As A Twin Mom I Never Get A Second Chance

103921912When my twins were infants, everything I did reeked of “New Mom”—I hauled an overstuffed diaper bag everywhere, I sanitized everything they touched, I would pack the stroller with enough provisions for a trip up the Himalayas, and when I wasn’t rocking, feeding or burping one of them, I was online researching what I’d need for the next phase of babyhood.

I never had any other children (and have no plans to), so I’ve never really been able to shake that “New Mom” feeling. I’m more relaxed now than I was when they were infants but as they get older, every new stage is still uncharted territory. What I want more than anything is the cool confidence my friends with different-aged kids have. While most of them were nervous and made plenty of mistakes like me with their first baby, by the time Baby No. two , three , or four came along they’d seen it all before.

 

My veteran mom-friends don’t sanitize anything any further than licking it, they let their kids fall instead of nervously clearing every pathway for them, and they know that soccer is a waste of time when kids are three years old. They don’t waste money on crib bumpers, they don’t panic if their baby is still just crawling at 16 months, and they know that Motrin reduces a high fever faster than Tylenol but is harder on the stomach.

I never know these things. And it’s bad enough to subject one kid to the anxiety and mistakes of a new mom, but I’ve got to drag two children along on this steep learning curve I’m on.

As much as I love being a mother of twins, I can’t help but feel jealous of women with children of different ages, because I wish I could have a second chance too. I’d be a better, more confident mother the second time around. Hindsight is a wonderful thing when you can learn from it, but with no other children beside my twins, hindsight is basically lost on me.

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    • http://Mommyish.com/ Eve Vawter

      I have never even considered this, but it makes total sense. I spaced my kids out so I could make all my mistakes with my first one

    • Maria Guido

      If it makes you feel any better Gloria – I still have no idea what I’m doing the second time around.

      • Gloria Fallon

        Ha!! Thank you Maria, that actually did make me feel better!!

      • Obladi Oblada

        I have four (ranging from 7 – 14) and how they’re still alive is a mystery. Keep on truckin’ Mama…you’re doing fine. :)

    • Bethany Ramos

      I totally know what you mean about feeling like a new mom. My kids are only 16 months apart, and I always tell my husband that my first son challenges us, and my second son makes me feel like I am a great parent haha!

    • ted3553

      I had never thought about the real downside of having twins (besides the basics about going through everything at once) until a friend who had twins mentioned that she basically missed their first year. She did everything she could but they stayed on different schedules and she was so tired and busy with that, that she remembers very little. It was upsetting to realize that all those little memories I have or my single, she doesn’t have.

      • Guest

        I remember vividly as kids my friends and I all wanted twins. (Mine were going to be Michelle and Gabrielle of course) Then as I became and adult it dawned on me how much work that would be and how difficult those pregnancies can be and now I’m like NOOOO TWINS!!!

      • upsydaisy

        I have twins who are almost 4 no other kids no plans for more. Like the writer I felt I wasnt a natural I had so much anxiety about everything. During pregnancy I was thinking I would do everything together as per all the twin books but one boy one girl born with a big weight different and that quickly grew even bigger it was just impossible to get them into a reliable schedule together until 9 mths. That is one of the many things I beat myself up about I wish I had just gone with the flow more and been able to enjoy it.

      • Gloria Fallon

        The first year was a blur for me too. I recently became an aunt though, and with my niece I’m getting to do all the things I wish I could have with my two—simple things like holding just one baby for two hours watching her sleep: it’s heaven!

      • CommentingPeg

        One of my girls woke up crying the other night and–because her twin sister was at my mom’s–I took Baby A out of her crib and rocked her back to sleep. That child was eighteen months old and it hit me that was the first time I had ever rocked one of my girls to sleep!

    • Véronique Houde

      I wonder… if you didn’t have access to google, the books, the “experts” – would you feel the same way about this? Sometimes, when the books and the google are so easily accessible, they become like a security blanket. And so, instead of accepting the unknown, and embracing the fact that it’s okay that you don’t know what the fuck you’re doing, you just click and relieve the anxiety in the moment. I think all moms aren’t as confident as they might seem from the outside – some moms are just more comfortable accepting the unknown. No matter how much research you do, no matter how careful you are, mistakes will happen, the kids will get sick and hurt. You’ll have sleepless nights, and when your kids are grown, they’ll resent you for something or another.

      The more you tell yourself “OMG I have to take advantage of EVERY moment!!” the faster they go by, and the more you feel like you didn’t get to experience it fully. It’s so hard, isn’t it… But like everything else in life, when you learn to let go and not try so hard all the time, the easier it gets – not because you do everything right, but more because it doesn’t become that big of a deal anymore… It’s a hard life lesson learned that has served me better than any other. And every day, I just repeat to myself that “I don’t know what the fuck I’m doing, and that’s okay!!”

      • Véronique Houde

        I forgot to add that whatever these “parental instincts” are only seem to come out when you have no other way of seeking out the right answer – when you feel completely stuck and without answer. It is then where you just do without thinking anymore about it because really, what else do you have left??

