This question comes from Stacy, and she has a concern that her husband is off spending time with the guys while she as the mom is home alone taking care of the twins. She wondered if that was normal to expect this, or if she needs to help reset expectations with her husband.
Perspective on a Dad’s Role
As a husband myself, I know that I had to make sacrifices and changes to my personal lifestyle and to our family’s lifestyle when the twins came home. That was just the reality. Now I did this willingly because I knew that it was not actually possible to do everything that we used to do before the twins arrived. There were not enough hours in the day and not enough hands at the house helping to make that possible.
I also realized that it’s not fair to leave my wife home alone with the twins and our two older boys and for me to go off gallivanting and doing things as if that was not the case. Fairness aside, I didn’t even see how it was physically possible for my wife to do a lot of those things alone either. Especially in those early months with twins, you need all hands on deck to help take care of the babies.
It is a father’s responsibility to love and care for his family and provide for the necessities of life. This includes caring for twins even in the middle of the night and even sacrificing social activities until the twins are more self-sufficient. The first year with twins that we had was a total blur, and we ended up dropping a lot of things that we used to do for fun, that we used to do as a couple, or that we used to do with friends – any kind of social activity, really. All those things fell off the radar, and they didn’t start to pick up again until our girls turned 1.
Difficult Changes when Twins Arrive
So for that first year you need to just set aside a lot of the personal things that you liked to do before and focus on the twins. It’s going to be hard. It’s going to be a sacrifice. You’re not going to like it. But the reality is that’s what’s required, and it’s one of the responsibilities of having twins.
Now you can slowly start to phase those things back in as the twins get older, as they start sleeping through the night, as it gets easier to take care of them. But you need to make sure that those are established first before you turn yourself outside the home and look for other things to do to keep yourself busy. Remember that family comes first, and it does require everybody’s help at home, especially for the father of twins to be involved in his family and involve the twins.
So, Stacy, my advice for you and for those others whose spouse is off when the twins need care, is to have a frank conversation with them about the reality of their responsibilities and what they need to be doing. If you’re still expecting twins, then it’s time to talk about these things frankly before the crazy reality of twins sets in. You’ll need to set expectations of what you will or will not be doing that you may have been doing before the twins arrived.
Picture by Cheryl
This question was originally addressed on the Dad’s Guide to Twins Podcast Episode 45: Flying Alone with Twins, Dad’s Priorities, Shock of Twins.