As fathers of twins we have lots of challenges, lots of physical demands on us, and this can be anything including taking care of the twins, the sleep deprivation of caring for them during the night, feeding them, changing them, clothing them, or working to support them. And this can often weigh us down heavily.
However, there is one thing that we can do to help us plow through these challenges, and that is making sure that our mind is in the right spot, that our head is in the game, so that we can be successful as fathers of twins.
Having the Right Mindset
Today we’re going to talk about a few principles that will help you have the right mindset that you need to overcome the challenges that you are facing as a father of twins.
And the first thing I want to talk about is that I read a great article today on the site called GoodMenProject.com. And the article I read talks about needing to stop the blame and the shame that we often play with our spouses.
This is a great article for you to read. I’m sure you’re going to apply some principles in here to your relationship with your wife. But one thing I found interesting was that the things that are discussed in this article are also very relevant to you as a father of twins and how you interact with your twins.
One of the principles that they mention is that you need to be forgiving. Kids don’t always do things on purpose, and you’re probably finding this out as you interact with your twins, as often times they don’t know what to do, or they do something that maybe is clumsy and that is an accident. Oftentimes their intention is not malicious, especially the younger the child is. And so you have to be forgiving, as accidents do happen, and things happen that you were not expecting and you didn’t want to have happened. And it’s important that you be forgiving to your twins. And of course, if you want to teach your kids how to forgive others and the principle of forgiveness, you have to practice that yourself.
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The same thing applies to your wife, especially during that first year, the first several months, when both of you are sleep deprived. Sleep deprivation wreaks havoc on your interactions with others and your ability to think straight. As such, your wife is going to do crazy things that maybe she didn’t do before the twins arrived. You need to be forgiving of her mistakes.
The next principle is to be understanding. Is one of your twins acting up? Try to understand the root cause of that. Ask yourself, “Why is my child acting up?” When they are younger, it may be a simple question of whether they have eaten, had their diaper changed, or are ready for a nap? And once you’ve diagnosed the root cause, it’s easier to understand and then take action to correct the problem.
The same thing applies to your wife. If you get home from work after a long day of meetings and work, you need to be understanding of the situation that you find your wife and the kids in when you arrive home. It’s probably not going to be ideal, and you probably need to jump in and help out.
Do It Yourself
That leads to the next principle, which is doing it yourself. Oftentimes you may want to blame your kids or your wife for not doing something that you think should have been done. In this case, you need to step up and fill the gap around the house, and with the family, and with caring for your twins. You have a big responsibility in your family and your home, and if something isn’t getting done, take care of it yourself and help teach your kids how to do that.
Control Your Thoughts
The next principle from the article is you are in control of your own thoughts. Now this one I really love.
I truly believe that your mind can have complete control over your physical and mental state. This is particularly useful to remember in the first year of the twins, as physically you’re going to be worn down almost to exhaustion. And you need to be able to think positively and look on the bright side of things. This will definitely help you be positive in your interactions with your family.
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The next principle from the article is to rid yourself of criticism. Frankly, criticism doesn’t help. It doesn’t help the situation. It only makes things worse. So if you have a tendency to criticize your kids for what they did, or didn’t do, or the performance they rendered, or the quality of their work, the same thing applies as with your spouse: Do not criticize.
I’ve talked a lot in the podcasts about positive parenting, and how you can reinforce good behaviors that your kids are doing, and that will help them want more of that positive reaffirmation, and the same thing applies in this case. When you want to criticize, don’t do it. Instead, focus on what did go right, and then build on those successes with your twins and with your spouse.
Fix Bad Habits
The last principle I want to talk about from this article from the Good Men Project was to rework bad habits that you might have. Oftentimes you may find yourself going down the path to criticism or to blame, or to shaming someone in your family. And perhaps you see a pattern in this. Or maybe when something happens, you always react a certain way. This is where you need to identify the ruts that you may be in with your family and with your twins.
Sometimes things that they do on a consistent basis trigger a negative behavior or a negative habit from you. You can choose to change those habits.
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Identify what they are first, and then see what the trigger is that’s triggering those bad habits. And then you can substitute those with a good habit, something that you want to have happen, and then you need to practice.
Every time one of your twins triggers a bad habit of yours, or bad response from you, you need to change that response consciously to something else. And over time it will become easier and easier to do.
This topic was originally addressed on the Dad’s Guide to Twins Podcast Episode 72: Mastering Your Mental Game as a Father of Twins. Picture by anjanettew.