Every day I read about working moms stressing over their kid’s sleeping patterns, eating habits, and how their lives are miserable because of this and more. They’re constantly asking for help and advice on how to make it easier.
No one is perfect and my husband and I haven’t always done things correctly. I still get stressed out… I still feel the “mom guilt…” But, people have said that we are tackling this kid thing with flying colors. I mean, we have survived twins for the past 4 years as our first ever parenting experience while both working full time.
That’s right, surprise! Twins!
I remember seeing that picture of two gestational sacs on the ultrasound. Being a veterinarian, I knew exactly what they were. My husband was standing up against the wall, silent. He had called this on the way to the appointment. Twins run on my side of the family, and he commented about how crazy it would be if we were to have twins. My husband is more the level headed one, me not so much. I immediately started stressing. I’d been secretly stressing about this appointment, and seeing the twins for the first time, caused me to panic. He looked at me and told me we could do this, together.
We are doing this together, figuring out what is working for us and keeping it simple. Just because you keep child-rearing simple and you don’t stress over the perfect bottle, the perfect bassinet, the correct way to burp, or the precise timing of breastfeeding, doesn’t mean you don’t love your child any less and are not a good parent.
Our philosophy was this: simplify, get sleep, enjoy you (and spouse), and love your kids (and spouse).
Like a lot of modern moms, I was dead set on breastfeeding. Yep, you heard that right, dead set on breastfeeding twins. And I did… for about a month. Breastfeeding was hard on me, as it is for a lot of new mothers. I was exhausted, battled a tongue-tied newborn, and was constantly glued to the recliner. Tandem feeding is not fun. You can’t get up and walk around while nursing. I could barely reach for the remote to change channels. I was miserable, but society makes you feel that if you quit, you’re giving up on your child.
You’re going to feed your baby formula?!?!
Damn right we did. My husband sat me down. Explained to me how I wasn’t enjoying this special time in my life, I wasn’t enjoying being a mother. He recommended we give formula a try, and it was the best decision we ever made. We bought the store brand formula after days of research. My husband even went as far as filling up a jug of tap water and letting it come to room temperature so we didn’t have to keep heating up bottles. Such a smart man!
Share the misery
We both got up in the middle of the night when it came to midnight feedings. We kept both girls on the same schedule. If one wanted to eat, they both ate. If we changed one diaper, we changed the other. My husband and I never relied on the other one to do all the late-night feedings and changings. This did mean that we were both miserable, but we were miserable together, and not jealous of the other. When there is no jealousy, it helps to keep things simple and relaxed in the relationship.
Don’t be germaphobe parents!
We were not germaphobe parents. You will drive yourself insane trying to keep everything clean and spotless. We stuck the pacifier back in their mouth after it had been on the ground. We let the dogs lick and get close to them. I came home and loved on them still dressed in my smelly clinic work clothes. I feel all of this has contributed to their great immune systems. They are rarely ever sick apart from the occasional 24-hour fever and runny nose. Daycare germs have nothing on the twins!
A few other tips…
Accept hand-me-downs, whether it be baby clothes, bottles, bassinets, rockers. It saves you so much money!
When they’re younger, make their baby food. It doesn’t take as much time as you’d think. We ended up never buying a single cup of food from the store for the twins. Plus, it made me feel like SuperMom knowing exactly what was in my kids’ food.
And as far as starting solids, let them eat what you eat. Why not? Why are you buying them separate meals for the first 2-2.5 years of their lives? If they eat off your plate, you’ll eat less. It’s a win, win!
People tend to think that babies are these fragile things. Heck, cavemen were carrying them on their backs in subzero temperatures! Yes, I know we’ve evolved from that, but things were simple, and they survived… for the most part. 🙂
Get some sleep!
Apart from simplifying, we also focused on getting the best sleep we could. From day one, my husband and I were adamant about not co-sleeping. The twins slept in bassinets next to our bed for the first month, then we moved them to their room. It was a surprisingly easy transition.
Starting at 3-4 months, we tried the cry-it-out (CIO) method. And it worked! Now, you may call us hardasses, being able to let your babies cry for 20-30 minutes sometimes, but we kept at it and have benefited from it in the long run. Yes, it was emotionally draining at first, but guess what, they fell asleep and were sleeping through the night at 4 months old.
And, dang it, we gave pacifiers! And, we slept even better! Now, at 4 years old, they fall asleep on their own, rarely tip-toe into our room at 2 am, and sleep straight through the night.
Now, on to enjoying you. If you’re reading this, you’re most likely a mom that works and enjoys working. Guess what? That’s ok! We can work an occasional late night. We can miss a soccer game or dance recital. We can occasionally feed them in front of the TV if we’re exhausted when we get home. Just don’t feel guilty about it! We’re not perfect, we don’t have to be, and our kids will still think we are. We are awesome women!
Please, don’t be afraid to live some resemblance of your old life, and don’t feel bad about it. Keep working if that makes you happy, but don’t forget to have fun! Hire a babysitter on occasion, do a date night, get a mani/pedi, go for a hike. You can always bring the kids along, if it works out that way. It may not be exactly how it use to be, but a new way could be even better!
Love your family!
Last of all, tell your kids (and spouse) four things: you’re kind, you’re smart, you’re beautiful, and you’re loved. Most importantly, act on these things. Every. Single. Day. You’ll change their world, and hopefully, someday, they’ll move mountains!
So, there you have it. How my husband and I have made child-rearing work well for us. So, stop making it so damn hard.