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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
First, I want to tell you ladies that you have been so helpful to me throughout my pregnancy and these first couple of months. Thank you so much. I know I have been kinda of negative at times but this has been so hard for me. I really did not have many positive role models when it came to parents so I am learning a lot on my own. Anyway, I am trying to raise my children differently and it has been a real struggle. I feel like I can't get organized and I feel like I'm going crazy
. I can't seem to get a good routine going and stick with it. Others seem so much happier and more organized than I am. Lately, my babies have been a nightmare at night and I think it has to do with all the chaos and changes. As some my know, my husband is working out of town and sometimes comes home one day a week (hopefully this is only temporary). My mother is here for a few days it help as best as she can. Also, my babes are some pretty demanding, active babies (especially my daughter, who is a trip
). Can you give a rundown of your day? I guess I feel like I am not doing enough to stimulate them. What kind of activities do you do with them? What kind of bedtime ritual do you have for them? Before I got pregnant, I had the expectation that I would be singing, massaging, and reading to my ONE baby. Now that I have two, it is so much harder to do this for them. I still try though and I want the best for them. I feel very upset about this because I wanted to give them what I didn't have growing up. Anyway, enough of my whining. Please share your typical day. Thanks.
 

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A lot of my loosey-goosey routine is not necesarily going to help you as it relies on help I get from my older children. Here's a few comments from our days:
  • We co-sleep and do a bit of nursing in the night. Then around 5am, the morning "stock up" starts and it's fairly non-stop dozing and nursing. Since these final sleeping hours aren't as good for me, I try to hang out in bed until about 9-9:30am.
  • My girls are in Grade 2 and Kindergarten (so she is every 2nd day). They get themselves up in the morning and get ready for school entirely by themselves. In fact, my 6-year-old also has the morning job of taking both babies out of bed as they wake (since I'm nursing the other one) and changing their overnight diapers. If a twin is active after that diaper change, my girls now feed them some Cheerios while eating their own breakfast. Then that baby gets brought back to me for more nursing.
  • The middle morning depends: I pick at whatever for my own breakfast. If I can amuse the twins (they now play more independently crawling around the house) then I try to do a bit of clean-up. Often, our kitchen is still a mess from the night before as we eat quite late and the bedtime preamble gets busy. I don't get laundry done consistently during the week, but sometimes get a load in. At least 3 times a week, we get out of the house for the morning: baby group, a walk to the post office, coffee at the neighbour's.
  • I shower only every second day and do this mid-morning. Just let the babies be entertained on the bathroom floor with the basket full of tub toys.
  • Lunch is usually not till 12:30-1:30 and simple: leftovers or something like tuna sandwiches.
  • Afternoons might be grocery shopping, or coffee (Yes, I LOVE my neighbour - she is my salvation in so many ways. . . and my 2-yr-old plays with kids over there). Sometimes I get to starting some sort of little project like sorting out boxes of winterwear or putting away summer gear, or raking leaves with the twins happily parked in the double stroller. Rarely do any of these jobs get beyond a 10% start! THAT'S OK WITH ME!
    I'm big on starting household projects and not so great with the follow-through. Maybe I've just spent my earlier life in training to be the mother of twins babies!
  • Truly, many, many hours of each day are filled with nursing and cuddling. If the babies fall asleep on me, that's OK but it is practically impossible to move them off while sleeping. So I'm stuck - makes for a LOT of internet time, frankly!
  • By 4:00pm my girls are home and usually get signed up to entertain the babies and play with them for a while so I can make a few phone calls or do just a TINY bit of housework. I am not very good at getting anything around the house done while babywearing.
  • I've always been a late starter with supper, so we often don't eat until 7pm or so.
  • We don't worry about baths for any of the kids more than about once a week - unless something unusually yucky has happened to them.
  • My girls are in bed 8:30-9:00. Twins are up with me until 11:00pm. 2-yr-old is somewhere in between.
As you can see, our day is not very rigidly defined. Even mealtimes swing by about 90 minutes. This wouldn't work for some, but it makes it easier on me and allows greater flexibility for days when we are out of the house or I have some sort of meeting/appointment. A routine can add a smooth flow to your days, or it can imprison you.

My laundry now piles up horribly until I have help from my husband on the weekends. Right now, we only seem to get dints made in the piles and never are truly caught up. My dishes are clean (well, the ones we eat from - just ignore any that are piled on the counters!) and the garbage gets taken out when full and before smelly. The bathroom stays fairly clean b/c dirty ones squick me out! Other than that, the house is very, very messy. I can never stay on top of picking up toys, clothes possessions. Lots of times the kitchen floor needs to be swept (b/c it needs it about 4 times daily and gets done once - maybe). But I don't care. This is how I can be well-rested and manage right now. I'd rather have used muffin tins waiting a week on the counter to get hand-washed and ensure I have time to get my daughter's costumes ready for Halloween.

My husband helps a lot. He works out of the house at certain times of year, but right now is his busy season and many weeks he is away all week. We talk by phone almost every night just to stay grounded and sane.

My best advice would be to get out of the house all day every day until you are completely sick of it. Shower yourself, dress well, and do your hair and makeup. Ignore your dirty dishes and unmade bed. It is such a lift to have people ooh and ahh over your beautiful little twins. The fresh air is great, having visits with others is great. Just get out of the house ALL THE TIME.

I don't worry about special enriching activities for my little ones. We go more with lots of cuddling and loving. They get silly songs and little face imitation games when I'm holding them. We do hand clapping and little physical games (fly them into the stroller, etc) as part of whatever activity we are doing. If they are having fun on the baby piano table while I'm cooking, I'll interact with them and might step over to play with the buttons with them. But I don't schedule 20 minutes of "Baby and Mommy quality play".

