Top 10 benefits of Having Twins

Before I was blessed with my twin girls I was a pretty accomplished mom of singletons. My first three sons are very naturally spaced about three years apart, and son three and four are 23 months apart (which I used to think felt like twins). We then took a long break from childbearing and were gifted with twin girls just about a year ago.

At almost 21 weeks pregnant when I went in for my routine ultrasound, I was shocked to see two little hearts beating! That is when my life changed. That was the day I truly became a mother of twins!

At first, it was hard to see past the negatives of having twins. My pregnancy was higher risk. My delivery was a three ring circus. My babies were over a pound lighter each than my singletons were at birth. Breastfeeding was harder to establish in the early days. I’m only just starting to get regular sleep at night. My laundry is never caught up. Our whole family cannot fit into one vehicle. I’ve flaked on more than one big event for my bigger kids. We ate way too much fast food for a while.

And now, when I look at my one-year-olds and see the joy in their eyes, all I see is the good, the benefits of having twins!

So, here you go, my Top Ten Reasons Twins are Great!

  1. One pregnancy, two kids.

    Sure, I got as big as a tank. Sure the reflux just about killed me. Sure, my gallbladder threatened to quit. Sure, I got really, really cranky. However, I came out of it with two gorgeous little babies in just 38 weeks instead of 82 weeks. That, my friends, is a bargain!

  2. A Sense of Efficiency.

    In my younger days, I loved the book Cheaper by the Dozen. Not the movie with Steve Martin, though that is funny too! In the book, the father and mother are efficiency experts, and they use the children (all 12 of them) as experiments. Now, I’ve not experimented (much) with my kids, but I do know that the day I discovered how to actually tandem nurse the girls was the same day I felt like superwoman! Once I had both girls at home, my life fell into a pattern: feed one, then the other, change one, then the other, bathe one and then the other. I began to respond to the random stranger that commented that I “had my hands full”, that “really, it is easier than just one kid”. If nothing else, it shut them up!

  3. Always a full wash load of diapers.

    This probably belongs under the efficiency item but it works on its own as well. I cloth diaper the babies. I cloth diapered most of the other kids as well but I was always plagued by the fact that I either washed very small loads of diapers (which never seemed efficient), or I went too long between diaper loads (eeew factor). Well, let me tell you, cloth diapering twins is not only very efficient, it is affordable and no harder than using disposables. I daresay it is easier, as I never run out! It takes me just a little over a day to get a full diaper pail full of cloth diapers ready to run through the laundry. And when I change the girls I never have a dollar sign running over her head. And that is good, we have six kids, we have plenty of other places to spend that diaper money!

  4. Two babies entertain each other.

    When I had my sons one at a time, I always had to spend a lot of time building endless block towers or doing the stoop-backed walk around in circles. With twins, I make some towers and have done some walking practice, but mostly, these two just want to hang out with each other. Separate them and they will call across the room to each other. They are true besties!

  5. Two babies don’t always take up twice the space.

    Our girls still co-bed in the same crib. At around six months they went through a patch where I thought we would have to separate them as they began waking each other, and then we went on vacation and they shared a pack n play. By the time we came back from our trip we knew that there was no way we could separate this crew! I think when they outgrow the crib we’ll just move them to a full-size bed. We also only had one swing, and one of many of the baby toys. We do have two car seats, a few double strollers, and we HAD to have two bouncy seats.

  6. Twins take the attention off of you!

    Yes, twins cause a lot of attention when you are out in public. In the early days, it is wise to budget at least an extra half hour to all of your outings, as two babies in one grocery cart can cause quite a stir. The good news though, is that no one is looking at YOU! All those crazy gawkers see are two sweet little munchkins and they will be busy making smoochy faces at them and telling you how busy you must be…or that they wish they were you…or that their second uncle was a left-handed twin. It is no matter that you have oatmeal in your hair and yesterday’s makeup, and bleach stained yoga pants and the slippers that you accidentally left the house in. All the people see is TWO BABIES AT ONE TIME!

  7. Front of line privileges at the grocery store.

    Let them both cry, you will be out of there in no time.

  8. The best nighttime snuggles ever.

    Until you have had two babies who share a birthday snuggle on your lap after a bath, you have not really lived. Trust me.

  9. More laughter than you can handle! 

    Not a day goes by when my sweet baby twin girls don’t give me something to laugh at!

  10. Two times the kisses!

    Need I say more?

Chime in! Do you have twins (or more) in your life? What have been the hidden benefits? You know I’d love to hear from you!

 

How to be a better mother.

It's Good to be Queen
even the Queen makes mistakes...right?

I bet that you wish becoming better at motherhood was as easy as reading a blog post.

I do too.

Sadly, our sinful nature does not allow us to to be the moms we envision. You know what I’m talking about. I envision myself as a sort of June Cleaver in 2010. (If June Cleaver would wear Birkenstocks, and ditch the pearls.)