      • FormerlyKnownAsWendy

        This is a really awesome comment. I wish to have more upvotes to give.

      • Véronique Houde

        awww thanks :)

      • Gloria Fallon

        That’s a great motto if I ever heard one! And I think your point is valid—parenting would be easier without all the things available to us now that are supposed to make parenting easier. I certainly wouldn’t be so hard on myself if I didn’t have the books, blogs, articles and tv shows that tell you how to be “the perfect parent” as if that even exists!

    • Megan Zander

      Yes to every single word of this! My twins just turned one and we are 99% ( me) and 110% (hubs) sure that were not having anymore. I feel like every milestone is bittersweet. All this knowledge you acquire, not to mention mountains of baby stuff, and nothing to do with it. In my most frustrated moments I think it would be nice to have one baby at a time, to not have to sprint to the nursary when it wakes up so that it doesn’t wake it’s twin or to have some space in the bed when only one comes in for middle of the night snuggles.

      • Gloria Fallon

        Oh do I hear you Megan!! We are happy with two, but I wish so much they were a year or two apart!

    • brebay

      Sounds a lot like having an only child to me, in terms of every milestone being the first and last. My friend who has an awesome only child says “She’s the first pancake, but there’s no more batter, so I still have to make her presentable and serve her up!”

    • AlexMMR

      I could have written this. All this acquired knowledge and nowhere to go.

    • Cheryl Lage

      Sweet, Sweet Gloria! We’re so of the same mind, and same family construct.

      My man’s mantra “Two and through” was ever-so reassuring during the sleepless nights of twin newborns and plural potty training; but “two and through” is heartbreakingly bittersweet when it comes to first days of kindergarten, last day of elementary school, and as I am learning this week, no more Valentine exchanges with decorated shoeboxes…

      Wish you lived closer….we could toast our doubled milestones accomplished and memories made once, but times two.

      • Gloria Fallon

        Aw Cheryl, this brought tears to my eyes. I love “memories made once, but times two”! And wait…no more Valentine’s boxes? Someone pass me the Kleenex!

      • Cheryl Lage

        Surprisingly, the “no more Valentines” is really getting to me…. :(
        Every drugstore I go in, I keep thinking “Oh, these would be PERFECT for She-Twin,” or “He-Twin’s friends will LOVE these.” And then I remember, no more. :(

        To brighten your mood, a positive “two and through” is the due-the-same-day science fair projects. With middle-school, they’re staggered JUST enough. ;) (Truly, I was contemplating a science fair project of my own: “How Much Wine Does a Twin Mom Require to Not Pull Her Hair Out in Science Fair Season?”

        All the best to you and your beautiful family, Gloria. This post is so very perfect…times two! ;)

      • CommentingPeg

        “…a positive “two and through” is the due-the-same-day science fair projects…”

        …and teething
        …and diapers

        I tend to look at it from the angle of ‘we’ll only get to do this once but we enjoy it so much more because we know it’s the only chance we’ll get to see it.’

    • Life-Sized Mommy

      Here’s the correlating downside of spaced-out kids: You feel like you’re being unfair to someone.
      My kids are exactly (to the day) 4 years apart. My first baby was premature and incredibly difficult. My second baby is a breeze. I feel like it’s unfair to the first one how relaxed I am with this baby. I feel like it’s unfair to the second one how I never buy him new stuff or do all the crazy “education” or “stimulating” activities (because he just gets dragged around to his brother’s stuff).
      I mean, even if you’re totally screwing your twins up, at least you’re screwing them up equally. ; )

      • ChelseaBFH

        This is how I feel about my twins (so far my only kids). Neither one gets as much undivided attention as they would if they were my first, but they probably get more than they would if they were the second since I don’t have an older kid at a different stage pulling my attention away from baby stuff. And while I’m not as relaxed as someone on their second kid, I’m probably more relaxed than most people with their first because I don’t have time to worry and research, plus I have real live proof that what I’m doing doesn’t matter all that much because my boys are SO different.

      • Guest

        Along this line (the deficit of undivided attention I mean), one of my girls woke up crying the other night and, because her twin sister was at my mom’s, I took Baby A out of her crib and rocked her back to sleep. That child was eighteen months old and it hit me that was the first time I had ever rocked one of my girls fully to sleep. Because I always have to do for the second what I do for the first I may have been missing out on some of the snuggly moments singleton moms gush about.

    • Aimee Beff

      I feel this so hard. I could write a novel about my feelings about having twins but one of the hardest things is one shot at milestones, and when they do come up I feel like I can’t take the time to enjoy them because whichever one isn’t milestoning has a poopy butt/is spitting up/is squalling over a lost pacifier/etc. :(

    • Meg13

      OMG, this sooo spoke to me. I feel the same way only having twins (2 years old now). I love how balanced our family is and we’re definitely done having kids, but it makes me sad sometimes thinking I’ll never have another newborn, no more first steps, first smiles, etc. They just grow up too fast.