Wednesday, 30 May 2012

Tips, short-cuts and lowering your standards

Right, so you've had twins. There's a lot to do to keep the ship afloat and it's time to be realistic, starting with dropping your standards. Of course this doesn't mean allowing the babies to sit in their own filth for hours, but it does mean doing the absolute bare minimum in terms of household and twin maintenance, and certainly not beating yourself up if your standards of cleanliness take a serious dip.

Twin parents should not be ironing babygros, for example. There are, quite simply, more important things to do. Ditto changing nappies when they are a bit wet, doing a full change of clothes when they are a bit mucky, and changing an entire cot when sheets are a bit sicky. Make things easy for yourself and prioritise what really needs doing:
  • I would only change dirty nappies straight away; wet ones should last a good few hours so only change them if the baby is a sleepy feeder and could do with a wake-up before or during a feed. Don't change nappies at all at night unless absolutely essential
  • Clothes will get a bit dirty, but as long as it's not smelly and/or touching skin I wouldn't change them for purely aesthetic reasons. I have witnessed a mum change one twin who had been sick all over herself and then proceed to change the other, perfectly clean twin because their outfits no longer matched. Erm... what. are. you. doing?
  • If a baby is sick in the cot move them to the other end. You can also lay them on a muslin in the cot or moses basket and change that each time, rather than the sheet. Quick, easy and you'll probably have more muslins in the house than cot sheets
  • Babywipes are marvellous inventions and can be used to clean up a variety of ickiness. Think about whether you can wipe something so that it's clean-ish rather than chuck it in the wash
As well as dealing with keeping the babies vaguely clean, you also need to bear in mind that you might get slobbered, sicked, pooed and weed on throughout the course of the day. Dress simply in stuff that washes easily, use babywipes and keep muslins handy. When you move on to proper food I would wear patterned clothes as much as possible as they hide a multitude of purees.

You house is also going to get a bit of a beating, just at the time when you'll probably have loads of visitors. I promise you no one expects pristine, show-home cleanliness from a family who have just had twins. They will think you are marvellous just for being conscious. So what if there is washing everywhere? People visiting you in the early days should be your family and closest friends and therefore should not care. If you catch anyone frowning disapprovingly at the dust on your skirting boards, waving a baby in their direction should provide adequate distraction.

Limitations don't just relate to household stuff when you have twins. Simple activities like taking them swimming are doubly difficult and require double the adults. You might feel like you are lagging behind other parents in the race to do new activities with your little ones. Of the parents of twins I have met, the ones who seem to struggle the most with their new limitations are the ones who already have a child. This is because the standard has already been set and you would assume that things will be the same the second time around. And then that pesky egg splits or gets a fertilised mate and those plans go out of the window. Twin parents struggle to do things in the same way as they did with their singleton and get themselves into a bit of a guilt-ridden pickle.

For example, having two babies "sleeping" in your room at night is quite a different kettle of fish to one baby. They are very noisy: gurggling, groaning, snoring, thrashing about and of course, screaming their faces off. Often they set each other off as well. "Ship 'em out!" I hear you cry (which is what I did after 7 sleepless weeks), but if you had your previous child in with you for the recommended 6 months, then you might feel compelled to put up with the twins in your room for 6 months as well. I think having twins after having a singleton should wipe the slate clean, and parents shouldn't feel guilty for not doing everything exactly the same. Being realistic about what you can and cannot achieve is half the battle. 

There are a lot of differences between have one baby and having twins - the biggest being YOU'VE GOT TWINS!!! Anyone who says it can't be double the work is childless, or stupid, or both. It's exactly double the work because there are double the babies, which means your standards and expectations should be exactly half. I just hope my mother isn't reading this...

1 comment:

  1. This is brilliant. Yes to everything about singleton+twins. Enjoying your writing!