Twinfant Tuesday: How Motherhood Affects Your Social Life

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Categories Community, MoM Groups, Relationships, Twinfant Tuesday2 Comments

I thought that I had a decent idea of what motherhood would be like. I was nothing like the Tacoma, Washington woman who wrote to advice columnist Carolyn Hax (full text).
A particularly clueless childless "friend" just put in her place.My only sibling is nearly 11 years younger than me, so I’d done my share of diaper changing, potty training, and homework help as a pre-teen and teenager. I knew twins would be more work, of course, but becoming a mother seemed another small step in my progression to full adulthood. I’d gotten married, finished grad school, started my career, built a house and gotten pregnant, all within a couple of years. One close friend had ditched me when I got married, but that was the only casualty of all these life changes. I imagined that becoming a mother would have a similarly minor impact on my friendships.

I was completely clueless.

I had no clue how all-consuming parenthood is. I had no idea how rewarding it is. I had no idea how completely everything would change. And I confess that I gave very little thought to the impact my becoming a mother would have on my friendships.

It's impossible to understand how much life changes on becoming a parent, and friendships necessarily change in parallel.

I was one of the truly lucky new mothers out there on the friendship front. My closest friends took my babies in stride, completely welcoming them into all social activities. One of them, Kaylan, even moved in with us after a bad breakup when my daughters were just a few months old. She understood why it took me three hours to make it through a single sandwich and why I had to get up to retrieve a crying child or two mid-sentence. My dear friend Sara and I went through our pregnancies together, giving birth 14 days apart. Our husbands deployed to Iraq together, so we were in exactly the same place in our lives, even though she was a stay-at-home mom and I worked outside the home full-time.

I wasn’t much of a drinker or partier, and chatting over a meal in someone’s home or a restaurant was relatively easy with two easygoing, if premature, infants in tow. My good friends thought nothing of my getting up from the group to change a couple of diapers or of my briefly turning away to latch a baby on. The majority of my friends live a good distance from me, so I was able to maintain those friendships by telephone while breastfeeding my nurslings.

There were friends, though, who drifted away. The folks who wanted to go to the movies or a bar or do something active on relatively little notice, I could simply no longer accommodate. Friends who wanted a leisurely meal with me sitting in one place and making eye contact throughout a conversation found new friendships. Those friends who wanted my undivided attention could now afford none of my attention at all. Those friends who wanted just Sadia, not Sadia-the-mom, moved on. Some of them re-entered my life when they had children a few years later. Others, I check in with every so often. And with some, I have simply parted ways.

Yes, I miss those friends, and occasionally wish they understood why I have so much less time for them. I wish that they, like those friends who have stuck around, had become virtual family to my daughters, M and J.

Far deeper, though, are the friendships that have come to me because of motherhood. The neighbours I merely smiled when I moved in pregnant have become beloved friends, people who took the 9-hour road trip to see us when we briefly moved away. Their children are like siblings to mine. We raised our children together. Our kids peed on each other’s floors and in our yards during the Age of Potty Training. There is no friendship more precious than that. The incredible parents I have met through my daughters’ school and extracurricular activities have become our family. These friendships, born of middle-of-the-night ER visits, shared moments of parental pride, and exchanges of discipline and encouragement strategies, are just as strong as the friendships that stuck through my transition to motherhood.

The friends you lose when you become a mother are far outweighed by the mommy friendships you make.

Many parents need friendships outside the context of parenthood. For me, these relationships are fulfilled at work, and my entire social life beyond the workday revolves around my daughters. The people I enjoy spending time with are also those who I want around my children. I am deeply blessed to have friends who are as likely to look forward to spending time with my children as with me, and I enjoy their children’s company just as much. When we offer to babysit each other’s children, it’s as much for the pleasure of the children’s company as it is to help our friends out. Our children repay our affection. My daughters will occasionally want to discuss weighty matters with both me and a friend’s parent. My friend’s children will ask me to send me a picture of their report cards when they’re especially proud of their performance.

To the new parents who are discovering the impact of parenthood on your friendships, I would encourage you not to consider those who draw back as fair weather friends. They just don’t feel comfortable following you into the parenting stage of life. They may come back later, when they catch up. And I promise you that new, lasting friendships are just around the corner.

How did parenthood impact your pre-existing relationships?

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Thoughts on the Multiples of America Convention 2014

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Categories Celebrations, Community, MoM Groups, Parenting Twins3 Comments

The Multiples of America (aka NOMOTC) Convention last week was an intense experience. I learned a lot and made a lot of new friends. I was inspired in my parenting, my writing, and my advocacy. Above all, I had fun. A lot of fun.

