The twins turn two next week! I know, I know. I can’t believe it myself. I started this blog when they were just four months and there have been ups, downs, and everything in between. There were so many days I wondered how we were gonna make it to the next day but somehow we keep right on truckin’. One thing I’ve learned to do is to stop putting so much pressure on myself to do things “right” and just work on doing my best and making things as easy as possible on myself. Here are some little hacks I learned over these past two years that have made my life with twins easier and kept us all alive!
- Change wet diapers while they’re standing up.
Changing an infant is a breeze. Changing a toddler, on the other hand, is a feat akin to wrestling an ornery alligator. Eventually, I just started taking the path of least resistance. If their diaper is just wet, not dirty, I change them while they’re standing up playing and let them keep doing whatever it is they’re doing. Spread their legs apart just a step and it’s no big deal. After a few tries, you’ll be a pro.
- Embrace the power of the screen.
If you don’t let your kids watch TV or YouTube, cool. More power to you. But the iPad is our friend. For Christmas, they each got their own Kindle Fire and it honestly makes my life so much easier. First thing in the morning, they’re awake and roaming around the room, getting in everything and making demands. I need to pack bags, get dressed, get them dressed, and get out the door. They each get their tablet and a little breakfast snack like dry cereal and that keeps them occupied enough that I can get everybody ready with no fights. And on top of that, they’ve learned so much from YouTube in terms of vocabulary and speech that I’m totally on board with them watching it. I block the weird stuff. The end.
- Get all of the same socks (preferably, with dark bottoms).
Garanimals white socks with gray bottoms from Walmart. That is ALL I buy for my kids. Cheap, comfy, I can never mix them up or lose mates because they all match and the gray bottoms don’t show how dingy they get over time. When they start growing, buy the same socks in the next bigger size. And speaking of Walmart…
- Buy their clothes from Walmart. On clearance, if possible.
Buying clothes for twins sucks. Just being honest. It’s fun to match them, but 90% of the time when I like something and it’s a decent price, there’s just one left in their size. Secondhand shopping sucks for the same reason. Great deals, but nothing matches. So I go to Walmart where everything is cheap and there’s always plenty of whatever size I need. Honestly, can you beat $4 sweatshirts and $5 jeans? $2 if they’re on clearance?
- Buy cheap diapers.
When they were small, I only bought Pampers or Huggies. Now that they’re bigger and their skin is less sensitive, I am all about some Luvs or Walmart brand. Honestly, diapering two butts gets expensive and I just don’t have it in me to not take the cheapest routes I can. Buy cheap and buy in bulk. They’re all just holding poop in the end anyway.
- Don’t even bother with the diaper pail. Use a grocery bag.
Used diapers go in a grocery bag that gets tied in a knot and taken out once a day. The diaper genie got the boot before they turned one and we honestly don’t even bother throwing them in the trash can anymore; we’d have to take it out way too often. So we have a designated “diaper trash” bag that gets chucked on our way out the door.
- Keep the diaper bag stocked with a change of clothes, empty sippy cups and snacks.
The only thing worse than being stuck unprepared with a hungry, thirsty, whiny kid is being stuck with one who’s just had a potty accident. I always have empty sippy cups and try to keep a water bottle in case I start getting backseat demands for water and I always carry snacks because, duh. Easiest way to quiet a child in the car.
- Don’t buy brand new toys.
I got all of the twins’ Christmas toys from – wait for it – Goodwill! This might not work as they get older and start making requests of specific toys they want, but for these first couple years, they didn’t know the difference. As long as it was a truck, train, or a character they like, they didn’t care. Buy toys from your local thrift store or from a secondhand kids’ store. Some bleach and Lysol when you get them home will have them sanitized and ready for your kiddos.
- Bring your own snacks and entertainment to a restaurant.
You can order something you’re certain they’ll like and they’ll fuss and won’t take a bite, or decide they’re bored and want to make as much noise as possible to disturb everyone else eating. Prevent this buy bringing backup snacks (but don’t let them see them unless they vehemently refuse their food.) Also, try suction cup table toys or small items like matchbox cars to keep them entertained, or – just saying – bring out that tablet.
- Find kid’s music playlists on Spotify, especially lullabies, to get them to calm down and go to sleep in the car.
Every interest your child has, another kid probably has it and another parent has probably already made the Spotify playlist. Train songs, superhero songs, animal songs – we’ve found it all. Also, major YouTube channels for kids like Super Simple Songs, Pinkfong and Little Baby Bum all have Spotify artist pages too, and turning on their music is up there with snack bribery in getting my kids to behave in the car. And if I really need them to fall asleep on the drive, I find a lullaby playlist and it works every time. Also – I am NOT opposed to the good old “fall asleep in the car and go straight to the bed” maneuver. It has saved me many nights.
- Always have the pizza cutter handy.
I don’t know about you, but I need those extra 10 seconds it takes to cut up their food with the knife and fork. Enter the pizza cutter. I use it to cut pancakes, fruit, sandwiches, and pretty much anything else I make for them to eat. It has added whole minutes to my life.
- Grocery pick-up is your friend.
There’s a Walmart Neighborhood Market a half-mile from my house because we are incredibly blessed and fortunate and grocery pick-up has saved my butt a number of times. I’ve used it at Target too, though fewer items are available. It’s so simple, and it’s free. Pick your time, fill your cart, and pull up. Plus, it keeps me from spending too much money because there is something about actually seeing your total go up as you “add to cart” that will make you re-assess your purchases.
- Buy ALL the frozen foods.
I hate cooking. I’ve told y’all several times that I hate cooking. I’ve only just started meal prepping for myself and it is still a tremendous chore. However, the kiddos still have to get fed, and I am not afraid of a frozen meal. Frozen veggies, frozen pasta, frozen pancakes, frozen meats, frozen veggie patties – if they make it frozen and my kids will eat it, I buy it. You’d be surprised what a variety of nutritious foods you can find frozen, many with hidden veggies like Kidfresh frozen meals. When did we decide all frozen foods were bad, anyway?
- Use disposable dishware.
I also hate doing dishes. I have twins, y’all. I teach special education. I work out twice a day and I train people. I’m tired. And nothing is easier than giving my kids their food on a paper plate with a plastic spoon and telling them to go for it. I know. Bad for the environment. But great for tired moms everywhere.
- Use cloth diapers for everything.
I never used cloth diapers to diaper my children but you’d never know because we have dozens of them. We started off just using them as burp cloths because they’re so thick and absorbent. Then they stopped spitting up, and now some of them are washcloths, some of them are for washing dishes, some of them are for cleaning the bathrooms.
- Make bath time entertaining with stuff you already have.
The twins’ bathtub is full of toys and only a few of them were made for the bath. The others are plastic balls from their ball pit, cut-up pool noodle pieces, and empty containers of bubble bath and shampoo that they love to fill up and pour back out. Get creative with things you’ve already got before you spend a fortune on fancy new bath toys.
- Use baby gates all over the house unless it’s a room they need to be in.
People are often surprised to hear this, but the twins do not have the lay of the land in our house. They are allowed to play as much as they want in the living room and their play room, which is connected, and that’s it. The kitchen is blocked off and the hallway leading to the bedrooms and bathrooms is blocked off. They only come and go out of their bedroom for sleep. It’s enough space that they have plenty of room to play and explore and we don’t go crazy trying to keep them out of things and make sure every room is babyproofed. We’ll start giving them access to the bathroom when they start using the potty, but every other room is still off-limits. They’re none the wiser and we’re a little more sane.
These are just a few of the things I’ve picked up over the past year or so. If I think of more, I’ll add a part two! Share your parenting hacks in the comments below.