When you are expecting twins, you have a lot on your mind. Yup, you worry. A lot. You wonder (and pray) if you’ll make it to Week 37. You cross your fingers that your babies will spend little or no time in the NICU. And then when you do finally bring them home from the hospital? You still worry.
You worry if they are getting enough milk and growing accordingly. As they hit the toddler years, you worry if their speech is on target (as twins experience speech delay more often than singletons do).
And then come the school years and you worry some more.
You worry if you’ve made the right classroom placement decision. You worry about their relationship—their bond—too. Are they spending too much time together? Or, are they fighting constantly? Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. And on it goes.
I know first hand how much worrying goes into raising twins. Not only have I spent many a sleepless night worrying about my own twins but I see it here every day on my website in the search terms people use to find information on parenting twins. Some of the worry is understandable (like if you’re gaining enough weight during your twin pregnancy) but other concerns are needless. Below is a list of unnecessary worries. Take a look and then resolve never to worry about them again!
Don’t worry about your twins’ first birthday party. (Or any birthday party, for that matter.)
Forget about the “Two Peas in a Pod” party theme. Resist buying the “Thing 1; Thing 2” party t-shirts. Don’t even think about ordering that three-tier Noah’s Ark cake.
Seriously. The first birthday party is for the adults, not the twins. At age one, your twins won’t even remember the day much less be affected by it. So give yourself a break and keep the day simple—a few family and friends over for a barbecue and some cake. Take a few photos of your twins (together and separately) smearing chocolate frosting all over their faces. And then call it a day.
Your twins won’t notice the absence of pony rides or an ice-cream sundae bar. They will not hold it against you when they are older. I promise.
Don’t worry about spending too much time alone with each twin.
Taking only one twin out for an afternoon is a joy. A delight. Just snuggling with one baby while his cotwin naps in the other room is pure bliss.
Yet some parents fear that if you regularly spend time with just one twin this will hurt the “twin bond,” or that they are subtlety showing favoritism of one twin over the other.
Nothing could be further from the truth.
There is a difference between relating to your twins as a pair and relating to each one singularly. They are different people when they are together than when they are by themselves. Alone time allows you the opportunity to get to know that single little person, and to form a deeper, one-to-one connection with each of your twins.
Furthermore, allowing each twin some time apart from one another actually helps to nurture their bond as everyone needs time alone to develop his own sense of self, especially twins.
Don’t worry about your toddler twins fighting.
So many parents worry that their twins will never grow up to like each other as their twins are always fighting. Well, the truth is….are you ready for it? Twins are siblings and all siblings fight.
Some days my twins (now 18 years old) are so mean and nasty with each other I can hardly believe what’s coming out of their mouths. Yet, an hour later there they are laughing together about some stupid photo on Instagram. Blows my mind every time but there it is.
And get this…some sibling squabbling is actually very good, even healthy, as it’s a way for kids to learn the art of negotiation. To learn to speak up for themselves.
So stop looking at all the cute photos of identically dressed twins holding hands. (I bet they were pulling each other’s hair out right before someone snapped the photo!) Stop listening to all the über moms telling you how much their twins love each other. (Those moms are exaggerating!) As long as you allow each twin his own personal space and the opportunity to pursue his own dreams without the added pressure of having his twin tag along, their relationship will mature and blossom. Just give it time.
Don’t worry about treating your twins equally.
Instead of focusing on treating each twin equally, concentrate on treating each “uniquely.” Why? Because your twins are not the same. They never were. They were each born with their own likes and dislikes, their own personality quirks, their own temperaments. At some point, one twin will need something that the other does not—a new pair of jeans, a math tutor, a $1,000 loan. Then what? Do you give the other a pair of new jeans, a math tutor, or the $1,000 loan even if he doesn’t need it just to even things up? Of course not.
So the same can be said for your time and attention. At some point, one twin will need you more than the other. And that’s OK. Give the twin who is needy what he requires and don’t worry about his cotwin. His turn will come soon enough.