Help is on the Way

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Categories Parenting Twins

In the weeks leading up to the birth of my twins, I got increasingly nervous. How in the world was I ever going to manage caring for two newborn twins while also recovering from a c-section. My husband could only take a few days off from work (could have taken more unpaid, but that wasn’t a great option for us), and I was freaking out about being on my own just 5 days after coming home with our babies. I knew that I’d need help, but all of my family lives hundreds of miles away. My in-laws live just 15 minutes away, but I wasn’t thrilled with the idea of having them around all the time either. They are in their 70’s and 80’s, not as able-bodied as they used to be, and have a very, very different philosophy about how newborns should be cared for.

But as soon as I got myself all worked up about not having enough help, I suddenly started hearing from baby-loving friends, neighbors, and colleagues who wanted to help out with whatever they could once the babies arrived. It was great to know that I now had people who wanted to help, but I was worried that they would all show up at the same time and knew that I needed to find a way to manage all the offers.

After researching a bit, we decided to use the Lotsa Helping Hands website to organize all the helpers we had, as well as all the things we wanted help with. It was fabulous. All I had to do was email the link for our site to those who’d volunteered to be of support, and they could sign themselves up as a helper. I listed dates and times for meal deliveries, baby care, rides needed for appointments and such, and our wonderful volunteers would sign up to help with whatever tasks they were able to to. Best of all, I didn’t feel like I needed to specifically ask any one person for help.

Our Lotsa Helping Hands community definitely played a huge part in saving my sanity during those first few weeks of parenthood. We used this site for roughly the first three months after Tiny and Buba were born, and then our need for it gradually faded away. But I wish I had this type of community set up all the time. Especially last week when I was really sick and struggling to manage caring for myself and caring for my now two-year-old twins. My mind drifted back to those Helping Hands days, and I thought How awesome would it be to be able to post Childcare Needed 9am-12pm and have someone magically appear just so I could take a nap.

So how did you manage those early days with your newborns? Did you have tons and tons of help or get by mostly on your own? And what, if any, supports do you still have in place for times when you need a helping hand with your older babies, toddlers, or preschoolers?

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12 thoughts on “Help is on the Way”

  1. The early days were rough. For the first year we had some volunteers who came for the lunch time feeding… but only during the week. So on weekends I was home alone and on my own. It was challenging to say the least. I have no advice other than… it gets better!
    Quadmama recently posted Speech TherapyMy Profile

  2. The early days sucked. I was stupid and didn’t set up help. My hubby took off for about 2 months so we did it together….it made us closer, but dear god I almost broke in half from the stress, not sleeping, oh and PPD.
    If your reading this and pregnant with multiples, GET AS MUCH HELP AS YOU CAN!!!! Don’t be shy girls, take it.
    Christina recently posted A friends blogMy Profile

  3. We had lots of offers of help, but that often turned into people wanting to sit with clean, happy babies while I got other things done. I think that website is an awesome idea! My husband works from home, but it still put a strain on us. He took the girls from 12-6am and I took them from 6am-noon. We did this because without six hours of sleep, neither of us would have been sane. Another thing that really helped is that my FIL stocked our chest freezer to the top. We didn’t have to do more than pop a meal in the oven for months. That was an awesome thing!
    Emily recently posted Now that you’re one…My Profile

  4. I’m the mom of 12 week old twin boys – and I am currently at home on my own. How do I love 5:30 when my husband gets home!!! I very nearly throw a baby at him when he gets home so I can run around getting everything done that I wasn’t able to during the day.

    I live approximately 4000km away from both the inlaws and my parents (some might call this a blessing!) so it was great to have my mom here for three weeks, I had one week off, then my sister came for two weeks. Another week on my own, and then the inlaws came (although like Emily, they wanted to hold clean happy babies, no meals cooked, cleaning done, anything?!). I’ve been on my own for 3 weeks now and I’m starting to get into a routine, but one of my boys isn’t a sleeper, he is SO STUBBORN!! The other is a great sleeper, so I’m finding it hard to coordinate routines… Sigh… I’ll get there eventually!!

  5. That looks like a fantastic website. When I had my twins the big help consisted of meals delivered by church friends several evenings per week. Some friends also helped with playdates for my older son. My husband and I did set a “sleep schedule” which had me on duty from 8 PM through the 3 AM feed, but he took over for the very early AM so I could get a solid 3 hours sleep before starting the “day”. We had no family help so we hit the ground running. I put the twins on a pretty strict feed schedule from day one and that was the single biggest sanity saver of all.

