So I’ve written two posts now (one and two) about the STUFF you need to survive having twins. And today, for some reason, I felt this need to just get real and make a list that doesn’t include stuff. A list that’s about me, and not them. A list that is maybe a little raw and awkward and messy.
First of all, let’s take note that the title of this post says “I” and that means you may not agree with me and thats ok. Or maybe you will.
Secondly, I don’t believe these things apply only to moms of twins, it just happens to be all I know at this stage in my life.
And lastly, this is going to be lengthy, wordy, and may include the occasional “damn” because in real life I am a potty-mouth, continually trying to rehabilitate myself and stop swearing. I mostly do this for my husband who NEVER swears, and because I love and respect him (and because I’ll have to watch what I say in front of the boys anyway), I’m trying to be better at it. It doesn’t always work. Motherhood makes me want to swear, sometimes (and I refuse to apologize for that – see #6).
Before I get into my lengthy list, I want to say that I am a new mom, and I’m not sure I’ll ever stop considering myself one. I thought maybe after 3 months. Nope. Still felt new. 4? Nah. 7? Still nothing. Heck, these boys are going to be 16 one day and learning to drive, and guess what? I’ll be a new mom then too, because there is ALWAYS something new. Every ding-dong day! Sure, I’ll feel like I’ve learned from repeat patterns and experiences, but I’ll never be a veteran at this.
My good friend and Pastor says that he is always becoming: a Christian, a father, a pastor… and I love that because everyday I’m becoming a mom, among a slew of other things. There’s no point of arrival. I’ll never master this role and be finished with it. I am forever becoming a mom to Jude and Luca.
Because of this, the list I’m about to share with you may change one day, but at this moment in my journey, these are the things I know to be true, in no particular order.
Not always for the caffeine (though usually for the caffeine), but mostly for what it means to my normal daily life. When I drink coffee, hot, on my own, it’s like I’ve been given this special gift of having my pre-mom life back. Even if it only lasts like 43 seconds.
And all the moms said: “hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha GOOD ONE!” No, but really. Not the chopped up sleep or the exhaustion-induced coma I often fall into, but like REAL GOOD, don’t worry about anybody waking up or someone being hungry kind of sleep. I’ve gotten that once in 7 months, and it was damn good. Thank you, mom, for taking the boys for a night. I slept like a baby – and that doesn’t mean for a long period of time because we all know babies kind of suck at that (and if your baby doesn’t, please keep that to yourself), but it means without a care in the world. I JUST slept. And you know what? That one time was enough to keep me going for a little while.
3. To feel
good about my body sexy
There. I said it. It’s about to get real. When I was pregnant, I felt great about my body. I could wear tight things, I had this awesome bump to show off, and I had somehow lost a little bit of weight (because twins and morning sickness…ugh). I didn’t necessarily always feel sexy (especially not in the last month), but I felt really good about my body.
The first week after having the boys, I didn’t need to feel anything about my body. I was adjusting, recovering, healing, and completely in awe of the thing THIS body just did. I still felt great about it. 10 days after delivery, I weighed less than I did before I was pregnant. I was THAT girl. So annoying, right? Yeah…sorry. I felt awesome. My clothes were baggy, and I could feel sexy and good wearing track pants and a dirty tank top because my boobs also had never looked better. True story, you guys. Postpartum bod was killin it!
And then I stopped breastfeeding and pumping. My breasts deflated and became like sad shrivelled pancakes attached to my chest. I started to gain weight. My face broke out. I started losing my hair. Suddenly I wasn’t proud of my stretch marks anymore because they weren’t just little marks on my somewhat flat stomach, they were divots on my now floppy belly. Nothing fits me. I feel terrible. Yes, that’s present tense. This is everyday now. And I’m working to change that but it is so bloody hard.
So how do I feel sexy? Or even remotely good about this body? Some days I don’t know – I don’t. Some days my husband tells me I look hot – and I have to say, he’s really good at that, even if I react with a scoff and dismiss the compliment. Some days I put on jeans and realize my butt is bigger – this is a GOOD thing. I have no ass to speak of, so I’ll take a little junk. It changes constantly, as most things do these days, but it’s definitely important to feel it. Feel sexy. Work it, even if it jiggles.
4. To cry
You guys, I’m crying right NOW! Yep. Now. Because I’m opening myself up. On the internet. And that is either stupid or brave or both. Because I’m always always always feeling things. I’m sensitive times a million since babies, and I need to cry. Often. Sometimes I need it on my own – like a good shower cry, you know what I mean? I can’t be the only one who likes to cry in the shower! Sometimes I need it on a shoulder. Sometimes I just do it when I look at my perfect babies and I cry while I sing to them before nap time. Or when someone posts one of those damn sappy videos on Facebook and I stupidly watch it. Whatever the reason… I need to allow myself to feel all the things because there’s no room for harbouring feelings anymore, so they need to just come out.
