To the New Mom of Twins

When I think back to what we were doing this time last year...well...I can't remember much. It's kind of hazy, but somehow we survived.  Somewhere around the five-week point at dinnertime I remember taking a look around after another of our friends had dropped off a meal and thinking, "I am never going to be able to cook dinner EVER again.  How on earth are we going to afford take out every night?"

(Spoiler alert: I now make dinner (almost) every night.  It is possible.)

But back then our schedule was filled with round-the-clock nursings, diaper changes, clothing changes (both mine and the babies), constant loads of laundry, never finding time to make or eat meals or even get a refill on a cup of water without assistance.  Keeping two teensy people alive took all of mine and Tyson's energy and then some.

It was crazy.

Me with Caden and Brooklyn at about three weeks old.  Please note the strategically placed phone, book, water, burp cloths, and both babies, all within arms reach.  ARMS REACH IS IMPORTANT WHEN YOU'RE NURSING APPROXIMATELY ALL OF THE TIME.

If my new-mom-of-twins self had time to read this (and then to remember what I had read), this is what I would tell her:

Just breathe. Make sure you eat.  Nursing or not, you need to keep your strength up.  MEAL PLAN.  I've always done meal plans but it has recently been brought to my attention that some people don't and I'm not sure how to survive without one.  It's how I can make the aforementioned dinners every night.  And try to drink as much water as you can.  Those hospital cups are pretty handy.  I know that sometimes three hours pass between the time you think "Boy, am I thirsty" and actually getting your cup filled, but drink up when you can.

Tackle little projects, but don't get too obsessive about things being clean and picked up. You don't have time.  Fourteen months in and things STILL aren't too clean or picked up around here.

Try to get a shower each day: it helps you feel like a real person.  You might be wearing sweats and a shirt that gets spit-up on within five minutes, but those five minutes are WORTH IT.  And if you truly can't fit in a shower, dry shampoo makes all the difference.

Don't try to keep up your old schedule.  I went from being a relative night-owl to going to bed at 7 or 8 every night, since it was the only way to even possibly get a 2-3 hour stretch of sleep.  You'll be up plenty, so get that rest when you can.  I felt completely lazy, but I also wouldn't have been able to do anything productive since I was totally exhausted by that point.  (And psssttt...keeping two little people (and yourself!) alive and happy is anything but lazy).

Your time is not your own for awhile.  IT PASSES.  Sort of.  You will eventually have some time to yourself again.  If you're nursing, you will someday be able to leave the house and make plans without crafting them around who needs to nurse when.  It will become less daunting for both you and your husband to take care of them on your own, without help, while the other gets some much needed baby-free time.

Don't expect to do everything your friends with one baby can do.  It's virtually impossible to get any meaningful grocery shopping done when you have both babies along, in carseats, and the only "cart" you can use is the canvas bottom of your stroller.  Storytimes and other "mommy and me" classes are often structured for a one parent-to-child ratio, and while they will often make exceptions for multiples, there's a good reason for that ratio...more than that doesn't always work so well.  It can feel isolating when you see other mommies able to pick up their one child from the nursery, or take them out of the car and waltz right on in for your playdate, or give them their full attention at the playground, while you wrestle with two carseats, two little bodies, and that ever-present double stroller.  Find some other moms of multiples to talk to.  Your friends with one baby or kids of different ages just can't understand like a multiples mom can.

It will feel like the biggest accomplishment of your life the first few times you leave the house solo with your two babies.  It kind of is.  Running what used to be a simple errand will now require the planning and logistics usually reserved for mobilizing an entire army. It gets easier.  You're not crazy for rehearsing through each step of leaving the house and entering the store in your head.  And if that does make you crazy...well, then I guess I'm insane.

Their schedules will sync up eventually.  It took us a good eight to nine months for their naps and bedtime to be completely in-tune with each other.  From talking to other twin moms it sounds like even ten to twelve months isn't uncommon.  Just don't EVER allow their feeding schedules to be opposite.  You need to keep your sanity somehow.