I an ideal world my house would be clean and I would not yell. Not only would I serve well balanced, nutritious meals; they would taste good and the kids would like them. My children would not fight. My dog would put himself in the kennel every night. My babies would sleep through the night.

Instead, I yell. My house is never 100% clean. I serve healthy food but it does not always go over well. My children fight like it is their job. Not even my dog listens to me. And lastly, those babies do not and will not sleep through the night.

Does this make me a bad mom?

Well, to see it in black and white, the answer is a  resounding yes. I am unable to achieve even a portion of what the “good wife” in Proverbs 31 seems to get done in a day. When I examine myself I am lazy and flawed.

Do you want to know the good news?

I don’t have to be a perfect mother. (yep…that’s right…)

In spite of (all of my many) imperfections, I have a Heavenly Father who loves me (and you!) so much that he gave up His (very perfect) Son so that all of our imperfections (we call them sin around here) can be forgiven!

Each day is new.

Each morning I can wake up and try (and fail) again.

I had a dear friend (and much better mother than me) post a simple prayer on my Facebook page this morning. She said “Lord, please help me to be a better mom today.” I know that God answers prayer. I see answers to my prayers all around me every day.

So, thanks Lisa, for reminding me of the very best way to become a better mother…start with prayer and ask for help!


Life is Funny

I remember, when we were first married (fifteen years ago, next month!), and then found out shortly afterwards that we were pregnant. Everything seemed overwhelming. I was so excited to become a mother, but so afraid to make mistakes.

I’m a realist. I knew that I was going to mess up, I was just praying that my goof ups would be minor.
I brought Andrew home from the hospital (looking over my shoulder, sure that a nurse would “reclaim” him), and sat down in my rocking chair, and nursed him for the first time in our little apartment, and a wave of dread washed over me. I realized that I was going to have to nurse this stranger 8-12 times a day for much of the not so distant future. Little did I know that nursing would be the easy part. Later would come the tough choices, whether to immunize, and what against. How to educate him. What sport if any to encourage. Sunblock or hat.
Every day I came across decisions I never thought I would have to make, and hardly felt adult enough to make. My mom was there for a week. I was thankful for the help. In some ways though, our relationship complicated things. She wanted what was best for me and her first grand baby, but she was not the mom. I wanted what was best, but did not always know what the best was. Sometimes our theories on parenting meshed, other times they clashed.
That first child, my now teenage son (who is fabulous), was a grand experiment. Some things I never did repeat. I took the advice to let him cry it out in his crib. It was torture for me, and him, and none of us slept. I ditched that advice. I’m sure it does work for some, but they either have larger houses than me, or a stronger will. Some things I carried through with all six of the kids. All of my children have been breastfed. Most of them have worn cloth diapers at least part time. I have spent hour upon hour reading and singing to all of my children.
Some things get easier. Once some of the big decisions are made for a first child, you hardly think them over again. Breastfeeding to me is second nature, and I can’t imagine a different feeding route for my children. Rocking my children to sleep is more of a privilege and less of a chore. After several children, I have learned that ALL kids eventually learn to fall asleep. Some take longer than others, and some like to sleep in odd places, but all of them eventually sleep.
Fifteen years ago, I THOUGHT that I wanted six children. Then I had one child, and I realized motherhood was tough. I was not sure how many children God would bless us with, but some days it felt like one was enough. It was hard to pay bills, I was not sleeping, and I worried about my sweet little boy. Through the years, our family grew, and grew, and grew. We even thought that we had grown as much as we would.
And then God decided to challenge me. He figured that I had learned all about boys. He also figured that one baby girl would not give me the full experience. So he gave me two! And now this self professed “boy mom”, this pants wearing, ribbon and bow avoiding, tights fearing woman has a room bursting with pink and ribbons and frills and tights. And you know what?
God is good. All the time.
He is good when I am blessed with one son. He is good when he blesses me with four sons. He is even good when he blesses me with two daughters at once.
A friend today was telling me about a t-shirt that said “singletons are for wimps”. I had a chuckle at that. It is true. God knew EXACTLY when I could handle the joy of mothering a set of multiples. It was not 15 years ago, or even five years ago. He knew that I was ready before I even knew.
I think I’m doing OK. I’ve had to rewrite my own parenting manual. I still won’t let my kids cry in the crib. This gets me a bit less sleep than others, but I’m still sleeping more than when I was pregnant! I’m figuring out how to give each girl what she needs, when she needs it, and to still have time to love on and guide our sons.
God did not want me to think that I knew it all. He likes to give me challenges.
I bet he does the same for you as well. Has God been stretching you lately? Has He been asking you to step outside of your preconceived notions about something? Has He managed to change your mind?
I’d love to hear about it.