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I’m a father of identical twin boys who will turn 7 months tomorrow. In less than 5 months the boys will be a year old. So now is more than appropriate to take some time to share my experience (before it escapes me).
Much like yourself I combed the internet for advice and to glean some wisdom from people’s experiences raising twins in the hopes to prepare myself for this adventure. Ultimately, there is nothing that will prepare you physically or mentally, but what I can say was that I was warned.
So in effort to pay-it-forward, I’ll dispense my knowledge to you. Here are my 2-cents.
Be Prepared To Parent Immediately
Like most twins, our sons were immediately moved to the NICU. They were born 3 lbs. 14 ounces and demonstrated some typical premie issues. While in the NICU the nurses were outstanding. We had a schedule and assistance. It was great but at each shift change, the nurses would ask us what the plan was for them. This concerned us because we thought they were monitoring our sons development and were dictating their regiment. We could not have been more wrong. It was up to us to make some decisions but we needed to take an active role in our children’s growth. We started to write stuff down, look for growth and ask better questions.
By the time the boys were ready to be discharged, the doctors were impressed with our involvement and our ability to keep our cool. We could have stressed but since we took an active role, we knew what was going on, even though there was a lot factors out of our control.
Balance Team Work And Individual Space
The boys need attention, the house needs to continue to run and everyone needs a break from time to time. There is no scientific approach to finding balance but as I was told, marriage isn’t about keeping score but rather statistics. You will share duties, but don’t think that just because you do one thing you don’t have to do another. If you play that game, your partner will notice that and get upset. And it will sound similar to “why do I always have to do…”
Do your share to run the house and maintain a .350 batting average on everything. Take the garbage out when it needs to be taken out, then change the diapers and while you’re at it, empty the diaper pale. You just went 3 for 3. Just remember when you do something for yourself, your stats are reset.
Throw Money At Problems
Time and energy are your 2 biggest factors when raising twins. If money can solve the problem, then buy whatever it is that will conserve either time or energy. For example we registered for a rocking crib but we only requested one. My wife found it helpful to be able to secure one baby to do something but sometimes it would be helpful to have 2 hands. So we bought a second rocking crib. She secured the twins and she now had 2 hands to get something done.
This isn’t for everyone. But I bought beer once a week to get me through the week. I had one at dinner or when I walked the dog. It’s not because I needed it or life was stressful. I just enjoyed it. I really enjoyed drinking a beer and walking the dog. This probably has nothing to do with raising twins. But I am sure in 15 years from now I’ll look back and realize that this was the most beneficial part of raising twins.
Andrew Frazzanno is a Public Affairs Specialist, Army Veteran, Cause Consultant, and Georgetown Graduate Student.