The first three months as a mum of two has been a wonderful time, of course, but it’s also been a huge adjustment responding to the round-the-clock needs and learning each baby’s likes and dislikes, while trying to keep some sense of self. Here are a few lessons I’ve learned.
You can’t do it all and you can’t feel bad about that fact. With the best will in the world, and even with all the bouncers/swings/rockers you can afford, you just can’t. Sometimes one baby has to cry for a little bit whilst you are doing something else. Sometimes both have to – the bottles won’t wash themselves and some things are non-negotiable – like a daily shower (even if it is only 5 minutes to feel human again). It may sound harsh but there is nothing more you can do than your best.
Don’t feel too guilty about the little shortcuts that make life easier. The newborn stage is not forever – so if you need to have the odd takeaway to give you time to work on the mountain of laundry, do it.
Plan ahead. As confident as I began to feel taking the boys out and about, it really helps to get organised beforehand. Not only do you have to pack a changing bag for two and no doubt manoeuvre a huge pram in and out of the car, but all the places you used to frequent are now a new experience with two babies tagging along. If you are heading to a shopping centre, for example (and especially if you are going it alone), it will be ten times more manageable if you can snag a parent and child parking bay. And it’s handy to know where the best changing facilities are, should you need them.
Get out for fresh air every day. Sometimes you may not feel like it when you’re running low on sleep and it takes so long to get ready, but it can make the world of difference. People find twins fascinating and will always stop to talk to you. Yes, you may have to grit your teeth and smile when you hear the same old clichés over and over, but you’ll never tire of people telling you how beautiful your babies are and how well you’re doing for getting out of the house!
And finally –
Some things you just can’t do on your own and you only find out through experience. I discovered this when the car needed refuelling for the first time after my husband returned to work. I didn’t like the idea of leaving the children locked in the car whilst I dashed to pay. Nor did I feel it would be safe to unload them and traipse across the forecourt. I even telephoned all the local service stations to see if any of them offered a ‘pay at pump’ service. None of them did. (In the end, I went to the quietest garage, parked at the pump nearest the pay point and was very quick, but since then I have only filled up when someone else is with me!)
It is hard at times, and I never shy away from admitting that when asked. But the difficulty is overshadowed when you experience the huge sense of pride that goes along with nourishing and nurturing not one, but two small babies!