Multiples of America convention 2014

Before I Arrived

I took the entire week off work to attend. I could have easily attended Wednesday through Saturday and learned nearly as much. The first few days were purely social, filled with tours of the local sights and get-to-know-each-other activities. Pre-convention activities began on Sunday, July 20, but I didn’t show up until Monday.

I’d never really considered attending the conference before this year, although I was vaguely aware of its existence. This time it was in Austin (Texas), where I work. My children were away visiting their Dad. The timing and location just seemed right. It seemed to me that How Do You Do It? being a resource for parents of multiples, we should know a little something about this organization for parents of multiples. I encourage you to check out Multiples of America’s quarterly magazine, Notebook, filled with articles and ideas specific to parents of multiples and the clubs that support us.

I went into the convention without expectations. I’d given the schedule a once-over, but I had no idea what the participation in the various events would be. I didn’t know whether everyone would be carrying diaper bags, backpacks, or purses. I guessed that conference goers would be predominantly female, but I didn’t know. I knew a little about Multiples of America: that it maintained a registry of MoM clubs around the US and that it supports research into all things multiples. That was pretty much everything I knew Monday morning.

Multiples of America Convention 2014 registration.
The scene at registration. Photo by Hannah Day

First Impressions

As I wrote on the way back from the Hill Country tour, I was overwhelmed by how warm and welcoming everyone was. I felt that the convention was more like a family reunion than like the professional conferences I’ve attended in the past. (I work in IT.) MoMs who had been coming for years, most whose children are now adults, were there to see their friends. They were quick to open their hearts to me as a new member of the family. A few husbands tagged along, but this was definitely a women’s get-together.

I was among the youngest, if not the youngest, of the MoMs to attend the pre-convention fun. A couple of adult multiples, accompanying their mothers, were younger than I. (I’m 35, my twin daughters 8.) I suspect that this is not unusual. The pre-convention tours, while mostly not actively excluding children, were not child-friendly. My daughters would have probably loved the LBJ ranch tour, but wine tasting and the cute stores in Fredericksburg might not have been as much fun for them. I didn’t attend the Austin Sixth Street club/bar night, but that would certainly been out of the question with children in tow.

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In addition to being better kid-free, the tour prices were prohibitive. Few mothers of young children have $35-$65 to spare for each of up to 5 tours, especially after factoring in travel expenses and hotel room costs. I had a surprise windfall with which to pamper myself: when my ex-husband suddenly decided that he wanted our daughters to visit for nearly 2 months, I was able to recoup summer camp costs. Still, I didn’t stay at the hotel and didn’t have to worry about travel expenses beyond what I usually spend on my work commute.

I understand from the lovely women planning next year’s convention in Cincinnati that there will be more child-oriented activities. Still, I will have to scrimp and save to make it to that convention, and will likely have to bring my daughters if I am able to attend. Judging by the number of adult multiples I met who have been attending the Multiples of America (then NOMOTC) conventions since they were children, my girls would be welcome, loved, and plenty spoiled, even if we were limited to participation in only certain convention events.

Social Scene

I’m an extreme extrovert, so my favourite part of convention was the downtime. I loved getting to know so many lovely women on the bus to and from our tour locations, over meals at local restaurants, and over drinks in the hotel lobby.

Multiples of America 2014 Convention attendees
Heather and Anna, two of the wonderful new MoM friends I made. Photo by Hannah Day.

I have a feeling that many of these women will be friends of mine for life. I loved hearing about pairs who see each other only once a year at convention,  and who have shared hotel rooms annually for 20 years or more.

There were mixers, dances, and banquets aplenty, in addition to the downtime. I can’t remember the last time I danced so much or had so much fun doing it! I appreciated the thought that went into ensuring that some of the events seated strangers together while others, especially those later in the convention, allowed people to choose the others at their table. Door prizes and raffles provided extra encouragement to show up!

Mothers of multiples get together, mostly without the kids, at the Multiples of America Convention 2014.
There was raffle after raffle, thanks to a plethora of donations. And in the background are Janie and Corky, the very first of my new friends to take me under their wings. Photo by Hannah Day.

Getting Down to Business

The Multiples of America Convention 2014 wasn’t all fun and games, although there was plenty of that. The business at hand included voting on proposed changes to its laws, electing the next executive board, deciding on future convention locations, reviewing the budget and organization finances, and other non-profit concerns. Only delegates of Multiples of America member clubs were eligible to vote, although all convention attendees were welcome to attend the business meetings. Only existing executive board members ran for their positions, so the board was reelected by default.

