About Sadia

Sadia (rhymes with Nadia) has been coordinating How Do You Do It? since late 2012. She is the divorced mother of 8-year-old monozygotic twins, M and J. She lives with them and their 3 cats in the Austin, TX suburbs and works full time as a business analyst. She retired her personal blog, Double the Fun, when the girls entered elementary school and also blogs at Adoption.com and Multicultural Mothering. Google+

HDYDI Parenting Link Up is Now Twinkly Tuesday!

We have absolutely loved hosting our Monday How Do You Do It? Parenting Link Up. It’s time to grow!

As of next week (April 28, 2015), we’ll be combining with Twinkly Tuesday, the wonderfully vibrant link party hosted by Lisa of Mummascribbles and Caro from The Twinkle Diaries. Look for us every Tuesday!

How Do You Do It? and Twinkly Tuesday are joining forces for increased exposure for all linkers!

Twitter

Twinkly Tuesday is all over Twitter with the hashtag #twinklytuesday.
I’ll be tweeting @hdydi, and you can find Lisa @mummascribbles and Caro, @twinklediaries there too! Use the hashtag, and we’ll retweet!

Pinterest

We’ll continue to keep our HDYDI Parenting Link Up Pinterest board fresh, but consider following Twinkly Tuesday’s Pinterest board too.

Follow Mummascribbles’s board Twinkly Tuesday on Pinterest.

Facebook

As before, all 3 featured posts from the previous week’s link up will be shared on the HDYDI Facebook page.

HDYDI Link Up Party #51

Skip to this week’s links | Skip to featured posts | Skip to linkup rulesParenting Link Up Party


Last week’s featured posts:

Thanks to all who linked up. We’re looking forward to new posts from all of you this week and welcoming new linkers!

Last week‘s most clicked post was from Ashleigh at Simply Wright. She wrote about a very sticky situation with her daughter’s party and having to uninvite a little girl who was extremely cruel. There was no right answer. What would you have done?

What would you do if your child didn't want an unpleasant classmate at her birthday party?

Point any breastfeeding moms you know to Julie’s post on getting insurance to cover the expenses of a breast pump. She blog at Velvet Rose. My personal recommendation is Medela. Julie even found a program to remind her to order replacement parts.

Julie's done the legwork on ordering your breast pump through insurance.

I liked Mosswood Connections‘ piece on soothing the anxious child. I’ve tried some of their recommendations and found them to be very effective, particularly creating a worry meter to help your child verbalize their feelings.

Ideas for helping your anxious child.

If you were featured above grab our featured button and display it proudly on your blog!

How Do You Do It? Featured Post

<a href="http://hdydi.com/features/hdydi-parenting-link-party/"><img alt="How Do You Do It? Featured Post" src="http://hdydi.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/hdydi-link-up-featured-badge.jpg" height="125" width="125"></a>

Rules for the How Do You Do It? Parenting Link Up Party:

  1. Follow and connect with HDYDI on the social media platforms that you use. Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest | Google+ | Blog Lovin
  2. Follow the How do you do it? Parenting Link Up Board on Pinterest where we pin every link shared!
  3. Link up to 3 great parenting posts below! Please, no recipes posts. Of course, link directly to a post, not your main page. Also, under “name” put the title of your post, since that’s what will show up in the link up.
  4. Check out at least 3 other links! This is a party, so mingle!
  5. Leave an awesome comment for those you visit and tell them you found them at the HDYDI link party! And pin them/share the posts that you really like.
  6. Tweet: Add YOUR #parenting #advice to @hdydi's #linkup! Tell everyone #howdoyoudoit! http://ctt.ec/LRfWz+ #motherhood #momwisdomTweet about the link party using hashtag #hdydiparentingpin our link party badge, share it on Facebook, or otherwise promote this party.
  7. HDYDI Parenting Link Up PartyPut How Do You Do It?‘s Parenting Link Up badge on your site! Put it in your side bar, at the bottom of the post you shared, or on a party page.
    <a href="http://hdydi.com/features/hdydi-parenting-link-party/"><img alt="How Do You Do It? Parenting Link Up Party" src="http://hdydi.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/hdydi-link-party-9-.jpg" height="125" width="125"></a>

Foodie Friday: Lunch Bag Hygiene

With rare exception, I pack my daughters’ school lunches. We usually use soft insulated lunch bags and all food inside it is either in a container or wrapped in cling wrap. Still, I worry about how germy the inside of the bag might get. I don’t imagine that my 8-year-olds are particularly cognizant of cross-contamination. I’m certain that they’ve picked at the meat in a sandwich and touched the inside of their lunch bags without thinking about it.

