Letting Go

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Categories Parenting

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.

Letting goI 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.

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8 thoughts on “Letting Go”

  1. God bless you, having your 5 mo old twins AND three other kids to care for! Grant yourself permission to do whatever you have to to survive! I do, and I only have our twins!! You’re doing an amazing job!

  2. Good for you! Having triplets we can totally relate! I’ve also wondered where the “experts” are when one or more babies are waking up from naps way too early and throwing off our whole schedule! I can’t imagine having older kids to take care of at the same time!

  3. It never occurred to me before I read this, but moms with older kids are in the same boat as working moms with the whole “nap when the baby naps” advice. Um, no. Not happening.

    You are a rockstar mom and a constant inspiration to me. And yes, we have to let it go. For me, it’s been a hot fresh meal at every mealtime. Quality time with the kids just matters more than from-scratch cooking. As does sleep.

  4. Been there. You just have to do things when you’re ready. But also, sometimes you also have to bite the bullet. As with many things, sleep training babies gets worse before it gets better. Do wait till you’re ready though!

  5. Absolutely!! It can never be reiterated enough – if it works, keep doing it. If it stops working, change it. There is so much shame and guilt around our problem-solving as parents, when we are just human, just trying to survive in the thick of it. I still have to remind myself that my intuition is better than what the book says. Dinner, homework, twin babies and nursing???? YOU ARE AMAZING!!!!

  6. At my school, my team of teachers and I had a saying: “It’s good enough.” It has to be. There’s no way we can do it all. Plus, did our students (or their parents) realize the difference when we spent the extra 2 hours on a single lesson? No. Sometimes, we just had to stop and say, “Enough. It’s good enough.” I have to keep reminding myself of this mantra with my babies as well (2 months old). This is a great post! Thanks for your honesty!

    -Dory from DoyleDispatch.com

  7. LOVE this article! I recently relocated from NY back to TX, moved into a new apartment, starting a job in a few days (after 9 mo being home with our twins) and just started the girls in daycare (who have bad stranger anxiety). It has been exhausting since December! I let go of awesome, nutritional meals and being the perfect friend and sister in law. Basically, I’m taking it one day at a time to help my nerves calm down. I am the type of person that hates to say no but I’ve started to out of necessity and its ok… :) thank you for your words. Go you btw!

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