Hi remember me? It’s been a while. See the previous posts.
Seriously. It’s nuts here! Yes yes, it’s wonderful and yes yes it’s such a blessing- but also downright crazy at times. People ask all the time “how’s it going?” and I never know how honest to be. Usually we just smile and say “so good!” Don’t get me wrong- the twins are great babies and Jackson is a blast. But there are TWO of the babies and Jackson is more like a loose cannon. I’ve been thinking of some of my twins survival mantras and here’s what I’ve come up with.
1. Be nice to your partner. I know Seth is rolling his eyes right now because he thinks I do NOT follow this one. Believe me dear, the mean things I say to you are just half of what I’m thinking! But they’re not deserved or fair. Here’s the thing- just because he leaves the house and I’m with the babies all day, that’s no reason to take out my frustrations on him. He’s busy and stressed and doing what he thinks is best for the family just like I am. He’s making sacrifices too. And at the end of the day, being mad at one more person doesn’t really help anyone. If you can’t be nice, just know when you shut up. Write that nasty text and then delete it instead of sending it. Last night I was really mad at Seth so I took an extra long shower (the kids were all in bed) and just spent time alone instead of saying what I wanted to say because I knew I’d regret it. This is a time to be alongside your partner, not a time to compare who does more and who works harder. Believe me, you’ll both lose. And take care of each other! Seth and I both know the look on the other’s face that precedes them punting a kid through the wall and know to step in then.
2. Ask for & accept help. This is another one that I don’t follow very well. I feel like these are my babies so I should be able to take care of them on my own. There are so many Super Moms out there that we compare ourselves to, but that’s so not fair because who knows what life is like when they’re not in the spotlight. So- do as I say and not as I do to maintain your sanity. And while you’re asking for and receiving help, know what that person is capable of. If a friend gets anxious around babies, don’t give them the fussy kid on your lap. Tell them you haven’t eaten today and ask them to go make you a sandwich! But if that friend has maybe recently had babies or doesn’t seem phased by the fussing, hand over the kid and go make yourself a sandwich! Eat woman!
3. Try to make light of anything you can. My cousin Kari is great at this one. She was always coming up with ridiculous new lyrics to songs to make them about poop. My personal favorite was “Big poopy, in your diape” to the tun of Big Pimpin’. When we can’t find pacifiers around here we sing “ahhhhhhhh paci patrol.” A few weeks ago I rapped “poop, poop a doop, poop a doop a doop a doop” along with a few verses (to the tune of Shoop by Salt n Pepa). Any time you can. Try to smile.
4. Be grateful. It really annoys me when people tell me things could be worse. Yes, I know things can be worse but that doesn’t mean that what I’m experiencing right now isn’t bad! But when it comes to this situation, for some reason it works for me. When I have 2 screaming infants in my face I try to stop and think of what a miracle they really are and thank God that I have 2 screaming infants in my face. Things can take a turn for the worse in any pregnancy, but add twins to that and the fact that they were 5 weeks early… they really are a miracle and we are blessed to have these 2 little maniacs with us.
5. Remember how fast is goes. Jackson is two! TWO! Holy crap! He was a handful as an infant, but we got through it and somehow got this far beyond it. So when the minutes are barely ticking by and I’m losing my mind, I need to remember that these days (as long as they feel) are short. Conversely, I also need to remember that tomorrow always comes.
6. Misery loves company. Read some funny blogs, supportive blogs, informative websites, etc. Find people out there who have been through this (recently preferably… time has a way of erasing the craziness of newborns) and reach out! I find I have a lot of time with one hand free to play on my phone or iPad and love reading Pregnant Chicken and others similar to her. Or, find blogs that have nothing to do with being a parent but let you daydream that you are rich and unattached and taking last minute trips to Italy. Whatever floats your boat.
7. Be insanely organized. I have systems with systems with systems. Back-ups to my back-ups. It’s completely crazy but completely necessary. How long has that bottle been out? Whose paci is whose? When was that diaper changed last? There are no clean bottles! All these problems are solved with my systems. This is where having someone to help complicates things though. My mother, bless her heart, has been here a few days every other week or so since the twins were born. She is amazing with the babies and with helping around the house and making sure I do things like shower and eat. However, we go through and lose more pacis when she is here than I would think possible. She doesn’t follow paci protocol. BUT, there is very seldom a crying baby (or mother) when she’s here so that’s the kind of thing I have to convince my OCD to let go of a little.
