10 things I’ve learned from having twins
By Caroline Sheehan from The Curve
I suspected that I was having twins quite early on in the pregnancy. Not because my 3 year old daughter walked in one morning and told me I had 2 babies in my belly (the day before I found out I was pregnant) or because my husband and I have twin aunts and uncles.. I felt doubly ROUGH… my logic was telling me that I was just a few years older than when I had my first born and probably not as fit and rested but my instinct was telling me that there was something else happening.
10 things I’ve learned from having twins By Caroline Sheehan

When it came to the 12 week scan the sonographer exclaimed “Oh.. 2 babies!” by this point I had already convinced myself that we were having twins so didn’t seem too surprised.. My husband Tom on the other hand burst into nervous laughter, then silence.. he then turned, looked deep in to my eyes and said “We’re going to need a bigger car!”.
On our journey home after the scan the first person we saw was a twin mum with a double buggy… I’ll be quite honest, she looked completely exhausted. Our collective excitement to fear ratio slightly altered and I think we both literally made a big ‘gulp’ noise like a 1970’s cartoon character…  Jeepers.
I suppose with any life changing experience we learn so much about ourselves and those around us. Motherhood has taught me a LOT but the jump from 1 child to 3 has been quite an adventure.. here are 10 things I’ve learned from having twins (2 and a half years in)….
Grown up breaks away are a necessity… get them if you can!!!
10 things I’ve learned from having twins By Caroline Sheehan

One day my children will grow up and move out. An idea I can’t fully get my head around just yet but eventually they will. By that point I want to be a very similar but crinklier version of the Caroline I was pre-kids with interests, projects and a social life (not a shell of a woman rattling around the house looking for a young person to feed and generally be responsible for.. though we will probably get a couple of dogs). I find that taking the odd break away from the kids either with their Dad or friends a very effective reset switch. Even having a little window of headspace where you can sleep-in and read the papers in bed without someone shouting ‘please can you come and wipe my bu-umm?’ from the next room is good for the soul. At times my weekdays can feel like a sequence of looking for shoes, drop offs, pick ups, going to work, cooking, cleaning, frantically pressing all of the buttons on the washing machine and collapsing on a pile of laundry bigger than our bed… then doing it all again the next day. Having something a little different to look forward to is lovely. I’m also a better parent when I return as I’ve had just enough time to reflect and miss their little faces.
10 things I’ve learned from having twins By Caroline Sheehan

So many things are temporary.
When the twins first arrived our home constantly evolved with moses baskets, jumperoos, all sorts of furniture and equipment tessellating into our little house… from month to month the layout had to change as we entered new stages of the twins’ development (and their big sister’s love for her toy kitchen). Life in general has mirrored this.. our jobs, our finances, what we do with our time off, where and who we visit.. it all has to work around our life as a family. Right now the geography of our world feels very small but I’m happy with this.. as life has changed so much over the last couple of years it’ll continue to change and we can take our adventures further afield.
I’m mastering how to make time.
It’s not easy to stop being busy. Last year I was working too much. I was working through the day and then during the evening after the kids had gone to bed. I’m a designer and love my work but the evenings weren’t working for me. I soon realised that when you’re a parent there’s a high chance that your plans for the night can be replaced with soothing a restless or poorly child.. this was happening and I could feel the pressure building. I was stressed. Day to day I was too busy thinking about what I had to do later that night instead of being fully in the moment, enjoying my time with the kids. With 3 kids including young twins I found that life just didn’t have room for this. I cut out the evening work which financially was a loss but what I’ve gained is worth so much more. As well as having my free time back after putting the kids to bed I’ve had a renewed energy and focus to make time with the kids to just do nothing in particular and they love it. If I just sit on the floor at their eyelevel wherever they are playing they are guaranteed to get me involved ..even if I am just being used as a human climbing frame. It’s not like sitting down to do a parent led activity like baking, crafts or colouring, it’s totally up to them. There’s always 10 other domestic things I could probably be getting on with but that stuff can wait. Sounds really simple but I’m more available to them now.
I’ve also found that spending time with each child individually really matters - even if it’s just popping to the shop together. It’s very easy to see twins as a unit, I sometimes have to make a concerted effort to give them a break from each other too. Weekends get so chocka-block with birthday parties and swimming lessons, social stuff, DIY etc.. whenever I see a date coming up in the diary with no plans that’s how it stays.. a day for the family to do nothing. Bliss.
10 things I’ve learned from having twins By Caroline Sheehan

