Got twins? Feel unprepared? Those who do feel this way are far from alone. In fact, quite a few mommy forums have topics completely focused on the realities of raising twins: What mommies expected, what they didn’t, and how to cope with everything that life with twins throws their way. Interestingly, one whole thread on Babycenter is dedicated to the good surprises moms of twins have had – as in, life with twins wasn’t at all as difficult as they thought it would be.
That’s great, but there’s obviously still some struggles with doing everything double duty, depending on the personalities, schedules, and other twin differences. No baby is the same, and neither is any set of twins!
What works for one mom may not work for the other. So, these stories will help new mommies prepare for their own twins – the good, the bad, the ugly, and the adorably cute!
The following stories are all from real moms of twins who want to share some of the realities of raising twins, whether it was easier than they anticipated or more difficult than they ever thought. It all comes as a part of mommyhood, but raising twins can double an already stressful period of life. Then again, they can also make it twice as amazing!
15 Timing Is The Key To Happiness (And Sanity)
Megan Glaros is a Chicago meteorologist and the mommy of fraternal twins. She wrote a blog post for WhatToExpect.com, saying that the key to her sanity while raising twins – who were one-year-old at the time of her writing – was an awesome schedule.
“Put your babies on a schedule. Kids need to feel confident in their parents. This follows for every age, but as babies, it's a more abstract concept. I am convinced that our twins can tell "baby time." They know OUR schedule. Seriously. And it makes them feel secure that they are gonna get fed. They don't waste time stressing themselves or us by crying and fussing, because they innately KNOW their timing. Maybe my strict baby scheds are a selfish thing??? Maybe I need the kids on a schedule so that I can try to survive my own crazy life? I'm not sure. Whatever the reason, I pass along the result: happy, well adjusted, trustworthy kids.”
14 Nothing’s Impossible, Even With Twins
One mom on the Babycenter Community forums, mommytotwingirls, responded to a question asking if raising twins was easier than moms expected. Here’s what she had to say:
“Yes, I found it to be easier than I could have imagined. Now, of course, the first 3 months really, really sucked. The first year wasn't a picnic, but it wasn't impossible nor very difficult. When I was pregnant with the girls, I read all the multiples boards on Babycenter, and was terrified by all these stories of women not showering for days on end, only grocery shopping alone, and only at 2am since it was the only time they could. There was no way I could live my life like that. I'm proud to say that I've never missed a shower in 5 years, and I started grocery shopping not ALONE, but WITH my girls in tow from the time they were 2 weeks old up until last year when I started grocery shopping while they're in preschool.”
13 The Friendship Dilemma
Kayla Andrews is the mom of two twin boys. She wrote a blog post for Twiniversity.com that discussed the difficulties she’s had maintaining friendships after having twins:
“When we have kids, multiple kids at that, we change. Our priorities change, our time allotments change and our social life becomes non-existent, at least for a while. We no longer have time to text our friends all day or even reply within the same day. We no longer have the energy to stay out all night drinking wine because we know that on the days where we could use that extra hour of sleep, the kids will wake up an hour early. We no longer are able to keep up with every detail of everyone’s life because we are too busy drowning in diapers.”
12 An Age Gap Helps
Another mommy over at the Babycenter Community forums, beansmomof4, talked about her experience with having an older child who was able to help with the twins helped tremendously:
“After they were both released from the NICU, I found that having twins was surprisingly easy to handle. My older child was six and a half by the time they were both home, so it was a lot easier than a toddler.
It's a lot of work, and I certainly wouldn't call it easy, especially if one or both of them has special needs. However, my daughter had no issues and in fact was a massive help. She loves her little brothers. My partner and I...I can't remember the last time we fought. Sleep was hard to come by at first, but both started STTN early.”
11 The First 16 Months Are…Interesting
Anne Shmidt wrote an article for Twiniversity that talked about some of the things she’s learned while raising her then-16-month-old twin girls. We have to say, it sounds like quite an interesting experience!
“After accidentally brushing one twin toddler’s teeth with the other twin’s toothbrush, I thought to myself ‘Should I brush the second twin’s teeth with the wrong toothbrush as well, just to even things out?’ While changing twin newborn diapers in the middle of the night, exhausted and crying I thought ‘How could this entire case of diapers be defective, with tabs that do not stick?’ (Realizing in the morning that I was trying to put them on inside-out in my sleep deprived stupor.) While seeing that the twins steal and trade their water sippy cups all day, only drinking a collective ounce of filtered water, I think to myself ‘Is it really necessary to provide a cup for each twin, or should we just be honest about this reality and share one cup?’"
