There is nothing quite like the moment you hear those life-changing words: “Congratulations, you’re having twins!” What follows is likely excitement, intrigue, and absolute astonishment — accompanied by visions of double everything, from car seats and cribs, to highchairs, tricycles and bicycles. And yet, even with the rush of emotions and flashing dollar signs, there is no sweeter moment.
As a mother of multiples, you will discover that you face challenges. Feeling overwhelmed, sleep-deprived, isolated, and scared is perfectly normal. You will also learn that you can successfully rise to those challenges. If you listen to your gut and follow your instincts, you will find that you actually do have a Supermom buried inside you waiting for her moment to shine. However, knowledge is definitely power, and understanding some of the unique challenges you are in for will help tremendously.
Consider these suggestions:
• Bring in the experts. The margin for error when parenting multiples is naturally greater than the margin for error when parenting singletons. Think of it this way: there are two or more of them and only one of you. Consider hiring an expert to come into your home and assist in establishing a safe space for your family. Keep in mind that multiple children move in multiple directions at one time. Together, multiples are able to exercise their curiosity and their strength — both of which can be dangerous. There are companies that audit homes and make recommendations and installations, if necessary, for creating the safest space possible. When parenting multiples, it is impossible to be in all places at all times. Families need a space created specifically for multiple babies. Make safety your family’s number one priority.
• Mommy & Me Time. Throughout their lifetimes, your children will be required to share many things. They will often be treated as one unit rather than as individuals. While they may all have cohabited in the womb, they each want to be loved and experienced as individuals. Make every effort to spend at least 30 minutes per day with each child. By spending individual mommy-and-me time with your babies, you will develop a special bond with each of your children outside of the “multiple unit.” This individual bond will prove invaluable to you and your children as you all function as a family.
• Seek out support. Learning from those who have gone before you and seeking support from those who are currently walking in your shoes is essential. Join a local chapter of the National Organization of Mother of Twins Club, Inc. (www.nomotc.org
), founded in 1960 for the purpose of promoting the special aspects of child development that relate specifically to multiple birth children. If you are a mom of supertwins (parents with more than one set of multiples), consider affiliating with MOST (Mothers of Supertwins, www.mostonline.org
As a mom of multiples, you will discover strengths you never knew you had. You will find more blessings as a parent than you ever knew possible. And you will learn that you are indeed a Supermom. TONIA TOMLIN, mother of twin girls, is the founder and president of Sorted Out™ and Sorted Out Publishing. She has been featured on HGTV’s, Mission: Organization, and is the author of the forthcoming book,
Chaos 2 Calm: The Moms-of-Multiples Guide to an Organized Family (September 2008). [email protected]; www.sortedout.biz.