At one point every twin parent has been there. You’re out and about with your twins and there is that one person that feels the need to compete on just how hard their ONE baby is . You know the comment we all love to hate, “Well….my kids are 18 months apart and it’s the same thing so I know how you feel.” And you struggle internally not to say something rude and obnoxious in reply because I’m sorry but…no….your two children born an entire YEAR AND A HALF apart are not the same. You see, when you say that to a twin parent that has been up for over 24 hours due to TWO fussy babies the EXACT same age in surround sound, well quite frankly that’s an insult. You may FEEL like you are trying to say, “I’ve been there too.” But…you’re not. In fact, when you say that to a mentally and emotionally exhausted twin parent it’s a bit like throwing our struggle in our faces.
Let me be clear. I have FOUR children. Two teenagers, a nineteen year old son and a sixteen year old daughter and my three and a half year old boy/girl twins. The teenagers are two and a half years apart. Therefor I can truthfully speak on both sides of the spectrum. I know that having children close together is hard. I knew it would be as we planned to try for my oldest daughter. My son was two and a half when she was born and it was very hard. There were lots of sleepless nights and teething and stomach bugs and all of the fun things that define parenting children. But upon the birth of my oldest daughter my son was potty trained (I was DETERMINED not to have two in diapers!) He was only two and a half but he already understood the rules. He knew that mommy needed him to be quiet at certain times. He knew that when mommy changed the baby, it was a big help when he took the dirty diaper and put it in the diaper pail. At this age he was already well on his way to the understanding that things were different as mommy had TWO babies to keep after and for the most part he did rather well with that transition.
When we had our twins all of my hard earned stripes of parenting went out the window. Everything I thought I knew was nothing like I had imagined it would be. I had very little understanding of how hard life was about to get. After six months I was exhausted and I buckled down with the sleep training and things got a little better. BUT….those up-all-nighters with poop, tears (yours and theirs), puke, pee and bleeding eardrums, those nights firmly established that twin parenting was MUCH harder than anything I had ever encountered before.
I don’t try to diminish a singleton parents struggle. In fact, I applaud you. I can say that I HAVE been there. But it’s quite frustrating when you have person after person try to “out-do” your up all nights in some lame attempt to seem like they have it harder. Trust me, I KNOW different. That’s not to say you didn’t have a rough night. I’m sure you did. For YOU. For me, a rough night is TWO screaming kids, one keeping the other awake all….night….long. Two children the same age. Let that sink in. They poop…all the time. This means we change a crap load of diapers all…day…long. The eat constantly and trust me, if you’re not fast enough with it, the ear splitting volume of their disapproval is not to be trifled with. You learn not to even cringe at the spit up caked on your shirt because it’s pointless to change it…it’s just going to happen again and again. They typically teeth in tandem and this means MORE sleepless nights, rocking, swaying, shhhhsssshhhing, pleading, begging…all in surround sound. We often don’t get a timeout while one parent handles a single child while the other grabs a much needed nap because there are TWO babies.
I’m sure this article will spark some outrage and the “why do we compare” topic. But that’s just it…I’m not comparing. Indeed, I make it a point to NEVER compare my family life with others. Every family is different and thus everyone has different struggles. So why don’t we all just agree….yes, your singleton is hard. But NO…it’s NOT the same or as hard as TWINS!
So…To All Twin Parents that Have Been Here,
When you are faced with someone trying to “relate” to how hard you have it, my advice is this: Just smile and nod because at the end of the day you know the reality and they…they just don’t get it! LOL Save those friendships and just go along, after all, they are TRYING to relate to you…even if they aren’t doing a stellar job! 🙂