The executive board appointed additional volunteers, called National Workers, to move the organization’s mission forward over the next year. I was appointed Single Parent Coordinator, and hope to use that role to advocate for outreach to single parents of multiples and military families by local parents of multiples groups around the country. I’ve already learned that one obstacle some single parents face in joining a club is the membership fee. Please be aware that many such clubs are prepared to cover membership costs for parents of multiples who can’t afford them. Don’t be afraid to ask!

I detected some severe generational tension between NOMOTC traditionalists and younger Multiples of America members. In the age of social media, clubs that meet in person can feel outmoded, and I got the impression that local clubs with younger memberships tend to feel that Multiples of America no longer adds value. I love that the organization changed its name last year to recognize the greater number of higher order multiples in the population, as well as the increased parenting role that fathers and other non-mother caregivers are taking in our world. I think there’s plenty of room for communities of all sorts, especially when our shared goal is to do the best we can for our children. Membership in multiples clubs in general has been dwindling, and I’m certain that the ease of finding community online is partly responsible. I don’t think that’s a bad thing, by any means, but there’s a place for both online and local community. I hope that the executive board hears this and acts on it. Multiples of America should be about supporting multiple birth families, not just keeping Multiples of America going.

In addition to the core business meetings of Multiples of America, the Austin Mothers of Multiples group that organized the convention allowed time for structured sharing of ideas between parents and between club representatives. There was a resource room and MoMs’ Mall with information and products available to the multiple mom, whether new, expecting, or experienced. Discussions on consignment sales and school placement were particularly active and rewarding. I can honestly say it had never occurred to me how much goes into keeping a MoM club running! Since HDYDI is an informal group funded out of my family budget, I’d never given any thought to what location-specific clubs have to do to guard against embezzlement or legal challenges that might exist to providing childcare during club meetings. I’m starting to realize how little I know!

Booths at the Multiples of America Convention 2014.
Photo by Hannah Day

I appreciated learning about the research that is underway in partnership with Multiples of America. Of particular interest was Dr. Susan Griffith’s presentation on the Post-Partum Mood Disorder study that the International Council of Multiple Birth Organisations (ICOMBO) is running. It’s not too late to participate! They need all MoMs, whether or not you’ve dealt with PPD, to fill out their survey, to get a handle on how PPD affects us after multiples births in particular.

Multiples of America has also partnered with local clubs to raise awareness of multiple births in the month of April. Who knows? Maybe HDYDI will participate in Multiple Birth Awareness Month next year!

In Short

I am so very glad I went to the Multiples of America Convention this year. I made many new friends and got some wonderful parenting insights. I’ll be writing another post on the different concerns that parents of fraternal multiples have from those of identical multiples when it comes to school and education. I came back energized to speak up for issues specific to multiples and empowered to advocate for single and military parents in my volunteer coordinator role.

Thank you to Debbie, Ada, Heather, Karen, and Elizabeth for all the work that went into putting on an extremely successful convention. And if you’re in Central Texas and looking for a photographer, Hannah Day was amazing! She managed to get all the pictures without ever seeming to be in the way.

Have you ever attended a state or national multiples convention? How does your experience compare?

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 is the newly minted Single Parent Coordinator for Multiples of America, also known as the National Organization of Mothers of Twins Clubs (NOMOTC). She retired her personal blog, Double the Fun, when the girls entered elementary school and currently blogs at Adoption.com and Multicultural Mothering as well as here at HDYDI.

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Multiples of America Convention: First Full Day

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Categories MoM Groups4 Comments


I’m a first-time attendee at the annual Multiples of America (formerly National Organization of Mothers of Twins Clubs – NOMOTC) Convention. This year it was just down the highway from my house, in Austin. My kids were at their Dad’s for the summer. It seemed like it was meant to be, so I registered, wondering if I was nuts for taking a week off work to talk twin motherhood all day every day.

I didn’t know a soul. Well, I’d seen two of the participants at an Austin Mothers of Multiples meeting once, but that was it. I volunteered to help with registration, thinking I might as well make the most of being local. It took approximately seconds after my arrival to feel welcome and at home.

That’s the really great thing about the multiples parents community. Once you’re a member of this club, just by virtue of being a parent of multiples, there’s an immediate kinship and sense of belonging. I hear my singleton moms complain about the judgment they encounter. I’ve gotten my share of condemning comments from other moms and from non-parents, but never from another mother of multiples.

