Labour Bag Essentials – For Twins

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Categories Infants, Lists, Organization, PregnancyTags , , , 6 Comments

I originally posted this on my own blog after finally finding all my lists and lists of baby notes I made when I was pregnant. I decided to document this list in the hopes that it might be useful to other mommies out there. 

With twins, your chances of going into premature labour rises considerably. So once you reach the seven-month milestone, it might be a good idea to pack your hospital bag and have it ready to go at a moment’s notice. Here’s a list of the items you will need before, during and after delivery for both you and your newborn babies.

Paperwork

Get a file together with written dividers, giving you quick access to the exact paperwork you need This will not only make it fast and easy for you, but also for your partner while you have your hands full with the babies. Paperwork could include any or all of the following;

files

  • Your Id book
  • Hospital Registration Forms
  • Medical Aid card
  • Medical Aid Pre-authorization papers
  • Medical Aid Beneficiary addition papers for both babies
  • Multiple copies of your birthing plan
  • A page with your baby’s names and correct spelling
  • List of people to call

Also leave space for any paperwork you receive from the doctors, hospital, specialists, etc. This could include bills, prescriptions, birth certificates, etc.

Entertainment

This is not only for the hours you will spend in-between feedings and not being able to sleep but also for your partner’s sanity while you rest or feed your little ones. Remember to include chargers for all electronic devices even if they claim to last for days.

entertainment

  • Phone
  • Camera
  • IPad / E-Reader
  • Magazines
  • Novels
  • Baby/Parenting Books

Soothing Items

We all have those specific items that no matter what’s going on, will just take us to our happy place. Take things that will sooth you in the event of both a natural and a C-section birth.

soothing

  • Music
  • Your Favourite Snacks and Drinks
  • A picture of your kids at home (if applicable)
  • Lip Balm
  • Your favourite scented lotion
  • A soft pillow from home

Mommy’s Toiletries

With all the changes in your life, the best thing to do is to make yourself feel as comfortable as possible. Pack mini-versions of all your toiletries to save space, as you will only need a couple of days’ worth. Think of all the toiletries you use on a daily basis.

mommy toiletries

  • Facecloth
  • Toothbrush and Toothpaste
  • Shampoo and Conditioner
  • Shower Gel and Soap
  • Hairbrush, Hair Elastics and Clips
  • Lotion, Face cream, Hand cream
  • Deodorant and Underarm
  • Contact Lenses, Spectacles and Contact solution
  • Sanitary Pads for after the delivery
  • Nipple Cream and Disposable Breast Pads
  • Nail file
  • Hair dryer
  • An extra towel
  • A clock/watch to time contractions (and later for timing breastfeeding sessions)
  • Important medication, especially if you have a serious condition (make sure you inform/alert your doctor and the hospital staff)

Mommy’s Hospital clothes

The maternity ward is definitely not a fashion show, so this is the one time where you can put comfort first. Your body will be sore from both natural birth or C-section birth and the looser and lighter the clothing, the better.

HA0478 - Journey Planning. Lifestyle Images Portraying The Three Main Elements Of A Journey: Planning The Route, Travelling And Reaching Destination.

  • T-Shirts
  • Stretch Pants
  • Socks
  • Slippers
  • Flip-Flops for the shower
  • A Robe
  • Open-front pajamas for breastfeeding
  • Nursing Bra’s
  • Comfortable Underwear (High-waisted underwear in case of C-Section births)
  • Going home outfit
    • Keep it comfortable and pack a jacket and tekkies for incase.
    • You will still have a belly (it unfortunately doesn’t disappear overnight), so stick to your maternity wear.

Baby’s Toiletries

Most baby toiletries also come in convenient mini versions, so even though you might have an entire cupboard with huge 1litre bottles of baby shampoo at home, opt for the smaller versions in hospital to save space and make the trip to the nursery easier.

