It’s 4 a.m. and I’m standing in my dark closet jiggling two screaming babies in their pack n plays.
It has been a long day full of crying and feelings of failure. I’m so very sleepy and so very lonely. The babies are now five months old and my “How to Teach Your Twins to Sleep So They Won’t Be Forever Screwed Up” book has said they should no longer be sleeping in their swings. I suspected as much and after my reading confirmed it, I’ve spent all day trying to get two very over tired infants to sleep in their pack n plays.
To say it’s not going well would be a gross understatement. I have read and researched and swayed and swaddled and am DONE.
In a snit I grab the babies and stomp to the swings in the other room. After being strapped in both babies give a huge sigh and promptly fall asleep. At this point I’m too wound up to sleep.
My mind is racing…What am I doing??? Both babies take great naps in their swings and give me decent stretches at night. Until today I haven’t felt all that tired and have been enjoying my babies. As I reach over to turn off the light I catch a glimpse of the author’s face on the back of the book. And where is he? Probably snuggled in his warm bed sleeping soundly. I bet he’s snoring. He should have been in the closet helping me jiggle. He should be bringing me chocolate and telling me I’m doing a great job. What a jerk.
I get back out of bed and throw the book in the trash. The next day I move the babies’ swings back to my closet (the only quiet dark place away from the business of our house) and decide that’s where they’ll stay until they stop sleeping well in them.
I realize I’d fallen into the “I’ve never had multiples so they must know better” trap. This is similar to the “I’ve never had a baby before” line of thinking that tripped me up with my first son. The books and experts stressed me out then too. They did nothing but make me crazy as I could rarely get my oldest to fall in line with what they considered normal or healthy. I’d successfully avoided them with my second and third children, but the twin section in the bookstore got the better of me. Parenting multiples is hard, but reading conflicting advice from “experts” (who many times don’t have multiples themselves) doesn’t make it any easier.
What has made it easier is learning to let it go.
“It” is different for everyone. For me it’s the expectations I have about situations. For example, dinner time has completely changed since the twins have come home. I know the importance of a family dinner and have figured out a way to have one that works for us. My husband’s schedule is unpredictable so waiting for him to eat with us is next to impossible. My kids are hungry early and the babies are terribly fussy from 4:00 until bedtime. It’s hard for me to juggle cooking, homework, nursing, toddler tantrums, and bedtime by myself so I’ve adjusted. I’m using the crock pot a lot and have started considering a plate full of healthy snack items or smoothies a suitable dinner.
The kids do homework while we eat (we call it having a working dinner) and I go back and forth between the babies and the table. It’s not a traditional dinner time but it’s working. I get to eat with my kids, help with homework, and the babies get my attention. I consider that a win for everyone.
Letting go can be hard.
I still struggle with it, and at times even fight it. I’ve had to rethink issues I’ve felt strongly about and restructure times that have worked for me in the past. When I finally do give in and adjust I always find that whatever issue I’m dealing with improves. Would I like the babies to be out of my closet and out of their swings? Sure, but without a lot of fuss and frustration that’s not going to happen right now. Does it bother me that I’ve knowingly created a habit that will be really hard to break? Absolutely, but with 3 other kids to care for I have to go with what gets everyone the most sleep. When the sleeping stops I’ll deal with it.
Until then I’m letting it go.