I’m very grateful to my body
I generally looked after myself during my pregnancies, healthyish diet, exercise, yoga, being slightly obsessed with my pelvic floor exercises etc.. and was quite lucky to have pregnancies and births that weren’t very complicated. My body has changed and I have definitely aged through sleep deprivation but don’t feel any negative feelings or disappointment about this… quite the opposite. During my first pregnancy (with my daughter) I remember having several mild freak-outs about my body changing throughout, but second time around (with twins) I was happy to go with the flow.. maybe it’s because I knew that my body would just do what it needed to do and I just had to listen to it (and watch it expand). I think my body has done some pretty amazing things, I admire its strength and ability to alter so dramatically, we’re so detached from listening to our instincts but labour and birth taught me that my body knew what it was doing and I had to trust it. Well done bod.. you’ve earned your stripes stretchmarks.
10 things I’ve learned from having twins By Caroline Sheehan

Even with the same nurturing each child is different.
My twin boys were born 20 minutes apart, they eat pretty much the same meals, snacks, get involved in the same activities and go to bed at the same time… do they both have the sleep pattern? No way! One boy sleeps solidly for 12 hours flat out while they other wakes almost every night. Isn’t this proof that the whole issue with sleep just comes down to the individual child? I’m always amazed at the different levels of empathy and reactions each child has.. We went on a football stadium tour recently and when the club mascot appeared (a big blue friendly alien) my daughter instantly wanted to hold his hand, one twin didn’t bat an eyelid and the other twin broke out into a screaming frenzy and ran for the exit. I didn’t expect their differences to be so extreme.
10 things I’ve learned from having twins By Caroline Sheehan

A (rough) routine is key.
I don’t have an ‘open the curtains at 7:07am, serve breakfast at 7:19am and if I’m a minute late our little world may  fall apart’ sort of schedule but with the twins especially a structure to their day keeps us all right. The kids half know when to expect certain snacks and naps and if we veer off track a little it’s OK. I understand that all children are very different but from what I’ve gathered they are to some extent creatures of habit. If we’re veering way off track we just give them a heads up on everything so they know the plan for the day and nothing is too much of a shock. Tom and I have had days where we’ve both been eyeball achingly sleep deprived and have also found a bit of a structure a way of keeping things together… our daily routine always involves good coffee (funny that).
I accept help more than ever.
When you have baby twins a magical thing happens where complete strangers are keen to help. Accompanied with phrases like “You’ve got your hands full” they open doors for you, hold things, say kind things to you when you look like you might be ready to have a little cry in the bookshop, entertain the babies while you’re waiting in a queue, forgive you for clogging the aisle with your massive double buggy etc.. it’s lovely.. faith in humanity restored. Luckily It’s the same with friends and family.. there’s an understanding that everyday goals can be a bit of a mission so people are more patient with you and forgive you for being forgetful or slightly shambolic. I’ve always been a bit of a trooper “oh, it’s fine.. I can manage” type and I can, but it wouldn’t be much fun. People only really offer to help if they want to and I’m so thankful for it when they do.
10 things I’ve learned from having twins By Caroline Sheehan

I’ve got used to the gremlins.
My children are on a secret mission to gradually deconstruct our home and all of its contents. Nothing is sacred and I’ve learnt not to be precious. Just this morning whilst having a shower I rinsed the shampoo out of my eyes and witnessed one of the boys brushing the hinges of the toilet seat with my toothbrush. I wondered if this was a regular hobby of his and this was only the first time I’d caught him in the act. There are a few items on lockdown but if it’s something they can peel, hammer, cover in yoghurt, tear, colour in or pull apart they will. I’ve come to terms with the fact that most it is just ‘stuff’ and that Elle Decoration will just have to wait for their editorial piece.
10 things I’ve learned from having twins By Caroline Sheehan

I can be cruel to be kind.
I’ve found letting kids get their own way all of the time a quick fix, especially when they have a twin sibling looking on and learning - then before you know it you have 2 diva’s to contend with. I’m a firm believer that if you spoil your child it doesn’t make them love you more, it makes them respect you a little less. They learn to accept no being an answer and understand the reasons why they can’t always do or have what they want on their terms only. I want my kids to be good people who I can enjoy friendships with and have a strong bond with throughout their adulthood.
10 things I’ve learned from having twins By Caroline Sheehan

I laugh more.
With 2 babies/toddlers at exactly the same age (plus their elder sibling) things can often go wrong.. infact things get straight up feral.. especially on the days where you are outnumbered. I’ve been in countless situations where I’ve just had to beam myself up knowing that the current event of a wired tired child of mine (made even more shambolic because he’s not the only child I need to focus on) causing a commotion is just a whirlwind of time that will pass and we’ll be back in Kansas before we know it. I’ve learned to laugh at these situations afterwards and sometimes during. Maybe it’s a coping mechanism or maybe I’ve finally learned not to sweat the small stuff.
10 things I’ve learned from having twins By Caroline Sheehan

Caroline Sheehan
March 23, 2018 — admin