This is a guest post written by Robin Lloyd, mom to adorable twins, from The Mama Playbook. Read more about Robin at the end of this article.
Motherhood will teach you many things, in fact, in my experience it has been the greatest learning curve of my life. Having twins smashed my preconceived notion of being prepared for this motherhood gig. If I had a nickel for every time I’ve changed my opinion on parenting tactics…never say never truly applies to being a twin mom! (Or a mom at all for that matter).
One of the biggest lessons I have learned so far is to compromise on things in order to preserve my own sanity, because let’s face it…a sane, (or at least somewhat sane) mother is always a better mother than one who has completely lost all semblance of sanity. And frankly, I do still have those pretty insane days, but I do try to remember what is important and what is not, and hold on to what’s left of my brain that way. So, here’s a list of a few tips I want to share on how I stay (mostly) sane being a twin mom!
Prioritize prioritize prioritize!
Really, this is the MOST important tip of all. Hardly a moment goes by that I don’t have to decide which task to accomplish and which to let go. Let’s just say I run the vacuum a lot less these days because my family wants to eat so making food takes priority (I know, the nerve of them right) and sometimes/oftentimes food is a far simpler offering than I would prefer (nachos and baked potatoes as a diet staple anyone?) but at least our tummies are full…mostly.
Say no and don’t feel guilty
Or really really try to not feel guilty. I am a work at home mom to fourteen month old twins. I full-time ‘mom’, teach piano, sell books and handmade baby items, and blog. My life is nuts, it just is. While a play date sounds fun, and in theory is only a scheduled hour, quite honestly I often don’t have the time, let alone the energy. I feel bad saying no to people who truly care about me and just want to see me, but the facts are, despite my best efforts, I am not Super Woman. My energies are not a limitless resource and I’ve learned the hard way that saying no is far easier than picking up the shattered pieces of my babies, my schedule, and myself because I caved out of guilt and said yes. As much as I would love to do so, I just cannot do a lot for other people right now. I would love to be able to take my niece and nephew out for the day, or drop a surprise dinner off at a sick friends. One day my twins will grow up. Then I will once again have time to make homemade cookies for the mailman and surprise a friend with coffee. However, today is not that day my friends. And as my mom says, those who love you WILL understand.
No really, shower! This doesn’t happen every day and often I have a baby or two in there with me, but when my husband is home I have him watch both babies (even if that means letting them watch a Veggietales or Little Einsteins so no one is screaming and ruining my peaceful vibe), shut the bathroom door and actually take the time to really wash my hair. Sprinkle some lavender in your tub, light a candle, own that fifteen to twenty minutes and make it YOURS. It’s amazing how drastically that small slot of time can change your perspective and recharge you.
Don’t try to do it all
Return phone calls in a timely manner? Ha. Maybe next year. Be on time every time? Right, maybe when my kids stop pooping. Organize the kitchen? Ok… now that’s really funny. A dear friend who also has twins recently said her motto is ‘ain’t nobody got time for that,’ and is she right. Before kids, I was that person who had thank you cards stamped and in the mail practically before the gift had been placed in my hands. Want to know the last thank you card I sent? Let’s just say… it’s been a while. I care just as much as I did before kids but it is REALLY hard to write a thank you with babies squirming all over you let alone make it to the post office. As every mom knows, babies love to eat paper and thank you cards are tempting treats (hopefully that’s not just my offspring…). So I try to send a text, or an email (because talking on the phone is actually just as hard most days) and I don’t even always get that done in a reasonable amount of time. And yes, I still feel bad about it. But mamas, literally, ain’t nobody got time for that. At least not right now.
Even when you cannot reciprocate (just make certain it’s not from someone who is going to make you feel bad when you can’t!). If you have someone offering no strings attached help (and it’s actually really helpful), say thank you, accept, and move on with your life. This is really the hardest one for me: I’m fiercely independent and I’ll admit quite the control freak so allowing others to do things for me really gets my goat. But as I mentioned before, being a twin mama has made me realize, I cannot do it all. To my disappointment, I am not omnipotent and all-powerful. And being a mama, it’s not all about me. I cannot force my babies to poop BEFORE we leave the house or expect them to go hungry waiting for lunch because getting somewhere five minutes early was more important than their needs. And that’s ok. I am a mom now. It’s ok to not be perfect at everything or… anything. Remember, you’re doing your best. And nobody (including yourself) should ever make you feel bad about that.