Our beautiful, determined, cheerful, bold, stubborn, adorable twins turned two this month. Two years of our world being turned upside down in the very best way possible. Two years of juggling and multi-tasking even more than your average mum. Two years of watching our eldest develop into a caring, kind big brother. Two years of seeing our girls grow into loving, special, spirited individuals.
Photo credit: author's own
Being a twin mum has definitely given me a different perspective on life. So, to celebrate our girls turning two, I thought I'd share some of the lessons I've learned for my first post on the HuffPost blog.
A tidy home is over-rated. I used to be desperate for a 'show home' house and would always try and keep the house in a decent state just in case anyone decided to 'pop' round. No more.Life's too short. I'm getting much better at 'styling it out' when people come over and the house is a mess. I know that people who I care about don't care about trivial stuff like that anyway.
With some babies breastfeeding works, some it doesn't. Now I'm not trying to be particularly controversial with this statement. Nor am I about to quote scientific research - this is just my experience. My eldest wouldn't latch on for love nor money. Yet I tandem fed the twins like a pro in the early days. From early on though twin one was hungry and would glug away at a bottle too. Not the case with twin two. All babies are different. Our bodies work differently with different babies. There is no point beating ourselves up about it.
Developmental milestones anyone? Having twins has taught me that even if children are exposed to near enough the same experience, they will still develop at a different pace because the are individuals. Something else not to beat ourselves up about. Twin one walked a good few weeks before twin two, yet twin two has talked more clearly than her older sis for months now. Often we put too much pressure on ourselves about things that are actually beyond our control... (as much as we may like to think otherwise!) like what we could have done better to help reach developmental milestones quicker. What does it really matter anyway?
Wine at teatime is fine (sometimes). At times I know I am a more patient parent with a glass of wine in my hand at five o'clock. Not every night. Just those nights where teatime is turning into a nightmare and I need the patience of a saint and instead am tired and irritable. I know it's not advice we'd find in any parenting book but this can help me be just a little less uptight about table manners etc and therefore the 'witching hour' can pass with less confrontation and more cheeriness.
Recording 'mindful moments' helps stop life passing in too much of a blur.Yes the camera on our phone can help us with this but if you're not about to start a blog I advise keeping a gratitude log which is explained here. Such a helpful way to remember and appreciate the little things. Even when life is incredibly hectic.
Grab the 1-2-1s when you can. We all understand the importance of connecting with our children, but it can be tricky carving out individual time for each of them when you have more than one or multiples. Initially I thought people meant taking one of the kids out by themselves on special treats but actually I soon realised that you can have '1 to 1' time very easily at home. Nappy changes are a great opportunity for me to focus on just one of the twins and have a very special interaction while I do a job!
Sharing is bloody difficult for anyone ESPECIALLY little ones. I know the phrase 'sharing is caring' is lovely and also extremely catchy. Yet we tend to avoid using it in our household. None of us are very good at sharing - including me with my biscuits, laptop or phone. Instead we talk about 'turn-taking' and are trying hard to encourage this.
We are capable of more than we think. I will never forget the moment we found out we were having twins. We had the scan at Guys and St Thomas's Hospital, London. Afterwards I remember standing on the platform at London Bridge station feeling on cloud nine. Then suddenly it hit me. The doubt. I cried and cried. I had barely been able to cope with one baby, how was I going to cope being a twin mum? But do you know what? I needn't have worried. Yes I was knackered in those early days (and truth be told I still am much of the time). BUT I am a mum of three beautiful children - including toddler twins - and we're doing just fine.
This post is a revised version of a post on my blog. If you'd like to find out more about my life with twins and my mindfulness mission then please visit the blog or my business website here.
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