5 ways to cope when you are in the trenches with twins
The parenting journey just like any other relationship has its ups and downs. Throw twins who haven’t fully developed communication skills (the toddler years) into the mix and it’s enough to make you feel crazy most days!
I work full time and my mom cares for the twins during the work week (I’m blessed to have her!) – so I typically only spend a couple hours with the twins each day and then we have the weekends together. Unfortunately, the weekend is also when I catch up on chores and other errands so my time and attention is not always there for the girls.
Because they are at the age where they are now exploring, testing boundaries, fighting and just trying to do it all, the day can quickly go downhill when I have other tasks to complete (even worse if I have to leave the house with them in tow).
I try to practice mindfulness and patience with the girls when it all seems to get out of control. There must be a way to enjoy this time with my twins and not feel so overwhelmed all the time!
I have tried a few things that have helped me so far and they may just work for you too:
1. Take a trip down memory lane
When you start to feel like you can’t do this anymore, take a moment (hiding out in the bathroom is acceptable), take your phone/tablet out and find those pictures of the twins when they were little babies, when life was ‘easier’.
Allow yourself to soak up the memories and gush over how cute they were. I guarantee in no time your mood will be lifted and a smile will be tugging at the corners of your lips.
Go ahead, test it out (this works even when you are not at that ‘point’). Stop reading for a bit and switch over to your album of pictures or videos with the twins at an earlier age, I’ll wait…
Now, doesn’t that bring a smile to your face? If you aren’t smiling right now it means you didn’t do what I asked and you should go and do it, even if it’s just 3 or 4 pics from last week.
[Video]: View my trip down memory lane
2. Jump right in and play
Sometimes a complete melt-down comes out of nowhere, especially with toddlers, but the majority of other times when the twins are throwing a tantrum, fighting or just being ‘clingy’ is usually when you have things to do or need to give your attention to another task.
Your babies up to toddler years need a lot of attention and engagement to feel secure. Add another sibling who is demanding exactly the same thing at the same time and it becomes rough on a mother of twins.
If you notice that they are getting to their breaking point and you have not spent any QUALITY time with them up to that point just take a break and jump into an activity with them. Get down on the floor and really play with them or turn the music up and have a mini dance party.
Most times whatever you are doing can wait another 10 or 15 minutes. Plus, if you truly give them your attention and immerse yourself into whatever activity they are doing your mood may just get better too!
If you are spending lots of quality time and your toddler(s) are still constantly craving attention, try a few of the tips in this article from the positive discipline blog – Toddler Demands Constant Attention
3. Adjust your perspective
Parenting isn’t hard it is just a tedious role and the sooner you stop comparing your journey to the seemingly perfect twin mom on Instagram or Pinterest is the sooner you will start to feel less anxious and more in control.
If your first babies are twins you may still be subconsciously holding on to the image in your head of being that mom who seems to be able to do it all, including going out and about at any time with her baby in tow. But when you have twins you have to be able to tune that out and accept that raising twins is going to mostly feel like a circus act and that’s fine.
Instead of complaining that the rose bush is full of thorns, be happy the thorn bush has roses. ~ Proverb
You can either look at this point in time – your journey; as being a failure, that you are incompetent or think ‘when am I going to start enjoying my kids?’…
You can change your perspective. You were destined to become a mother of twins, you are strong enough to bear it and your twins will turn out just fine (great, even!). You are doing your best and this time with your twins passes by too quickly. Embrace the chaos and enjoy this moment with your twins, don’t wish it away for ‘better’ days.
4. Get mental
When the going gets really tough it sometimes helps to take a mental break. Take a few (or a lot) of deep breaths, the increased oxygen to your brain will reduce your tension and anxiety level. You can do this anywhere you are and as many times as you need throughout the day.
This cute video of Elmo learning how to get rid of his angry monster is not just great for your kids but can be good for you too (even better if you all do it together):
You can also repeat affirmations as you go through the rough spots in your day. Instead of telling yourself that this is hard work or that you must be doing something wrong, choose to repeat these words instead:
“I’m a mom of twins, I’ve got this!”
“I am doing the best I can for my children”
“I am Mother Milk Goddess!”
“I am MoM, a comforting and safe place for my babies”
“I am blessed to be your mom”
By stating what you want to be true in your life as a parent, you mentally and emotionally see and feel it as true, regardless of your current circumstances, and thereby attract it into your life.
5. Ask for Help
For some (maybe most) twin moms it can be very isolating when your twins arrive and you feel like you have no one to talk to that understands what you are going through, or others downplay your experiences as just something every mom goes through.
It’s easy to respond by withdrawing from family and friends and throw all your energy into caring for your family and shut yourself off from others, but it’s just so hard to do this alone!
I read an article from the today’s parent website on how to ask for help. It shares some really great tips such as putting a list of chores you need help with on the refrigerator, when to say ‘No’ and when to say ‘Yes’ to help and a few other tips.
If you don’t want to deal with asking family and friends for help you could consider paying for assistance now and then to make some time for yourself or just to give the twins your undivided attention (do something fun for all of you). Care.com is a great place to access help with the kids, housework, elderly family members, and errands. It’s free to join and you can have a look at what kind of help is available near to where you live. Then you can use their services when you really need it.
If you regularly practice even just one of those 5 tips above I am certain you will feel better about your role on this journey of raising twins.
Just writing this out to share with you has helped me tremendously, so I know it could help another mom. Please share with at least one other twin mom, it may just be what she needs to hear right now.
‘Til Next Time