Lunch bag hygiene

I wash the bags as often as I do laundry, usually about every other day. On days that they don’t get a full wash, I still wipe all surfaces of the bag thoroughly with a disinfecting wipe, let it sit for 10 minutes, and then go back over it with a clean wet rag. I also have extra lunch bags for all of us to be sure that there are always enough clean ones available.

I’ve heard that a lot of people don’t wash their shopping bags because they simply don’t think about all the grime that builds up in there. Do folks treat their kids’ (and their own) lunch bags the same way?

Have you ever considered lunch bag hygiene?

How Do You Do It? Parenting Link Up #50

Skip to this week’s links | Skip to featured posts | Skip to linkup rulesParenting Link Up Party


Last week’s featured posts:

Thanks to all who linked up. We’re looking forward to new posts from all of you this week and welcoming new linkers!

Last week‘s most clicked post was from Paris at My Big Fat Happy Life. She wrote about how kids learn through travel. This is especially timely as some of you are about to embark on Spring Break trips or are already planning for summer. (How did that happen!?) As someone who had lived on 3 continents by the time I was 18, I can’t agree vehemently enough with Paris on this.

Learning-through-Travel-for-kids-1024x1024

Jenessa’s post on Mothering in Real Life had me in tears. She wrote on the 5th anniversary of the due date of her baby, a baby she lost to miscarriage in September 2009. Whether you’re a loss parent or not, this post will speak to you. Let’s not forget all the parents in our lives who walk around every day with a massive hole in their hearts.

flower

Poor Herchel‘s son had to contend with a 5-day stomach bug. She put together a list of 7 shortcuts that make that horrible experience a little more manageable. It sounds like her hacks worked, since no one else caught the illness! Head over to Gym. Craft. Laundry. to learn more.

7-stomach-flu-hacks


If you were featured above grab our featured button and display it proudly on your blog!

How Do You Do It? Featured Post

<a href="http://hdydi.com/features/hdydi-parenting-link-party/"><img alt="How Do You Do It? Featured Post" src="http://hdydi.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/hdydi-link-up-featured-badge.jpg" height="125" width="125"></a>

Rules for the How Do You Do It? Parenting Link Up Party:

  1. Follow and connect with HDYDI on the social media platforms that you use. Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest | Google+ | Blog Lovin
  2. Follow the How do you do it? Parenting Link Up Board on Pinterest where we pin every link shared!
  3. Link up to 3 great parenting posts below! Please, no recipes posts. Of course, link directly to a post, not your main page. Also, under “name” put the title of your post, since that’s what will show up in the link up.
  4. Check out at least 3 other links! This is a party, so mingle!
  5. Leave an awesome comment for those you visit and tell them you found them at the HDYDI link party! And pin them/share the posts that you really like.
  6. Tweet: Add YOUR #parenting #advice to @hdydi's #linkup! Tell everyone #howdoyoudoit! http://ctt.ec/LRfWz+ #motherhood #momwisdomTweet about the link party using hashtag #hdydiparentingpin our link party badge, share it on Facebook, or otherwise promote this party.
  7. HDYDI Parenting Link Up PartyPut How Do You Do It?‘s Parenting Link Up badge on your site! Put it in your side bar, at the bottom of the post you shared, or on a party page.
    <a href="http://hdydi.com/features/hdydi-parenting-link-party/"><img alt="How Do You Do It? Parenting Link Up Party" src="http://hdydi.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/hdydi-link-party-9-.jpg" height="125" width="125"></a>

The Importance of Messing Up: Grit

My little girls messed up big time this week. I happen to think that this was a good thing. It gave both of them a chance to come up with their own solutions to the problem, a skill far more valuable in life than doing things right the first time. Oh, how the Type A in me has been tamed by motherhood!

As I understand it, the psychological term for the characteristic I value is grit. I want my children to have tenacity in the face of adversity. I want them to be able to pick themselves up, dust themselves off, and try a different way. I do wish there was a way for them to develop that without ever getting hurt, but I know that life doesn’t work that way.

Our kids need to be allowed to make mistakes. It's the only way they'll learn how to deal with them.

