They say that when your baby finally arrives, you can throw everything you’ve learned about newborns out the window. Well, when you’re expecting twins, you can throw it out the window before they’re even born. At 26 weeks pregnant, I found myself in the hospital being pumped full of drugs to stop my contractions. I’m glad I didn’t waste my time researching whether I wanted to attempt a natural delivery or opt for a C-section, because it wasn’t my choice anyway. Those babies were ready to come, and come they did a few weeks later.
And so we entered the first six months of parenthood. I wish somebody had told me the reality of life with newborn twins. It’s exhausting, it’s not fun, it’s nothing like you had envisioned, and you wonder if the work will ever end. I didn’t feel the completely-in-love-with-my-
1. Order Groceries
You aren’t lazy or a bad mom. This makes you nothing short of smart and resourceful. Save your energy for all the stuff that can’t be ordered (like changing 24 diapers per day!).
2. Ask a Friend to Start a Meal Train for You
You are lucky if you get 15 minutes to prep food in the kitchen. And if you get an extra 15 minutes, your time would be better spent sleeping. Home-cooked meals that you can nuke in the microwave are on par with eating at a fancy restaurant when you’re managing newborn twins. The more friends who participate, the better!
3. Join a Local Twin Moms Group
I remember feeling silly when I joined a twin moms group. I remember thinking, these women don’t know me. I have close friends with newborns if I ever need advice. It wasn’t until I hit three months in and was about to lose my shit that I understood their worth. Those ladies saved me in a way that nobody else could. A built-in support group who has walked in your shoes (or is walking right beside you) is simply the bee’s knees.
4. Ask for Help
I repeat: Ask for help. You and your partner will be working full-time, around the clock. The sleepless nights and days run together, and before you know it, you have no clue if it is 6 a.m. or 6 p.m.—and it doesn’t matter because your job is on endless repeat! Relief from somebody who can keep a baby alive for a few hours while you take a nap is worth its weight in gold.
5. Let Sleep Win
Sleep is the Holy Grail when you are managing newborn twins. If you have a choice between cleaning the house or sleeping, sleep should win every time. If you have a choice between meeting Beyoncé for lunch or sleeping, sleep should win every time. The few times I made a choice other than sleep, I quickly regretted it.
6. Throw Money at the Problem
If you are sick of living in a dirty home, hire a maid for a few months. If you would like to minimize your time washing bottles, go buy another six-pack of bottles. If you think a second swing would help keep the babies asleep for an extra hour, go buy another one. I promise that you will not regret the decision to spend a little money to make your life a lot easier.
7. Always Think in Bulk
I don’t mean just stocking up on massive quantities of diapers and wipes (which is a given). I mean doing anything possible in bulk—washing bottles twice per day instead of eight times per day, preparing pitchers of breastmilk or formula instead of preparing single bottles each time. The more efficient you can be with your time, the better.
8. Find a Way to Unwind
Maybe this means you take a walk every night. Maybe this means you have a glass of wine or take a 30-minute bath. Maybe this means that you watch an episode of Modern Family while you feed your babies. Whatever it is, you need the break for your mental sanity and well-being.
9. Accept Your Friendship With 3 a.m.
The moment I told myself that being up at 3 a.m. was my new normal, it made waking up in the dead of the night a little better. I realize this is just a mindset, but it really made a huge difference. I gave myself permission to live during the nighttime like I lived during the daytime—I ate, I watched TV, I pumped, I washed bottles, and I took walks. It made me less grumpy and more accepting of my new life.
10. Don’t Sweat the Singleton Standards
I remember feeling like an inadequate mom when I compared myself to singleton moms. I’d see them out in public looking put-together, glowing with joy, their baby dressed in an adorable outfit. In comparison, I was a train wreck, my babies were lucky if they had socks on, and I would do anything to pawn one onto my friends or relatives for a quick break. Do yourself a favor and try to live up to the following twin mom standards: Dressing your babies is optional (and by dressed I mean wearing onesies). Dressing yourself is also optional. It is perfectly acceptable to live in your nightgown for a few days (or a few weeks). And finally, any chance you get to be baby free and have a few moments to yourself, relish the moment.
Looking back, I don’t know how we made it out alive. But here we are, a year later, and things are good. Happy, busy, crazy, still utterly exhausting sometimes, but good. There is nothing as difficult as those first six months, so just take it an hour at a time. And remember, when you’re having a bad day, reach out to your twin moms group and cut yourself some slack—you’ll be out of the thick of it soon enough.