My first year with twins was like an extended episode of Man vs Wild, minus all the grossness. Syncing nap schedules, breastfeeding two babies at the same time, dealing with perfectly synchronized poop-fests was indeed a challenge.
And I am glad I got to experience all this. Watching my twin boys growing up little by little right in front of me was a surreal experience, despite all the challenges that came with it.
I’ll have to write a whole book to sum up my first year of motherhood without. But since that’s not happening right away, here’s a humble attempt at listing down my key takeaways:
- It’s a Roller Coaster Ride
Being a mother of two babies who communicate their feelings by crying at the top of their lungs is not easy. There were days I felt like cutting off my ears with a pair of scissors. But then again, things like watching them sleep like two little angels, hearing them giggle when I made faces, their tiny fingers wrapped around my finger made everything worthwhile.
Surviving the first year with one or multiple is a crazy roller coaster ride. It makes you go through a gamut of intense emotions. And at the end of the ride, you always end up wishing that it lasted a bit longer.
- You Don’t Have to Purchase Two Sets of Everything
Bringing up two kids is an expensive affair but with experience, we brainstormed a few clever ways to save money. For example, we stopped by tons of clothes after observing their rapid growth. I mean, my boys would outgrow clothes before Internet Explorer could load one page. We also invested in a specialized baby monitor for twins instead of buying two separate monitors. Our babies live in separate rooms and the monitor broadcasts live stream from both rooms on our iPhone.
- Fellow Moms Become Your New Homies
It can be annoying at times to get non-stop advice from the mama tribe of your neighborhood or peer group. Our online group is always super active, sharing their wisdom, hacks, epiphanies, and drama all day. While I don’t really vibe with that tribe for many reasons, I have to admit that tips and opinions come quite handy in the hour of need.
- Trust Your Gut
Don’t underestimate the eerie powers of motherly instincts. If something smells fishy to you, you are most likely right. When it comes to making big decisions for your baby and confusion kicks in, listen to your heart before you blindly trust someone else’s opinion.
Parenting is intuitive. It took me weeks to figure out simple parenting stuff like how much milk to pump or how to fold cloth diapers properly. However, I eventually found my way. Even though there’s still a lot to learn and I’m only getting started, my unflinching faith in myself keeps my brain from becoming a floopy mess.
- Sleep Training with Pacifiers Are a Scam
Sleep training with pacifiers is a bad idea, something I learned the hard way. It prevents them from falling asleep on their own. I remember having to change their pacifiers 4-5 times every night which meant they needed my help to doze off. So once they are old enough to get sleep training, ditch the pacifiers. Your goal should be to help them fall asleep independently. It’s not the easiest way to sleep train but definitely more sustainable. Pacifiers should be only given to babies below 4 months.
- There Will be Tears, Lots of Them
My hormones lost track of time, place and occasion as soon as my baby boys started developing in my chamber of secrets (no regrets for cracking the pregnancy joke ever). My tear ducts would go nuts at every tiny developmental milestone and mishap of my newborns.
I remember I cried my eyes out for something as trivial as running out of tea bags in the middle of the night. My point being, if you find yourself crying all the damn time in the first year, know that it’s normal. You are not going crazy.
- You Gotta Embrace the Chaos
You can’t take care of two newborns with an exhausted body and mind. In my first year with twins, my husband and I were sleep-deprived, shower deprived, hungry, dehydrated for days. We wore clothes inside out and we ate frozen crap for weeks. Eventually, we realized that the chaos is not a phase but a part of our lives now. But now that we reflect on those memories, we can proudly say that it was all worth it.
My first year with twin babies was a revelation. Those physically and emotionally-taxing 12 months forged me into a stronger, more resilient woman. I watched my little bundles of joy grow rapidly in front of me, witnessed my tough-as-a nail husband being morphed into a caring papa bear. It wasn’t easy but it was magical. That’s all I can say.
Now that I can feel my eyes tearing up a bit, I am going to stop writing, head downstairs and watch Shrek Forever After with my kids.