I have taken for granted the ease and grace for which I handled the chaos, the first three years, of day-to-day life with twins. Not just life with twins in those first three years, but life with twin infants and a toddler. Keeping one child alive was one thing, but keeping a toddler alive and two infants was a whole new set of balls to juggle. My first two requirements were always met each morning: keep the kids alive and keep myself alive. Mom success and I was winning. The number one question my friends and new mom friends ask is, how did I do it. How did I get up everyday and maintain a positive attitude, not completely lose my shit, and still manage to raise three really incredible people?
Winning at Twin Motherhood
Here is my secret to how I managed this overwhelming responsibility. Brace yourselves. I didn’t have a choice. Theoretically, I did have a choice, but I couldn’t not get out of bed and tandem nurse two infants. I couldn’t not get up to wrangle my toddling, borderline kindergartner for the day after spending all night tandem breast feeding. I couldn’t not ignore the laundry when your husband is on the road every other week to provide for your family. Having more children than arms, I couldn’t not.
Just Lots of Those Days
Believe me, there were days when I wanted to not shower. Some days I prayed for just 15 more minutes of sleep. Other days, the really good days, where I didn’t end up looking like one of those moms. You know those moms, you see them at the grocery store. Hair in a messy bun, not by choice, a necessity. Their skin is some pallid color of sleeplessness, yoga pants but not the cute yoga pants – like Pajama jean yoga pants – we all own them, don’t lie ladies. She has on no bra and an oversized tee shirt, slightly stained yet still kind of clean to hide our body that looks like we are still five months pregnant but really our child is almost seven. You see those moms. We know those moms. Our eyes meet and you badly want to look away, not in shame, but you can relate to their struggle to survive the day and get the work done for the family. Those moms are every single one of us as mothers. Toss those moms a peace sign, a hug, a smile, we are that mom at one point in time or another.
So when we have those days, drained and devoid of inspiration. Covered in baby spit up, Play Doh, we are lowly muttering the words of some ridiculously catchy tune of our child’s favorite television theme song. On those days we just pray for dad to come home, we pray for the bed, for wine, and to be ourselves once more. When I had one of those days – exhausted and merely trying to operate until the next day – basics, like showering, were a welcoming oasis in the desert of motherhood. I found I could stand in the shower and let my leaky breasts flow like a milk cow as the warm water hit my tired soul. Finding a quiet moment where the rushing water was imagined to be a tropical waterfall. Allowing myself, in those 15 minutes, to take time for me, to restore my energy, my soul, my womanhood. That small window allowed me to operate as a better mom for my kids. More so, I found if I took a few more minutes, I was a rock star.
Put on Your Best Face
In those few extra minutes I put on my best face. These were my secrets to surviving twin infancy:
- I accepted my chaos as everyday.
- Showering daily, no excuses.
- Putting on makeup to feel better about myself – in my chaos – which helped me to be a better mom that day.
Not that there weren’t bad days, but in retrospect, these days weren’t as bad as they seemed. In the moment, in the heavy day-to-day as a mom, we feel isolated and question the validity and normalcy of our struggle. Know that you are normal, the feeling is normal, and this too shall pass. Even today, as the twins are 10 and my oldest soon to be 15, I put on my best face. I am not talking just when I leave the house either. Give yourself that little bit of self love. Reignite your soul, to shine a little bit brighter as a mom and especially as a woman. Take those minutes, find those minutes to put on your best face to handle the day.