All moms feel guilt but no one does it better than a mom of twins. That feeling of inadequacy that many mothers experience at some point in their lives? Double it for the woman with a baby on each hip.
So what do moms of twins feel guilty about anyway? They feel guilty when they have to divide their time between two babies or when they spend more time with one twin than the other. They feel guilty when they are drawn to one baby more than the other, too. Tired and exhausted, they feel guilty that they can’t do it all and desperately want some help. And they feel guilty when breast-feeding their duo is simply not an option for either health or personal reasons.
Whew! That’s a lot to take on. (Perhaps you can relate?) But let’s put this all into perspective, ladies.
First, a small amount of guilt is actually good. It’s your mind’s way of checking yourself, a motivator to be a better person, a better mom. It can offer clarity. Asking yourself, “Have I given both babies enough alone time today?” makes you evaluate your behavior and perhaps make positive changes. That said, however, too much guilt is counterproductive. Constantly criticizing your parenting (“I’m such a bad mom. Why can’t I breast-feed my twins?”) is destructive and just plain useless.
So if you’re a mom of twins who feels guilty, take these steps to keep it in check.
Stay-at-home mom or full-time working professional, if you have twins, you simply can’t do it all (or at least do it all very well). Nor should you. You need help. But you don’t have to be über wealthy to afford it. You just have to use your imagination and look in the right places. For instance, tap into your arsenal of relatives—in-laws, nieces and nephews, sisters and brothers—they’re all fair game. No family close by? What about a college or high-school student looking to make a few extra bucks a week?
And what about the guilt (ugh—there’s that word again) about leaving your sweet cherubs with a stranger? Hiring a baby-sitter is not only good for you and your mental health but it’s also good for your twins as they’ll learn to be around different people and not just Mom or Dad. Whether your head out the door or simply hang out in the next room, you’ll come back to your twins refreshed and upbeat.
Take advantage of “moments.”
Moms of multiples feel like they never get any one-on-one time with each child. Although regularly carving out an afternoon alone with just one twin is vitally important, if you can’t swing it give yourself a break and take advantage of “moments”—those small slices of time that by themselves may not mean much but over a period of a week can amount to plenty. For instance, take your time while diapering each of your twins. Gaze into his eyes, nibble on his toes to make him laugh or blow some raspberries on his belly. If one child wakes up earlier than the other, quickly whisk him out of the nursery before he wakes his brother and then spend a few minutes cuddling together on the couch. Even taking one baby with you to run a quick errand to the post office is an opportunity to make that intimate one-on-one connection that builds the bond between mother and child.
Three mornings a week, I head out the door at 6 a.m. for a brisk, four-mile walk with my female neighbors. We work up a sweat and talk about everything from family and career to fears and frustrations. It’s cheap therapy and great exercise.
What’s the point? Find your passion and indulge it.
Don’t hide your guilt.
Instead own it. Acknowledge it. Talk about it with your significant other or at the very least, a good friend. Get it out in the open. And then dial it back.