Seriously…How Do You Do It?

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Categories Attitude, Co-parenting, Family, How Do The Moms Do It, Infants, Parenting Twins, Pregnancy, SAHM, Sleep6 Comments

The name of this blog is just so appropriate.  I meet people all the time who say “I don’t know how you do it!”  My own mother can encourage me (or commiserate!) when she says “I don’t know how you do it!”  But it was under a year ago that I found out I was having twins, and after the initial shock and happiness wore off, I was left with the question “How will I do it?”

I think lots of MoMs to be, particularly if this is their first pregnancy, must ask themselves this question on a daily basis.  From carrying and birthing two babies, to breastfeeding, to soothing in the middle of the night, we just don’t know how we’ll cope.

And it’s not just the newborn phase or even the babies themselves—it’s the stroller, the high chairs, the clothes, the stuff—everywhere we turn we are confronted by another overwhelming child-rearing dilemma.

Project Procrastinot newborn twins
We had no idea what we were in for!

Nearly six months in, my “how will I do it” moments are quite different than they were when my twins were born.  Currently, I am wondering if I will ever sleep again and what introducing solid foods will be like.  For every transition we face, there is a brief moment of panic when I try to figure things out (okay, sometimes it’s not so brief).

When I was pregnant and asked every mother of twins that I could find “How do you do it?!” The vague and ubiquitous answer was “you just do” or “whatever it takes.”  And now that my twins are almost HALF A YEAR OLD (how did that happen!?), I can say that this is the same wisdom I wlll pass down to other MoMs to be.

But what does that mean?  For our family, it means not overthinking things.  I get more stressed out when I try to analyze every detail or plan every nuance.  The babies have a way of teaching you what works best.  So go with the flow, specifically, their flow.  You will find a way that works for you.  And don’t panic if it’s not the same way that Suzy Q does it, or if the first way you try doesn’t work out.  At this moment I have two cribs next to each other IN MY BEDROOM.  Certainly not something I planned, and not the arrangement I hope to live with forever.  But for right now? It’s what we gotta do and it works.

Mercedes and her husband live in Aberdeen, Scotland, where they spend restless nights with their b/g twins born in September 2012. 

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The New-to-Us Shopping Method

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Categories Household and Family Management, How Do The Moms Do It, Products, Theme WeekTags , , , 6 Comments

It’s that time of year again! The seasons are changing and spring/summer clothes will soon be put away with fall/winter clothes taking their place (or vice versa for those in the southern hemisphere). Outfitting two (or more) kids can be costly. Here are the methods I use to keep my kids looking good without breaking the bank.

I accept any and all hand-me-downs. We’ve been fortunate to have several family members and neighbors offer us hand-me-down clothing from time to time. Some batches are better than others, but it’s always fun to go through the bags and see which items still have some wear left in them for my kids. Now, while I do accept all hand me downs, I don’t necessarily keep them all. I toss aside the ones with large stains or rips and anything that I just don’t want to see my child wearing (we are all entitled to have our own tastes). Often, the clothes we receive are a size or two ahead of what my kids are currently wearing, so like Leslie H., I have an attic filled with bins of clothing sorted by size (currently 3T to size 6). With everything organized in bins, it’s really easy to find what I need when my kids are ready to move into the next size up.

Hand-me-down shirt with $1 pants purchased from another twin mom.

I shop for clothes at yard sales. Yard sale shopping is part of our Saturday morning routine from mid-May through early September. Most clothing at yard sales (at least in our area) are super cheap. I recently bought brand name t-shirts and pants, still in great shape, for a quarter a piece! At that price, I’m willing to pick up anything we might need in my kids’ current size or larger. This is, by far, the cheapest way to add to my kids’ wardrobes.

I shop from other mothers of multiples. Many mothers of multiples clubs have tags sales in the fall and/or spring. Prices vary, but often clothing is priced $1-$5. These MoM sales are great places to shop for quality second-use clothing, but I’ve taken it even one step further. After realizing that I bought most of my clothing from just two sellers, I contacted the sellers and asked if I could shop their clothing before the sale. Both readily agreed and it became a win-win situation for all of us- they have less to tag and cart to the sales, and I have smaller piles to look through.

Pink Carter's coat and navy Tommy Hilfiger coat for $3 each purchased at a MoM sale.
$1 spiderman shirt and $1 shorts purchased from another twin mom.
$2 outfit purchased from another twin mom.

I shop at resale shops. The prices at resale shops tend to be higher than what you’d find at a yard sale or MOM tag sale, but they’re still considerably cheaper than buying new from retail stores. I only shop at the ones that are choosy about their merchandise- the ones that sell name brand clothes and check thoroughly for rips and stains. The best is when our local resale shop has their buy a bag sale. For $5/bag, I can take away as many pieces of clothing as I can stuff into the bag(s). I have gotten some incredible deals shopping this way, and I always shop one to two sizes up at these sales.

