With every new transition in life come the opportunity to learn and grow as an individual. My greatest change so far has been when we welcomed our twins Madeline and Emily into our lives. Raising twins was a whole new parenting challenge, full of surprises. I’ll be the first to say that I’m not perfect. Thankfully, being a parent of twins has taught me about myself and has helped to make me a better person.
6 things I’m learning as a twin parent
There’s nothing like having two newborns crying at the same time to really test your patience. But more than that, raising twins is just plain hard work. It’s twice the little feet to put shoes on, twice the little bottoms to wipe… Caring for babies times two means that everything takes twice as long. I’ve learned not to rush them. To let them be little. I may want them to hurry up now, but in a short time I know I’ll miss these days.
When your children arrive, even when it’s two at once- you’ll be amazed at how much love you feel. Before the girls came I was worried that I wouldn’t have enough time, energy, attention, and love to go around for all my children. But that hasn’t been the case at all. My love for them doesn’t run out. If anything, the more tired I am, the more I love them. Because all I want to do when I’m exhausted and worn down is to cuddle with my little guys.
I’ve learned that it helps to be creative. For example, the twins had just turned 2 when baby #4 was born. They still needed me to hold their hands everywhere we went. But if I was carrying the baby, I only had one free hand. One day while I was trying to safely herd the girls across the street, I stuck out the pinky and thumb of my free hand and told each girl to grab on. A year later and we are still using that system for hand-holding.
Another way we’ve had to be creative was when we were dealing with the issue of feeding 2 babies at the same time. When you have to get ready for work, but both babies need to be fed, you just do what you gotta do. I breastfed and supplemented, and got really creative at propping babies and bottles when I was pressed for time.
I finished putting myself through college as a 24-year-old single mom, which sounds like a great accomplishment. Unfortunately, my greatest achievement made me a very prideful person. I had this idea in my head that I was good at everything. Whatever way I chose to do something, it was the right way. Of course, all of that hot-headedness flew out the window when I had two babies on my hands at no clue what to do with them. It turned out I wasn’t the expert on everything after all. It was very humbling to admit to myself and others that I didn’t know what to do, I couldn’t do it on my own, and I was pretty sure I was messing it all up in the process.
The last few years have been an exercise in my strength both physically and emotionally. Carrying two babies, pushing two babies in a stroller, lugging all the extra stuff you need to bring to leave the house with two babies… And then adding a third baby to the mix 2 years later. I tell you, it’s been an exhausting, wild ride. I’ve adapted to living on very little sleep. I’ve lifted and buckled and supported and held tight babies and toddlers for the last 3 years. Through it all I’ve also grown stronger in my faith.
And every second of it has been worth it.
I was the oldest of six kids in my family and I was homeschooled. Those two factors created an incredibly independent, driven, personality in me. As a parent I’ve had to learn to let go of a lot of that. I’m simply not capable of doing everything. I work full-time, we have sports and church and birthday parties and family get-togethers that, while they are a lot of fun, take up much of my free time. Along with admitting to myself that I just can’t do everything, I’ve also had to learn to rely on others. I’ve had to learn to recognize when I need help, and then go out and ask for it. That aspect of releasing control, allowing others to step in and take over, has probably been the hardest thing for me to learn.
The journey of parenting and maturing as an adult is such a serious one, isn’t it? Raising twins, or any other life change for that matter, is a great opportunity to examine how we’ve grown and changed as individual. For me, becoming a mother of twins has been my greatest life change so far.
So what about you? What life changes have you experienced that have made you a better person?