Twinfant Tuesday: Singleton Moms… and Me

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

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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Dana is the Queen of her castle in the Pacific NW, with her husband and three boys (two rambunctious identical twin 7 year olds, and her sweet, cuddly toddler.) She is a full time working mama, a feminist, an optimist, and a fiercely loyal friend. Her favorite word is GRACE and her daily mantra as of late is "live simply". With such a crazy and amazing life happening all around her, she finds balance in her yoga practice and occasional morning runs in the fog. She loves reading mommy blogs, and connecting with the wisdom of others.

4 thoughts on “Twinfant Tuesday: Singleton Moms… and Me”

  1. Oh yes! I have a good group of friends that all have had singleton babies and they seem to congratulate me with every accomplishment– like getting two carseats out of the car or even just packing up my twins (4 months old now) to go somewhere. And while I love the support I get from them and that they acknowledge twins as being a lot of work, I also want to tell them that really, I just do what I have do, same as any mom. Just because there are two of them doesn’t really change that. Newborns are hard! I certainly try to avoid the trap of saying that I think one would be so much easier (even though I will admit to thinking it sometimes) because every mom has her struggles, be it with one, two, or three (or more!) babies.

    1. The response I give to people who ask, “How do you do it?” to put them at their ease is, “I lower my standards.” That seems to always get a smile and ease any tension/feeling of inferiority the parent of a singleton may feel.

  2. I felt very alone when my girls were infants. We were on “house arrest” for the first three months (per our pediatrician). I had just left work to be a SAHM, and I had no “mommy friends”. I wasn’t even on Facebook! 😉 Looking back, I am really lucky I had a couple of awesome non-mommy friends (as funny as that sounds) to boost me through those first 3-4 months. When I finally made some mommy friends, they were all fellow twin mamas…and that holds mostly true for me, a full five years later.

    I say all that to say, I never really had the experience of being in a group of singleton moms. I can imagine how uncomfortable that must have been! Blessings that you get to experience another addition to your family! :) :)

  3. I had a similar experience at a breastfeeding support group, and when I returned a week later to meet with the lactation consultant individually, she told me that the group talked about me after I left saying they, “had no room to complain after seeing me with my two babies.” I felt like this was both polarizing, and complimentary at the same time. Such a strange experience. I agree that people have the best of intentions when they say things like this. But I totally understand that feeling of, “I came here to relate, not to feel different!”

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