Fitting Twins and a Visiting Mother-in-Law in a Small Apartment

Joe Rawlinson by Joe Rawlinson - October 28, 2013

This question comes from James. James lives with his wife in a very small apartment in a very large city, and they’re planning to have their mother-in-law come and stay with them for the first two to three months after the twins are born.

Small Apartment

And he’s not so sure about going from two people in this apartment to five and the kind of stress that can cause. He’s aware that they’ll probably get little sleep, not a lot of time to themselves, or quality time with each other. And he wonders if I had any advice on the situation.

A Small Space is a Challenge with Twins

So typically, when expecting twins, I don’t recommend moving. Usually, the exception to that rule is if you are already in a small apartment. In this case, you’re going to be staying where you are, which is great, because that’s one less thing that you have to worry about. Finding a new place to live with the stress of moving is too much when you’re expecting twins.

A lot of the challenges that are ahead of you will be interesting in the small space that you have. I am glad to hear that your mother-in-law will be able to come and help.

That’s one thing that I always recommend, is you get someone to be able to help with the twins, because it will definitely make life a lot easier. And that will be huge blessing for your family. However, it is going to be crowded, as you are well aware. However, if you can take turns during the night, taking care of the twins is going to be a huge relief. Then you can get some sleep when you are off duty.

I found that I was so exhausted, during those newborn months with our twins, that when I knew I didn’t have to wake up in the night to care for the twins, I could just sleep through anything. I could sleep through the cries. I can sleep through my wife waking up to take care of them. And so if you can get in a good rotation with you, your wife, and your mother-in-
law to take care of the twins, that will give each of you one night’s rest every couple of nights.

(RELATED: Your twins will need a lot of gear. Here's the complete twins baby registry checklist to get ready for your twins' arrival.

Set Expectations for Your Visitors

One thing you want to do is set clear expectations with your mother-in-law of what she will or will not be doing while she’s in your apartment with you in these couple of months. Do not make assumptions of what she’s going to do for you. She’s also going to be in a small apartment. It’s going to be cramped. She’s probably going to want some of her own time and own space, away from the family. So sit down and have a frank conversation with her and your wife before the mother-in-law comes so that everyone knows what they’re in for.

Because you do live in a small apartment, you can expand your space by leaving the apartment, going for a walk, you and your wife, or with the kids, so that you can feel less claustrophobic.

So James, good luck with your twins. And good luck with your mother-in-law coming. We had our mother-in-law come and stay with us and other members of our family and friends for several months after the twins were born. And it was a huge help. I’m sure it will be the same for you as well.

This question was originally addressed on the Dad’s Guide to Twins Podcast Episode 46: Reality of Twins in a Small Apartment, Rocking Twins to Sleep, White Noise Help.

Picture by audinou

Further Reading

Dad's Guide to Raising Twins book
Don't forget to pick up a copy of the definitive guide to raising twins. "Dad's Guide to Raising Twins" was written for fathers of twins to help guide you through the first several years with twins. Click here to learn more about the book and get your copy.

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