Perhaps it’s because I’m out there as a Mom of Twins. After all, I do write for a blog about parenting multiples. I am the weirdo who had to be yanked out of a restaurant bathroom recently by a friend because I was making us late. I’d fallen into conversation with another mother of identical girl twins and lost track of time. Perhaps my overwhelmingly positive experience is unique.

I don’t think so, though.

My kids are at an odd age now for parenting clubs. When I attended my first AMOM meeting last month, I was the parent with the oldest multiples, by far. In a room filled with expectant parents, moms of infants, and moms of toddlers, my 8-year-olds were positively geriatric.

Among the early arrivals at the Convention, I’m on the young side. The first people who took me under their wings had multiples in their 30s and 40s. One lovely woman I spoke to attended her first Convention in 1972. Another has come every year, without fail, since 1995.

We haven’t yet talked all that much about parenting. The Convention proper doesn’t get underway until Wednesday. Of course we exchanged notes on our kids and looked at each other’s family photos. But mostly, we just had fun. We visited President Johnson’s ranch, known as the Texas White House.

We went wine tasting.

After dinner, we’re going swimming.

And that’s just my first day.

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.

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Locate Your Mother of Multiples Club

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Categories Friendships with Other Multiples, MoM Groups2 Comments

Links to local Mother of Multiples club finders around the world.

I’ve come across a number of new mothers of multiples recently who need practical support. They’re overwhelmed and turning to the internet for help. I can provide all sorts of ideas and recommendations to them to ease the weight of new motherhood, but unless they live reasonably near me, I can’t feed a baby, help with laundry or offer a hug.

To each of them, I or others have recommended reaching out to their local Mother of Multiples club. Other MoMs just get it. We’re willing to help mothers we’ve never met before in the most unglamourous and useful of ways. Also, seeing other mothers who’ve survived the infant months is a ray of hope.

The question that many of these moms have asked is how to go about finding a MoM group in their area. Here’s a very incomplete list of resources for new MoMs to help locate a local club. I limited myself to countries where I know there to be an active mothers of multiples community where they speak a language I actually know!

The first place I’d recommend American mothers look is the Multiples of America (formerly National Organization of Mothers of Twins Clubs or NOMOTC) Locate a Club page. You just put in your zip code and get back a list of clubs.

If you’re in Canada, you can see a map of Multiple Births Canada’s local chapters on their website.

The Australian Multiple Birth Association also has a Club Finder on their website.

In the UK? The Twin & Multiple Birth Association (Tamba) has its own map of local clubs.

The Irish Multiple Births Association website isn’t the most usable, but they do tell you where on the site to find a list of local clubs.

The South African Multiple Birth Association is structured much more centrally. Once you register to join the national organization, you’ll get a phone call from a member and I assume you can find out more about what’s available locally from her.

In you’re in France, Jumeaux et Plus has a nice clickable map that takes you directly to your local club’s website, if it has one.

If there’s nothing nearby (my hunt in India turned up blank), ask your pediatrician or obstetrician to connect you with another mom of multiples. Two moms makes a club, in my mind! And if you still find no one nearby who understands what you’re going through, we hope you’ll consider the HDYDI community home.

How can we locate MoM clubs in your country?

Sadia (rhymes with Nadia) has been coordinating How Do You Do It? since late 2012. She is the divorced mother of 7-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, but now also blogs at Adoption.com and Multicultural Mothering.

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Twinfant Tuesday: Singleton Moms… and Me

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Categories Community, Frustration, Infants, Loneliness, MoM Groups, Mommy Issues, Other people, Perspective, Twinfant Tuesday4 Comments

moms group
While my twin boys just turned 7 last week (crazy to believe!) I think about those first few weeks often; especially because I recently had my 3rd son and I’ve been re-living those infant days all over again. Of course, this time around, things are admittedly much easier. I often return to my twin blog (gathering dust since 2011) and recently I ran across a post that generated quite a bit of heat at the time, about the paradox/oddities of a “Moms Group” meeting.

I had attended my first moms-group meeting when the twins were just 6 weeks old. I felt so isolated and desperately ready to connect with other new moms. Upon arrival, I noticed roughly 16 other new moms and their babies who were less than 12 weeks old sitting around in a circle. I also quickly noticed that we were the only trio in attendance.
Once I sat down and got situated with the kiddos on my boppy in front of me, I was immediately met with comments such as:
I am in AWE of you!
How do you do it?”, and
I thought one was bad enough!” (um – did that mom just say her baby was ‘bad enough’?!!)

