Wednesday, June 2, 2010

TL01 You Will Not Get Things Accomplished

Things Learned #1 About Having Twin Babies
You Will Not Get Things Accomplished

The sooner you accept this fact, the better.  The trick is you have to truly, deeply, accept it within your deepest of hearts.  You cannot have Twinpeace without this golden nugget of acceptance glowing inside your soul. 

When they first come home, people will tell you to sleep when the babies sleep, to let the housework and laundry slide, etc., etc.  The thing is, nothing will really keep you from trying to keep up with your life.  First off, you and I both know that people will judge how well you are handling parenthood by how well your home is kept up.  Secondly, many of us with multiples also have preemies.  This means that you have the germ paranoia of a new parent multiplied by about five thousand.  Let the dishes sit in the sink?  What if a spore of mold makes it's way into my little guys' nursery?  Thirdly, many mothers of multiples have already been on bedrest, have depended on family and friends to take care of things, and are itching to take care of our own lives again.

I will therefore not recommend anyone let it all go, to leave it sit.  You will do that as much as you can, but you will try to get back into the swing of chores.  I can only say that you must accept that you will get two bottles rinsed out, then will be called to mommy duty before rinsing the nipples.  You will get the vacuum out of the closet and it will sit there the rest of the day -- maybe two or three days -- before you give up and put it back in the closet.  Laundry put into the washer first thing in the morning will never make it into the dryer.  I'm not saying your house will not be spotless -- I'm saying you will struggle just to keep up with dishes and laundry, forget about mopping, and dusting is right out the window.  So is cleaning the windows.

As time goes on -- my boys are almost nine months now -- sleeping patterns become more predictable and manageable.  Sleeping through the night is so huge -- you can now use your babies' down time in a useful way, instead of wandering around like a zombie with a dishcloth in your hand.  Now you can try to plan -- during this nap, you will fold a load of laundry.  During the next nap, you will unload the dishwasher.  The following nap will have at least a superficial vacuum.  Dinner?  Maybe the husband can pick something up on the way home. 

Even as they mature, however, there are two of them, not just one.  This means that despite my best intentions, there will be many times that I barely get the 409 out of the cabinet, and a baby wakes unexpectedly.  Once I get him calmed down, the other one is awake and crying.  By the time they are both happily playing, it is time to feed them and start the cycle over again.  Then there are the times when I put them down for what I think will be a ten minute nap, and they sleep for two hours.  Naturally, I did not begin anything because I believed I did not have time.  This means I now wasted two hours on Facebook or Blogger.  The guilt can be unbearable!  Plus, I tend to spend the rest of the day taking their temperatures, certain they are sick.

At this point, I am gradually adding more tasks that I can take care of on a weekly basis.  Some weeks, not all of it gets done.  Some days are spent entirely on feedings, diaper changes, and keeping babies content and I don't even get a minute to wash bottles or to give the guys a bath.

To new or expectant mothers of multiples, I have the following advice:
  1. Accept you will not get things done, that anything you try to get accomplished may be interrupted at any time and you may not return to it anytime soon.
  2. If you do find that you have 'wasted' some time, enjoy it.  Seriously.  Wasting time is a luxury to be savored.  It is also important to your sanity.  If your kids unexpectedly sleep longer than you thought they would and you vegged out, don't feel guilty.  You needed that recharge
  3. Once you figure out your best bottle/nipple combination, buy three days worth.  This is a lot for multiples, but worth it.  If you find yourself in the midst of a particularly hectic day, you don't have to worry about running out of clean bottles.  You won't believe what a huge load this is off your mind.
  4. If 'public area surface cleaning' is all you can accomplish, that's a huge accomplishment!  Keeping living room and kitchen tidy enough for company to drop by and not pity the new mom is more than many of us can handle.  This is not the time for vacuuming behind the sofa.
  5. Remember, always remember, when you are stressing about something that needs to get done:  if you are with your baby, there is absolutely nothing more important that you should be doing.  Find your peace and enjoyment.  The rest of the world be hanged.
My little guys a year ago last week

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