The Fatherly Forum is a community of parents and influencers with insights to share about work, family, and life. If you’d like to join the Forum, drop us a line at TheForum@Fatherly.com
One of the best things about being a father of twins is the camaraderie from your fellow “twin dads.” Around one out of 30 births are multiples, which means you are joining a pretty small club when you find out that your growing family will be growing faster than you thought. But while the club is small, you will find that it is one that is always willing to share survival advice. So with that in mind, here are some of the words of wisdom that I have gathered since “dos bebés” came into my life almost 3 years ago.
Remember Ignorance Is Bliss
It sounds weird but I often joke that I think it is easier to raise twins than to be a first-time parent with just a single baby. The reason? Good old ignorance. As a twin dad, you don’t know any better if your only frame of reference is having 2 babies at once. The only world you know is one where 2 babies have to be fed at the same time. And 2 babies have dirty diapers at the same time. And 2 babies need just about everything at the same time. The only option you have is to figure it out so you do.
I actually think it is easier to have twin toddlers than a single toddler.
Get Away With Things Other Dads Can’t
While you might be ignorant to what having one kid is like, the beauty is that the rest of the world thinks having twins is some epic parenting marathon. Take advantage of that sympathy. This is where you can get away with things that other dads can’t. For example, if you just have a single baby at home, the night nanny comes across as a luxury for the rich and famous. But for us twin dads, no one bats an eye when you sign up for the night nanny.
The only time of true terror for a twin dad are those first 2 months when the feeding and diaper schedule is every 2 hours. There is nothing good about that time. This amazing human being will come to your house when it is time to put the kids to bed and stay up all night to do the nighttime feedings and diaper changes. And if that wasn’t enough, they actually have the energy to teach the kids good sleep behavior (a double bonus, especially as they enter the toddler years).While all those other parents work bleary-eyed and sleep-deprived because of their newborn infants, twin dads can sleep easily thanks to the saint known as the night nanny, and the world will sympathize all the while.
The beauty is that the rest of the world thinks having twins is some epic parenting marathon. Take advantage of that sympathy.
Don’t Treat Twin Parenting Like A/B Testing
Having twins could come across as a social experiment. After all, these are 2 individuals that are pretty much identical. Same parents. Same home. Same everything. But one thing you will quickly realize is that these are their own people and there really isn’t anything same about them… and that’s a good thing. Probably the toughest thing about being a twin dad (or maybe for any parent) is not comparing the siblings to each other. This is particularly true when it comes to having a boy and a girl twin since the sexes mature at different rates. Your kids aren’t going to learn to crawl, walk, talk, or anything else at the same time. That doesn’t mean something is wrong or that one of them is “behind.” They will do everything at their own speed and on their own time.
Keep An Eye Out For “Multiples” Discounts
Kids are expensive, and 2 kids at once can be take-out-a-second-mortgage expensive. Thankfully, there are quite a few businesses that recognize this and offer discounts for parents of multiples. Big brands like Pampers, Gerber, and Enfamil all offer discounts, free gift packs, and other bonuses. Babies’R’Us will give you 10 percent off 2 of the same items placed in the same order. Pediatricians are particularly sympathetic to parents of twins and will give you the various formula and diaper samples that end up in their office, particularly if your twins end up on one of the “specialty formulas” for dietary needs.
Your kids aren’t going to learn to crawl, walk, talk, or anything else at the same time. That doesn’t mean something is wrong or that one of them is “behind.”
Let Them Tire Each Other Out
While having 2 (or more) babies at once is tough, I actually think it is easier to have twin toddlers than a single toddler. The toddler phase is when they start moving, talking, playing, and frankly turning into kids. This means they want to be entertained and amused. If you are a dad with just one kid, the entertainment they are going to turn to will be you. But if they have a twin sibling, that is their built-in entertainment. Sure, at times it probably means double the trouble. But 9 times out of 10, their play dates will be with each other, which means that you finally get a break.
Dave Knox is the Chief Marketing Officer at Rockfish Interactive and the Co-Founder of The Brandery, a seed stage consumer marketing venture accelerator. He is a mentor to dozens of companies and a dad of 2-year-old twins.