It's hard to believe...9 months later, and I still can't believe how busy my life is...how much it has changed since I was pregnant. As a mother to twins, I get tons of compliments, questions, and stares when I head out in public by myself. There's a certain assumption made by other parents that don't have multiples that mothers of twins or more must NEVER leave the house. We are thought to be "too busy" to do much of anything that doesn't include bottles, formula, breast milk, diapers, poop, baths, baby food, and of course, the endless supply of dirty laundry. But, despite those assumptions, there are the select few mothers of multiples who, like myself, adapt well and hit the ground running when dealt the hand I have.
When I was pregnant and found out we were having twins, I'll admit, I did think I would NEVER leave the house again, I would NEVER get anything done, and my once clean house would look like a hurricane hit it every day. And it didn't help much when I would meet people in the store who would tell me that exact thing: "You'll be busy!" "You won't have time for (insert household chore or fun activity here)." "You'll never leave the house! How are you going to do it?!" Comments like these would only further deepen the feelings of hopelessness for when my babies were born. But it did something else as well. It gave me determination. Determination to NOT be a mom like everyone expected me to be. I would NOT stay in the house 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. I would NOT let my house get so disgusting and dirty that it was at the point of no return. And when my twins were born 8 months into my pregnancy, I did just that. I'll admit it...I was PETRIFIED at first. I wasn't about to let anybody see that though. Two days after we brought the twins home from the hospital, I had to go back to the hospital to have lab work done on Merasia, to check her jaundice levels. Frank was at work, and since he had had so much time off already for their birth, he really needed to stay at work all day. I called my mom, and she said she'd meet me at the hospital to help me. So, off I went. I got the twins in their winter coats and all cozy in their car seats, and hauled them down three flights of stairs to the waiting, running car. One car seat on each arm. They fell asleep on the car ride down and woke up when we got to the hospital. We did the lab work, and waited in the birthing center where they were born for the results, where we fed and changed the babies. I got them back in the car afterwords, drove home with two sleeping babies in the backseat, and carried them, one car seat on each arm, back UP the three flights of stairs to our apartment. Reflecting on that first outing alone later that night, I realized it wasn't that bad. I can't exactly remember my next outing out after that...I think it was to my local twin support group a week later. What better place to make our second outing? Once again, it wasn't that bad. "I'm good at this," I thought to myself. I think our next outing after that was to their 2 week check up, and then after that, I was a pro. I started going out everywhere during the day while Frank was at work. I went to every grocery store you could imagine, the drug store, gas stations, restaurants, and even Wal-Mart! I developed a great system and learned new things to help myself along the way. Most carts at stores are big enough to hold a car seat in the cart itself, and clip the second car seat to the top of the cart. And that's just what I did! When I went to places where that wasn't possible, I carried one car seat on each arm. And I have done that up until very recently, when now, they are much too big and heavy for that.
Now that I am an out and about with twins professional, I still get stares and comments from people. Most are good. They admire the babies, share with me that they have twins or their brother/sister/cousin/son/daughter has twins (or sometimes more!), and compliment me on what a good job I am doing with the babies. And then there's the questions: "Are you exhausted?" "Do you get any sleep?" And, the most common, "How do you do it??"
My answer to that is simple: I don't know.
Now, I know how funny that sounds, believe me. But, it's honest. I DON'T know how I do it, either! I never thought I'd be doing this. At the same time, however, it's all I know. I don't know any different, and who else is going to do it if I don't? They ARE my children, my responsibility, so, I just do it! You find what works for you when you have multiples, and trust me, you become very creative in a short time that seems like it happens overnight.
I don't get much time to myself. But that's okay. I am exhausted at times, and don't really get time to nap. But that's okay. Some days, I forget to eat, I am so busy. But, eventually, I find a few minutes to grab a snack. I don't get much time to sit down and take a break. But that's okay. I love this responsibility and have waited for it for so long, that it's not an inconvenience to me as it may be to some other people who don't look at this situation in the same way that I do.
My days start very early, anywhere from 6-7. To some, that doesn't seem early, but to me, it is, considering I'm not used to getting up that early before having children, even when I worked. The babies get up, get their diapers changed, and get a morning bottle. Then, they play for a half hour or 45 minutes while I do what I have to do to get ready for the day. Shower, get dressed, brush my teeth, etc. And then it's breakfast time. For the babies, of course. Breakfast is cheerios, yogurt, jarred baby food mixtures, toast, etc. Whatever I decide and whatever they decide tastes good. :-) Then they get cleaned up and get dressed and play for a while, unless we have errands to run, and then they get bundled up and in the car to go do what we have to do. Somewhere in there, there's a morning nap that ranges anywhere from 1 hour to 3 hours. They wake up from their nap, and get a bottle. They play for a while, and then it's their lunch time. After lunch, they get cleaned up, and play for a while some more before their afternoon nap, which, again, ranges anywhere from 1 hour to 3 hours. They wake up from their afternoon nap, get a bottle, play for a while, and if they want to, maybe a snack. Crackers and juice, crackers and water, puffs, etc. They play for a while more, then get dinner. Sometimes they take a 20-45 minute cat nap before or after dinner, depending on how tired they are. They get their last bottle of the day around 7 or so, and then get baths every other night, get a massage with yummy smelling lotion, and get tucked into bed all nice and cozy for the night. All day long I am cleaning up from the day before, cleaning up after each meal, doing laundry, folding laundry, sweeping and mopping the floors, straightening up. And when they are in bed, I am STILL doing this. I am cleaning up toys, cleaning up from their baths, doing dinner dishes, etc., etc. FINALLY, I am able to sit down and BREATHE. And go to bed, of course. How much sleep I get each night, however, is completely up to the twins. But, I wouldn't change that. I give my all to them and for them, and that will never change.