As all the other moms were openly breastfeeding around the circle, I too started to tandem breastfeed my babes. Once they were both latched on, I glanced up to notice that everyone in the room was staring at me! Some of members of the group even felt the need to applaud! It was humiliating.

Now, let me be clear…my intentions of participating in a new moms group was to chat with moms who share common parenting concerns, discuss breastfeeding, infant care, sleep patterns, etc. I had a strong desire to feel ‘at one’ with the other parents. Unfortunately, this was not what happened at all. And it may seem overly-sensitive and irrational, but all the unwanted attention I had received made me want to pack up my troops and run out in tears.

I admit that sometimes I felt jealous of the other moms who easily maneuvered their small strollers around the room and casually popped out one breast to feed their child while taking a sip of coffee with their other hand. But for the most part, the lack of solidarity I felt with them was due to the fact that it was just plain weird to have all the other moms treat me like some sort of “other”.

Parenting infants is hard, bottom line. If it weren’t, there wouldn’t be a need for a moms group. At the time, I had no experience parented a singleton, so I hadn’t really known the difference between the experiences. And while I’m sure these moms meant well with their flattery, what I really hear them saying was, “your life must really suck, how do you even get out of bed each morning?!”

Now that I’m parenting my singleton baby, I think about the learning lessons from that experience. I learned that well-intentioned praise can sting like an insult, and sometimes it’s best to just give a smile instead. I also learned that many of the new moms with only one child tended to be more uptight about issues that, with the twins, I was forced to be more relaxed about. I listened as moms went crazy with their over-protective concerns about the smallest things. I realized that as new mom of twins, I was forced to make hard decisions much earlier on, than moms of singletons. And that I’d rather be too busy caring about the important stuff than worrying about what’s not.

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Multiple Identities

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Categories Attitude, Individuality, Infants, MoM Groups, Mommy Issues, Other people, Perspective2 Comments

When I found out I was pregnant with twins, I urgently googled everything about twin pregnancies.  I started writing on this website.  I joined our local moms of multiples group.  When people told me I needed to talk to so-and-so who is a mom of twins, I took every phone number or email address.  Stories of sleepless nights were swapped over (a quick) coffee in during maternity leave with local twin mommas, and my first night “out” was to a meet n’ greet for my MoM group when my babies were 7 weeks old.  When I was stressed, I turned to this blog, other twin websites, or emailed other parents of twins. I gritted my teeth when parents of kids who are 16 months apart say it’s “just like having twins.” While nearly all of my friends are moms, I rarely reached out to them, thinking they won’t “get” it, or I wouldn’t feel the same connection as I would with someone who has lived this experience.

However, I’ve noticed recently, that I’ve not had the interest to attend the new moms’ coffees, and while I’ve reflected on dozens of different topics on which to write a blog post, they’re related less and less to a solely twin mom experience.  When did this happen?  All the sudden, it seems I see myself just as a “mom,” with the “twin” qualifier no longer being the first and foremost descriptor of my experience.   All the things that made new motherhood harder with two babies (feeding two at one time, having two babies wake up in the middle of the nights instead of one, not being able to manage getting two babies out of the house on my own) still apply.  I still felt that having two is truly the challenge of a lifetime that you can only understand if you’ve been through it.  (I also still don’t think that having two kids 16 months apart is the same thing as having twins!)  But, it seemed less important to me to try to explain it to others.  Could it be that I’m becoming more confident, knowing that I’m doing all I can and trying my hardest, regardless of how hard others think it is?  Or is it that, now that my babies are smiling, interacting with each other, communicating with us, I’m experiencing double the reward, as well?  Is it that, I’ve found my support (some mothers of multiples and some not) and that feels sufficient?  I can’t quite put my finger on it.

A similar phenomenon I’ve noticed, is that, while others used to turn to me pretty frequently with their struggles, friends of mine with young babies are not venting to me about their experience.  Rather, they’ll start to, and quickly cut themselves off saying, “I feel bad complaining to you,” or, “No matter how tired I am, I’m sure you’re more tired.”  Let’s be honest, they may be right.  But, are we not all struggling with the same thing here?  Whether we’re moms of quads or singletons, five kids or only children, aren’t we all, essentially, wanting to feel like others validate our struggles, understand what we’re going through, and celebrate the joys of parenthood along with us?

Identity is something I’ve thought much about, both in forming my own, and how I hope to help guide my kids in this process.  How important is the “multiple” part in your identity of being a mom of multiples?  Is it sometimes more predominant than the “mom” part, or is it just an adjective?

