Often people wonder how hard it is to take care of twins. A dad writes and says, “My wife says twins are more than one full-time job. What do you think about that?”
The First Year is More than Full Time
Well, quite frankly, she’s right. Twins are more than a one-person job, especially during the first year. If you’re in the thick of things with 4-month-old twins, it is completely natural to feel like you’re overwhelmed and that you and your wife can’t possibly get everything done.
When the twins are very young, they each need lots of care. Think about feeding, changing, dressing, naps, sleeping, cleaning the house, laundry, and so on, and the twins produce a lot of work.
Now, we had to reset our expectations of what we could do and what we couldn’t get done around the house. If you are trying to maintain everything that you were doing before twins, you need to start cutting back now, because that is not realistic. Twins are the new normal, and you need to adapt to the new reality of your family life.
You need to question every task, every activity, and every chore. Ask yourself, what is the worst that could happen if I don’t do this today? What’s the worst that could happen if I don’t do it this week? What’s the worst that could happen if I don’t do it ever?
When you start to question your routines or the things that are important and that you think must be done, you’ll start to put them in perspective and realize that many things can wait for later.
During our first year with twins, we cut back on a lot of non-essential things. We had a messy house. We were less social with our friends and our family. We went out on fewer dates as a couple. We didn’t do any home improvement or significant household projects during the first year with twins.
Since then, in the years since the first year, we’ve done all those things and gotten into a healthy routine, social activities, going on dates, working around the house. The first year, you have to reset those expectations and keep things in perspective.
It Gets Better
With infant twins, your focus should be on getting them into a predictable routine. Nap times and a regular bedtime will then start to give you windows of opportunity to get stuff done that absolutely must get done.
Once the twins are on a routine, it’s easier to forecast and look ahead and see the time that you will have to do something around the house or to run an errand or to get something done for work.
(RELATED: Don't reinvent the twin parenting wheel. Get my 7 Things Every Dad of Twins Needs to Know.)
If your kids are in an unpredictable pattern, you’re going to feel like you’re constantly trying to keep your head above the water. Work on getting them into a good and healthy routine that first year, and it will open up a lot of possibilities during the day, which you never knew that you had.
As your twins get older, they will become more self-sufficient and you’ll start to see a return to a new normal in your home.
This question was originally addressed on the Dad’s Guide to Twins Podcast episode 28: Positives of Having Twins, Naming Same Gender Twins, Raising Twins Workload.
Picture by Nate Davis