With twins, it’s only really the diapers, wipes and cotton balls that need to be doubled.

baby toiletries

  • +- 40 Diapers / per baby (2 large newborn packs)
    • With twins it’s important to pack both premature and newborn nappies due to the risk of premature labour.
  • 2 x Baby wipes (for sensitive skin)
  • Baby Bum Cream
  • 1 large pack Cotton Balls
  • Nail Clippers and/or Emery Board
  • Surgical Spirits (for navel care)
  • Mild Baby Soap
  • Baby Shampoo
  • Baby Powder
  • Baby Oil
  • Baby Lotion (preferably aqueous cream, fragrance free)
  • 4 or 5 baby towels (a hooded towel works best)
  • Petroleum jelly (to help remove meconium from baby’s bum)
  • 4 or more burp cloths
  • Infant colic drops
  • Infant saline nose drops

Baby’s Hospital Clothes and Gear

This is where packing for twins becomes a little different than packing for one baby.

So for those having only one baby, just halve what’s in this list.

baby clothing

  • 8 long-sleeved baby grows
  • 8 body vests (long- or short-sleeved according to season)
  • 8 pairs of baby socks (even in summer)
  • 2 beanies or warm baby hats (a baby can lose a lot of heat through his/her head)
  • 2 warm baby jackets or jerseys
  • 4 pre-mature long-sleeved baby grows
  • 4 pre-mature body vests (long- or short-sleeved according to season)
  • 6 receiving blankets
  • 2 warm baby blankets
  • 2 pacificiers/dummies (optional)
  • 2 newborn bottles + small tin of formula (even if you don’t plan to bottle feed, keep something ready as a backup)
  • Breast Pump and Accessories (if applicable)
  • Nursing Pillow
  • In case of planned bottle feeding
    • 4 or more bottles
    • 2 tins Formula
    • Bottle brush and detergent
    • Sterilizing equipment
    • Formula powder holder
    • Bibs
  • 2 Car Seats
    • Install the car seats before-hand, ensuring you know how to use them before placing baby in the seat.

Packing for your Partner

With all the hours of waiting and worrying about you and your newborn babies, it might be a nice touch to pack some essentials for your partner.

  • Toothbrush
  • Slippers
  • Extra Clothing (incase the babies mess on him)
  • Jacket
  • Snacks and Drinks
  • Money for the vending machine
  • Magazines
  • etc.

Nice to Have’s

These are certainly no necessary but might come in handy.

  • Spare cash and Change for vending machines, gift-store runs, etc.
  • Extra Bag for all those hospital goodies and gifts from family and friends
  • Journal and pen to jot down notes and questions for the doctors or to record feeding times and other details of your babies.

These items will help to make your hospital stay as comfortable as possible. Packing all the above items will also have you fully equipped for the first few days with your newborn babies. Some of these items could also be obtained from your hospital pharmacy, but do keep in mind that they run office hours before relying on that fact.

Each maternity ward have their own preferred list of necessities for you and your baby, so be sure to check with them before finalising your packing.

Christine is a first time mommy to two beautiful 17 month old twin boys that have recently started walking and are now running in all directions. She’s wife to her high-school sweetheart – the man of her dreams and also a full-time software/web developer in the financial industry.
She mostly blogs about their experiences with the twins in their daily lives adding some tips and tricks they learnt along the way.

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Twinfant Tuesday: Infants are Easier

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Categories Attitude, Difference, Infants, It Gets Different, Lists, Mommy Issues, Parenting, Perspective, Twinfant Tuesday2 Comments

My twins are so solidly in their toddlerhood now that it’s hard to remember when they were infants. Perhaps it’s better to make a list of all the things that were easier to do when they were younger.

Holding them  Boy, I wish for the days when each baby weighed 10 pounds and could easily be held at the same time. They didn’t wiggle around, or twist their bodies, or arch their backs, or slide down your sides, or lean their entire weight away from you. These days my kids definitely make their intentions known. Babies blissfully don’t have intentions.

