Having twins can be the most amazing experience of your life. It can also cause you to wake up in the morning wishing you were someone else. Twinning offers an honest depiction of life with twins from a mom who tries to keep things somewhere in the middle.
Playgroups are an essential part of parenting these days — a part that moms of multiples can benefit the most from. Getting out and interacting with other adults can be difficult in the early days with twins. But a playgroup filled with other twin moms, plus lots of little dynamic duos to play with your own set, can help make the early days of parenting easier and more enjoyable.
The twin playgroup I joined when my twins were about 10 months old turned out to be a lifesaver for me, and six years later I’m still in contact with all the original mothers. Our group consisted of seven mothers and 14 babies, so there was never a dull or quiet moment. There were actually so many unfinished conversations that we’d often have a follow-up group email afterwards, giving everyone a chance to finish the thoughts that had been interrupted by a fall, a bite or a diaper change.
When the women in my playgroup met, we were all first-time moms with twins under the age of one. We were tired, still getting over the shock of how much work infant twins were. But we had weathered the storm and were thrilled to be in the company of other women who had done the same.
I have to admit that I was the biggest slacker of the group—always late and the first to bail on account of anything. The thing was, that as my twins got older, hanging with them by myself got so much easier. They would sleep late, play nicely with each other and were angels to take out shopping. So as they got older, I went from “Must get to playgroup to maintain sanity” to “Playgroup would be fun, but the three of us could all just hang here too.”
One of our playgroup moms was so ultra-social and had kids so hyper that she was actually in two playgroups—ours and another one filled with moms of singletons. It worked for her. But if you’re a mother of twins looking to join a playgroup, my advice would be to join one specifically for multiples. Your twins will get all same socialization benefits that they would get from a twin playgroup, but it’s the mothers who really benefit from being with other mothers of twins. Not that moms of singletons have such drastically different experiences, but while you’re muddling through it all, it certainly feels like they do.
Topics you’ll most likely hear discussed at a twin playgroup include: C-section recovery and scars, IVF and infertility treatments, hospital NICUs, premature birth, bed rest, OT therapy, getting two to nap at once, best gear for baby twins, and toys that two can play with at the same time…and these are all important topics for moms of multiples. If you’ve got it all together to the point that you aren’t looking for advice or information about twins, then by all means join a singleton playgroup for the reduced noise level alone.
As helpful and as sanity-saving as they are, twin playgroups are of course not without their drawbacks and potential problems. First of all, there’s not as many moms and twice as many kids. Space is often an issue when you have more than 10 toddlers in a group setting.
One mom in our playgroup lived in an apartment, so she didn’t have the room to host any playgroups. Once we had toddlers and walkers, we could only really meet at the homes of the two playgroup members who had huge playrooms. Also when our twins started walking and then running, any outdoor meet-ups at local parks needed to be at enclosed parks because twins tend to run in separate directions at that age for some reason.
Over the years the moms in my playgroup went through a lot together—regarding our twins, we have dealt with occupational therapy, first trips to the ER, lazy eye surgery, unexplained seizures, scarlet fever and ADD. Parents have died, husbands have lost jobs, and homes have been bought and sold. Over the years, some of us got full- and part-time jobs, and one even completed her PhD.
When my twins turned three and started going to preschool, I started going to playgroup less and less, but the rest of the group continued to meet weekly until everyone went off to kindergarten. One original member moved to India, another to Missouri, and two new moms became regulars along the way. The group has changed, but we still get together for wine nights, birthday parties, movies or brunch, and I imagine we’ll continue to do so, no matter how many years go by.