School Teaches More Than Academics

I don’t worry too much about whether my daughters, now in 3rd grade, are learning what they should, academically speaking, at school. I know that they are.

M, J and I have a wonderful ongoing dialogue about what they learn. We find ways to explore concepts that they’ve found particularly interesting or that need a bit more oomph to be an intellectual challenge. Both girls love to talk about math and what they’ve been reading. Social studies is deeply interesting to J, although M needs a little more encouragement to discuss what she’s learned. Science takes more effort, mostly because they’re learning it in Spanish and don’t always have the English vocabulary to discuss the details.

What we spend most of our time discussing about school, though, has little to do with my daughters’ classes and assignments. Instead, far more of our effort goes into dealing with the social, problem-solving, and administrative aspects of school.

We talk a lot about relationships. We’ve discussed how to balance friendships. We’ve defined where the boundaries are when it comes to being the peacemaker between classmates who aren’t getting along. We often talk about when to try to work out conflicts without adult intervention and when to seek help. Recently. J observed that the boys and girls in her class sit at opposite ends of the lunch table and she has taken on a mission to reintegrate the genders.

Both M and J are phenomenal problem solvers. M is a strong manager of relationships and J is extraordinary. They’re both absolutely terrible at staying organized.

These kids would forget to take their heads to school if they weren’t attached. I’m pretty certain that there’s a daily stream of fallen paper marking the way from their classroom to our front door. Permission slips, homework, pencils, party invitations. You name it, J and M are experts at losing it.

Can you guess how many jackets my twins lost between them the winter before last? Seven. How do you lose that many jackets when there’s a Lost and Found that we check weekly?! How did I ever allow myself to buy them that many jackets?

Organization is what we work on at home. Organization is what they work on in class. Their second grade homeroom teacher once described my girls as typical absent-minded professors. She nailed it. Thank goodness the teachers at their school put the effort into helping M and J, instead of letting them slide because of their academic talents.

What Happened This Week: Problem 1

One of the programs that my daughters’ school offers to challenge and engage high performers is the Independent Study Project. They do 2-3 of these each year. All of the students in the Talented and Gifted program participate, but so do other standouts who might not qualify for TAG but still need an extra something. Some projects need to relate to a theme, but at least one is a Passion Project on a topic of the child’s choosing.

The Independent Study project was due today. The third graders have had intermediate deadlines, needing to turn in, in order:

  1. A brainstormed list of possible topics.
  2. A selected topic.
  3. A mind-map of ideas and research findings.
  4. An outline for the paper.
  5. A five-paragraph essay.

The teacher emailed all these deadlines to the parents and has made sure that the students are aware of them. I made sure that my daughters knew that they, and they alone, were responsible for meeting the deadlines. I would help if help were requested, but managing the project was up to each of them.

At 8:12 last night, after a good hour of conversation and reading to each other, J’s face fell.

J: My ISP is due tomorrow.
Sadia: Oh? Didn’t I ask you if you had finished your homework as soon as you got home?
J: I forgotted.
M: I forgot too. Oh no! I’m going to get an F. I’m going to get an F!
Sadia: Can you finish getting ready for bed and finish your project in 18 minutes.
J: No! I can’t do it!
M: I’m going to fail!
Sadia: Here’s the deal. Bedtime is 8:30. Period. You can tell Mrs. O that you forgot. Alternately, you can find a creative solution. Staying up late is out of the question.

Much to my surprise, M, usually the higher strung of my daughters, took a deep breath.

M: I’m going to set an alarm for 4:00 am.
J: Wake me too.

I let M set an alarm on my iPad and put it under her pillow.

What Happened This Week: Problem 2

We went to bed on schedule, but J woke me around 1:00 am. She was wide awake and thinking about her project, so I gave her permission to work on it, with the understanding that she would go back to sleep when she was done. I gave her my iPad to use to log into her school-provided Google Drive account to retrieve her outline.

At 6:00 am, I woke to my backup alarm ringing on my phone. I woke M, who began to get ready for her day, berating herself for having slept through the 4:00 am alarm.

While M was brushing her teeth, I heard an alarm go off on my iPad in the living room. J had forgotten to return it to M’s pillow, thus preventing her sister from waking early to finish her assignment. As soon as I pointed out what happened, J felt awful. She knew that she both owed her sister an enormous apology and needed to explain what had happened to their teacher.

