When 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.
Not all mothers of only twins feel this way—I’ve got plenty of confident twin-mom friends who sail through every phase like they wrote the parenting books themselves. Mothering just doesn’t come naturally to me like it does for some women—I rarely have a “maternal instinct” guiding my parenting decisions. I’m a textbook mom: I read everything I can and research online until I’m bleary-eyed. I’m also a recommendation mom: even now I’m still asking my friends if they’re getting the flu shot for their seven year olds, asking should we sign up for lacrosse, or which pool they think we should join.
I’d just love to experience the feeling of knowing what I was doing. To not doubt myself or the advice I’ve been given, to not research topics that shouldn’t require much thought at all. I’d love to say, “Oh I’ve seen that before and it’s no big deal.” I’d also like to use the random yet vast knowledge of rashes, baby toys, gadgets, and organic mattresses I now have, but with no babies in my future, I don’t see that happening.
When you’re a mom of only twins, you learn quickly that milestones fly by, and if you know you won’t be having any more children, you have to cherish these moments for each child as best as you can. I tend to go a little over the top with birthdays because I always think to myself, “This is the only fifth birthday party I will ever throw. Make it memorable!”
There are times when I wish I could make a stage of my kids’ childhood last longer, like preschool. I wouldn’t have minded more than two years of preschool. It was such a sweet, innocent time of learning and growth and I loved being with little people who discovered something new every day. I cried on the way home from preschool graduation because I wasn’t ready for it to end. I would never take a child to preschool again, never watch this adorable little graduation that they were so proud of. While half of my friends were on their second or third kid in preschool, the other half had younger ones they’d get to take to preschool next year. But like it or not, we were moving onto Kindergarten.
And sure, let me acknowledge the upside of getting teething over in just a few months and never revisiting the diapers stage once your twins move to Pull-Ups. There are plenty of reasons to love being a mom to only twins. But if you’re one of those “lucky” moms out there with a baby in a Bjorn on your chest, and a toddler scooting far ahead of you even though you’re yelling for him/her to come back, just know that there’s actually someone out there who thinks you’ve got it made.
(Image: getty Images)