10 Who’s Who?
One reddit user, Nillows, told this honest story about how difficult it can be to tell twins apart until she started noticing subtle differences:
“Twin B was breech, and sitting on top of the cervix, and refused to turn around. As a result, we opted for a C-Section. Baby A came out first, and then he got named and wristbanded. As Baby A was being weighed and tended to, then out came baby B. We said our hellos, and he got prepped and banded.
So at the hotel (and at home, for quite a while) they had their wristbands, so we could tell them apart. During that point in time, we'd become familiar with their features, moles, asymmetries (One cowlick goes one way, the other the other way) and various things. (Things we joked about doing, pre-birth: Stopping at the Tattoo parlor on the way home. Getting one of them circumcised.)”
9 The Twin Connection Is The Coolest
You’ve heard about the crazy connection twins have, right? Jenny Benjamin explained in a blog post for Café Mom just how awesome it was to witness the bond between her twins as they got older:
“When I would breastfeed them together, I swear I thought they were gazing at each other from across my chest, not realizing that they could barely see that far. In the last several weeks though, they don't just look at one another, but they reach for one another too. In fact, my Berm will often grab at his brother and pull, like he wants to get closer. Herm is a pretty loving brother himself. Just yesterday, at the pediatrician, Berm was having a bit of a meltdown. When I couldn't seem to console him, I laid him down on the table next to his twin and, no joke, Herm reached his arm out to his brother's shoulder, and within seconds, my fussing boy had calmed down.”
8 Raising Twins With PPD
Post-partum depression (PPD) is a very real condition that is finally getting discussed like it should have been all along. Too many women go too long without seeking help, feeling as though their deep feelings of depression will go away on their own. One woman named Amber shared her story of raising twins with PPD on TheTwinCoach.com:
“For me, it was very difficult to recognize the difference between sleep deprivation, the complete life changing event of having a baby (much less, twins) and depression. I truly thought I was going to go crazy when my boys were around 3 months old and still not sleeping more than 2 hours at a time. Their sleep was getting worse, not better. I was doing the nights by myself because my husband needed to sleep in order to work 12-15 hour days. We were all barely surviving. I was keeping it together on the outside because I loved my boys and needed to be strong for them, but I was falling apart on the inside. What is a normal amount of stress when raising two infants at the same time? It felt normal at the time, given the circumstances.”
7 Double-Disaster Divorce
Divorce is never easy on anyone. When there is a kid involved, it’s even tougher. When there are two kiddos involved – twins, especially, with a ridiculously tight bond with both parents – things can get even more complicated. Stephanie Leininger shared her story in a blog post on Twiniversity:
“I focused on my girls. I met every question with the thought, “What is best for the girls?” To this day, whenever a conflict with my ex-husband arises, my mantra is: I love my children far more than I will ever allow myself to hate him. In retrospect, I wish we would have known how hard divorce would be. I wish we had entered couples therapy earlier. I wish I had known that EVERYONE ultimately takes sides in a divorce, and sometimes that side isn’t your own. I wish I had known the strength of a twin’s bond with a particular parent and that loyalty to a particular parent could divide my children’s allegiance to each other. I wish I had known that three person roller coasters don’t exist, and that I would always be forced to choose, and no matter how fair I tried to be, as a twin, one of my daughters would always perceive an injustice.”
6 Raising Twins With Extra Needs
Kelly from TheMommyDialogues.com shared her twins’ story, who both were diagnosed with cerebral palsy, a condition that affects motor functions, causing things like stiff muscles, balance issues, and even impairs a child’s ability to walk. Here’s her story:
“Cade and Avery both have monoparesis that affects their right legs, mainly their lower right legs. Cade is hypertonic (his muscles are tighter than average) whereas Avery is hypotonic (weaker/looser muscles than average). They both wear a brace (AFO) on their right leg that covers their foot and extends to their knees, only at night right now, but have worn it around the clock in the past. Cade has had to have casting done on his leg to stretch his muscles out. To be honest, most people don’t even notice anything about them other than that they walk kind of funny. I think most people write it off as just a random, unusual gait. Medical professionals typically notice, but otherwise, they will most likely get by in life without many people realizing what they deal with on a daily basis.”