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Seeking HDYDI’s Twitter MoM

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Categories Community, HDYDI Blog, MoM GroupsLeave a comment

How Do You Do It?, the blog where mothers of multiples tell it like it is, is looking for another volunteer MoM to be the group's voice on Twitter.

Do you like what we do here at How Do You Do It?

Ever wish you could add your voice to that of The Moms, but think that blogging isn’t for you? Are you fluent in Twitter speak or interested in becoming a Twitter aficionado?

We’re looking for another member of the all-volunteer HDYDI team to be our voice on Twitter.

It will be up to you to create the role, whether you just want to share what we’re blogging and maintain Twitter relationships, create Twitter-specific content, or educate the rest of us on being a little less long-winded and Twitter-friendly. You will, of course, also be welcome to post to the blog and our other social media.

Feel free to pass this invitation along to friends who would be a good fit.

Please email us at moms@hdydi.com or leave us a comment if you’re a MoM or DoM who’s interested.

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How to Afford Twins: Multiples Consignment Sales

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Categories Finances and Saving, MoM Groups, Parenting, Theme WeekTags , 2 Comments

While having more than one baby at a time doesn’t necessarily mean you need two of everything, there are things you will need double or triple. You can stretch your dollars buying used. When I was pregnant I found my local Mothers of Multiples consignment sales to be invaluable. Families who have a bunch of kids at once tend to have a bunch of baby stuff, and some of it is only used a very short time.

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I live in the suburbs of Chicago and there are several nearby MoMs clubs who hold twice-yearly sales of gently used baby and kids stuff. These sales are generally held in a park district gym or a church basement. I was able to shop at 3-4 different club sales during my pregnancy and my boys’ infancy and get a ton of essentials and clothing for a fraction of their retail cost. And because I was also a member of a club, I was able to sell my stuff as my boys outgrew it and recoup a lot of what I paid. For some things like exersaucers and baby gates, it was almost like renting them. I paid $20 for an exersaucer (and let’s be honest, those things will last forever and have a short, but in our case priceless, lifespan.) and sold it back 6 months later for $20. I have since seen very familiar exersaucers show back up at the sale time and again. I would love to know how many families have gotten use from one exersaucer!

multiples consignment sales

By shopping several resale events I was able to curate an adorable, inexpensive and corresponding wardrobe for my twin boys. Often there would be two outfits that matched or were similar, sold by other families with twin boys. I was able to find a family with boys a couple years older and have bought most of their outgrown clothing for the past couple years. In cases where I only found one item I liked at a sale, like an adorable argyle sweater for Christmas pictures, I was often able find a similar one at another sale.

As my boys have grown, I have been able to sell off most of their baby stuff, and unload tons of clothing, and pick up the next sizes from the proceeds.  Now that my babies aren’t babies, it is harder to find clothing since a lot of clothing for this age group (boys especially) is worn out or ruined and doesn’t make it to the resale. Our need for lots of gear is gone. I do still find toys for a bargain, puzzle and games, and swimwear, coats, snow pants and boots. I think my best resale shopping is behind me, but I do no hesitate to recommend resale shopping to expectant families, whether pregnant with multiples or not. 

5 Tips for Multiples Consignment Sales

  1. Join the club. Members of our local MoMs clubs are able to sell their items and shop before the sale opens to the public. Local clubs in our area even have reciprocal early shopping for neighboring club members. I have been able to shop the night before, early bird an hour before the doors open to the public and even had guest passes to offer a friend for my own club’s pre-sale shopping.
  2. Get there early If you’re not able to get in to pre-shop, get there early. If the doors open at 8 am, expect people to start lining up by 6:30 or earlier. For my club the same woman is always first in line, usually in line by 6 before any club members are even on site to get set up for the day. As a volunteer I have heard several people complain about the clothing selection when they show up an hour before the sale ends. While some sales have a half-off or fill-a-bag option at the end of the sale, if there’s something you know you want, get there early. Bring a laundry basket to carry your items. Most sales I have attended do not allow strollers or wagons on the sales floor, so be prepared to carry your kids or leave them at home with someone.
  3. Prioritize your shopping list Know what you’re looking for and head straight there when the doors open. Be flexible and realistic. If you’re hunting for a double stroller, there’s may only be a few options, so go there first. Don’t assume you will be able to get the exact brand or pattern for gear, or even matching items or outfits.  I generally made a list of things I wanted to find, listed by priority. If you really need winter coats, don’t lose valuable time at the toys tables. The inventory of these sales can vary widely and you may not get everything on your list.
  4. Bring your best stuff and price it right If you’re selling your stuff, bring your best. If you’re missing parts or something doesn’t work, it shouldn’t be sold. Check for recalls to ensure the things you are selling are safe, and if your clothing is stained, ripped, or from 1982, it shouldn’t be in your resale inventory. If your goal is to make the absolute most money for your items, consider selling them individually on eBay or though local classified or garage sale groups online. When most of the clothing is $1-3 per piece, your $8 used pajamas probably aren’t going to sell.
  5. Remember, it’s just stuff It is great to get a bargain, and everyone wants to save money, but it’s just stuff. Have clear expectations of what you can get. Sure you may find things new with tags, or a real steal on a bouncy seat, or the perfect double stroller you’ve been dying for, but it’s also clothing your kids are going to spill on, spit up on or rip the knees out of, it’s a piece of equipment that your baby will use for a few months. I’ve seen people grab all the clothing for a particular size and then go through it later, grab things and “hide” them in other areas so they can stake their claim, and get upset with the volunteers who are working because they can’t find suitable matching outfits, don’t like the selection of used toys or wanted a single not a double stroller. It’s just stuff. The workers are all volunteers, other Moms of Multiples, helping their club and clearing out their own closets. Be nice.

