ADJUSTING TO PARENTHOOD – A FLUID APPROACH

ON THE DOUBLE DAILY

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Welcome to the first of many of the ‘journals’ of my journey as a twin mom.

I think for starters, I want to touch on the adjustment and process if you will of becoming a mom in general, be it to singletons, twins or triplets or (bless you) more. I don’t think the number of children matters in relation to the ‘mutual’ challenges we all face as new moms. There are things that are not exclusive to being a mom of multiples for example sleepless nights. It affects us all in the same way, sleep-deprived mom = mom(n)ster [i.e. monster]. Apart from the impossibility of being adequately prepared for being thrown into the deep end of being a parent, as we become moms, it seems that so many of us ‘lose’ our individuality and even more so as a mom of multiples. The only ‘me’ in anything once you become a mom is the mommeee yells and the sad truth is that we as moms accept the ‘second best’ seat. I guess it comes with the territory as nothing is more important than to see your child thrive. Another factor not unique to a mom of multiples is the pressure to be the best mom who does all things right along with the textbook baby who does everything the way it should be. The pressure we place on ourselves is unreal to be the all in one super-mom! Having said that, there is something special and almost, dare I say, ‘boastful’ about being a mom of multiples. ‘Respect!’ is a common phrase I get greeted with from moms of singletons which of course would make any mom beam with a sense of achievement. Being a mom of multiples is definitely not without shall we say, its challenges and curve balls such as the unnatural manoeuvrings of attempting to breast feed two babies at the same time – who the heck got that right?? And when both are crying and pulling on you to be picked up at the same time, the matrix moves that one has to pull off astound me still and you wonder how you even do it sometimes. Mommy-hood is an amazing, incomparable blessing but yes, there is no doubt that it is not all roses summer breezes.

Having said all of that, I find when I’m without my boys, I feel a little less important or ‘accomplished’ in a way. No one carries their qualification around for all to see nor do they wear their job title pinned to their forehead to brag of their achievements. Your children on the other hand are almost always in tow. This seems to generate constant awe and curiosity in people. Now don’t get me wrong, while I do love the fact that I have twins and that it fascinates people, the beyond-boundaries invasion of your personal space and personal life sometimes does get a bit much on some days and then the aforementioned mom(n)ster in me wants to rear her ugly head. I mean, when your children are sleeping in their pram and you’re clearly in a hurry yet people still have the need to stop you to peep in on them as if some zoo animals because they have never before seen two sleeping children??? I guess in the 16 months since the birth of my twins, I have had to adjust to the fact that twins are fascinating to people including their mom most often of all. In a way my twins define me; an expert multi-tasker, a planner, a thriver on challenges. Put aside the academic and career achievements you may have, twins are a living, breathing, visual testament to one’s abilities to take on the most insane and impossible tasks in your stride. Heck, if you’re a mom of multiples, who’s to say you couldn’t run the country, the world or be Ironman himself right?? Or at least it feels like that some days.

So here’s a little bit about my twins, as mentioned my boys are 16 months old and getting cuter by the day. They have days when they’re more identical and as they grow older, the similarities increase. This is in looks only however. It’s amazing how you have two little beings exposed to exactly the same love, care, nutrition and environment yet they are so different but the same. As different as they are, they share variations of each other. One day Kaleb will be the independent cheeky one and the Ryley the quiet ‘thinker’ and the next day they switch, it’s the most fascinating and incredible thing interacting with twins! Being at the age they are, they’re in the, as I like to call it, walkey talkey phase and let me tell you there is truth to the saying ‘moms have to have eyes in the back of their heads’ (and sides, and round corners and generally just be able to split in two as your multiples toddle off in opposite directions.) The reality is, as a mom of multiples, you just do. On the very few occasions my twins have been separated i.e. one off to crèche for example and the only with mom (me) for the day due to being ill, I’ve been a bit ‘lost’ for lack of a better phrase. As a person going from a family of two to four almost immediately, the adjustment was not a gradual one for us. It was an immediate immersion into parenthood and the race was on. We’ve been lucky in that our journey so far has been relatively smooth in the sense that we have been blessed with two good eaters, good sleepers and generally well and happy boys. It goes without saying that moms of multiples are infinitely busier and have to be that much more planned and prepared but on the whole I would never trade the experience and the fact that we were doubley blessed with these two special individuals that we get to nurture, watch grow and help develop into little people. Regardless still of whether you are a mom is singletons or mutliples, the adjustment is never as easy as we anticipate and no matter how prepared we think we are, there are always curve balls so my few cents worth to new parents and parents-to-be, don’t sweat the small stuff and go with the flow. As long as your baby is cared for and loves, the few small mishaps along the way will not be remembered. After all, you are all learning together – mom is learning how to care for this little being she has brought into the world, dad is learning how to be of use to mom and baby and baby is learning how to adjust to being exposed out in this big, new world so cut yourselves some slack and take each ‘obstacle’ as a learning curve.

I have learnt along the way that you never fully adjust to being a parent as the term is a fluid and ever changing animal. Just when you figure our your tiny baby and what he/she needs, they evolve into an interactive little person who sits and smiles and just as your getting to grips with a sitting, smiling bundle of joy you have a crawling on-the-move little hazard and the ever-evolving child requires an ever evolving parent – the journey of discovery and learning never ends, I have found and for me, I am loving the ever-changing phase of learning about each other. So the question, how do we adjust to being new parents, we don’t, we run with the title and mould it to suit our individual circumstances. No baby and no parent is the same and as many have said before, babies do not come with instruction manuals, nor do parents. There is no one way to be a good parent I think, every child is unique and every parent adjusts in their own way to each new and not so new situation. So, my advice on how to adjust to being a new mom, new dad, new parent? NONE. I think advice is something we get way too much of and is far too freely given even if unwarranted and not asked for (I too, am guilty of this.) For me the wisest option is to listen to those who have advice to share, take the bits that work for me and smile sweetly at the rest of the advice-givers while deleting the information from my ‘personal hard drive’ i.e. my over-full mommy brain.

So where are we at now? We have two ‘one’derful one year old boys who are swiftly on their journey to being two and exploring the many firsts in life with so much to look forward to daily!

This week’s happenings: Currently our twinnies are learning to run (never mind walk, walking is clearly so three months ago) and are making their way towards becoming fully fledged walky-talkies! They’re toddling and climbing all over the place and exploring anything they are allowed to (and some they are not allowed to as well).

Favourite words:

Ta tu (their version of ‘thank you’)

Daddeeee

Puppy

Ai ya ya (their version of ‘I love you’)

Bubbles

Ball

They currently love:

Peas, playing in the garden, reading books,rooibos tea with apple juice, animals of any sort (and particularly those who don’t/ cant run away), sliding, peanut butter sarmies and singing and dancing

DoubleyBlessed Inspiration for the week: Very wise words that have resonated with me this week, spend double the amount of time you think is enough with your children and half the amount of money. TAKE the time to play with your children. Children need your love, not possessions.They grow so quickly and I find after my busy day at work, once I get home I have a million things to do, dinner time, dishes, washing and steaming bottles, bath time then bed time. The constant rush makes it seem more of a chore than what it should be, an enjoyable evening with your family. Leave the dishes for five minutes longer, give them their dinner five minutes later. Don’t sweat the small stuff and don’t beat yourself up. Your children will benefit infinitely more from a few more minutes of cuddles with mom and dad than the dishes being done or their room being tidy. We are not given time, TAKE the time to enjoy your family.

My double blessings

My double blessings

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