Once again, M surprised me. She had no anger at all, instead comforting her sister. She got ready for school in record time and by 6:10 was at her desk, writing. By 6:45, she had finished her essay and handed it to me to review. I found a missing period, and that was that.

My 8-year-old had faced the consequences of her own forgetfulness and her sister’s, forgiven, problem-solved and met her goal. I would have preferred better scheduling in the first place to avoid all the high stress and procrastination, but I was pretty proud of my gritty girls nonetheless.

How do you encourage grit in your children?

Linked at

The Twinkle Diaries

Full-Term Envy Finally Ending

Being a Mother of Premature Infants

I’m a preemie mom. I have healthy, happy, smart, opinionated, confident, amazing 8-year-old daughters. They’ve overcome any challenges thrown their way because of their premature birth. They were incredibly healthy for their gestational age, and they were far from micro-preemies, being born at 33 weeks. And yet, I am and always will be a preemie mom.

Preemies shortly after birth compared to age 7 from hdydi.com

I have this enormous guilt at not having carried my daughters longer in my womb. I can’t help wondering if I could have given them just a few more days if I were taller or had gained more weight. Perhaps I could have gone on leave from work earlier and rested to prolong the pregnancy. My one job was give them a safe place to grow for 38-42 weeks, and I failed.

It’s not rational. I know that my daughters are above average in pretty much every area other than height. I know that 50% of twins are born prematurely, and I certainly wouldn’t give up having the both of them! More time in the womb might not have changed a thing. As my very wise 8-year-old M told me last week, “I am who I am because of everything in my life, including how I was born.” And I admit, I really like who she is.

Still, I suffer from what I call full-term envy.

Full-Term Envy

Every time I hear a pregnant woman wishing that the baby would come already because she’s uncomfortable, I want to tell her, “Do you know what I would have given to be that uncomfortable, just to give my babies a better start in life? Do you know how badly my neighbour, the micro-preemie mom, could have used 16 more weeks?” When I hear about the C-section scheduled around business priorities, I want to ask, “What if Baby just wants a little more time snuggled in there? What’s the rush?”

There’s a little stab in my chest when I hear about women reaching 34, 35, 36 weeks and farther in their pregnancies. I used to occasionally cry on hearing birth weights in the 6, 7 and 8 lb range. My daughters were only 3 lb 6 oz and 3 lb 9 oz at birth. And yet they’re here and healthy, and I know how fortunate I am.

Whole-Hearted Joy

Last week, something extraordinary happened. A dear friend asked me if I had any ideas on how to convince her son to make his way into the world… and full-term envy didn’t raise its ugly head. I felt compassion for her discomfort and shared her readiness to meet her son. I didn’t resent her full-term pregnancy. When I heard his 8 lb 1 oz birth weight a few days ago, I felt nothing but joy and a hunger to meet him and snuggle him and congratulate my friends.

I’m not sure why this baby is different. Perhaps it’s because I felt the loss of the miscarriage that came before him. Perhaps it’s because I found out that he would be joining us minutes after his mom learned that she was pregnant. Perhaps it’s because he feels like a brother to my daughters, who already love him as their own. Perhaps it’s because I was there every step of the way, seeing all the ways in which he took over Mommy’s body as he grew. Perhaps it was just knowing that his mom and her husband see my daughters as part of their family. They know M & J’s story, know the odds that they’ve beaten. My friend also knows the micro-preemie down the street, too, the 10-year-old bolt of energy who was born at 24 weeks and whose only long-term impact was on her eyesight.

I suspect that in experiencing the full breadth of my friend’s pregnancy as a witness, I healed the wounds from my own pregnancy being cut short. Maybe this little baby has vanquished my full-term envy.

What aspect of parenting to you feel envy about?

Blogs by Parents Expecting Twins or More

Our blogroll is a great place to find mommy and daddy bloggers writing about life with multiples. Those in the most need of finding their corner of the blogosphere? Those who’ve just learned that they’re expecting twins, triplets, or higher order multiples.

The Expecting Multiples category is, for obvious reasons, constantly in flux. To make things easier for the expectant bloggers in our ranks as they approach their impending due dates, we’ve created a list where you can find others having multiples right around the same time as you.

Add your blog below, if it’s not already there, and visit the others. If you’re anything like me, you’ll be making some lifelong friends. Don’t belong on the list any longer? Just let us know in the comments.

Mommy and Daddy Blogs by Expectant Parents of Multiples
659 views 8 items
How Do You Do It?

