Parents With Many Children: How to Do It?
Becoming a new parent is, well, tough. It’s wonderful, exciting, tiring, intimidating, amazing and challenging. Become a new parent for several children at once? This is a completely different game.
Multiple parents have different experiences than new parents of single children or even parents with very close children. So I asked the members of our parent Facebook group Offspring, many of whom are parents of twins or triplets, what advice they can give to those who are just starting their journey to having a large family.
Lower your expectations
For most parents, expectations tend to drop around the time the second child is born; in the case of parents with twins, this means immediate demotion. “Raising two (or more!) Newborns and then two toddlers and then two preschoolers at the same time won’t be the same as if there was only one,” says Brittany:
Understand that your experience will be VERY different from the loner experience. Many times I have yearned for the experience that many of my friends have (it is easy to take your kids to restaurants, shops, etc.), but it just won’t happen.
This won’t happen, so allow yourself to relax a little. The house will be a mess, the laundry will be higher, and you will be later in everything than your friends who argue about only one thing.
Or, if you can’t fully embrace it, at least buckle up and get comfortable with it, says a member of Robin’s group, which has twins one year old.
With a cartoonist, you can’t be afraid to cry because someone will cry. You deal with them one at a time and everything will be fine. In this vein, I trained in my sleep, which I know can be controversial, but it doesn’t help anyone if no one sleeps for more than three hours at a time after 6 months …
Otherwise, I don’t know if there’s really any trick about double parenting, but rather a mindset – keep calm, try something, and everything will be fine.
I love the simplicity of the phrase “try to do something.” Solid advice for so much of the parenting experience.
Develop their personality
Of course, you know that they are not the same child just because they are so similar, but if it is easy to compare your child with a child of the same age of a friend, this is even more so since you have two right in front of you who do different things on a different schedule.
“They will develop at their own pace and will do different things at different times,” says group member Oscar. “Keep comparisons to a minimum.”
Oscar also stresses the need for each child to have their own things that they shouldn’t share all the time – and ideally they won’t share with you all the time. Try to spend time one-on-one with each of them as much as your schedule allows (even if it’s as easy as doing errands with one child while your partner stays at home with the others).
There are several options for containment
You simply cannot be in two places at the same time, and there will be (many) times when you will need to look after one child and keep the other safe and supported. One of the options Lauren recommended on the Facebook group is the KidCo GoPod , which has a kid that looks like a backpack or jumper, but which “folds very easily so it can be quickly moved and dropped anywhere in the house.”
Carrying a baby is another good containment option, Clovis says: “A multiple friend swears using the carrier and switches to carrying on his back as soon as he recovers. She says that when both children need her, she can put one on her back and work with the other with both hands. ”
And to prepare for dinner when the kids are up, the kitchen platform can be a key highlight. “Put them in there with some plasticine on the counter and they can pretend to help and you do the work and they stay visible,” Ryan says. “A bit more expensive if you buy them online, but we got ours through the Facebook Marketplace and they’ll be easy to build as well.”
Chat with other parents of twins
All new parents will benefit from talking to other parents so they can participate in this journey and rely on support or advice. According to Julie, parents with many children especially need this.
I think finding other twins / large families is really important. When I met (virtually or in person) other people with twins, I immediately felt relieved because they got it, and they went through it too.
One place to do this is the Multiple Parents board on Reddit, where you’ll find everything from nervous parent-to-be to questions about feeding and sleep patterns to endless adorable photos of babies and toddlers. And, according to Alissa, this is a treasure trove of information about parents with many children.
“If you go there and search for specific keywords,” she says, “this has been asked many times and has already been answered.”
We’ll say it again: lower your standards
A lot of our parenting group’s advice boils down to one key tactic: acceptance. There are procedures you can put in place to make things more manageable, there are things you can do to make everyday life a little less intimidating, but in the end, it’s important to acknowledge that it will be difficult.
“Same thing, ESPECIALLY lowering standards,” says Julie. “And then put them down a little more. Ignore all of your single friends trying to be perfect moms on Pinterest. Because this is bullshit and you have no time for this nonsense. Do what you can, do what works for you, and ignore everyone else. “
What else should we add to this list? If you are a father of many children, tell us: How do you do it? What little tricks saved you when changing diapers or feeding at night? How do you go out the door in the morning and how do you find time for yourself?