I'm still in the first trimester, so I know it's early for me to be having all these worries, but I have to say that I can't stop thinking about this stuff and it's making me a little bit batty. Well, that and the terrible nausea, but y'all can't help me with that part! I am sorry to have written a small novel here, but my mind is just racing and I'd love some input from Been There Done That Mamas who can help me problem-solve.
We live in a small (Manhattan small) one-bedroom apartment. It's a third floor walk-up. We're at our limit in terms of what we can afford for rent, so there's no hope of us moving somewhere else. We are actually priced out of Brooklyn, and in terms of location we can't move to the farther boroughs (outer Queens, Midwood, etc) due to our jobs & some other factors not worth getting into here. We figured we'd have the kid, make it work in our cozy space for a year or two until the dust settled, and then try and figure out where to move/what to do next. Sharing the space with a nb-2yo really didn't seem like a big deal. (Did I mention we also have two dogs and two cats? We used to live on a farm and had more space, we're not entirely insane) We talked specifically about really concrete things, for example:
- Co-sleeping- because there's no room for a crib and we can't really afford one anyway.
- Ergo carrier- because I love them (have used them as a nanny) and there's no room in our place for a stroller to park. PLUS I couldn't imagine having to haul one up three flights of stairs every day. I know the Maclarens are light but if I was going to get a stroller I wanted one that had the baby facing me and Maclarens are great for a lot of things, but not Mommy-facing.
- Childcare- I teach university courses, so I figured I would just strap the kid onto me, head to campus and hire a student (not my student) to watch Baby while I taught my 75 minute class. Saves having to pay while I commute!
- Cloth Diapers- Save money, save the earth, have a cute baby bum while doing it? Sign me up! We don't have laundry in the building so we were planning on buying a Haier portable washer that hooks up to the sink then line drying in our apt. and using that system for the diapers. A friend of mine in the city does this and it works fabulously for her.
- Breastfeeding- Saves money, better for the baby, more convenient for me, yes!
- My part-time Nanny job: No problem -- the mother is super supportive of me coming to work with the baby on my back in the Ergo. The family is wealthy as all get-out, they love me, and pay me really well. We aren't high earners so we need to keep this extra income.
Twins have totally upended everything (at least in my head)
- Co-sleeping- we have a queen sized bed and my husband and I are both sprawlers. I'm sure we could make it work with one baby, but two? Out of the question -- we just wouldn't fit comfortably and no one would sleep.
- Ergo carrier - I'd still love to have carriers and use them when Hubs and I are both out with the babies but it's not practical for me to think about carrying both babies on my own that way 100% of the time. I know a lot of women tandem carry but I am not strong enough to tandem carry two growing infants all over New York City while I'm trying to live life (grocery shop, get to work, etc). We'll need a stroller now, that much is clear, but we still don't have room for one AND we still live on the third floor. Honestly, how can I get up the stairs carrying two babies and a stroller? I don't have that many arms!
- Childcare - At this point I can't even fathom how I would get to campus with two kids. NYC Subways don't come with elevators (at least not the stations I need to use) and, well, see above for my stroller quandry. I've helped many a mama carry her stroller up and down stubway steps, but I've never helped someone with a twin stroller -- heck, I've never even SEEN a twin stroller on the subway.
- Cloth Diapers- Cloth diapering twins with a mini washer that hooks up to our kitchen sink? I'd just be doing laundry all the time, not to mention the sheer investment of buying enough cloth diapers for two. My super frugal "prefolds and covers" plan was already expensive for one, but two?? Our new decor would be five drying racks full of damp diapers. Oh, did I mention we don't actually have space for a gazillion drying racks? Disposables aren't really a better solution since it'll be so expensive to disposable diaper two babies.
- Breastfeeding twins- I know people do it but it just seems like A LOT. And what if they're premature and can't bf? Or what if I don't make enough milk for two and we need to supplement? Formula is SO expensive and formula for two? Holy moly. We're making ends meet, but barely, so we wouldn't qualify for WIC (I don't think?)
- My part-time job: Forget it. I don't think there's any way I could care for the kids I'm supposed to care for AND two of my own. I've nannied for a family of 6 before, but it's another thing to bring your own kids into someone's house. One is fine, not sure how they'd respond to two. I'm sensing a no.
All of these problems wouldn't be problems if we lived in a bigger place that had a elevator and/or had fancier jobs where we earned a lot more money. Unfortunately we have none of those things and no nearby family either. I know there are a lot of twin parents in NYC but I think of them as older successful types who've had ART and have the financial wiggle room that allows them to cope (move to a bigger place, get a nanny, etc). I know that's not fair and there are probably lots of struggling young people in NYC with twins (right?) but it doesn't feel that way.
I'm a graduate student, my husband is a manual laborer (no jobs for cowboys in the big city), and I just don't know what to do. I know that having twin children will be easier -- they can walk, eat normal food, use the toilet, etc -- but we've got to go through the baby stage to get to that part!
When we got the news that it was twins I laughed (because I called it) and cried because my mind immediately went to, "Oh no, what are we going to do?"
I know we'll figure it out but I would love, love, love any words of wisdom you ladies can share with me. I'm excited for the babies to come, I'm thinking positive thoughts every day for their health and well-being, but I'll feel a lot better if I have a plan.