When Does It Get Easier For Parents of Twins?

As parents of twins, we all get a constant stream of questions from strangers about our doppelgängers: “Who’s older?” “Are they identical?” and even, “Who’s the good twin?” But there’s a whole host of separate questions that as parents of multiples we ask each other, especially when our kids are young. The number one inquiry? “When does it get easier?”

Good question, indeed.

Most veteran parents of  twins will answer, “It doesn’t get easier. It just changes.” I agree, somewhat. As the mother to 15-year-old twins, I think it’s more like a roller coaster, with each stage having its ups and downs. But really it all boils down to you and what you can handle. For instance, are you immune to the chorus of two newborns crying at once or are you better at turning a deaf ear to toddlers tantrumming in tandem? Or, do you have the fortitude and the tenacity for dealing with school administrators who may not see your side of the classroom placement debate?

If you break it down, the first month with newborn twins has got to be the most difficult, especially for first-time parents. Talk about a baptism by fire!  Not only is it emotionally difficult (think of all those postpartum hormones wreaking havoc) but physically challenging, too (think sleep deprivation). One newborn is demanding enough but two little babies (or more) who may have different temperaments and sleep habits can be exhausting and put any parent’s patience to the test. Yet within a few months, once you get the hang of breastfeeding or bottle feeding two at once, or feel like a human again once both babies begin to sleep through the night, you do hit a “sweet spot.” And then you’re rewarded for a short time with all the “firsts.” First smile, first laugh, first time rolling over.

And then it changes.

twin girls fighting over toyDuring the toddler years, your twins are off and running. In opposite directions. Always. You can’t possibly keep up with their energy. You can’t keep them clean. You can’t keep them in their cribs. Or in their beds. Your once pristine home becomes a battleground of toys. And those curious toddler twins enjoy banding together causing mayhem in your home or sometimes, sadly, in someone else’s.

Oh, the stories I’ve heard. One mom told me her toddler twins dumped several buckets of water in her walk-in closet. They wanted to make a swimming pool. The damage to her wood floor was in the thousands! Another mom’s twins locked her out of the house during a snowstorm. She was barefoot.

Still, the toddler years have their moments of bliss, too, like the day they’re finally potty trained. (Who would have thought that peeing in a toilet would bring such joy?)  Nighttime is a bit easier too as a tired toddler can sleep ten hours, easily. Plus, they can actually feed themselves! They say, “I love you,” willingly and often. But the biggest reward during the toddler years comes by just stepping back and observing their lust for life. Their curiosity is insatiable as well as infectious. And so is their laughter.

And then it changes.

Welcome to the school years. Yes, your twins are gone for an entire day and your double daycare bills are a thing of the past. (What will you do with all the money you’re saving??) Or, if you stayed home with them, you’re now free to rediscover or reinvent yourself, not to mention shower. Maybe you can go back to school or start a new business. The sky’s the limit! It’s exhilarating! Ah, the freedom!

But hold on a minute. Although the school years can be a great time of life, educating multiples in a system designed for singletons can be challenging for some parents. Not only do you have to decide from year to year about classroom placement for your twins but you may also have to convince your school district that you’ve made the right choice. And what happens if one twin struggles either scholastically or socially while the other becomes an über student who makes friends easily?

For me, those early school years were exhausting. I remember dealing with pure “homework hell.” Both my boys needed lots of help during the primary grades to complete their reports—the mission report in fourth, the state report in fifth and then the country report in sixth. Bad enough trying to help one boy navigate through the writing process—how to find legitimate sources, how to take notes, how to organize the material, how to avoid plagiarizing—but two at once? Where’s my Tylenol?

But then it mellowed.

We’re in a period of family life now that I like to call the “Golden Age.” At 15-years-old, my fraternal twin boys are super students who can organize their time well and get their work done. (Good thing because I couldn’t possibly help them with their math now!) They’re potty trained, tantrum-free, and when they run off in opposite directions, I consider that a good thing. They’re too young to drive so that whole drinking-driving-texting thing hasn’t reared its ugly head…yet. Yes, they roll their eyes on occasion or back talk when they think we’re being “unfair,” but for the most part, they’re funny, intelligent kids. I like being around them. I know this may not last forever but for now, I’m lovin’ it.

So, in answer to the question, yes, Virginia, it does get easier.

What do you think?

 

11 thoughts on “When Does It Get Easier For Parents of Twins?

  1. bea.

    I asked people this all the time in those early months and got so many different answers. So far, the toddler years are easier than the newborn for me if for no other reason than I can sleep.

    Reply
  2. samonnier

    You’re post gives me hope. My girls are three months old now. They are our first. They are both sleeping for seven/eight hours during the night now, which is a godsend. It’ll be nice once they start to talk and can tell us, at least semi-clearly, what they want!

    New mommy.
    Samantha

    Reply
  3. Evelyn

    Oh, what I wouldn’t do to be past the stage we are in! My identical boys are 2 1/2 – that says it all, doesn’t it? I try to take it day by day and take special notice of the times when they are playing nicely together (not stealing toys from one another), laughing together (not biting each other) or when one goes looking for the other. I know its a phase, but, boy, its hard!! Great blog, by the way!

    Reply
    1. Christina Baglivi Tinglof

      : )
      I understand completely! I remember thinking, “I should be loving this, right?” But there were times when I clearly WASN’T. And then all of a sudden, poof! They’re 16 and in high school rolling their eyes telling me I “just don’t understand.” How did that happen??

      Reply
  4. julie

    This was nice to read… i have two week old twin girls and feel like I am never going to see the end of the crying all night, no sleep and constant, feeding, burping, changing, pumping routine. My baby blues aren’t helping the situation and cant tell if I have ppd or just overwhelmed tired and hormonally messed up. I hope its the latter… and am praying that my girls can start sleeping, even if for only 2-3 hrs stints during the evening, my dh goes back to work on Wednesday and I will be the only person getting up to care for them in 2 nights.

    Reply
    1. Christina Baglivi Tinglof Post author

      Hang in there! Is there anyone who can come over and give you some relief, even if it’s during the day for an hour or two? A member of your family? A girlfriend? Ask and you’d be surprised who would volunteer. Also, try to get out and about–put the babies in a stroller and go for a brisk walk. It really used to help me.

      Reply
  5. julie

    I am going to the mall today to do a lap :) I unfortunately don’t have a lot of family in the area, but need to learn how to ask for help. Thanks for the recommendations. I also have been cleared to work out at 2 weeks postpartum/Tuesday (had the girls vaginally, not via csection) so I am hopeful that the workout will make me feel like my old self again!!

    Reply
    1. Christina Baglivi Tinglof Post author

      People WANT to help but you need to ask! Exercising is very beneficial emotionally, spiritually and physically. Good luck and don’t hesitate to write at any time!

      Reply

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