Jen is a stay-at-home Mom of twin boys who will turn 4 in November who has been bargain shopping and dressing them in second-hand clothing since birth. 

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Twinfant Tuesday: A Few Suggestions for Finding Time for Yourself

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Categories Balance, MoM Groups, Mommy Issues, Twinfant Tuesday4 Comments

I’m preparing a class for new and expecting parents of multiples, so I’ve been thinking about how I managed those first weeks and months.  I thought I’d share some here.

  1. Take a shower.  Not only does it help to feel clean and to dress in something other than pajamas, but you can’t hear your babies over the running water.  In that first year after my girls were born, I switched from baths to showers.
  2. Get out of the house (with your partner, if possible).  Our first trip out after the babies came home was to exchange my nursing tops for the next size up. We were gone maybe 40 minutes.  The next trip was to the Starbucks drive through.  They weren’t long trips, but they were a break from the babies.
  3. Enjoy yourself while breastfeeding. I got the complete DVD set of Star Trek – The Next Generation. During evening breastfeeding, I could count on watching an episode or two.
  4. Keep eating your favourite foods.  If you are breastfeeding, you actually need more calories than you did when pregnant. Ice cream and grilled cheese sandwiches can stay on your menu as you continue to eat for three or more.
  5. Sleep when your babies sleep.  Good advice!  Take naps rather than worrying about house cleaning and meal prep.
  6. Accept help. If someone offers to do laundry, prepare a meal or hold a baby, take them up on it.  At the very least, having some adult conversation is a nice change.Find support.
  7. Connect with other parents of multiples.  Whether you join a local MoMs group or connect online, it is helpful to talk to someone who shares your experiences.

What are your suggestions for looking after yourself?

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Creating a New Community

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Categories Attitude, Community, Loneliness, MoM Groups, Mommy Issues, Other people, Perspective, Relationships, School-AgeTags , , , , , , , , , 10 Comments

This is a story of failure.

Nearly two years ago, in August 2011, I learned that my family would be moving to El Paso, TX from greater Austin, where I’d lived for a decade, where my kids were born, and where my job was. My husband at the time was a soldier, and the Army had issued him PCS orders to Ft Bliss.

Being an Army wife made me an near-expert in military acronyms. PCS stands for permanent change of station, as opposed to deployment to a combat zone, which is considered temporary… even though many deployments are longer than a soldier’s stay at their “permanent” posting. My favourite acronym? POV, for personally owned vehicle, or what you or I would call “car.”

We’d known there was a chance we’d have to move shortly after he returned from Afghanistan in July 2011. My husband’s entire unit, with a handful of exceptions, would be moving to Ft Bliss, El Paso. Right until the day he got orders, he was assured that he was in that handful that would get to stay at Ft Hood, near(ish) Austin. I was the rare Army wife who got to stay put for years. Two tours in Iraq, one in Afghanistan and a PCS to Korea, and my soldier had kept coming back to Ft Hood. I assumed we’d just stay again and registered the kids for kindergarten.

[googlemaps https://maps.google.com/maps/ms?msa=0&msid=205082121919581953142.0004dfdce58c935ca63d2&ie=UTF8&t=m&ll=31.007557,-102.134399&spn=1.51596,8.778076&z=4&output=embed&w=300&h=250]

Once we learned we had to move, we had two weeks. We ended up moving the day before the girlies would have started kindergarten with two of the other kids on our street. My employers agreed to let me keep my job. That’s right. They. Let. Me. Keep. My. Job. I was moving 600 miles and one time zone away, and they said, “Sure, Sadia. Keep doing what you’re doing, except from your new house instead of in the office. And we’ll keep paying you what we pay you.” Now that, my friends, is how you support military families.

