Very soon my twin girls will turn seven years old and, yes, I survived. It amazes me that I have! Becoming a dad to twin girls, and in my case as an older dad was a huge shock to my system, especially as my three older children at the time of the girls being born were teenagers.
Sleepless nights which I might add is doubled and all the other pressures of having a baby that you encounter is also doubled. It’s exhausting to say the least, and quite honestly I thought it was a thing of the past. It’s funny how life’s turns and twists can keep you on your toes, and being a dad to twins has certainly done that, but as their seventh birthday approaches I thought I would give my seven reasons how I survived seven years of twins.
It doesn’t really matter if you have one baby, twins or triplets. The one most important factor was having a routine especially when you have two newborns to deal with 24/7.
Looking back, I now realise that in some ways we were lucky that the girls spent time in a neo-natal unit because the nurses did help to get them into a routine for us. Although this was the only benefit I may add. All the worry and anxiety of being on a neo-natal unit with your newborn babies is really something I hope nobody has to go through.
What was instilled in the girls was a routine and we as parents benefited from this. At times it felt very tiresome and it actually felt like hard work. We wouldn’t see the true benefit of this until we had been at home for a few weeks with the girls, but the routine of feeding, and the medication the girls had to take in the first year of their life was made easy by what we had learnt in the neo-natal unit. That initial transition from hospital to home was much smoother. I also think those early days of routine have helped the girls to this day.
2. Finding the right place to live
When our twin girls were born we were living in a third floor flat which would have been hard enough with one baby, but with twins it was a nightmare, especially if you were on your own with them. For example if you wanted to go out for a walk with the girls we would have to leave the girls upstairs in their cots so they were safe, while we took the pushchair downstairs, and then we’d have to go back upstairs to bring the girls downstairs one at a time. It was a major operation. Needless to say we moved quite quickly to a ground floor maisonette which made our lives much easier, and we also had a garden which was a major bonus.
Easily one of the toughest parts of having twins was that during the night there would not be a night that didn’t go by during those first few years where at least one of the girls would wake up, but usually it would be both of them.
In that situation there was only one answer in my book and I really didn’t care what the so-called experts thought about co-sleeping, we needed sleep and if it meant the girls sharing our bed for a few years then do it. As long as you practise safe co-sleeping it can and does work well. One of our girls still crawls into our bed every night at the age of seven! I’m sure she will grow out of it one day, we’ll maybe!
4. Getting help
This is sadly something that never came our way for a number of reasons so it was always down to us. Still we had the girls and I think we both believed, well it’s our job to look after them, not hand them to family and friends. Saying that if you have an opportunity to get time away, TAKE IT! Don’t be proud. Have some me time because of our lack of family support I think it was about two years before we went out as a couple again, which can definitely make you a little STIR CRAZY!
5. Eating Well
Keeping up the energy levels when you have twins is a challenge in itself and energy levels can be dictated by what you eat. That’s why it was important to us that not only did we have healthy food in the fridge and cupboards for the girls, we also made sure we had plenty of good healthy food for us too!
If you don’t eat well when you have children, looking after babies can make it even harder than what it already is.
The cost of children in today’s world is ridiculous. I’m self employed so I didn’t have the luxury of any paternity leave. The fact of the matter was if I didn’t work I didn’t earn. So I was back to work very quickly, but the advantage of being self-employed was that I was able to control my hours so I was home early for my wife to have a break, but sadly we need money to live and so you have to balance the work/family situation very carefully.
7. Working as a team
This is easily the biggest and most important one and I have never been able to work out how it happened, but we just seemed to share the workload and certain household tasks I took over and some my wife took on.
It was quite simply working as a team to get everything done that you need to do when you have twins.
Of course so much of the above doesn’t apply anymore. Why? Well the girls are now in Year 2 of school and they are definitely easier to deal with. For all of that it would be wrong to think that we don’t have problems with them. It is just a different set of problems. Just like any other siblings they argue, tell tales and can quite often be horrible to each other, and yes either my wife or myself become a referee in the middle of them.
So we survived the baby and toddler stage and now we are heading to the tween stage. I just hope I get through the teenage years and we manage to get our twin girls to adulthood unscathed. Time will tell!
I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.