This is an excerpt from a rant I posted on the twins support forum last Saturday after my husband was incapacitated from some sort of stomach plague…with no break in sight. You don’t have to be a mother of twins, just a mother, to find some shared (comic) relief, I think. Bare with me:
Saturday afternoon therapy for my twin mommas (warning super long post that goes nowhere): As I write this during a magical moment where both my twins are asleep, it is coming from both a place of frustration, as well as a place of sharing/caring in hopes that it might strike a common chord among my twin momma “sisterhood.” I would love to hear your all’s thoughts, difference or shared opinions, musings, etc. Also, writing for me is therapeutic- and that’s exactly what I need today- this Saturday where I thought there would be light at the end of the tunnel, but suddenly my husband comes down with a stomach virus that has him relegated to the guest room for the entirety of the weekend, leaving me no respite in sight- therapy.
I had a thought today, as I was trying to complete what had become a four hour attempt to put away one load of laundry..”This is crazyment.” This life of taking care of twins, trying to keep a household together and clean or at least looking like most people living in it are not diagnosable with some form of severe mental illness, trying to exercise so you can sleep at night, trying to sleep at night so you can exercise the next day, trying to maintain whatever semblance of your former self you might have- whether that be career life, social life, as a partner/wife, or sister/daughter.
With twin babies, there is no break. There is no coveted nap time where you can finally clean the bottles, do the laundry, exercise, bathe, or just change your underwear, spray on some perfume and deodorant and make it seem like you had a shower. There is no schedule like “well he goes down at 9, 12, and 3, so let’s plan our playdate accordingly.” They are two different human beings, and as such- sleep on their own schedule. I never know from day to day what their schedule is going to be.
As I find myself approaching that 6 month mark, I nervously watch my breastmilk supply going down- and so I shove as many fenugreek capsules, lactation cookies, and “power pumping” sessions as I can into a day that is already packed with being tied to a breastpump or a baby’s mouth, an employee who needs assistance, a client who needs help, a husband who needs attention/dinner, a dog that seems to stare into my soul every time he drops a tennis ball in front of me, and a to-do list that never ever gets fully crossed off now.
As I find myself approaching that 6 month mark- suddenly the supportive response of “relax you just had twins,” has morphed into “are you back at work yet? what are you doing to get back into shape? are you doing any mommy and me stuff? have your kids reached the next milestone? you have to schedule just time for you and your husband you know, etc. etc..”
As I find myself approaching that 6 month mark- I feel a sense of urgency to start eating better so that I feel better. Yet that requires time to plan, grocery shop, cook, and yes- eat. So what happens in actuality is I stuff another starbucks latte and breakfast sandwich down my throat to keep me functioning for a few more hours until I can make it to lunch. For lunch, I have visions of going to Subway to grab something relatively healthy to my normal fare- but when the time rolls around, I have lost all motivation to put both babies in the car, in and out of the snap and go, slap myself together into something that resembles a functioning human, or at least something that others wouldn’t stare at in disbelief as I stood in line in a public place- and so I end up in the taco bell/pizza hut drive through yet again. FAIL
As I find myself approaching that 6 month mark, I feel a sense of obligation to breastfeed my kids for another six months until I hit that magical one year mark, combined with an undertone of fear that my supply is now dwindling, next to an overwhelming urge to exercise (even though the catch 22 is that I know it will decrease my supply) to feel better and get back to feeling like the self I once was- energetic, vibrant (most days), and healthy. Yet, when I have that ever anticipated gap in time where both babies are sleeping- all I want to do is sleep and try to recover from the night before. As I “should” all over myself, I also hear the cries of many who have gone before me saying “you shouldn’t put so much pressure on yourself.” Another “should” in disguise. I then get down on myself for trying to do too much in a situation that is already busting at the seams.
Just when I think I’ve got a rhythm, one baby learns to roll over and suddenly – game over. The end of an era where I could just lay them down to play quietly with a toy. Just when I think I might have this all figured out- a friend asks me if I want to go for a walk and its as if she asked me to elaborate on the theory of relativity.
Pardon the tangent for just a moment- but “do I want to go for a walk?” Hmmm…let me think. My twins have me on a non-stop change, feed, clean, sleep schedule all day and I haven’t even had time to write the log I am supposed to be keeping their daily schedule on, much less fax over a claim to an insurance company, call my mom back, respond to a client that needs to reschedule, send my grandmother another picture of the exact picture I sent her before via text but she can’t figure out how to scroll down, reheat- for the 3rd time, my half eaten breakfast sandwich that I suspect might now be carrying salmonella but I’m willing to take the risk. But yes- let me wake at least one of my babies up, strap them both in the stroller, so that I can swindle that precious moment in the day when all the stars align and they are both sleeping, to walk. No thanks. Not today.
Doing therapy for a living, one would think I might have this stress/time management stuff down. Yet despite all those many years of training- there is nothing in a book or a classroom that quite prepares you for this. It is a schizophreniform, emotionally labile world we live in as mothers. We are constantly tired, stretched too thin, cranky, irritable juxtaposed against an underbelly of overwhelming joy, laughter, fun, happiness, excitement, and gratitude to have these little gifts/miracles from heaven. We can be mired in the muck of the day and with one giggle or grin, we get another plug of energy to get us through the next moment, until eventually we come out on the other side relatively unscathed parents of toddler and tween twins….I am still in disbelief that these mythical creatures actually exist, however.
Well that’s all I got for now. I hope, for those of you, that found time to even read this- you found some commonality and know that today you are not alone. Keep on keeping on ladies. You’re the closest thing to superheroes there is