One of the questions I get the most is “What’s it like to have twins?” It’s one I don’t always have a quick answer to. Usually, if I’m being flip, I’ll just make a comment like “It’s exactly what you think it’s like!” And then we both laugh and go about our respective business. But when I really sit and think about it and try to actually form an intelligent response, there’s not enough words to describe what it’s “like.” It’s fun, it’s exciting, it’s maddening, it’s exhausting, it’s joyous, it’s sad. I wonder “Why me?” each day, some days in joy – “What have I done to deserve to be the lucky one?” and some days in frustration – “Why did God think I could handle this?”
So what’s it really like to have twins? Well, like all things, there are positives and negatives to it all. Today, I’ll break down the best and worst parts of having multiples, why some days I feel like the luckiest woman in the world, and why others I feel like I am ill-equipped to handle the task of two-at-once.
1. You really do get double the love.
This is the most corny answer, I know, but it’s true. You get two times the cuddles, the kisses, the hugs. They’ve just gotten good at saying “I love you, mommy” and my heart can’t take it. There is something so special about lying in bed with the two of them, one snuggled under each arm, pinned to the mattress and usually sweating but so content. I know they won’t want to do that forever, so I let them climb in bed with me as much as they want. And that big cuddle puddle we make makes all the rough stuff worth it.
2. I get to see them love each other.
So I actually had no idea how exciting this would be until it was happening. Somehow, I anticipated all of these things about their relationship with me and James, but not much about their relationship with one another. It’s the best. They hug, kiss, tackle each other in tickle fights, give each other toys when the other is sad, tell each other not to cry. They have a bond already that’s so magical and that, honestly, I’m a little jealous of. They make me wish I had a twin! They make me feel as though the best thing they have is each other and that means so much to me.
3. I had all of the kids I wanted in one pregnancy.
One and done! Okay, really, I didn’t mind being pregnant. I ate whatever I wanted. People were extra nice to me. I got special privileges, like cutting the line or getting the seat instead of having to stand. But it wasn’t all great. I had debilitating heartburn so bad that in my third trimester, I had to sleep sitting up to keep the acid down. Not to mention the cool 40 pounds I gained and the fact that because I was pumping enough blood to support three humans, the bathroom sink looked like a crime scene every time I brushed my teeth so the point where I went to the dentist in serious distress. All in all, it’s pretty cool that I got my whole family taken care of in one pregnancy. No need to live with the anticipation and “what if?” of another pregnancy or another emotional spell of trying to conceive (which took five months that felt never-ending with the twins). One and done.
4. There’s never a dull moment.
People always say that when they see us. “I bet there’s never a dull moment for you guys!” And it’s true! It can be good and bad, but at any given moment, someone is climbing the furniture, someone is trying to ride a tricycle across the fireplace, someone has poured their water cup on the floor to make a rain puddle to jump in, two little someones have started a game of hide and seek and are “hiding” with their feet sticking out of the curtains – we’re never bored! We stay on our toes and energized and when we stop being annoyed or exhausted, we can look at things for how they really are and recognize that it’s actually pretty fun.
5. It’s special and exciting to have been “chosen.”
I would be lying if I said I didn’t feel special. Recently, I started a new job teaching at a local elementary school. On our first day of pre-planning, we had to go in a circle and say the one thing that we felt was the most important thing anyone could know about us. A large majority of the other teachers said they were parents and shared how old their children were. When it came to my turn, I said that I had two-year-old identical twins, and the whole circle gasped. I was the only one who got that reaction! It’s kind of cool to be in the “multiple moms” club! We’re different and we were chosen for an extra special life. I can’t help but feel blessed.
Now with all that said, it’s a great life, but it ain’t all great. Here’s the honest, the real, the bad:
1. I’m constantly being a referee.
When I was pregnant with Alex and Nathan, everyone told me, “twins always have a playmate so they don’t expect it to be you!” And while that’s true, nobody mentioned that just because I’m not their playmate doesn’t mean I sit out of the game. I’m the referee! I break up fights all the time. You’d think having had to share since conception they’d be okay at it, but nope. I’m constantly having to intervene when someone took a toy or a snack or hit or if one just doesn’t want the other one around. It can be exhausting and really frustrating and I find myself wondering when – or if – it’s ever going to get better.