I put my most positive face on the move. It would be an adventure. We would build a new community after relocating. We would learn all about the culture of the Borderlands. I would finally have my chance to learn Spanish. My commute would go from an hour+ each way to run-a-brush-through-my-hair. I made sure I had plenty of mommy cards and business cards in my wallet.

I tried to make friends at my daughters’ school. The only person who bit was one German army wife. I tried to make friends at the girls’ dance studio. I made one friend the whole year I was there. I joined the local professional choir, and made two deep friendships that I suspect will last the rest of my life. I tried to join the local mothers of multiples group, but it had been inactive for years. I considered starting one myself, but none of the twin moms I ran into ever reciprocated the interest in developing a relationship. My daughters, too, tried to make friends, but my notes to parents inviting their kids for playdates or dinners were never answered. With the exception of the elderly couple next door, people on my street didn’t talk to each other. I was deeply grateful to a friend of my husband’s from their time together in Korea. He, his wife and their two sons were almost the entirety of our social network.

I’m sure there were a lot of reasons that I wasn’t able to find my niche. The other Army wives didn’t have careers. The other career moms didn’t, for the most part, speak English, and my attempts to morph my French and Italian into Spanish didn’t cut it. I didn’t really end up having that much time to find a place for myself in El Paso. In February 2012, my husband informed that our marriage had ended. It took 90 days to get divorced and another 60 to find, purchase and move to a new home back in greater Austin. J, M and I were residents of El Paso for a total of 359 days.

We didn’t move back to the same neighbourhood in which we’d lived before. Actually, we’re not even in the same Central Texan suburb. We have an enormous network of amazing people from the last time we lived in the area, but we’ve also managed to develop that community within our new neighbourhood and school that I was desperately seeking in El Paso.

Our first playdate at M and J’s new school was initiated by the other mom, not me. As it turns out, she was a twin mom, but hadn’t realized that my girls were twins too. My daughters’ Girl Scout troop leader and I have become good friends, and I’ll be co-leading the troop with her next year. She offered to carpool my kids and watch them in the afternoon for an entire week so they could attend Girl Scout camp with her daughter without my having to miss work. I hit it off with a mother whose daughter is M’s good friend and, as luck would have it, she’ll be my daughters’ teacher next year. When I called her on Tuesday last week to chat, she asked if my girls could play hooky from summer camp to spend the next day with her. All three girls had a blast, and their future teacher got a baseline on their reading and math abilities so that she can be ready to challenge them in second grade. Sunday morning, I got a text from the neighbour two doors down, asking whether her daughter could spend part of the day with us while mom finished up a paper for a summer course she’s taking for her nursing degree. We moved here 315 days ago.

I don’t know what the difference was between our El Paso experience and the one here in Central Texas. Perhaps my loneliness was obvious, despite my attempts to hide it. Maybe I was just too desperate in El Paso for people to want to befriend me. I’m certainly more confident on my home turf. Perhaps my social cues are that of a Central Texan and not of an El Pasoan. Maybe it’s that Austin is a college town and many of us, perhaps the majority, are transplants from elsewhere who have had to start over here.

I really thought that the girls and I had personalities perfectly suited to the Army lifestyle. We’re all intensely outgoing, able to start up a conversation with just about anyone. We’re all comfortable trying to learn new languages… me more than the girlies and J more than M, but still far more adventurous than the average American. I thought it would be easy to connect with new people, no matter where we were. If all else failed, I’d find my tribe among local moms of multiples.

What I found, though, was that moving from Austin to El Paso at age 32 was just like moving from the United Kingdom to Bangladesh at age 8. I couldn’t find my footing. I couldn’t find my sense of home. No matter how hard I tried or how long I stayed, I was always a foreigner. I tried to normalize things for the kids in El Paso, but I was desperately unhappy. As I’ve said many a time, my happiness at returning home was far greater than my sadness at getting divorced. Pathetic, huh?

If nothing else, this detour taught me where home was.

Sadia is the mother of 7-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 co-parents at a distance with her soldier ex-husband and his teacher wife. She decided to retire her personal blog, Double the Fun, when the girls entered elementary school in order to better protect their privacy, and was delighted to have the opportunity to keep a foot in the blogosphere through HDYDI. She also blogs at Adoption.com and Multicultural Mothering.

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