I’m a new mom to twin boys which means I’m sleep deprived and have very little tolerance for people’s ridiculous comments, like “Twins?! How is it? I’ve always wanted twins!” Sure, I love my kids, but I can never seem to wrap my head around someone wanting multiple infants at once. I feel like people expect me to talk about how magical and amazing it is, but newsflash: It’s hard AF. When I let them in on that secret, they look at me like a 6-year-old who was just told that Santa isn’t real, as though they truly believed that having twins would be the greatest thing to ever happen to someone. Sure, it’s double the smiles, but it’s also triple the need for wine.
Having twins is what I imagine being on Chopped is like, only for life. For those of you who don’t know, Chopped is a cooking show on the Food Network that consists of an initial four contestants cooking meals for judges using surprise “basket ingredients” throughout three elimination rounds. The catch is that they have strict time limits and are given four ridiculous ingredients that they must transform and use in their dish.
The host starts each round with a short introduction to the ingredients and sends the contestants on their way. “In this round, you will have 20 minutes to make an entree that consists of rusty nails, breast milk, canned dog’s breath, and the powdered cheese sauce from easy mac. Good luck, time starts now.” It’s stressful for the contestants, they mess up (a lot), and usually someone ends up bleeding. It’s thrilling! The person who gets chopped pretends like they are “just happy to be there,” explains how they will continue to cook even though they lost, and walks out of the chopped doors, never to be seen again.
Yep, that’s life with twins. Only in my version, it’s always about surviving the hour in between daycare pickup and bedtime. Instead of mandatory ingredients, I’m given mandatory tasks that must be finished before the hunger cries of 7 p.m. start. The stakes are high and the reward (wine) is great, but it’s no problem, I got this.
“In this round, Mommy will have 20 minutes to get the twins and five bags inside, unpack everything, dismantle and wash bottles, get the three dogs outside and fed, change the kids, start the laundry and have bottles in babies’ mouths before meltdowns commence. Good luck, your time starts now,” and I run off with two babies, five bags, and begin my challenge.
Getting the front door open is typically my first challenge since my hands are full of shit. But it’s cool — I’ve only wasted 4 minutes, 16 to go. I get inside, get the boys out of their carriers, put the bags down, and start to organize: toys in tiny hands, dirty clothes in a pile, name labels off of all 10 bottles, bottles with milk into fridge, empty bottles into sink. Unfortunately for me, I use the bottles with six damn parts. It’s cool though, no crying babies yet.
Fourteen minutes to go. I get the bottles disassembled, parts soaking in hot water and soap, and move on to the dogs. I’m overwhelmed by the stampede as they run outside, their eyes begging me to play. Who has time for games when the clock is ticking? I hear a couple of cries and go inside to see twin A hulk-smashing twin B on the head. I also smell a dead animal. Oh no, just a diaper. Time for a change (x2). Oh, it’s up twin B’s whole back. Great. Time is really ticking away as I get them changed and cleaned.
Seven minutes to go. I get the washer started with the first load of laundry for the night and come back upstairs to switch the boys to a new toy to keep the cries at bay. Two minutes to go. I feed the dogs and start on the daunting task of rinsing the bottle pieces with hopes that I can make it through all 60 pieces before the hunger tears start. Like the requisite Chopped ingredients, all of these tasks are essential to keep the days moving semi-smoothly. Have to wash bottles because those are needed around the clock. Have to feed the dogs because not doing it is called animal cruelty. Have to make sure the poop is getting washed out of those clothes because mama’s Etsy habit isn’t cheap. Have to make sure twin A isn’t bashing in his brother’s head because… That’s an obvious one, right?
Also like Chopped, time has run out, babies are screaming, and I am nowhere near finished with my tasks. Spoiler alert: I get chopped 100% of the time. I explain to them that they are just going to have to wait this one out. Not a fan of the “cry it out” method? Cool, what’s it like to have one kid?
As they scream louder and louder, I thank them for the opportunity to experience this, pretend like I’m happy just to be here, tell my fake audience (because I’m clearly losing it) that just because I’m chopped doesn’t mean that I’ll completely give up on being a mom. I send a text to my husband that he better be home from work in an hour to help with bath time while I pump, or else I’ll walk out the door, never to be seen again. (kidding!) (maybe)
If my kids aren’t crawling by the time they are 13 months old, it’s not them — it’s me holding them back because I’ll never be ready to add to the routine the responsibility of keeping them away from every potential hazard. Kids are great, really, but trust me when I say that the next time you try to tell me how #blessed I am, I will be sending my to-do list over to you while I sit and drink a bottle of wine.