How to Become a Parenting Team
I remember one of the first long days after my husband went back to work. My two week old twins and I spent most of it on the squishy couch in the living room wedged on the nursing pillow. My daughter was refusing to nurse, my son was refusing to sleep, and I was sticky, stinky, and incredibly sleepy. Then my husband walked in the door and all three of us perked up.
Parenting is hard. Parenting newborn twins is really hard.
Newborns are needy. Even the easiest babies still need you for everything. They need you to feed them, change them, carry them from point to point, help them sleep, bathe them. Parenting twins means caring for two extremely needy little ones. The high rates of prematurity among infants means that you are often dealing with more challenging infants who are not quite prepared to be out in the world and would much prefer to be in the dark comfort of the womb for a bit longer.
I do not say any of this to scare you. I promise it is doable.
I say this to set the stage for what is to come. It is hard. But together you can do it.
The together part is important.
Single parents in general, but single parents of multiples are super heroes in my book.
The teamwork aspect of parenting was crucial to our survival during the first few months and beyond. Below are some of the ways that we prepared for and supported one another in the first few years of our parenting adventure. If you enter parenting with the idea that you are in this together and have each other's backs, I promise it is not only doable, but ultimately enjoyable.
Here are the 6 main ways we work together to parent our multiples. Hopefully our experiences are helpful regardless of whether you are parenting one or a whole crew.
Updated from Original Post Shared May 2014
We talk A LOT.
We had been together for 11 years (married for 5) when we had our twins. Communication did not come easy to us at first, but we learned that in order for us to work we had to talk. We had to talk about the every day things, the things that bothered us, and how we were going to make things work.
When we found out we were pregnant we talked some more.
The topics and results of those conversations are not super important. For one thing, they almost immediately changed upon having our twins. And two, they are unique to each couple. What is important to you is different than what is important to anyone else, but knowing and labeling those things is important. We knew what our main goals were from the start and that guided us in the hazy beginning.
Post-baby arrival day, we continue to talk.
We talk about the cute things they are doing and how they are challenging us. We talk about what is NOT working and brainstorm together things to do differently. Even though I am home with our kids 11+ hours by myself, most of our decisions are made together and the ones that I make on my own I do my best to talk to him about so we are on the same page. This leads perfectly to item #2.
This one I credit my parents for. My parents were obnoxiously on the same page at all times. They made decisions together, they knew what the other one had told us, and they agreed with each other. It was a pain.
However, it is now one of my guiding philosophies.
One of the most commonly heard phrases in our house right now is, "I agree with Dad/Mom". We do our very best to support one another and their decisions in front of our children. Later, when we are away from them we can debate and disagree, but in front of our kids, we agree.
We are a united front.
All of our sleep decisions primarily followed the advice in this book.
Our babies were both breast and bottle fed from day 1, which made this a little easier. After the first hazy week that I remember extremely small blurry moments of, we began this plan that served us well for the first 6 months. We split the night in half. One of us did all feeding before 2am. The other did all feedings after. This generally worked out evenly.
You may have to play around with where your magical dividing time is. This meant, that aside from me pumping at first and eventually from a brief awakening when they cried out, we each got about 6 hours of sleep.
Once our infants were consistently down to just one feeding, usually around 2am, we changed to alternating nights. We do this still. It is your night until you have to get up with someone. Then it is the next person's night.
Of course there are exceptions, like that night both kids were vomiting - it was a two person job, or if one of us is sick or getting up super early it isn't their turn.
Being a team means that you are supportive and fair. Not always perfectly even.
We are absolutely that dorky annoying couple that goes out every month.
We were probably annoyingly cutesy before we had kids. We have always celebrated our monthly anniversaries with a night out. Usually nothing fancy, but just a dedicated night for the two of us. We have done this for 16 years now, but it has grown even more important since having our children. With only about 3 exceptions, we have gone out every month.
This is time for us to be us. Not mom and dad. I know this is common advice, but to me it is one of the most important parts. When our little loves grow up they will leave around the same time and we need to still have an us.
In addition to dates, we also give each other "break nights."
We each get two evenings a month that are on the calendar as "me time." This means different things to each of us, but it is guaranteed time where we don’t participate in the chaos that is dinner/bath/bed time.
We get other breaks. Mornings to sleep in, nights out with friends, book club, whatever - but these are separate times on the calendar. However you choose to do it, giving each other a break is important.
For me it is usually quiet time to myself. Time to just be me for a few hours.
Parenting is hard. For everyone. No matter what people say or how perky their instagram feed is, parenting is hard.
Go easy on one another. Know that you will both make mistakes. You will both have bad days. Your children will have bad days.
Keep the things that work. Work together to fix the things that don't. Adapt together to the every changing whirlwind that is raising two little ones.
No two days or weeks are the same so you need to change too, together.
How to Survive the Early Years with Twins : READ POST
Parenting Books Everyone Should Read : READ POST
Best Parenting Advice of 2015 : READ POST
click image for more info
Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Twins: A Step-by-Step Program for Sleep-Training Your Multiples by Marc Weissbluth M.D.
Twin Set: Moms of Multiples Share Survive and Thrive Secrets by Christina Boyle and Cathleen Stahl
Mothers of Multiples. Search online for your local mothers of multiples group. I found my MAMOMS friends immensely supportive and helpful.
Originally shared as part of the ALL THINGS BABY series on Lemon Lime Adventures.
comments powered by Disqus