Oh, twin motherhood. Whether you were overjoyed to find out you had more than one bun in your oven, or you were truly stunned and horrified (totally me), there’s no denying that being a mom of two at once comes with, well, some unique challenges. Surviving a twin pregnancy is certainly a feat unto itself, but then you give birth and realize that was only the beginning. Taking care of two infants while running on virtually no sleep whatsoever is a test of sheer human will and desperation—so much so actually, that three years later I basically can’t remember one single detail (true story).
But as difficult as it is to have multiples, raising twins is also equally as joyful, hilarious and fun. Sure, strangers on the street will provide a ton of unsolicited commentary on the two little people you’re pushing around in your mammoth double-wide stroller, and maybe some days you’ll honestly wonder if you’ll be able to make it to bedtime without having a total emotional breakdown. But the truth is, no matter what, you’ll figure it out. Because you have to or else twin motherhood will eat you alive.
My fraternal twins will be 3 next month, and I’ve since learned that there are certain truisms that only women whose wombs have housed more than one fetus at a time can properly understand:
1. You will have a favorite twin, and it will be whomever happens to be behaving at that current moment.
You love them both equally, of course, but let’s be honest here—you don’t love them equally at the same time. There will usually be one twin who’s decided to do you a total solid and be sweet as pie while the other loses their damn mind, and no matter what, that is the kid you’re going to love more. Fortunately, it usually doesn’t take long until the favored one becomes the kid who’s freaking out, thus restoring balance to your twin mom heart (phew).
2. You’ll start to feel a bit like a tiny traveling circus.
People love twins, and it’s mostly cool, except when it’s not. You get a lot of stares and people will often ask the same few questions over and over (yes, stranger in the mall, I know I have my hands full!). But it’s also hard not to feel like a bit of a sideshow just due to the amount of space you take up, the noise level, and the increased likelihood of epic public meltdowns from one or both children (and, on particularly bad days, maybe you as well). Those are the days when all you’ll seem to see around you are perfectly polished and carefree moms of one, with their babies calm and happy in the baby wrap carriers that you automatically became ineligible for as soon as you heard two heartbeats on the ultrasound. But hey, at least you’re never bored.
3. Or sometimes you’ll just feel like a really small day care.
Being a mom of twins has made me seriously wonder how there are actually people in this world whose entire job it is to take care of a bunch of energetic toddlers simultaneously. I can barely handle two of them most of the time, and they literally came from inside my own body. It is almost always chaotic, my house is almost always a mess, and some days, I just don’t know how to keep my cool. Then I remember that some people sign up to do this for a living. And then my head explodes.
4. You will recruit pretty much anyone to help.
I have a few mom friends who didn’t leave their babies in the care of anyone else for months—and sometimes years—after they were born. They were on mom duty 24/7, they were the only ones their little ones wanted, and the idea of leaving their babies for any decent length of time seemed completely unappealing to them. Sometimes I think if I’d only had one child, I might feel that way too. But with two? No way. You have got to be kidding me.
When the twins came home from the hospital, it was all hands on deck, and it’s pretty much been that way ever since. I have no qualms whatsoever if others want to jump in and help co-parent, because seriously, I could use some tag-team action. In fact, you don’t even have to ask. What’s that? You want to babysit? Sure! Another sleepover at Grandma and Grandpa’s? Why not! At this point, my kids are used to it and are pretty much happy as clams to hang out with basically anyone. It takes a village, right?
5. Your house will be a disaster, and your car will look like you live in it.
I know that apparently there are mothers out there whose houses don’t look like a tornado has just blown through, but you know what, I’m not one of them. I used to try really hard to stay on top of all the housework and tidying, but eventually I realized that it was a waste of time and the tiny amount of energy I have left at the end of the day. Because no matter how great the house looks the night before, I know it’ll be a disaster again about, oh, five minutes after the twins get out of bed the next morning. So now I don’t even bother.
But my car—oh, my car. I don’t quite understand how this happens, but it’s almost as though the amount of crap in my car seems to multiply independently, in some kind of spontaneous reproduction of baby gear and extra clothes and peanut-free, individually wrapped snacks. Toys, rain boots, old chicken nuggets, balloons—you name it, I’ve found it in my car. But the upside? I’d be totally set in an emergency because I have everything.
6. You can’t imagine having only one and wouldn’t want it any other way.
As hard as it can be to have twins, sometimes I honestly feel like every singleton parent in the world is totally missing out. Not only do I get to witness these two awesome little people growing up and saying things and being generally hilarious and cool, but they get to have a built-in friend, a buddy who has been there since literally day one. Having two babies was a big surprise, and one I don’t necessarily think I would have picked myself if I’d had the chance. But looking back, I’m really glad it picked me.
As our twins get older, and especially now that they are smack dab in the insane soon-to-be-threenagers stage, my husband and I constantly marvel at the insanity that is twin parenting. Some days, having two children the exact same age just seems like it shouldn’t even be possible, because it takes so much out of you all the time (and lots of moms have triplets or more!).
But then there are the little moments—the times when they hold hands at the park, or have conversations with each other in the backseat of the car, or when you give them a snack and they insist on bringing one to their sibling as well—and our hearts just explode. It is its own category, this twin thing, and everything is multiplied, not just by two, but exponentially, more than you ever thought possible. And what all twin parents know is that no one else could ever truly understand it like another twin parent.