2. They always have to share me.
I can’t help but feel some guilt about this one. One will be feeling tired, sad, or just cuddly, crawl into my lap, and as I wrap my arms around them and prepare to have some cozy time – here comes brother. Often, they don’t like that and will tell each other “No! Go away!” or “My mommy!” I often feel bad that they rarely get time with just me. On those occasions where they do get to be alone with me, like when brother is napping or when we separate them to run an errand, it feels so different being able to give one child my undivided attention. I wish I could do it all the time, and I constantly question how I’d be a different parent – or how my child would be a different kid – if they hadn’t had to share mommy since day one. Would I be more patient if I wasn’t constantly having to attend to two toddlers instead of just one? Would they have developed differently? I’ll never know, and there’s no use in torturing myself over it, but still, the thought lingers.
3. It’s expensive.
I’m frugal. Really, really frugal. And still, two of everything adds up. Two inexpensive outfits equals out to one normally priced outfit. Don’t even get me started on when we were drinking expensive medical grade formula. $50 a can and one can between two babies lasted two days, max. It HURT. Now the boys are in daycare and the bill for two kids per month is unreal – it’s our highest bill every month and somehow hurts worse than the formula did. There are so many cute little splurges I might do if I had one child – like the monogrammed Christmas pajamas our friends all got for their kids last Christmas – that are just too much for me when I have to buy two. Somehow, we’ve survived thus far, but sheesh. The costs add up fast.
4. We can’t just “get up and go.”
I mentioned above that sometimes we separate the boys when we have errands to run. And those days when I’m out running an errand with just one kid are HEAVENLY. You mean I don’t have to get a cart or bring a stroller? I don’t have to wrangle two from wandering away and getting into God knows what? You mean to tell me I can just throw some shoes on my kid, toss him in the car, and pop in and out with him on my hip? I can take him to the post office? To that one tiny beauty supply store with the super narrow aisles? It’s this simple?! I know this sounds super obnoxious because when you only have one kid, that’s all you know, and errands probably seem daunting. But in truth, I would LOVE to be able to just grab my kid, throw him on my hip, and go. And with twins, I just can’t do that. I have to plan everything I do around where I can take them and where I can’t. That extra effort in going anywhere – getting two kids dressed and ready, two kids in and out of the car, and two kids in and out of our destination – can feel like so much work, I don’t even bother. I wish we could just get up and go, but with twins, it’s impossible.
5. I can’t be invisible anymore – even when I want to be.
I’m an introvert. Textbook, definition, to the core. It’s not that I don’t like people, it’s just that social interaction exhausts me. It always has, I just fake it better than I used to. I’m working on this with my therapist, okay? But until then, when I go around strangers, I like to be invisible. I like to wear my headphones in the store and listen to music while I shop so no one will talk to me. With twins, I can’t do that anymore. Everyone wants to stop and talk. They don’t care about the headphones. They don’t care about me trying to look as unapproachable as possible. The two little boys that I’m carting around with me are an instant conversation piece. I swear, I say “They’re identical,” “They’re two,” “They’re boys,” and “This one’s Alexander and this one’s Nathan” a dozen times every time I leave the house with them. And sometimes, I just don’t want to. I don’t want to have a conversation with everyone I see about my twins. I try to be gracious and I’m never rude to people when they ask, but on the inside, I wish I could stay to myself. With one kid out and about, you’re normal. With twins, you’re a spectacle.
I hope this post doesn’t come across too complain-y! I love my boys and I feel so fortunate and blessed to be their mommy. But people often want to know what my life is like having them, and this is the truth – no sugarcoating here. Still, I’ve never felt so lucky in my life! It’s the life I was meant to lead.