Adjusting to Your Changing Lifestyle as Parents of Twins

It is simply amazing! From the moment you lay eyes on your newborn bundle(s) of joy, your life suddenly changes. How could someone so tiny and helpless make such an incredible impact so quickly? Babies have the unique ability to steal your heart, challenge your abilities, and can turn your world upside down if you let them. Having a baby (or two or three) is an absolutely wonderful change that will necessitate some changes in your way of doing things. As many seasoned parents have probably already informed you, your lifestyle will need quite a few modifications. Here are some suggestions that will make your adjustment a little bit easier.

Get Organized! 

As painful as this thought may be for the more spontaneous among us, getting and staying organized can make the difference between riding a tidal wave and getting hit by one. Not only will you be able to better meet the needs of your children, but you may even have some time left over for yourself. You’ll thank yourself for it!

Buy in Bulk

Take an inventory of non-perishable products that you are most likely to use. Whether it be diapers or everyday household items and foods, stock up when there is a sale. Eliminate those last minute dashes to the store to purchase necessities or forgotten items by keeping close track of your stock. Faithfully keep an ongoing shopping list on your refrigerator door and get into the habit of writing down an item as soon as the need for it arises or it begins to run low. When it comes to baby goods, many items such as diapers and formula can be bought by the case.

Keep It Neat and Easy

How do you keep your home from looking like a disaster at the end of a long day of devoting your efforts to taking care of your baby or babies? Take as many shortcuts as possible. During the day, soak dirty dishes in a tub of warm soapy water in the sink until you can get around to cleaning them. Use clear plastic tubs to store children’s small and medium sized toys. (Labeling these clear tubs with a word or picture will help children learn to locate and put away toys.) Use separate hampers for white, light and dark laundry to avoid sorting. Have designated spots for important items, such as keys, pocketbooks, checkbooks, and pacifiers. (Try your best to return these items to their set location to avoid daily scavenger hunts for them.) Organize your home to help make your job and your life easier.

Learn How to Say Yes

When people offer you assistance, say YES! Parenting, and especially parenting multiples, is a very humbling experience, so learn to swallow your pride and realize the physical and mental limitations of being a SuperMom or SuperDad. Even the most independent people need help sometimes. You will enjoy being a more rested and less stressed parent. Don’t be ashamed to ask family and friends, as well as trusted neighbors, mother’s helpers, school or church volunteers for a hand. Let people take your grocery list to the store with them (after all, when will you be able to get there in the near future?), run errands, feed a baby or two or simply just give you time to take a well deserved nap or read a book. Burning yourself out trying to do it all is simply no good for you or the little ones who depend on you.

Learn How to Say No

Likewise, it is important to know your limitations. If you are unable to entertain guests or attend functions due to exhaustion, tactfully let the party know that you would like to have done so under different circumstances, but you simply cannot do it at this time. For some people, learning how to say no takes time and practice, but it is a necessary skill to avoid burnout. On the other hand, try if possible to get out of the house regularly or on special occasions to refresh yourself and take a short break from the world of diapers and formula. Spending time with friends or family can be uplifting and just the boost you need to get you through the rest of the day or week.

Be Realistic

Especially difficult for the perfectionists and over-achievers among us is learning to set small and realistic goals. Your expectations need to adapt to your new and changing lifestyle. Simply taking care of your babies’ basic feeding, burping, diapering and comforting needs, especially in those early weeks of infancy, is enough of a daily challenge. You are not a poor parent because your house looks like a small tornado has passed through it or because you don’t know why your babies are crying. Focusing on overcoming those daily hurdles will keep you busy enough without having to worry about perfection.

Stay Alert for Special Discounts and Programs

Many baby companies and government agencies have special programs designed for parents of multiples. They can include anything from discount coupons to free supplies for baby. Don’t be shy about asking. Contact your pediatrician, check with local multiples organizations, call toll free baby company hotlines, check multiples magazines and inquire in retail stores for possible discounts.

NOTE: Take Time to Enjoy

All work and no play makes for a very exhausted and stressed out parent. Make it a point to regularly set aside time for yourself to do something you enjoy, whether alone or with others. Think of it as a mini vacation, even if it is for a few minutes a day. Likewise, remember that your babies themselves can be a source of rejuvenation. Sometimes we get so overwhelmed with the burping, feeding, changing regime that we forget to make time to enjoy playing with our children. There is nothing that can brighten your day like a baby smiling, laughing or cooing at you. Babies grow up before you know it, so why not try to enjoy every moment while you can? It is especially wonderful to leave the camcorder out and ready to shoot so that you can record little snippets here and there of your babies’ latest and cutest feats. Just taking five minutes every so often makes for a beautiful chronicle of babies’ first years. Especially after a long and difficult day, it is rewarding to watch a few precious moments of your little ones at their best.