Feeding  Babies are relatively clean. There might be a spit-up or two, and burping them could be a little tedious, but these are things you expect and can anticipate. As toddlers, when they decide that the food they loved yesterday is what they are throwing at you today, you will be wishing for those burp cloths back. My kids are good eaters, and they still make a big mess. At this point they can also say that they’re hungry. Loudly and repeatedly until they get fed what they want.

On the move  Heavy and cumbersome as they are, infant car seats and the strollers they attach to are really as safe and easy as it gets. Venture into the land of shoe wearing (and the eating/ taking off of them), handholding (or wrenching their hands out of yours while walking through a parking lot), and trying to keep toddlers in strollers (or just trying to put them in while they’re arching their backs and screaming), and let’s just say you will start to regret complaining about the infant car seats. Don’t get me started on what to do when they go off in opposite directions.

Playing  Once upon a time a simple squeaky toy or blanket was all that was necessary to amuse a baby. In fact, nothing was needed at all as long as baby had something to look at, like Mommy’s face. Now? Toddlers have the attention span of a few minutes, at most. Mine are not interested in television yet (except to press its buttons and climb it), and their entire playroom full of toys is old news. I cannot keep them in one place past a couple of hours before they’re fighting and biting each other out of boredom, including our own house.

Sleeping  Infants sleep a lot. Toddlers don’t sleep as much. Enough said. These days trying to figure out when nap time will be is sometimes a guessing game. When they don’t sleep (for whatever unknown reason), cranky toddlers will eventually get on your last nerve.

…Maybe I just miss my little babies. Sniff.

lunchldyd is mom to 19mo b/g twins and their 4yo sister. Though the days are tough around here, she feels lucky to be able to spend her summer vacation with them.

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Twinfant Tuesday: Ever-Changing Schedules (Birth-4 Months)

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Categories Household and Family Management, Infants, Lists, Napping, Organization, Overnight, Routines, Sleep, Twinfant TuesdayTags , , , 3 Comments

Ever-Changing Schedules (1)

Schedules. Some moms love it. Some moms hate it. Some grandmothers think that their daughters/daughters-in-law are sickos for thinking about putting their sweet grandchildren on a dreaded schedule.

If you were a student in my classroom or one of my students’ parents, you will know that I love schedules and routines. By reading some of my extensive lists on my blog Doyle Dispatch, you could probably also tell that I like to know what to expect.

Let’s face it, though. Babies like routines also.

Think about it. They spent 9 months in this cozy, safe environment before getting expelled into this crazy, loud, unexpected world. What in the world is going on? As soon as they get comfortable with the way things work, they go through a developmental change and then POOF they have to re-figure out the world again. Scary! That’s why we swaddle our babies. That’s why we live with white-noise machines constantly humming all night long. That’s why we do schedules and routines. We do whatever we can to help guide our babies through the craziness of life, especially during their infancy.

Routines start simply: The Feeding Routine

  • unswaddle
  • change diaper
  • allow to nurse for about 10-20 minutes
  • supplement with milk that was pre-pumped
  • re-dress
  • swaddle
  • sleep
  • repeat

We do that every 2-3 hours. 24 hours a day. 7 days a week. It’s exhausting, but we can make it work.

Then a growth spurt happens, and we think we are losing our minds.

My breasts hurt. My nipples are falling off. My back is killing me. I’m deliriously tired. Can’t we put them back in?

Around 6 weeks, we re-evaluate and realize that, after this growth spurt is over, our perfect little schedule isn’t good anymore. Our babies aren’t sleeping every other minute of every day. They are getting overstimulated when they are held by us, their grandparents, their aunts, uncles, and visiting friends.

Twin Schedules

We come up with a new schedule: The Ideal Feeding Schedule

  • 11 PM
  • 3 AM
  • 7 AM
  • 10 AM
  • 12:30 PM
  • 3 PM
  • 5:30 PM
  • 8 PM

Ha. Like you have enough brain power to stick to that schedule! Think again, Batman!