Hand me down shirt with $3 Old Navy jeans from a resale shop.

I do buy new from time to time, but when I do, it’s usually from end of season clearance racks or in stores where I can combine a great sale with an additional 25-30% off coupon. Of course, if my kids really need a particular piece of clothing and I can’t find it through any of the above options, I’m not above paying full retail prices. But my kids don’t know the difference. They love getting new clothes whether they’re brand new or just new to us.

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5 Ways to Help Moms of Multiples (Part I)

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Categories Community, How Do The Moms Do It, Infants, Mommy Issues, Other peopleTags , , 32 Comments

How do we do it?

Most of us do it without any help at all, but that’s not how most of us want it to be. Most of us thought people were going to come out of the woodwork to help us care for our darling multiple babies. Most of us thought people actually meant it when they said they would help out.

If you’ve read my blog, you know I struggled the last couple weeks with feeling alone, and much like a failing mother because I just couldn’t keep up the energy and stamina and passion for all the hard work mothering twins has been.

The thing is, though, that my husband and I have done it primarily without any outside help for the last 2.5 years. That’s nearly 1,000 days of constant, consistent parenting without extra hands to hold two babies, rock two babies, feed two babies or hug two babies. And yet the rest of life — household chores, running errands, household maintenance — still has to get done as well.

It’s always been a wonder to me why people drop off the planet after just the first month of a child’s birth because the hard work of raising kids, as we’ve all realized, doesn’t end as soon as the babies start sleeping four hours at a stretch — or even eight.

And that leads me to this list. It’s too late for me to get what I needed these last two years, but it might not be too late for those of you new to mothering or who are expecting.

Please be bold enough to pass this list along to a grandparent, cousin, aunt, neighbor, friend or spouse of a mother of twins, triplets, quadruplets, or other higher order multiples under the age of 4 and encourage them to use it frequently for as long as they can do so.

And, in the comments, share some of your own thoughts on what would help you as a mother of multiples.

5 Ways to help Moms of Multiples

  1. Listen AND Empathize: Use kind, caring words to show empathy. Please do not compare your situation to a mother of twins. No two mothers’ situations are ever alike. Our homes, both physically and emotionally, are different. Our children are born with unique personalities and challenges. Consider phrases like this: “I cannot imagine what you are going through, but I do know how hard it is with just one,” or “Parenting is so hard, I can’t imagine what it is like with two (or more).” Do not say things like, “Mine were 16 months apart so it was like having twins” or, the dreaded, “Double trouble.”
  2. Offer specific help: How about bringing her a cup of coffee on your way to work? Going to the store for your own groceries? How about calling or emailing the new MoM in your life and asking her if she needs anything. This goes not just for the first few weeks but for the first few years. Do you know how hard it is to get two or more non-walking or new walkers out of a car and into a store just for a gallon of milk or a loaf of bread? Picking up your dry cleaning in the local strip mall? How about asking the new MoM in your life if she has any laundry she needs laundered? You could pick it up on your way. No need to go too far out of your way, but your efforts will be greatly appreciated.
  3. Household chores: Can you do dishes? How about sweep floors? What about take out trash or clean bathrooms? If you are capable of doing any of this then that would be a great help to a new mother. You do not need to do it often and you do not need to do it perfectly. Just show up and clean during a regular, scheduled visit.
  4. Bring soul food: I remember very little during those first few weeks other than the crying. But, I remember the oatmeal raisin cookies my mother made and the huge meat and cheese tray my aunt brought one night. We feasted on those sandwiches and cookies for the next several days in those mini-meals we ate a couple times a day. That was the kind of food I wanted – that, and take out. Casseroles are great, but even planning to put them into the oven, eating and cleaning up was too much for us in those first couple months. And, I needed other soul food, too. Chocolate. Flowers. A relaxation CD. A card. I would have loved a card that told me how I was doing a great job and to hang in there.
  5. Put in some time: People are alwayswilling to hold a baby, but sometimes that’s not what is best for a new mom. Parents of multiples are more isolated than most new mothers because it is not easy to just pick up two babies (or more) and go out of the house. Some homes are better laid out for easy outings than others. Two arms are never enough for just one parent with two babies. So, please, offer to go along for doctor visits, offer to go out to lunch, offer to go to a local park, offer to stay in the car while she runs in the store, offer to help her shop for some postnatal clothes. Help her get out of the house and be a part of the world, again. And do this often and for as long as possible. Because there comes a time when her babies will be out of infant carries, but not yet walking. And then, after that, they are new walkers and still need to be carried. And then after that they are runners — going in two different directions.

And it’s all hard. Every last bit of it. So, she needs you. And by mothering the mother, you’re helping her be a better mother.

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