5. To be kinder to myself
Oh lawd, I need to remember this one like 41 times a day! I mean, hello #3! But I also need to be kinder to myself as a human being. I make mistakes. Literally every single day I make mistakes. Jude has fallen off the bed THREE TIMES in the last 2 months. Every single time, I was home alone with them. Completely my fault. I cried so much the first time. Like, hiccuping sobs! By the third time, I simply vowed never to put him on a bed again and hugged him and moved on because he was ok, he barely even cried, and I just had to move on to the next thing and not dwell on this one mistake. See, I’m a natural dweller. If I ever called you by the wrong name, or waved to you when you were really waving at the person behind me, or accidentally spat while talking to you (or really ever did anything embarrassing or wrong or dumb), I remember it and I still feel like an idiot for it. I’m just that person. But I have to let those mistakes go. I apologize and move on. Or at least I try to…
6. To swear, or drink, or both
Some days are just so flipping LONG! Like, I may be wishing for bedtime and a few shots of tequila by 11am kind of long. It’s not every day, it’s not all the time, and I don’t think I’m a bad mom for it. Being a parent is hard. Being a twin parent is just a complete circus some days. Being alone with babies who can’t communicate with you is frustrating, and when they nap on opposite schedules and you literally have one baby awake and needing you ALL. DAY. LONG. a drink is in order. Or swearing. Because hot damn, you guys, this shiz is hard!
7. To not hear all the generic comments/questions
“You sure have your hands full” is what drives me to #6. Just stop. “You must be so busy!” “Are they twins?” “Oh, my sister’s best friend’s neighbour had twins, so I know what it’s like.” “My kids are 16 months apart, so I feel like I have twins too!” “Do twins run in your family?” “Are they identical?” “I can’t imagine how tired you must be.” “How do you get anything done?” “Better you than me!” (YES, I’ve heard that one on numerous occasions.) “Well, at least they’re cute.” “Are they natural?” (as opposed to……?)”Did you have a c-section?” “Do you breastfeed them?”
I could go on…
And truly, if we’re friends, ask me whatever you want. Seriously. If you’re a stranger walking past me at the grocery store, please refrain from asking me about how my children were conceived. It doesn’t matter. It’s none of your business. The end. Instead, try #8.
8. To be lifted up
No, I don’t need to be told how amazing I am for having twins. People have them and raise them successfully all the time, all over the place, sometimes even with many other children already in tow. They do it better and more graciously and without letting their kids fall off the bed as many times as me. I don’t need praise. I need understanding, compassion, the occasional door being held as I try to push my stroller bus through a doorway. And maybe throw in a sympathetic smile. Not a pity smile, just a regular smile that tells me you have kids, or you’ve been around a baby once or twice, or that you don’t view me as a nuisance to your day. That’s pretty much it.
9. To vent
Hi, have you read like 90% of this post?
Seriously, though, sometimes I just need to say out loud how hectic my week or day has been without hearing anything back. Don’t tell me about how you totally get it, even if you do. Just let me talk a little about the poop-splosions and the teething and the off-sync naps…
10. To listen
Please tell me about your normal life and how you went to see a movie, or about how crazy your office drama is, or anything that isn’t related to baby food, scheduling naps or bedtime routines. Let me soak in your normal for a bit. I promise, most of the time I want to listen. Unless I’ve had a day filled with #4 or 7.
11. A long (as in longer than 7 minutes), hot shower. Or just a shower. Any length will do.
To just stand there as the water falls. To cry. To sing. To revel in silence. To actually be clean, even if only for about 3 minutes because spit up is my new perfume. To feel like myself. To shave my legs, which will help me feel sexy. To purposely not shave my legs because it’s hair-washing day and I can’t possibly shave AND wash my hair in one shower – I need to save the other for a potential second long shower this week. To be alone. To think. To remember all the things I still need to do. To forget all the things I still need to do. To brainstorm. To clean the tub for the first time in a month.
I need to pray and to be prayed for. Some days I pray consistently. Others not at all. But I do know that I need it in my life more than ever before. For sanity, for grace, for peace, for so so so so many reasons.
13. A chance to miss my babies
Sometimes it’s because I have to go do something work related, and I leave the house without them. Sometimes it’s because someone at church is holding them during service and I just feel a sudden urge to snuggle them. Sometimes it’s when they’re in bed after a long and hard day. Whether they’re in the same room as me, or a car-ride away, sometimes I just need to miss them and see their little eyes light up just a little bit brighter when they see me. I could live on those moments and those smiles alone.
The thing that happens when I share a cute picture of my babies and our current struggles and comments from other moms and non-moms alike pour in. When someone messages me on snapchat to let me know their kid laughed when they saw my babies blowing raspberries at themselves on the screen. When I have a question and I can text a fellow mom friend or message a twin mom that I “met” on the internet because I’m unsure about something. Friends who text to see how we’re doing. People who wipe up the spit up from a baby’s mouth or picks one up when they start crying at church. My mom, literally always bailing me out. I need every single one of you and I appreciate you so much. You don’t even know…
Ok. I think this is it. I think I’m done.
Could there be more? Maybe. But it’s almost 11pm and my boys will surely be up before 4am as they usually are, so I’m going to take advantage of my sleepy state and hit publish before I have a chance to realize how vulnerable I’ve just made myself, because I need that, too…
To ask for help. To know when I can’t do it alone. To post something like this and hope that other people understand, and choose to keep their criticisms to themselves.
Did I miss anything, mamas? What are/were some of your essentials for survival?