I got this message from Dave. He’s got 3-year-old boy-girl twins. He says, “Twins have totally changed my life. They are a full-on, 100-percent commitment, so much so that I really think I’ve lost who I am or who I was. Money and time are tight, so the days of affording to go out for meals or dates with my wife are not possible. We don’t have parents who can help, so getting sitters isn’t really an option either.”
Dave is looking for some advice on how to cope with this situation. It is a hard time. It is hard to make time for both you and your wife to be together. There are a few ways to look at this situation.
Make Time to Be Together
First of all is finding more time with your wife, so you can be creative in the ways that will enable you and your wife to get out of the house on a date. That date could just be going to the store or going for a walk. It could be for a short period of time.
However, the key is that you get some time together regardless of how small the time is. Eventually, you can have longer dates, more time together, more approaching what you used to have before the twins were born.
Babysitting Options for Twins
One option for a cheaper babysitter is to wait for your kids to be asleep. Then you can get out of the house for an hour or so and even pay the babysitter a little less, because she isn’t doing much besides just watching the house. The kids are asleep and she is just sitting there waiting for you to return.
This is a form that we used a lot when our kids were very young and we started venturing back out on dates after the kids started to fall into a predictable sleeping pattern. We would have a babysitter come over after the kids were asleep. She would watch the house and the sleeping kids, and usually there was not a problem at all.
Another option you have is to consider kid swaps with other families that you may know. In this case, you watch their kids and yours one night so the other couple can go out on a date, and then on another night, they watch your kids, along with theirs. The swapping is a little bit of extra work on your part. However, on the night that you’re off, you can enjoy several hours with your wife on a date. And this, of course, benefits both your family and your friend’s.
Twins Are Your New Normal
Another aspect of this situation is that you need to be making the most of your family time. The reality of having twins is that you never get back to exactly the way things were before the twins were born. Twins are the new normal for your life. This means that you need to find joy in the journey of parenting twins.
Yes, there’s a lot of work and challenges with twins. However, there are also lots of fun things you can do together as a family. Especially if your twins are three or older, they should be very mobile and easy to go out with, go to the park or other fun, low-cost activities around town. Focus on the things that you can do as a family, and enjoy those moments together.
Reinvent Yourself after Twins
Lastly, you can use the feeling of being lost and not sure of who you are to your advantage. Now is a great time to essentially reinvent and craft yourself, reinvent the new you. You are a provider. You are a protector for your family and your kids and your wife. You’re an awesome husband, a terrific father, and what can you do to continue that pattern going forward?
(RELATED: Don't reinvent the twin parenting wheel. Get my 7 Things Every Dad of Twins Needs to Know.)
Keep in mind that you are flexible. You need to be flexible, and you have been flexible, and recognize that twins are a game-changer. The pattern of life will probably not return to exactly the way it was before, and that’s OK. Think about what else the new you looks like with twins and your family situation. What are some things that you would like to be doing that you aren’t that you can start to work into your schedule and into your routine?
This question was originally addressed on the Dad’s Guide to Twins Podcast Episode 30: College Savings for Twins, Regain Pre-Twin Life, Diaper Genies.
Picture by Ankur P