Today in our Facebook memories, I found a list of things that my husband and I learned in our first week as parents. We felt totally clueless in that first week, still learning what cries mean… the trial and error or satisfying a fussy baby. We’ve learned a lot in that one week and we learned so much more in the weeks to come.
Here is what we have learned in year one:
- Becoming a Stay-at-Home-Mom was the best thing we could do for our marriage and our children. I don’t say this to discredit working moms. Working moms are the strongest women I know. I’m just not good at it… the pressure I put on myself at work and at home was just too much for me to deal with and still be productive in each of my roles as a supervisor, parent, and wife. My husband tells me I’m my worst critic and he may be right about that.
- Getting out of the house can be therapeutic. (Therapeutic in the way that sometimes a deep tissue massage can feel painful, but you always feel great a few hours later and it carries on into the next few days) Life with twins is hard. Getting out to do the simplest things is so much more complicated when you have to get 2 babies out. But getting out of the house and learning to navigate life in my new normal was therapeutic. Was it easier to stay home… definitely… but it’s great to feel human and make a trip to Target.
- People say the most ridiculous things to twin parents. My most favorite was from a young waitress at dinner the other night, “Have you thought about what you’re going to do for their senior pictures? There are so many cute things you’ll be able to do.” Uhhh…. we have about 17 years to think about it and we probably won’t make them do senior pictures together because they are indeed individuals. (See my past blog for more ridiculousness)
- Don’t expect all of those people who offered to help to show up. I would say about 25% of those that offered to help were there to help. So many family members came out of the woodwork when they found out we were pregnant with twins… but a small handful have been present. I’m totally happy with this because the handful that are present are such significant people in our lives and will continue to be in the lives of our children.
- Making 3 months of freezer meals was the best thing I did to prep for the babies. It was so nice to not have to pull dinner together or run to the grocery store to buy something to throw together.
- Communication is important, but it may not be as important as sleep. Our first six months of being parents was so challenging. Neither one of us knew what we were doing and both of us were so prideful that when the other made recommendations of things to try we would typically just snap. How dare you make a suggestion and insinuate that I don’t know what I’m doing!!! We are both perfectionists so hearing that we weren’t doing something right was difficult. We stopped being so touchy when we started getting more sleep.
- Pumping is hard. I was an exclusive pumper and I wish I would’ve offered my babies breast milk for their first year of life. I stopped pumping at 8 months. By the time they were mobile, it was more difficult to pump and I would have to get up 2-3 times during a 20 min pump session to get one baby off the other or keep them from getting into something. I felt like a brand new woman when I finished pumping and I felt like I gained so much more valuable time with my babes.
- Unsolicited parenting advice will come at you from all angles. Be kind and take it with a grain of salt. You know what is best for your children and your family.
- Month 0-3 is the absolute hardest. Things get easier in the 6th month and a whole lot more fun in the 8th month. And for us, the sleeping through the night was a game changer at 10 months.
- People are generous. So many people gave us baby things in the last year. Friends that I haven’t seen since college messaged and asked if we needed clothes or baby items. It was amazing. We really didn’t have to buy hardly any clothes.
- Buying second hand is the best! Babies use things for such short periods of time it seems so silly to spend the money on new items. But as a stay-at-home-mom, budgeting is important. We utilized a number of consignment sales in our area like Rhea Lana, Just Between Friends and Savers.
- Prayer is an absolute necessity for me. Bringing some peace into what feels like a chaotic life is much needed. Praying did that for me. When I would wake up anxious about why the kids didn’t get up for a bottle… and when I couldn’t go back to sleep because the kids would be up soon for a bottle anyway… I prayed. Prayed for my healthy babies, for peace, for restful sleep, for my husband, for milk production, and so many other things.
- We can still do more than I ever thought we could. I said this after our first week and I say it now… but now I say it to include the babes too. They are little rock stars. Their pediatrician tells us that she never would’ve guess they were premature because they are excelling in so many ways. They do things daily that impress me. As a family we still do things that surprise some.
In all that I’ve learned in the last year, it is incredibly difficult to deal with the urge for more babies. Looking back and reminiscing on what our last year has been like makes me want to experience it all over again. But I guess I’ll wait for the emotions to pass before we try to make that decision just yet.