Playtime within Schedules

You re-evaluate after a week and come up with the Get-Daddy-Back-to-Work Schedule

  • 8 AM: First Feeding
  • In-between: Daddy to work, Mommy and babies 1-1 cuddle or activity
  • 11 AM: Feeding
  • In-between: Babies nap
  • 2 PM: Feeding
  • In-between: Mommy 1-1 cuddle time or activity
  • 5 PM: Feeding
  • In between: Cuddle time
  • 8 PM: Feeding
  • Babies sleep (expect fussiness)
  • 11 PM: Feeding
  • Babies sleep
  • 2 AM: Feeding
  • Babies sleep
  • 5 AM: Feeding
  • Babies sleep

You discover that this one really doesn’t work either. Maybe it’s the fact that your babies are constantly going through a growth spurt or sleep regression. When one stops, the other starts. You give up. You just forget the advice from The Sleep Book (insert whichever theory you are going with now). You give in. You go with the flow. You feed ever hour if you need to. You feel like you aren’t producing enough milk. You are worried that you are starving your babies, but you plug along.

Twin Schedules

Suddenly, you realize that you can predict the type of mood that your baby is in at about 2.5 months. They still hate this thing called “napping,” but you just need a few minutes during the day for your shower/coffee/to clean the spit-up off your 3rd shirt of the day. A natural schedule takes place. It’s marvelous!

The Natural Schedule (Times are adjustable)

  • 6:00 AM Babies wake up and Daddy soothes them/turns on their mobiles
  • 7:00 AM Babies are too hungry and it’s time to eat (Mommy begrudgingly gets out of bed)
  • During the feeding, Daddy gets coffee for himself, tea and breakfast for Mommy, and showers
  • 7:30 AM Daddy takes both babies, changes diapers and enjoys Happy Morning Time
  • 8:15 AM Babies get tired and cranky. Time for naps!
  • 9:15 AM Babies are awake (although this can happen much earlier). Time for play gym, tummy time, singing, stories, talking, and other play activities.
  • 10:30 AM Mid-morning feeding
  • 11:00 AM Happy mid-morning time with activities
  • 11:45 AM 2nd nap
  • When wake-up: Playroom activity time
  • 2:00 PM Afternoon feeding
  • 2:30 PM Happy afternoon time with activities
  • 2:50 PM Nap
  • 4:30 PM Wake-up and playtime
  • 5:00 PM Feeding
  • 5:30 PM Cuddling with Daddy and Mommy after work (“Couch Cuddle Time”)
  • 7:15 PM Baths and Bedtime routines
  • 7:45 PM Final Feeding and Goodnights
  • Possible feedings around 12:30 AM and 3:30 AM (and sometimes at 5:30 as well)

Now, I’m not saying that this is perfect or that this is the schedule that we always stick to, but overall it does what we want it to do MOST of the time. Feed-play-sleep-play is really  a workable routine. There’s a reason that so many moms swear by it.

One other thing that has helped us is this: Whenever David or Audrey shows signs of being tired, we put them down for a nap or let them sleep where they are. If it is in the evening, we will let them fall asleep for a short time wherever they are (in our arms or in their bouncers if it is dinnertime). At this age, we figure that if they sleep, it’s because they need to sleep. Their nighttime sleeping is all over the place anyway, that we just go with it. Napping so close to bedtime hasn’t shown that we’ve had a negative impact on their overnight sleeping. I know that this goes against what the sleep-training advice tells us to do, but it has worked for us, so we stick with it.