8. Have low expectations for your day. Every morning I have one thing I want to accomplish and a list of bonus activities. If you have more than that on your plate, you’re going to drive yourself nuts because you’ll constantly be thinking “I need to be doing this, going there, cleaning this” and not focused on what’s really important- those babies! Have one thing you know you can get done and kick its arse! I have a really hard time just sitting around and always feel like I should be doing something productive (even though taking care of the babies is far from “sitting around”). Plus I think people have no idea what it’s like here during the day and expect the house to be clean, everyone to look decent, etc. That is, people without newborns. I know most people really don’t think that, but that’s one of the pressures I put on myself. When I have a bunch I want to accomplish, it’s hard on me and the babies because my patience, which is normally not amazing, is even shorter. Know what is feasible and what’s important for you to get done. Know what you can do one-handed (or with a Baby Bjorn on) and what can be done when/if both babies sleep at the same time (hallelujah) and prioritize those things when appropriate. Speaking of one-handed activities, make sure you analyze the things you do to increase productivity. We started buying a new brand of paper towels because the previous brand was too hard to tear off with one hand. I shop for groceries with that in mind too. Those little things can add up! The aluminum foil has been flung across the kitchen more than once due to its complicated manner.
9. Exercise. Holy cow this is the most important one I think. I beg Seth to come home any time during the day so I can go for a run. If that can’t happen, I will run with the jogging stroller to get Jackson from daycare or ride my bike with the carrier attached. If none of those can happen, I take a walk/run after everyone is in bed. Something to get outside, get moving, and get away from the house. It’s amazing what that can do for your mindset! There was one particularly rough day that Seth came home around 5 so I could run to get Jackson. I had been feeling terrible, was in tears, and felt like I just seriously couldn’t do this anymore. I wasn’t a quarter mile from the house when I was able to start thinking clearly again- that I was doing “this” and had to do “this” and the only thing I could control about “this” was my attitude. Sometimes it takes getting away from the chaos to see things more clearly. And distance makes the heart grow fonder. It’s nice to like your children every now and again.
10. Remember nobody is as good as you. My sister in law told me this when I had Jackson and I didn’t really get it until now. When your baby is fussy or crying or hungry and needing a bottle and someone offers help, take it! No, they won’t calm them down as quickly as you can or get them to eat as well (or burp as well) as you can but that’s OK. The one big time I can see this not working is if you’re nursing. Nobody can do that as well as you nor should they be allowed to try.
11. Look at cute pictures of the babies. When you want to punt them through a wall, look as some of those cute cell phone pics you have taken and remind yourself that sometimes you like them.
12. Put make up on. Or do your hair, or just get dressed. It does wonders! Also on this note- make your bed. You can only control a few things throughout the day and these are some of them.
13. Do your best! There are pleeeeeenty of times I’m not able to look at the maniacs as miracles. There are pleeeeenty of times I want to punt someone (or everyone) through a wall. I’ve sat outside on the deck alone for a few minutes while the babies cried (and truth be told, cried myself) just to collect myself and go back and try again. Like a previous point, there are too many Super Moms to compare ourselves to- just stop! One example that I’m currently struggling with is my production issues (if you have to ask, you don’t want to know). I never had this problem with Jackson. I said I’d nurse only as long as it made sense but now that it’s not really making sense anymore, it’s not that easy to give up. I’m having a lot of guilt thinking we might have to go to 100% formula sometime soon. Plus I really loved nursing Jackson and when I do get to nurse a baby without it feeling like part of a production line now I absolutely love it. Part of the struggle is that I have the capability of making enough, just not the time to pump so it’s dwindling little by little. But, I have to remember that the reason I don’t have time to pump is that I’m taking care of the babies and when it comes down to it that’s the important thing. But it’s still hard. Another area of issue it the house. Every day it looks like it was hit by a tornado. Some people are able to let it sit that way but I’m not. I cannot sleep with dirty dishes in the sink. It stresses me to no end to know there’s a mess in the living room while I’m upstairs in my bedroom. BUT there are several areas that I’m just letting go in the house. A few days in a row I found that the laundry not being done was the thing that really pushed me over the edge. So, I told Seth I am done with laundry and if it’s going to get done he has to do it. I still do a lot of it, but can totally blame him when the kids don’t have clean jammies (kidding. See rule #1)
14. Take it easy on each other. We have to stick together and stop comparing ourselves to Super Mom! We all do what’s best for our kids and our families (and our sanity, whatever shred is left) and need to support each other instead of judging. And take it easy on yourself! Stop comparing yourself to anyone else- each situation is unique!
These are all things I need to remind myself of daily. I hope I didn’t paint a bad picture here… we really do feel blessed for all of our kids and can’t imagine life any other way. And these are all things that every mom needs to remember, not just moms of twins. It’s just that having 2 of them I should probably read through them twice every day!
I have been posting a lot about the diapers aspect of this blog lately and I hope to have some wallpaper updates soon! We are thiiiis close to having the deck stairs done and have some really fun ideas for the backyard area. Soon! Until then… I have a few babies getting ticked off in the next room so I better go!