This week, our blog is a guest post by millennial Alicia Scott. More on Alicia at the end, but enjoy these tips from a mompreneur of 10-month-old twin boys, a 3-year old daughter, and a husband that would not have it any other way. She is paving the way for her children and providing that "supportive" status to hubby. She blogs with us about balancing twins, a toddler, a husband, and building a home-based business. She is one of our #sheroes for #BlackHistory month 2019.
Every pregnancy is beautiful and mysterious. As parents, we are filled with excitement and anxiety as our little one grows in the womb and we grow closer to seeing that darling little face. Having a baby is a journey with many ups and downs, but with time, you find that the fear of the unknown was worth every minute of uncertainty.
What is the baby’s gender? What will we name this child? Will the baby be healthy? Will I carry the baby to term with little to no complications? We ask ourselves millions of questions from the day we find out we are expecting, but most people don’t think: Am I having twins?
I never thought about the possibility. Sure, anyone can technically have twins, but it just wasn’t something that came to mind when my husband and I decided to have children. I always imagined my children in stair-steps, and thought about how we would space them out. How likely would we be to have two at one time? Twins don’t run in my family, but I soon found that I would start a new hereditary trend.
It was my husband’s birthday when we found out( happy birthday bae), through ultrasound, that we were going to be expecting not one, but two new babies, in addition to our one year old daughter. What a birthday present! Immediately, I was in love, but the idea of two babies also left the haunting feeling of double the risks, double the financial responsibility, and four names to pick (since we didn’t know the combination of gender)! We were also going from one child to three! It was an extremely exciting time, but with any pregnancy, we wondered what life would be like after birth.
I didn’t go full term and delivered two beautiful baby boys at 33 weeks and five days. They stayed in the hospital for a little over two weeks after birth, and when they came home, the true day to day learning and adjusting started. The following are tips I have picked up and use to manage daily life with my twins and their big sister.
- Treat each child like an individual. When I first found out the twins were both boys, my mom wanted to get two of everything. I shut that down quick! I told her “They are two different people! They don’t need to match with EVERYTHING!”
Too often twins are just lumped together. From the matching clothes, to the rhyming names, twins get treated like one package instead of two people. Whether your twins are identical or fraternal, be sure to acknowledge each child as a unique person. Each baby will have their own personality, temperament, likes, and dislikes. It’s important to encourage your babies to be themselves and not pressure them to be like their twin or other sibling(s).
- Spend quality time with each child. While I was pregnant, I started prepping my daughter for her brothers’ arrival (teaching her their names, letting her feel their kicks, etc) and when they finally came home, I made sure to still make time to do things we did before the boys were born. With the boys, even though they are the same age, I also make time to give them individual attention, such as breastfeeding them one at a time or taking turns holding them.
It is important that each child gets some solo attention. That one on one time with mommy and daddy is key to them feeling loved. This is especially important for older siblings. Remember that they have to share you with not just one, but two new babies! They should be reminded that they are not being replaced or loved less, although the new babies require more attention. Similarly, the new babies should each be showered with affection that is not split at the same time.
- Encourage your children to bond. One of the first things I did when my boys came home was encouraged their big sister to interact with them. She had recently turned two and was eager to hand me diapers and wipes and wipe her brothers’ faces. I also lay the boys next to each other and watch them crawl on each other, grab toys from one another, and explore together.
Although it is important to spend individualized quality time with each child, it is also important to have your children spend time together. Older siblings have to find a balance and gain acceptance of their new siblings. As the twins get older, they will want to explore, as most children their age do, and they have the added benefit of having a partner in crime! Encouraging all your children to bond will build a strong foundation for their relationship as siblings.
- Each child will reach milestones in their own time, so don’t make harsh comparisons. My oldest son started babbling first, but his little brother is crawling circles around him. My boys are fraternal and have been doing things in their own time. They are both exhibiting typical behavior for their age group, so I’m not too concerned.
Children reach milestones are different times and that’s normal! Like any other siblings, they will develop in their own time. Adding undue pressure to your children or yourself, as a parent, will prove to be stressful. Remember they are individuals and will grow at their own pace. Always consult with your pediatrician if you feel there is true need for concern.
- Don’t stress out if you don’t have a set schedule for your babies. One of the first pieces of advice I got from other twin moms was to get the babies on the same schedule for EVERYTHING: sleeping, eating, playing, diaper changes, etc. The only thing I have done consistently is the diaper changes.
Maybe I’m a bit of a hippie, but I go with the flow. Sure it’s more work, but stressing out about your twins not being on the same page for everything is a waste of much needed energy. Because they are two people, it doesn’t seem fair to force one child to stay awake, go to sleep, or eat if they don’t want to. You and the babies are only human so be realistic when it comes to having a consistent schedule.
Overall, having twins is an awesome, unique experience. I’m not saying it will be easy, but you can make life a little simpler by setting realistic goals and fostering your babies’ growth, individually and together. Sometimes it’ll feel like double trouble, but the twin journey will always yield double the pleasure and double the fun!
Alicia is a mother, wife, and mompreneur. She is currently working on a hand crafted jewelry line and edits content for other entrepreneurs and executives. She loves her family, pets, and little things in life, and prides herself on helping and supporting those she cares about. She has an MA from DePaul University in Relational Communication and studied various topics, such as relational conflict management, organizational communication, and nonverbal communication. She ultimately strives to help people make their communication more efficient and effective. Her resume also includes being a math tutor for over 10 years, privately and through CPS and YMCA, and being an ESL teacher with VIPKID for three years. FUN FACTS: (1) She is married to her high school sweetheart (a US Army veteran). (2) She received her MA in five years instead of six. (3) She's a millennial, but has been told she has an old soul and is wise beyond her years. (4) She has a beautiful voice and loves music and singing. (5) She loves cooking and sharing her masterpiece meals. You can reach her on Twitter and Instagram #verified #amariet #mrslicimarie