On July 30, 2010 my life changed drastically. It’s not the day I became a mom — that was about 8 months earlier when my oldest son was born. No, this day was the day I became a MOM (mother of multiples). I have found that with this title, many moms have come up to me in awe at how I am not only surviving the experience, but how I am still able to walk upright and form a complete sentence. Well the first year I was not as put together as I seem today, and often even now I feel like I am a mess. I have some first year confessions to make that only people who were in my house that first year would know.
1. I found myself constantly asking for help
I am a type A person with a little bit of control freak tendencies. For me, asking people to help with simple tasks was a very difficult thing to do. One of those things was to allow people staying with me to help clean my house. That’s right. I let a guest in my home, albeit a family member, scrub my toilet. Before twins this would have been unacceptable in my book. I also allowed my mother and mother in law to help with laundry — not just baby laundry, mine too. No one had washed my underwear besides me in over ten years. What I did figure out was that everyone who was visiting not only wanted to see my beautiful babies, but they wanted to help me and I had to learn to accept the help.
2. I did things in front of people I normally would never do.
Before I had kids I was a very modest and shy person, and people told me all the time “Once you have kids it will all change there is no modesty in parenthood.” Well I believe it now. It did not matter who was in my house — if I needed to nurse, I was going to do it on my couch where I was comfortable. It took me a few months to really get more graceful about the process, so in those early months if you were in the room with me there was a good chance there would be some skin flashing. I also had complete meltdowns in front of anyone and everyone. Between huge hormonal swings and three babies, I will admit I cried in front of tons of people. I cried about nursing, stress, sleep, eating, not eating, crying babies, talking care of all three babies. You name it I cried about it.
3. I gave my babies formula
I had huge guilt over this. I wanted to breastfeed so badly. I was determined to succeed. But I had to supplement. It took two weeks for my milk to come in even with pumping every two hours. During that time they got formula. From then until about 6 months when they started solids, they got one bottle of formula each day and the rest was breast milk. It was always at 1 in the afternoon. I was simply out and my poor body just needed a break. After 6 months, I no longer needed to supplement. I did successfully breastfeed my twins for a year which I am very proud of, but sometimes I wish I could have done it without formula. I just had to tell myself I was doing the best I could and it was good enough.
4. I built a baby jail
That is what we called our living room. It was the room that I spent a full year in. I feel like I hardly went anywhere else. It was a bit of a jail for me as well, but it was a lifesaver. This room was nearly baby proof. I say nearly because just after about 12 months I returned from the restroom to find one of my twins hanging off the back of the TV wall mount laughing hysterically. This baby gate led to the rest of the house. I had a padded alphabet floor and all their toys were in this room. My baby jail saved my sanity. I cannot imagine trying to cook dinner with three little crawling babies under my feet, or trying to find all three of them at the same time if they had full run of the house.
5. I let my 8 month old watch TV
Really and truly this is something I am not proud of. I wished I could have been one of those moms that had no screen time until their kids were two, but I am not. I used Baby Einstein and Animal Planet shows to help me manage all three. My oldest would take his bottle laying on the floor on a pillow and fall asleep watching TV, while I nursed my twins to sleep on my nursing pillow. Then we would all nap and I was a happier, less stressed out momma. So I will admit that my boys watched TV at a young age and it saved my sanity.
6. I talked on the phone, sometimes for hours with my sister
I needed adult conversation. My sister is also a SAHM and we had a routine. Every week while her daughter was in gymnastics class, I would load my boys up in our triple stroller and we would walk. I would walk for over an hour while talking to my sister. Sometimes the boys would nap, sometimes they wouldn’t, but either way we would just keep walking. Not only was it time to keep in contact with my sister who is on the other side of the country, but I got to talk to another grown up and it was a life saver. We even had to get my sister on our cell phone family plan so I wouldn’t run up the phone bill.
7. I cannot remember a good chunk of 2010 and 2011. Good thing my husband took pictures.
This is a pretty embarrassing thing for me to admit. I took pictures constantly. I had and still have major “momnesia” moments where I just can’t remember the way things were. I know how they are now and I know we have survived four years of parenthood, but sometimes it just skips over some parts. I have gone back and made pictures books for each year since my children have been born. My husband laughs when he sees me looking at them again, but truly it takes looking at pictures for me to really remember how small they were when they were born and how they looked in my arms curled up together. I know that I was overwhelmed, stressed, and pushed to my breaking point, but I am thankful for those pictures. What I see, even in the worst moments, is my life as a MOM and I love it.
I know there are a lot of women on Hellobee who are new to the twin club or are expecting their bundles in the near future. So to those of you in the thick of that first year, let me tell you it does get easier. They get a little sassier as time goes by and I have found the terrible twos and threes to be a huge test of my patience, but nowhere near as grueling as infancy. For those of you waiting eagerly to meet your babies, just get ready for a wild ride. They may make you want to scream and run for the hills at times and that’s OK. Build up your support system now and get ready to accept help. Being a MOM is no easy feat but it is an adventure worth living.