5 “We Didn’t Raise Them Like Twins”
Some parents love dressing their twins alike, calling them “The Twins”, and constantly reminding them that they’re twins. Others are just the opposite, doing everything in their power to ensure that each child has his own identity. This mom on reddit, known as “dudleydidwrong,” explained her success in fostering individualism:
“Mine are adults now, and one of them even has her own twins (but they are fraternal). Anyway, just last year our identical twins told us that one of the things we did as parents actually worked. We tried not to raise them as twins. We said they were sisters who had the same birthday. We didn't let other family members call them "the twins." We insisted on individual names. We did not dress them alike. They were in different classrooms whenever the school had two classes for the same grade.
So, last year they told us that they did not realize they were twins until sometime around third grade. They both remember sitting in their bunk beds in second grade and talking about how it would be fun to have a twin. I'll call that a parenting success.”
4 Mom’s Health Still Comes First
What’s a mom to do when she has little babies to take care of, but she has her own medical problems? Sysy Morales told her story in a blog post on SheKnows about battling diabetes while also juggling twins:
“It's a balancing act raising twins and staying on top of my diabetes. Motherhood's forced me to be more disciplined about managing my blood sugar levels. Now that I have two little kids who rely on me at home, I can't let my blood sugar levels get dangerously low. If something happens to me and I pass out, not only are my kids too young to call for help, but they might get hurt without my supervision, and I worry about this all the time. It's not just about me anymore. Motherhood's changed me. I'm more centered and focused. I have no time to waste. Every free hour gets put to good use. Put you and your partner first. It will help keep you healthy enough to be a good mom.”
3 Homeschooling Is Quite The Challenge
Moms who already homeschool other kids can definitely find it a challenge to do so after they have twins (or to homeschool the twins themselves!). Honey Woods wrote a blog post for Twiniversity.com that detailed some of her struggles as a homeschooling parent of six (including a set of twins!):
“Having toddler twins around has potentially made this one of my most challenging school years so far. In the past, when I had a busy toddler around during our school time, often the solution would be a little one on the hip while simultaneously helping a little student. Those of you with twins, especially if you’ve had a singleton to compare the experience to, know what I’m talking about when I say it’s just not the same with twins. An available hand to write or even just to point to something is not always a viable option while holding two littles. So this time around, I’ve had to get a lot more creative.”
Honey mentioned her top tips for keeping her twins occupied include preparing them snacks, including them in the fun, and having her older siblings help out with the twins if they finish early!
2 Marriages Survive (With Lots Of Work!)
Some couples seem to pull together even more once they have twins. Because, really, what choice do you have, right? Marlana Zank shared her story in a blog post for Twiniversity:
“The most important thing our marriage with twins has is a sense of humor and most of the time going with the flow. Going into our marriage I had already been a mom to my daughter for seven years, while my husband had no experience with children. What a surprise it was to introduce my husband to parenthood than with twins! I think that put us back on even ground. Even though I had more knowledge about raising a child, twins are a whole different story. I told my husband early on that it gets easier around age four; our twins are almost five and we see no end in sight! While things don’t always get easier, they become a different kind of hard and we adjust accordingly.”
1 It’s Still Possible As A Single Mama
Single mommies of twins, this one is for you! Yes, raising twins alone can seem impossible, but it is possible with the right mindset (and lots of coffee, probably!). Kristen Maree Cleary shared her experience in a Twiniversity blog post:
“As any single parent of twins knows, creative problem solving is a must. One of my most creative solutions since having my girls was finding a way to be a stay-at-home mom, despite being single. I had the benefit of some money that I received after my parents passed away, and I chose to sell my apartment and rent elsewhere, so that we could live off that, while I tutored online part-time.
Naturally, I do need to rely on myself for most things when it comes to raising my girls, but I don’t really mind that. In fact, it’s often a point of pride for me to be able say that I have done most of it alone. However, in the two and a half years since their birth, my friends and family have continued to come through for me.”
Sources: Babycenter.com, Reddit.com, SheKnows.com, TheMommyDialogues.com, TheStir.CafeMom.com, TheTwinCoach.com, Twiniversity.com, WhatToExpect.com