator the next morning to take to daycare. Whoever isn’t making formula is preparing our dinner.
After we eat, we look at the BabyGrams – notes sent home from daycare – to see if we need to restock anything like bibs, extra clothes, blankets, formula, etc. We put these items, along with a clean pacifier, two clean bottles, and cloth-diapers-used-as-burp-cloths into their bag. Then we put the bag INTO THE CAR. We used to leave the bag by the door leading to the garage because tripping over the bag would make you remember to take it with you when you left, right? NOT NECESSARILY.
After a quick dinner, showers, catching up, bills, etc…
The twins begin to stir beyond the a-pacifier-will-hold-them-off stage between 5:15 a.m. and 6:00 a.m. So depending on level of movement and squeaking, we sometimes feed them before we dress or dress ourselves before we feed. The ideal would be the latter, but babies have a way of altering your intentions. Thankfully, though, if we feed them first, they both easily go back to sleep. Usually it’s our son that stirs first, but either way, when one eats, we get the other one up to eat, too.
Shortly before we are ready to leave, we get them dressed. Their reflux gave us that hint. Remember how we put their clothes in the shoe organizer? It’s completely possible that The Reflux might get us through to Wednesday’s outfit before we’ve left the house. On Monday.
We leave the house each morning around 7:00 a.m., arriving to daycare by 7:40 a.m., and I pick them up each evening by 5:15 p.m. In order to avoid Certain Meltdown – hunger mixed with tiredness – I ask the daycare to top them off with a bottle at 4:00 p.m. no matter what time they last ate.
By the time I get home, it’s close to 6:00 p.m., around the time my partner is arriving from her job. At that time, we’ll either play upstairs or load the kids into the stroller and get some fresh air. By 6:30 p.m. there is a lot of eye-rubbing and yawning going on. And the twins are doing it, too. So one of us starts warming bottles (to room temperature only!) while the other is giving the first baby a bath. So that we can have relatively equal time with each child, we alternate babies each evening. So whichever baby you bathed and fed, you also keep watch over during the night. This last part was recently added because somebody wasn’t swaddling too well and somehow I was ending up with that baby during the night. At 2 a.m., 4 a.m., 5 a.m. And guess what, the swaddle’s got better.
We also found a groove doing these ancillary items on certain evenings.
Friday’s – Boil/sterilize nipples and pacifiers. Launder car seats and other baby laundry. Inevitably, the car seats get spit up in, so we wash them on Friday’s to be able to let them air dry over night without having to wake up EVEN EARLIER the next morning to reassemble them.
Wednesday’s – baby laundry, as needed – sometimes we run out of swaddle blankets or they may have spit up on their blankets that they take to day care.
Sunday’s – My mother made quilts for the twins and we use these on the floor in the living room where many of their toys are. Tummy time equals wet burps, so on Sunday evenings we wash those with maybe a load of towels and/or the swing and bouncy seat chairs that they drooled over and sat in over the weekend. We do these items on Sunday’s because there is no big rush to reassemble them since they’ll be at daycare the next day. This is also a good time to wipe down toys, as needed. While we watch In Plain Sight. The one from three weeks ago.
Just the other night, we were doing our dance of preparation and Jennifer asked, “What the heck were we doing with our time before we had kids?” And neither of us could remember.
And we wouldn’t have it any other way.
You can read more of Rachel’s family journey on her blog, RaJenCreation.