Playing the twin card

‘ll never forget her: A seasoned mom of six kids, the youngest two twins. She was at the same playground, looking just as frazzled as I. We chatted a bit. And then she said it — the words I live by often.

“I have six kids, I’ve been through it all and I can tell you that having twins is different; it’s hard,” she said.

As a new mother who doesn’t know any better, I needed to hear this last summer as my girls were just new to moving around and learning about their world. (I laugh now because I thought THAT was a hard age and all they ever did was stay by my side and stare at other kids.)

I try to only speak of the challenges I have about raising twins with other twin moms or from moms who genuinely seem interested in my well-being or in raising twins.

In other words, I try to use the twin card sparingly. All moms work hard — be it one baby or six. Babies are just a lot of work. Toddlers, too. I’ve been around moms who feel like their one is more challenging than my two. They may be right (on some level). I’ve been around moms who couldn’t care less about my difficulties because, frankly, they have their own. I also try to always counter my gripes with the positives, which these days is the fact that my daughters are now conversing with each other.

How about you? Do you use the twin card often? Or, do you tend to keep those little challenges or perks to yourself?

14 thoughts on “Playing the twin card

  1. Hmmmm… Very good post. I actually have put some thought in this. My guys are only 6 months old, but I found myself using the twin card A LOT. Like I didn’t even want to hear about complaints from moms that didn’t have twins about how hard it is raising babies. Now, I realize that we all have our own stress thresholds, and more importantly, I don’t know what else other moms have on their plate. They could have some serious things going on that I don’t know about it. On top of that, I think it’s a good philosophy to accentuate the positive. So now when people stop me and ask me about my boys, I smile proudly.

  2. So true. While I sometimes use the twin card as a convenient excuse, I actually find other people try to use it on my behalf and I sort of brush it away. You cope with whatever your reality is, right? Babies and kids can always be hard, no matter if there’s one or eight of them. Sure, some things I do are objectively-speaking harder because I have twins, but what difference do I know? It’s just my reality.

  3. Oh, I so agree with Goddess…people try to put the twin card on me more than I do myself (although – yes…I’m guilty of using it…but more when I just didn’t WANT to do something, not because I couldn’t *blush* for shame, Nance.)

    And there are definitely times when I’ve used others’ perception to my advantage. Like at work – they had a mandatory meeting that meant everyone one the East coast had to travel to the West coast…except me. tee hee They didn’t even ask me if I wanted to go (I didn’t) or if I could go (it would have been a pain, but I could have).

    Sounds like that mom of 6 was pretty smart.

  4. I definitely avoid playing the twin card. I feel like people just perceive me as a whiner when I pull it.

    That said, when I’m with my twin mom friends, we often talk about how much EASIER people with only one kid have it (esp. two-parent families with one kid!) I just try to keep that talk to those who are in the know :).

    And of course, we all have our troubles and we all have our challenges, so it’s not really fair to compare.

  5. I agree with goddess and Nancy. People play the twin card on me. I get by just fine. I think people with just one have difficulties too. Hell their kid might wake up 5 times a night. Who knows. I usually only talk about twins stuff with twin moms.

  6. Actually, I find very few moms of one baby that I know play the twin card for me—and that’s a bit difficult. I mean, we do ok most days but, you could help me lug my two kids out to the car. Or, acknowledge that while you can do the playground with one non-walking kid (or shopping at the mall), my two will be a mess b/c they have to stay in the stroller. Or, realize that when you complain about your newborn baby getting up twice a night (twice!) I’m really not going to feel sad for you or AGREE with you that it is just as bad as my kids’ newborn days, when for months Danny was getting up EVERY HOUR AND A HALF with Abigail up 1-2 times in there as well. I know this is not the most positive comment, but it’s certainly where I am a lot of the time. I love my kids and have fun with them, but I really believe that two babies are a different thing than just one.

  7. I don’t think I play the twin card. Even when I was pregnant, I was sensitive to the Reality of other mom’s, particularly my sister who was also pregnant (with her second). I mean, swollen ankles were swollen ankles regardless of the # of pods growing inside. People say to me “twins must be so hard!” and maybe it is true, but since I have nothing to compare it to (these are our first), I simply don’t know the difference.

  8. My twins are 18 month, I don’t think I play the Twins card, but I ASK for help outright, with out whining. If I am at McDonald’s and my hands are full with two moving toddlers, I ASK someone politely to open the door and THANK them. If I am going to a family event, and my husband isn’t with me… I call my sister in law who has NO kids, and ask if she will help me… then you don’t have to play the twins card… Does that make sense?

    I ONLY have the twins, no other children. I watch people who have a child and then twins…it appears VERY, VERY HARD. I always say, I never knew ONE baby, so two did not feel like twice as much work to me. I think my friends would say I never acted like it was a big deal to have two (but I had REALLY good infants…)

  9. personally, i don’t. i feel like every woman walks a different path on the road of mamahood and their experience is only similar to mine because we all love our child(ren), we all have good/bad days and we all care. even other twin moms will not have the same experience as i do.

    sometimes with singleton moms, i explain what i do with them, because they ask. but otherwise i shrug when the question of HDYDI is asked. i am not sure i know how or how to answer. don’t we all just do it when we need to?

  10. i agree with goddess, more people play the triplet card FOR me than i play it myself. that being said, i have used it, and probably more often than i should. i also agree that we cope with whatever we are given, it is just a different mindset.

  11. Perhaps I just like to argue. From time-to-time I do point out that I have twins … specifically at the grocery store when all the double-seater carts are being used by parents with one child with them. Most of the time, however, I try to convince people that raising twins is not the same kind of work as raising two or more kids of different ages. I only have to deal with one set of schedules and developmental stages and discipline issues.

  12. I try not to play the twin card. I do however get sick of, “well my kids are close together so it’s the same as having twins”. I have 2 friends, each with one baby and they whine and complain about how tired they are and how much work they have to do ALL the time. It drives me nuts but I pride myself on not complaining like they do. (That’s what my blog is for! :))

  13. I play the twin card with myself sometimes… to justify my exhaustion on certain days.
    I have a 6 year old and 15 month old twins (all boys) so I KNOW now, in hindsight, the difference between handling my first single one and what I’m doing now.
    It IS more work, it IS a more maniacal non stop chaos with twins that simply cannot be compared to handling one, period.
    That mother of six knew what she was talking about. I enjoy my boys…. I am also amazed each day by the sheer amount of physical and mental energy required to basically handle them with a basic level of safety.
    My neighbor has one active boy age 18 months and a sweet 4 year old girl. I asked her once, out of curiosity “what would you do if you had TWO of HIM”. She replied, she would never be able to handle it, giving me the acknowledgment I wanted. But then again we all do handle what is handed to us, and I dearly Love my Boys and will live through their toddlerhood (somehow).

  14. I have six, actually, with my youngest two being twins. It’s harder–and it’s easier (have really laid back babies who sleep well). I don’t play the twin card often, but sometimes I’ve got the 20 month old running one way, the 3 year old running the other, and my hands full of the 3 month olds. Yeah, then I might need a little help! But I always feel a little stupid. Like people are thinking “if you couldn’t handle all this, why’d you keep having them?” but then I also think that might just be my own voice I hear in my head…

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