Twin Schedules

Lately, I’ve been having some more appointments, whether is it physical therapy for my shoulder (totally different story… you try having shoulder blade issues when you have two babies that want to be held all the time), a class at the gym (free childcare and a hot shower afterwards!), or just sanity visits from other adults. We have tried one more schedule, based off of The Natural Schedule. We don’t have to stick to it everyday, but it does seem to work:

The 4-Month-Old Schedule

  • 7 AM Feeding, Diapers, Play
  • 8 AM Nap
  • 9:15 AM Feeding, Diapers
  • 10 AM Leave for Gym
  • 10:30 AM Class at Gym
  • 11:30 AM Shower and Locker Room Time
  • 12:15 PM Pick Up Babies from Nursery and Go Home
  • 12:30 PM Feeding, Diapers, Play
  • 1:45 PM Nap
  • 3 PM Feeding, Diapers
  • 3:30 PM Out and About (or Home) Activities
  • 5:30 PM Feeding
  • Evening Activities (Walk or Errands)
  • 8 PM Baths, Diapers, PJs
  • 8:30 PM Final Feeding
  • 9 PM Lights Out
  • + 1 or 2 feedings during the night

So, mommies and daddies, do you have a schedule that works? I’d love to hear it! How do you make it work with two babies? Do you hold your breath during “nap time” as well, knowing that one of them will wake up any minute?

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Sadia’s Parenting Manual: The Overview

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Categories Discipline, How Do The Moms Do It, Lists, ParentingTags , 2 Comments

Parenting manual from hdydi.comI attended a parenting lecture at our church last weekend. I only learned a couple of new things, but the points covered in the 2.5 hours pretty much encapsulated my entire parenting approach. There were only a couple of things I felt like they didn’t touch on. What I did realize was that, despite my tendency to be long-winded, I could probably condense my parenting approach into a few words.

This is the outline of the parenting manual I live by. It has been refined by research, advice from extraordinary parents whom I am fortunate to call my friends, and my experience both as the mother of my amazing daughters and as a child in a less than stable home. I hereby present to you the 10,000 foot view of my approach to parenting.

  • Celebrate the individual.
    • Focus on nurturing your children’s characters, not (only) their talents.
    • Be true to temperament: Your own and each child’s.
    • Let your children see you make and recover from mistakes.
    • Talk to your children; your early time together builds a foundation for the teenage years and beyond.
  • Be a role model.
    • Be consistent: Say what you mean and mean what you say.
    • Live the Golden Rule: Treat others, including your children, as you wish to be treated.
  • Work as a family.
    • Work with your co-parent as a partner.
    • Mealtime is family time.
    • Re-evaluate often: Are your priorities, whatever they may be, getting the time and attention they need?
  • Build your village.
    • Talk to other parents about parenting.
    • Encourage meaningful relationships between your children and other adults.
    • Permit trusted adults to discipline your children.
    • Encourage meaningful relationships between your children and other children.
    • Mentor children other than your own.
    • Ask for help; offer help.
  • Be a just disciplinarian.
    • Discipline is correction born of love; do not punish in anger.
    • Use a consistent set of consequences, adjusted as your children grow older.
    • Reward good behaviour. Do not reward bad behaviour. Attention is a reward.
    • Punish only bad choices: Mistakes need to be explained and subsequent infractions can be punished. Accidents happen.

I’ll explore each point in more depth in future posts.

What is your approach to raising children? What basic principles did I miss?

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, when the girls entered elementary school and also blogs at Adoption.com and Multicultural Mothering.

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Guest Post: Design Tips to Make Room for Two (or More!)

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Categories Household and Family Management, Lists, OrganizationTags , , 1 Comment

5 ways to get your home ready for new arrivals

Multiples can fill up a house quickly, especially if you’re in a smaller space to begin with—but fortunately, there are a few inexpensive design tricks that can make your home feel much more open. Here are a few ways you can organize your home to make room for multiples.

1. Use unifying colors

Photo Credit: coco+kelley
Photo Credit: coco+kelley

One of the simplest ways to alter the sense of space in a room is to change the color scheme. Light, breezy colors like cream, pastel blue or green, and yellow will let more light in and make your home feel much more open. Dark, rich colors tend to soak up natural light and make rooms feel more cave-like. If your walls, art, and furniture have clashing colors, this can also make a room feel busy—so try to create a unified theme for your home, with two or three matching colors.

