Life with twins is crazy. It is also completely amazing, challenging, hilarious, and by far the hardest job I’ve ever had! I’m sitting here listening to the girls chatter each other to sleep… wait, strike that, now they are both wailing. Such is the way with twin 2-year-olds.
If I had a dime for every time someone said, “I always wanted to have twins!” I’d be a rich woman. Far fewer people have actually offered to babysit.
It must be one of the most special relationships to be a twin. They always have someone to play with, to conspire against their parents with and to grow up with knowing each other from day one. Even now, I wonder what the girls think about always being together.
The most exciting moments for me and my husband have been seeing them hug each other for the first time, learn to share, and carry on a conversation with one another. The most challenging were feedings during the earliest months, training them to sleep through the night, and potty training (still in progress). There is really nothing more angelic than twins who have fallen fast asleep. I can only imagine what that is like for parents of higher order multiples!
Parenting twins means one has to become much more organized than ever before. I am in awe of all the single parents of twins and multiples out there. My husband and I share all of the parenting responsibilities. In one day, he can cart the girls to the park, take them to lunch, deal with tantrums in stereo and potty train, all without blinking an eye. Fathering twins is not a spectator sport, and it is not for wimps.
It sometimes feels like an assembly line getting ready in the morning, during meals, diaper changes and bath. I think, “Wait, did I just change you, or your sister?” I have looked for efficiencies where I can find them. We would alternate mouths while feeding baby foods – forget about the germs! We would try to feed them both when they woke up at night. Of course, there was no guarantee they would cooperate. We never could find a way to streamline diaper duty, don’t think we didn’t try! Through all of this, I have to consciously slow down and take time to enjoy the mayhem that is my life.
One of the most important things is to have a good support network. This holds true with one child or 10. I believe that choosing to surround yourself with positive role models and nurturing support is the first step to being the best parent you can be.
We are lucky to have many resources in our area that are dedicated to the mission of helping young families. I encourage you to learn more about the organizations below for your own family or for someone you know. They would love to hear from you!
- Twins and Beyond is a local group for parents of multiples. Find information, support, playgroups, and make friends who will encourage you on your journey.
- Parenting Now! is an organization dedicated to strengthening families through parent education and support.
People often comment on how difficult it must be to raise twins. I don’t really see it that way. I know some only children who would wear me out far faster than my twins do. Having twins is just one of the many wonderful ways of being a family. There is always joy, there is always exhaustion and there is always something new to learn.
As for my husband and me? We wouldn’t have it any other way.
Katherine Crenwelge, M.D., is a pediatrician with Oregon Medical Group, the mother of twins and an alumnae of Birth To Three/Parenting Now!. This article was written for Parenting Now!, a nonprofit organization dedicated to strengthening families through parent support and education. For more information and more parenting columns, visit http://www.parentingnow.org or call 541-484-5316.