There has been a lot of talk in the media recently about how having multiples effects marriages. There seems to be the idea that parents of multiples are more likely to divorce, though there aren’t any easy statistics specifically on this topic. In response to this media coverage, parents of multiples are responding:
- The website Mothers of Super Twins (MOST) is conducting research to a survey to better understand multiples and marriage. Please take a few minutes to participate in their survey. I’ll post an update when the survey results are available.
- Multiple Births Canada has released an information circular on the topic outlining studies on the topic.
I’m not planning to share the intimate details of my marriage with you, but here are few ways that having twins has impacted our relationship:
- We’ve spent a lot of time talking about our values and priorities. Our decisions about spending money are more considered now that we are living on one income. We are now planning to sell our house and move to a larger house in another part of the city as we seek the right balance between work, family, money, school, childcare and community.
- We have less time for ourselves and for us as a couple. When our son was young we traded babysitting with other couples so we could have regular date nights. Now that we have 3 children and many of our friends now have 2 children, the thought of caring for 5 children for an evening is overwhelming. As the girls get a little older and less reliant on breastfeeding, we might be able to arrange a night out more often.
- We have to be more explicit about what we need (i.e. help with the children, time for a project, a few minutes by ourselves, etc), and we need to rely on each other more for support.
- More of the physical space of our house and the space of our relationship are occupied by children. They demand our attention and our energy when we are with them and when we are away from them too. We have to be more conscious about taking time away from being parents to being partners.
- Parts of our lives are more structured as we make plans while considering our children’s schedules, the time and hassle associated with getting everyone ready, the stress versus enjoyment of the activity, and the other demands on our time (doing laundry every 2 days, preparing meals, keeping the house clean, etc).
Now many parents with more than one child, whether they are multiples or not, probably feel these pressures. I think what makes these challenges unique to parents of multiples is that they are unexpected (going from 1 child to 3 children meant unanticipated changes for everyone) and they are more intense (having to feed, change and soothe 2 babies is the middle of the night is different than caring for one baby and one toddler).
Please take a minute to complete the MOST survey: Divorce and the Multiple Birth Family. And, share your comments about how being a parent of multiples has impacted your marriage and your suggestions for parents of multiples.