2. Get creative with closet space

When you bring multiples home, you might need to convert offices, playrooms, and guest rooms into bedrooms—but that doesn’t mean you have to give up the space entirely. Especially while kids are young, you’ll have some unused closet space that can become a home office nook or even a small play area.

For shallow closets, you can simply remove the doors, throw in a desk and good lighting, and you’ve got a place to get things done. With chalkboard paint and creative use of closet storage, the same closet can become a little play nook.

3. Make use of vertical space

Use vertical space
Photo Credit: theloushe

Vertical space is seriously underused in most homes, which can make the floor feel very maze-like and cluttered. This tip is especially helpful for parents of multiples, because your home’s vertical space is a great place to put things you want to keep away from kids, like houseplants, expensive decorative items, etc.

To make better use of vertical space, replace end tables with wall-mounted shelving, and floor lamps with sconces. If you have potted plants on your living room floor, hang them from the ceiling instead. The more you can clear your floor, the more open (and kid-proof) your home will be.

4. Pare down furniture and art

For your living room and common areas, the best way to reduce the “busy” feeling is to cut back on clutter. Instead of three small, mismatched furniture pieces in the living room, go for one big couch. Instead of a wall full of art in various styles and colors, opt for a single statement piece (or even better, a nice big mirror). Especially in your bathroom, keep one rug, one mirror, and one piece of tasteful art.

5. Create visual depth

Photo Credit: emily katherine may
Photo Credit: emily katherine may

The farther into a room you can see, the more open it feels, so make sure you can see as much of your walls and baseboards as possible. Choose thin, leggy nightstands and end tables, and remove bed and sofa skirts. Look for recessed bath cabinets with big, wide mirrors to reflect more light and fool the eye.

In your kitchen, use open shelving instead of cupboards—you can simply remove the cupboard doors, sand down the hinges, and repaint to open up the space. (If you choose open shelving in your kitchen, display your matching flatware up front; the more unified your kitchen is in color and style, the less cluttered it will feel.)

Mike Freiberg is a staff writer for HomeDaddys, a resource for stay-at-home dads, work-at-home dads, and everything in between. He’s a handyman, an amateur astronomer, and a tech junkie, who loves being home with his two kids. He lives in Austin.

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Breaking Bad Habits

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Categories Balance, Behavior, Household and Family Management, Lists, Mommy Issues, Perspective, Routines1 Comment

Husband went back to work last Tuesday. After an extended paternity leave of 3.5 months, during which we decided he would reevaluate his career for better work/life balance, he has now rejoined the working world. I no longer have my comrade in arms, battling the daily fight. It is now solely up to me to keep things running at home– a good chance to break some bad habits that we have negligently allowed to form in these hectic months.

Toddler

1. Running around like a hooligan.

Nearly 3 means plenty of energy. When she’s gotten her full 11 hrs sleep at night or 2 hr nap, she’s ready to go. In our sleep-deprived haze, we got lazy and started letting her run and shout around the house to expend her energy. No time to take her outside, to the park, or even direct her attention to other activities, she’s gotten a little too used to the house being her playground. The babies didn’t mind when they were infants, but they are getting to be more aware of their surroundings now, so it’s becoming a problem. That, and the hooligan part.

2. Yelling when demands aren’t met.

Somehow, she’s also learned that yelling gets her attention. There are times when her demands for a cup of water, for another sticker, for us to change the channel just can’t be met right away. We are feeding babies or otherwise occupied doing something else. We answer her with “wait” or “no” but lately that’s only gotten us the same request, louder and louder, until we give in or she cries.

3. Watching cartoons while eating.

It was just easier to let her watch Nick Jr while she ate. Kept her from peppering us with random questions or worse to demand our attention. Now, she can’t eat without a cartoon on TV? Bad, bad, bad.