  6. I had help for the first 36 hours after I brought my girls home, and then it was just us when my husband was at work. In the beginning I had 4 kids under age 3! We made it work but it was tough.

  7. I was pretty much on my own. My in-laws came for about a week, and my mom came for a week, and my husband was off for about two weeks after they came home. But after that, I was 100% solo. No family nearby, no circle of friends to bring dinner (except for a fellow twin mom – thanks for the tortellini, Rebecca!). If I had it to do over again, I’d try to find a way to coordinate a bit more help than I had, though I definitely wouldn’t go all the way towards live-in or overnight help. I am too much of a control freak for that, and I like having my personal space. Too many people in my house just serves to freak me out.

  8. The biggest single help was having meals delivered to us by friends three times a week for the first few months. Our friends organized themselves online and signed up for meals before the babies came. They started showing up when the babies were a few weeks old, and the deliveries lasted all summer (until the babies were at least 3 months). We could kind of get things together to feed the kids and keep them in diapers and clean clothes, but feeding ourselves was a little too much. This kept us from eating a steady diet of pb&j and take out thai food every day.
    nonlineargirl recently posted Random Quote and Unrelated Photo of the WeekMy Profile

  9. This is something I’m dealing with right now. I’m entering week 6 with my b/g twins and couldn’t have made it this far without my wonderful family. I can’t even tell you how many times I’ve cried myself to sleep over the last few weeks. I have nine brothers and sisters who have stepped up to help me do everything from feeding to laundry. My six sisters take turns coming over at night and letting me and my husband sleep until 5 or 6 and then I take over for the rest of the day. Love my big family!
    They’re my first babies, so it’s been a hard adjustment, but it’s worth it. I do panic sometimes when I’m alone during the day, but each day is a little easier than the last. The only thing that’s super hard is that it’s a 24/7 non-stop job with no let up. I feel like there’s no end in sight sometimes, but I make time for a glass of wine in the evening and that cures a multitude of stresses….:)
    I think the important thing is just to make sure the babies are clean and fed, and then set small goals for yourself. I like to set three goals a day in the way of things I’d like to have done by the end of the day. For example, today I decided that I want to make sure and get dressed, make my bed and do a load of laundry. So far I’ve got two of those out of the way. If I can do all three, I’ll feel like I’ve met my goals for the day. With these out of the way, anything else I get done today is just a bonus. It really works to boost my moral. I highly recommend!

  10. Oh, I wish I had known about that helping hands website– that would have been great!

    The first week after the babies were born was wonderful– my husband was home and we had a postpartum doula (who saved me with the breastfeeding!) Plus, friends brought us a ton of food so we didn’t have to cook anything. We also hired a college student in advance of the babies coming so she was already with us (and entertaining my older child) 12-15 hours a week. After the first week or so, the volunteer help was sporadic. Our college student was the main regular help we had and she was with us until a couple of weeks ago. We’ve also supplemented her hours with a high school student who would help us during the crazy time of 5-7 pm.

    Now that the girls are 15 months old and our beloved college student left, I am facing doing the vast majority of it all on my own. Part of it is a relief because we were spending about $800/mo. on help and it will be nice to have that money for other things but part of it is scary because I already feel stretched thin the majority of the time and I relied on our student so much. Oh well… who needs clean clothes and a nutritious meal anyway?!?!

  11. My husband took six weeks off of work—paternity leave + vacation time— when the babies were born and it was one of the best choices we ever made. The first six weeks of their lives were almost relaxing (if in an absolutely no sleep kind of way). My mom stayed with us for two weeks and did chores like cooking and laundry, so we could just take care of babies for the first two weeks. When he went back to work, it was just me, all the time. Overwhelming, but we did ok. I had a few friends bring dinner and such, but no one was lining up to bring months of meals or hold babies at night. While it was stressful, I was also proud that we were able to do it (mostly) on our own.

  12. Thank you to this wonderful community for making readers aware of Lotsa Helping Hands. As the company’s Chief Marketing Officer and a mom myself (not of multiples but of two children), I can only begin to understand the juggling act. Thank you for helping us spread the word. Please feel free to be in touch with me, become a fan on our Facebook page, and spread the word to others you know. Imagine a world where helping communities exist wherever there is a need? My best wishes to you all.

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