I am a bit worried that you are being too hard on yourself. Babies are naturally stimulated by the world around them. Don't beat yourself up feeling that you are falling short of offering them a highly-structured day of entertainment and routine.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Novella,

Thanks for responding. I guess I maybe too hard on myself. I had these expectations and have been to tired to do everything I wanted. Right now my babes are 5 months old and doing well. I guess I have been feeling quite disorganized and I think I compare myself to women with one baby.
 

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I read your post a couple of days ago and I have been thinking about you ever since! My heart goes out to you! I was fortunate enough to have a lot of help when my twins arrived, DH works from home and also his parents camped out in their RV in our driveway for two months. So, four adults and two babies, and it was still VERY HARD. To this day (they are now 17 months), I'm always wondering, in the back of my mind, several times a day: How would I EVER be able to do this without DH's help?

So...I want you to know that you are doing an AMAZING job, Mama! Try not to compare yourself to anybody else, especially mothers of singletons. There is no comparison. What you are doing is incredibly challenging and I applaud you for striving so hard to do it differently than your parents. Also, please remember that sleep-deprivation messes with your brain! It's true! I remember crazy mood swings and really, really scary, destructive thoughts. I mean, there's a reason why sleep-deprivation is a preferred method of torture! I wish I could tell you that a good night's sleep is just around the corner for you, but I'm still waiting for that to happen for me (notice the 2 am time on this post?) I CAN tell you that, little by little, they let you sleep a little longer between feedings, and your sanity starts to come back, so hang in there!

As mothers of twins, I think we have to make more sacrifices than other moms. That's just the way it is. And the babies have to sacrifice, too. I always tell my boys, "sorry -- one mommy, two babies!" I, too, had plans to do the full-blown Attachment Parenting experience with my babies -- cloth diapers, babywearing, making my own whole-grain baby cereal, etc. But, eventually, I realized I had to let some of that go and just know that I was doing the very best I could under the circumstances. I keep telling myself (and my boys) that the upside is that, what twins sacrifice in having a little less of their mother's attention is made up for with a best friend for life (hopefully!) in their brother/sister.

Anyway, I've been trying to remember back to the blur of their 5th month to answer your question about routines. I remember a friend recommending a method called "EASY" from a book (I can't remember the title now, but I didn't get much out of the book except for this piece): In the EASY method, the "E" stands for "Eat", the "A" is for "Activity", the "S" is for "Sleep" and the "Y" is for "You". So, it's a "cycle", rather than a "schedule". So, it's Eat, Activity, Sleep, repeated over and over throughout the day/night. I have to admit that I NEVER (not even once) got to take advantage of the "You" step (which is supposed to be that while the babies are sleeping you are taking care of yourself). But I liked the structure of knowing what came after what, if you know what I mean. So, after you feed the babies, you play with them for a while until they are ready for sleep. Then, when they wake up, you feed them and start all over again. Of course, this method also presumes that they will both be tired or hungry at the same time, which is, of course, ridiculous. But at least I had some sense of organization in my mind. Might be worth a try for you.

As for the "activity" period, at 5 months I think I did a lot of reading to them. And blowing bubbles. And I would put them in their high chairs and put a little water in the tray and let them splash around in it. I would do "puppet shows" with whatever toys or stuffed animals were around. I would sometimes sing the ABC song over and over again and alternate tickling each baby at every pause. And we would practice rolling over.

One more suggestion that may be helpful -- I found that my sanity was greatly improved by having a babysitter come in for just a few hours once or twice a week. It's hard to find somebody that knows how to take care of twins, and when you do they are a little expensive. But I can tell you that it is TOTALLY worth it and I'm sure my babies would agree. Just when I would feel like I was going to lose my mind, the nanny would come for an afternoon. Of course, her salary wasn't in our budget, but I ended up deciding that my sanity was worth it and so I would sometimes put my groceries on a credit card so I would have cash to pay the nanny. Yes...at the end of the year my credit card was way up there, but I rationalize that by realizing that you can't put a price on making your babies' first year the best it can be. And having a stressed-out Mommy was not good for them. So, we'll be paying that bill for a while, but it was worth it. FYI - I finally felt like I could let go of the nanny just last month -- the boys are much easier now. So, hang in there, girl! You CAN do this!!!
 

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My husband is on the road 6 days a week so I know what you're going through! It was hard enough with two of us and twins, but the house was a least a little cleaner and I actually had the time to excercise or read...now that I'm alone with them nothing much gets done. I was really hard on myself at first (to the point of depression) and it took a couple months to realize that there's only so much one person with 17 mo twins (or any age twins!) can do in a day.

I do remember using the E.A.S.Y. method that newmoon mentioned and for me it was a life saver. It's in the Tracey Hogg book called "The Baby Whisperer Solves all Your Problems", (which, of course, she doesn't but she comes pretty close!). It took a couple weeks but we finally had more of a routine down and both the boys and I knew what to expect from our day. At first the S and the A got mixed up a lot, but I figured as long as we had a little bit of order to the day it didn't really matter. Actually, the hardest part was trying to get my dh and mil to stick with me on it...my mil was convinced I was trying to "schedule" them and was trying to sabotage the whole thing.

The other sanity saver for me was daily walks. We were lucky enough to have a nice new neighborhood to walk in and a little shopping plaza within half a mile. I'd walk to the grocery store 3-4x a week and pick up whatever I could fit in the stroller basket. The boys were entertained or slept, we all got fresh air, and I got excercise and some much needed time out of the house.

HTH some, it does get a little easier, but there will always be days every once in a while were you will want to pull your hair out! Sorry!
 

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I haven't read all of the posts but I just wanted to tell you that most days I fly by the seat of my pants.

I just try to keep the girls happy.

Sometimes that's all you can do. Follow your instincts, that's why you have them!

 
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