Mommy and Daddy Blogs by Expectant Parents of Multiples

Currently expecting twins, triplets, or higher order multiples? Find your tribe! From the moment you discover you're growing more than one baby through your birth story, add your blog here and find others going through the same thing! Uneventful pregnancies to TTTS: it's all here.

This list is curated by the MoMs of How Do You Do It?, the blog where mothers of multiples tell it like it is. (For general MoM blogs see HDYDI's Blogroll.) Links will be removed from this list and added to the blogroll as you have your babies - healthy and, we hope, full-term!

  Follow List
  Embed List
 
  1. moe talks a lot

    This bathroom is on our ground floor, right off the entry. I really like having a bathroom on the first floor for guests. And for us. There are no before pictures, because we haven't changed anything. Other than adding in our stuff. This is the floral picture that I rambled about in the post about the guest room.

  2. Leela Fish - Life and Ventures of the Babe and the Borders

    I recently sat down with my almost 4-year-old to get her take on the impending arrival of her twin siblings. She says all kinds of crazy things to me on any given day, as most all almost-four-year-olds do, so I couldn't wait to pick her brain.

  3. trish tells it like it is

    Babies: Babies are supposedly the size of bananas this week. And since they were supposed to be the size of small cantaloupes last week, I'm guessing the banana size is in reference to their length. I'm more a fan of this baby size chart anyway but it doesn't have a 21 week estimate.

  4. Letters from Lexie

    I hope I can be half as good of a mom to my babies as my mom is to me! She is such a good example of what a good mother should be, and I look up to her so much. It was really hard to say goodbye yesterday, I didn't want the weekend to end!

  5. It Takes a Village - A Baby Quest

    Well, ladies and germs, the time has finally come. I've gone from drinking for one to eating for three. I would rather take a nap than belly up to a bar for an icy cold beer and a shot of fireball. My have times changed.

  6. Chats Over Cheerios

    Pregnancy has a way of turning you into a bipolar lunatic. There's no rhyme or reason to when it will hit you and you will absolutely lose it. So far this pregnancy, I don't think I've had one break-down-and-cry moment. I think that's pretty incredible. But the way my hormones come out is probably worse.

  7. Life, Love and Living with Boys

    This post was written a few weeks ago before we were ready to share our pregnancy*** With both my previous pregnancies, I've not really thought too much about the 12 week dating scan. Of course there's that moment when you're sat, belly out, covered in jelly and the sonographer places the transducer (yes I Googled it) on your bump.

  8. A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Parenthood

    We had a second baby shower from my good good friends at work! It took a lot of coordinating due to everyone's schedules: spring break, Scott's sporadic work schedule, Easter, vacations, days off, etc. You name it, it happened in the span of the month or so we were trying to figure out when to have it.

How Do You Do It? Parenting Link Party #49

Skip to this week’s links | Skip to featured posts | Skip to linkup rulesParenting Link Up Party


Last week’s featured posts:

Thanks to all who linked up. We’re looking forward to new posts from all of you this week and welcoming new linkers!

Last week‘s most clicked post was from this very blog. People loved Mike’s first post. He talked about the everyday realities of life as a working father. He’s balancing the kids’ sports, schoolwork, and community with a job and marriage, while also working with his wife Donna on building House Monkey, an online tool to help busy families like theirs manage the household.

Learn how Mike, a dad of four, is working with his wife to turn an idea into a business.

Have you ever read Extreme Parenting? This is truly an extraordinary family. They’ve adopted 13 children, most with special needs, bringing their family to 20! They’ve been hit by a new blow. Granddaughter Naomi needs a liver transplant because she is suffering from biliary atresia. Find out what all that goes into the process. Did you know that, “Ideally parents aren’t desired donors as they are so concerned about their child that they don’t make very good patients and look after their own recovery”?

Extreme Parenting: Naomi is need of a liver transplant for biliary atresia.If your kids are in sports or will be starting soon, check out Wondermom Wannabe‘s sports mom bag of essentials. There’s also a giveaway in the post, ending today. Yes, there’s stuff in the bag for the kids, but don’t go forgetting about mom. Those bleachers can get uncomfortable!

Sports mom essentials from Wondermom Wannabe.
If you were featured above grab our featured button and display it proudly on your blog!

