I’m used to getting a lot of comments from people about my twins—“How do you do it?”, “Are they identical?” “You’re super-mom!”. But, now that my kids are 18 months, we’re entered into a new phase of comments. People I know with kids their age are having baby #2. (Not the twin moms, so much, but moms of singletons that we have spent time with). Great! What fun! More babies to play with. Itty-bitties that I can hold and snuggle—and then give back when they cry.
But, I’ve noticed that baby #2 seems to bring out a singleton parent’s competive streak. When my guys were little, and we would get together with singleton babies and moms, they used to say to me, “I don’t know how you do it! I’m so tired with just one.” Inevitably, my answer is the same, “I don’t know anything else—this is just how having kids is for me.” or “You get used to what you know.”. But, now that baby #2 is coming along, the comments are different, more along the lines of, “It’s so much harder for me than for you.” or “It was easier for you to have two babies at the same stage than for me, to have my kids 14 (16, 18) months apart”. Huh.
I have to admit, I have found this comment a bit irritating, especially on a day when Abigail is pushing all my buttons (and some I didn’t even
know I had!), but it does make me think. What is it about me asking how it’s going that makes people respond this way? And, are they right? Was it easier for me? I don’t have any idea how easy or hard it is to have kids less than two years apart—mine are just one minute apart—but the conclusion I’ve drawn is—it doesn’t matter, parenting is just plain hard. It’s overwhelming. It’s not always the pretty picture you imagined when pregnant with your little darling(s). And, I think it’s hard to imagine that anyone is working EVEN HARDER than you are. Would that be possible?
And, my answer to “How hard is it to have twins?” remains the same as when they were 6 weeks old.
Sometimes it’s just what you imagine—two crying babies and only one (sad, overwhelmed) mommy or two infants with the stomach flu, then sharing it with their parents. And sometimes it’s easier—two babies napping at the same time, so you have a break. Two sweet toddlers playing peek-a-boo with each other, while you check the day’s headlines (really better to avoid that this week!) or respond to an email or two. So, my new attitude when I get this comment is tolerance. Parenting is hard. It’s overwhelming. It sometimes makes you feel like you’re not very good at it. So that’s what I try to hear when parents tell me how easy my kids are. I find I can respond much more positively with this mindset.