Twins

4. Not on a schedule.

Sleeping and eating willy nilly is kind of expected in newborns just home from the hospital, but they’re 3.5 months old now. Time to get on a schedule. Bad habits inhibiting this include: Randomly screaming in the middle of a nap and going back to sleep, Pretending to be hungry and then not eating, or my favorite, I spit my paci out but now want it again. This is priority number one, and I think I’m making a little progress from this previous post about E.A.S.Y.

Myself

5. Being anal.

I’m pretty regimented, controlling even. Goal-oriented is what I call it. I tend to see my role at home as the commander of the health and happiness of my children, and I like military precision. Routines are a big deal when you’re a child (I know this from my 9 years of teaching), and they’re a big part of Toddler’s life. In fact, my in-laws have joked that I’m the “sleep Nazi”. These last few days, trying to get all three kids in sync has been driving me crazy. Any two would be a breeze, but throw in the third one and the gears fall off. It’s like they know.

Actually, the daytimes are pretty good. The twins’ schedules are aligned, Toddler is behaving, we’re all enjoying our time together, and then the “witching” hour (or two) hits and all hell breaks loose. Babies want to be fed when it’s time for Toddler’s bath (even if they’ve just been fed and are peacefully sleeping), or they get overtired while I’m still working on putting Toddler to bed (when she is at her worst with the stalling and whining). Add to that the fact that I also need to squeeze in some pump time, during which I cannot tend to anybody, and the great day we might have had becomes a distant memory. I get frazzled and frustrated– the only thought that runs through my head is that it is just plain unmanageable.

And I stress myself out. I have chronic neck and shoulder pain because that’s how my body manifests stress, and lately there have been a few tension headaches too. I’ve always looked with disdain at parents who disregard their kids’ nap and bedtimes, but in a way I really envy them. When it gets bad, all I’m thinking about is when is the next feeding, how long have they slept, have the diapers been changed– so that the day just becomes a series of countdowns. I have to remind myself to stop and enjoy the moments.

My daughter has probably inherited/learned some of this from me (see my post on Toddler Rituals), and I don’t want her to have a life of anxiety and stress, so I’ve just got to quit it.

ALL really much more easily said than done. Toddler’s bad habits are behavior issues. I’m in the process of changing those already. She’s young and malleable so we’re good there. Babies’ bad habits have to do with their maturity. I’m sure as they get older they’ll get better, and I’ll get more experienced with their signs too. HOWEVER, the last one has plagued me my entire life. I am a perfectionist as well as an over-achiever, and throw in some major control issues too. I don’t know how to fix myself.

lunchldyd is mom to an almost 3 yr old daughter and 3 month old b/g twins in Los Angeles, trying very hard to do the scariest thing: lose control.

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How I Do It

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Categories Ask the Moms, Attitude, Balance, Co-parenting, Household and Family Management, How Do The Moms Do It, Lists, Mommy Issues, Organization, Other people, Parenting Twins, Perspective, Relationships, Unique needs25 Comments

A couple of days ago, Mercedes asked us, “Seriously, how do you do it?” This is my answer.

(This is a revised version of a post I originally wrote when my now 6-year-olds were toddlers.)

I don’t think parents of multiples or military families or single parents or working moms are unique in needing to answer this question repeatedly. I suspect all parents get it, because seriously, parenting is a hard hard job. It’s physically, emotionally and creatively demanding, and, although its rewards are incomparable, there are days it’s a thankless slog.

So, how do I do it?

My 2-second answer to the question is, “I do the best I can.”

My 20-second answer is, “I prioritize, and I lower my standards. I figure out what really matters and what’s necessary. Then, I let everything else slide. The kids and my job need a level of attention that cannot be compromised. I have to care for myself enough so that I am mentally and physically healthy enough to manage those things. Everything else has to fit in around those top priorities.”