How Do You Do It? Featured Post

<a href="http://hdydi.com/features/hdydi-parenting-link-party/"><img alt="How Do You Do It? Featured Post" src="http://hdydi.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/hdydi-link-up-featured-badge.jpg" height="125" width="125"></a>

Rules for the How Do You Do It? Parenting Link Up Party:

  1. Follow and connect with HDYDI on the social media platforms that you use. Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest | Google+ | Blog Lovin
  2. Follow the How do you do it? Parenting Link Up Board on Pinterest where we pin every link shared!
  3. Link up to 3 great parenting posts below! Please, no recipes posts. Of course, link directly to a post, not your main page. Also, under “name” put the title of your post, since that’s what will show up in the link up.
  4. Check out at least 3 other links! This is a party, so mingle!
  5. Leave an awesome comment for those you visit and tell them you found them at the HDYDI link party! And pin them/share the posts that you really like.
  6. Tweet: Add YOUR #parenting #advice to @hdydi's #linkup! Tell everyone #howdoyoudoit! http://ctt.ec/LRfWz+ #motherhood #momwisdomTweet about the link party using hashtag #hdydiparentingpin our link party badge, share it on Facebook, or otherwise promote this party.
  7. HDYDI Parenting Link Up PartyPut How Do You Do It?‘s Parenting Link Up badge on your site! Put it in your side bar, at the bottom of the post you shared, or on a party page.
    <a href="http://hdydi.com/features/hdydi-parenting-link-party/"><img alt="How Do You Do It? Parenting Link Up Party" src="http://hdydi.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/hdydi-link-party-9-.jpg" height="125" width="125"></a>

Single Parenting, Solo Parenting, Co-Parenting and That Frightening Place in Between

In August 2009, just before I recognized that my marriage had turned down the path that would lead to its end in divorce three years later, I wrote this post:

My husband L is a US soldier. This means that he’s overseas, 15 months at a time, about every other year. Right now, he’s living in Korea. We have seven long months left before we get to see him again. He misses me and the kids, of course, and we miss him terribly.

Because of L’s frequent absences, people sometimes refer to me as a single mother. It usually comes in the form, “Wow, your kids are wonderful, but they’re a handful, and to think you manage as a single mother!” I accept and appreciate the compliment. I object to the label.

I take exception to being called a single mother because it’s disrespectful. It’s disrespectful to L, who is an involved, and loving father. It’s also disrespectful to all the single parents out there. I certainly couldn’t pull off single parenthood!

Because L’s job takes him away from us about half the time, I do tend to make the day-to-day decisions in raising M and J. However, whenever possible, we make decisions together. If I can’t contact L before I have to make a decision, we’ll discuss it afterward, and adjust as needed. Even for the tiny things that don’t merit discussion, I take into account our joint philosophy on parenting, not just my own opinions. I would have never had children by myself, or with anyone other than L. He gives me balance. He makes me a competent mother, even when he’s geographically distant, by caring as much about our children’s well-being as I do, by being their advocate, by letting me know when I’m doing things right, and showing me how to do them better.

To call me a single mother implies that I do not raise my children in partnership with my husband. I recognize that there are plenty of parents out there who are no longer in a romantic relationship or marriage with the other parent of their child, but still partner in raising their child. Perhaps our parenting arrangement isn’t all that different from theirs. However, I don’t think that this is what people mean when they refer to me as a single mother.

Parenting with a partner is easier than parenting alone. Sure, partnering takes work and commitment, whether or not you see your co-parent on a daily basis. There are constant compromises and course corrections. Unlike a single parent, though, we have two incomes. I know that L will eventually come home, and I can take a nice long bubble bath without a worry in the world. I know that he will see to the girls’ spiritual upbringing, which I cannot. I know that if anything were to happen to me, my daughters would be all right.

So please, don’t give me credit I don’t deserve. Tell the next single parent you see that you recognize that they’re doing the most difficult job in the world alone, and probably very well.

I was reminded of this post by Elizabeth‘s comment on lunchldyd’s post earlier. What a difference a few years makes!

My main point remains the same. Taking care of the day-to-day business of parenting by oneself for a while with a co-parent in the picture is completely different than single parenting. I prefer the term “solo parenting” for that temporary period of flying solo while a co-parent is away. However, being married doesn’t guarantee that you have a co-parent. A few months after I wrote the post I quoted above, I realized that nothing I could do could get my now-ex to engage with the family. It would be another 3 years before he left us, but I had no emotional or childcare partner during the slow death of our marriage. I did still have his income contributing to the family, but I had entered a realm adjacent to that of the single parenting world.

Parenting by yourself for a little while doesn't make you a single parent, but being married doesn't guarantee you a co-parent either. One divorced mom looks back on the evolution of her parenting identity.

That shadow realm was far tougher than my current reality as a card-carrying single mom. (If being the Single Parent Coordinator for Multiples of America doesn’t grant me a membership card, I don’t know what would!) I was trying to rescue a broken marriage. I still had to budget for the needs and habits of another adult. I had to try to shelter my children from their father’s emotional unavailability. And I had to try to raise them in his faith, not my own, without any participation from him.

Yes, things are tight on the money front for us, but not because of the loss of my ex’s salary. The financial straits we’re in just now were born of the expenses of our custody battle.

For me—and I speak for myself alone—single parenthood is the easiest of the three modes: co-parenting, transition, and single parenthood. That whole thing about needing L to raise the kids Christian? Pshaw! Just yesterday, J asked him what Good Friday was and he couldn’t remember. So I, the atheist parent, was once again the one to explain that it was the day Jesus was crucified and it’s “good” not because of his suffering and death, but because of his willingness to bear the consequences of everyone else’s mistake rendered it holy. I still get input from those I respect who know and love my kids, but this is a far larger community than my ex would allow when we were together: teachers, mentors, friends and church members. Single parenting is far less lonely a path for us than co-parenting was.

So, what are you? A co-parent? A single parent? Or are you in that treacherous realm in between? 

Twins Separating Spontaneously

The Togetherness

My identical twin daughters, age nearly 9, are going through a major relationship realignment. They’ve always been very twinny twins, much to my initial surprise. They still sleep in the same bed, despite nominally having separate ones. They’ve asked to be in the same classroom for the past two years and foreseeable future. They identify as twins above all.

These twin sisters have always wanted to be together.

Don’t get me wrong. They’ve always had their unique personalities and interests. M is the chatterbox. J is a talker, but she has moments of thoughtful reflection. M doesn’t. M prides herself on being a mathematician and loves to perform feats of mental mathematics for fun. J likes math too, but prefers mathematical concepts to hard numbers. J is enormously protective of her sister, I suspect at least in part because of her frontonasal dysplasia, whereas M is surprised on the rare occasion that J’s feelings are hurt. M is cautious, while J is my risk-taker.

J and M with mommy as toddlers.

They both love to read and are intensely social. They both have fabulous senses of humour and a love of wordplay. They’re both smart and insightful and self-righteous and persistent and messy and forgetful and my favourite people in the entire world.

The Divergence

I’ve always said that I would support my children’s religious choices and do my best to educate them to enable them to make their own decisions. I’m an atheist, but have raised my daughters within a Christian community and with age-appropriate knowledge of the Bible.

For the past 9 years, I have been taking my children to church. Just over two years ago, they chose the church to attend, and thereby their own denomination too. They’ve attended the Kids’ Kingdom Sunday school program and developed deep friendships. They both feel very much at home there.

Or rather, they both felt very much at home there.

At age 8, identical twins start down different faith paths as one choose Christianity and the other atheism.

This week, M informed me that she is atheist. She’s been thinking about her beliefs for about 6 months, starting during the period during which we were apart. She is very much at peace with her choice. Her biggest concern was how to break the news to her sister. I told M that as long as she was honest and respectful of both J’s feelings and beliefs, it would be okay.

That same night, with very little fanfare, M decided that she was too hot and wanted to sleep alone. J wanted snuggles and crawled into my bed. For the first time that I can remember, M slept in a room alone. J has done so before, but never M. She’s growing up and growing independent. It struck me that with that small step and the much larger faith decision, M is started to tread her own path, not in active contrast to her sister, as she’s done with math, but spontaneously, organically, and age-appropriately.

J took the news of M’s atheism surprisingly well. When I asked if she wanted to talk to me about how she was feeling, J retorted that I wouldn’t understand. I reminded her of the church community members who would understand and would be available for her to talk to. She said she would call them after she’d had some time to think.

And so it begins, the gentle individuation of my monozygotic daughters. I had feared that this tearing apart would wait until the teenage years, when my daughters will additionally be forging identities separate from me and the family unit. Perhaps this will make the teenage years a little less terror-inspiring? Or at least only as terrifying as that of their singleton peers?

Have your multiples been independent from the start? Or has their inter-dependency evolved over time?