Here’s the long answer:

My priorities are clear. In order, they are:

  1. The kids’ immediate well-being
  2. The kids’ long-term well-being. Are they on a path to being healthy, happy, wholesome, productive adults?
  3. My job and my immediate co-workers and customers
  4. The kids’ relationships with their family members who don’t live with us, including their father, stepmother and stepsisters
  5. A healthy diet for the family
  6. My mental and physical health (including getting sleep)
  7. Friends and remaining family
  8. Community participation
  9. Housekeeping and home maintenance

I look at the balance of my life in two-week chunks. I might not get to cleaning, talking to relatives, exercise, or even reading with the girls, every single day. I may go a week without making a meaningful contribution to my community. Within each 14 day period, though, each of the areas I value should have had some attention, in proportion to their place on the priority list.

How do I fit this blog into my life? Well, blogging helps me work through the most challenging questions of the day, reminds me that the kids are the primary reason I even try to achieve balance, and keeps me connected with the amazingly supportive and smart community of parent bloggers. Priorities 1, 2, 6 and 8 addressed in one fell swoop. Again, the 14-day balance helps me stay on top of things. I don’t write nearly as regularly as I publish. Some days, I’ll have three things to talk about, and I’ll publish the extra drafts on days when there’s a gap and I don’t have the time, energy or creativity to come up with a timely post.

Here’s the big secret. I don’t do it all. On a given day, I either don’t sleep enough, don’t clean enough, feed the kids junk like mac and cheese and hot dogs, don’t shower, or don’t take any time to sit and breathe.

So, how do I do it? I don’t.

Sadia is a recently divorced mother of 6-year-old twin girls, M and J, having spent 8 years as an army wife. They live with three cats in the Austin, TX area, where J and M attend Spanish-English dual language public school and Sadia works at a large university in information technology.

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The Top 10 Worst Reactions To My “It’s Twins” Announcement

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Categories Lists, Other people, PregnancyTags , , , , , , 12 Comments

I am 11 weeks pregnant with twins. This isn’t my first pregnancy. In fact, these will be my fourth and fifth babies. Since I’d announced three other pregnancies I foolishly thought this time wouldn’t be any different.

I had no idea that upon hearing “It’s twins” any filter or manners a person may have immediately go out the window. Here are the 10 worst reactions I’ve experienced:

  1. “Better you than me.”

    Why? Do you know something I don’t know?

  2. “I’m sure you’re stoked but I’d die!”

    This was said to me by a nurse practitioner at my pediatrician’s office. Shouldn’t she be easing my nerves? Shouldn’t she have wonderful advice and maybe other twins moms I could talk to? Shouldn’t she stop using the word stoked?

  3. “You’re going to need a new house”

    “You’re going to need a new car”

    Thank you for your concern but do you think that you’re sharing new information? I can assure you that the financial needs of 5 kids were some of my very first thoughts and fears.

  4. “Was this planned?”

    ummmmm… yes? I have always been an overachiever.

  5. “You’re going to HAVE to pump… give formula… get them on the same schedule… hire help.”

    I assume you’re basing this on your vast experience with twins.

  6. “My friend was pregnant with twins but she lost one at ___ weeks”

    Thanks. Like I wasn’t already worried about miscarriage or vanishing twin syndrome.

  7. “Welp, guess we won’t be seeing you next year!”

    Said a teacher at my son’s school. As she’s perusing the buffet I organized for a Valentines treat. No soup for you!

  8. “Maybe NOW you’ll get your girl”

    Because my 3 boys are so terrible?

  9. “Oh! Your poor poor boys”

    Siblings suck. So do big families. WTH?

  10. “You’re going to be HUGE!!!!”

    I know this is true, but I really don’t want to hear about it. Especially from someone wearing a size 0.

Not everyone’s reactions were awful. There are many sweet ones that stay with me when I’m feeling nervous about having 2 babies. The next time someone tells you they are expecting multiples please hug them, tell them they are the perfect mom for their babies, and remind them you’ll be there the whole time.

Elizabeth is expecting twins and is the mom to three amazing boys. She lives in central Texas.

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