If you’re a stay-at-home parent with twins, how do you get anything done while balancing childcare?
Let’s talk about managing and taking care of the twins during the day while trying to get anything else done, be it work or household chores.
Here are some insights from your fellow twin parents that commented on my Facebook page:
Focus on Twins During the Day
Melissa Buckingham says that as a solo parent she has to be available during school hours while her children do remote learning. Then after school, she focuses on meals, vacuuming, and household chores. Once all the kids are in bed is when she works on the rest of the housework.
This is a very common thing during the day. You sacrifice getting anything else done to take care of the twins and the children’s needs. And then during pockets of time during the day, you may work on food prep, household chores, errands, and then at night after they go to bed is your chance to try to wrap all that stuff up before you get to bed.
Taylor says “you don’t get anything done until they’re asleep. It’s just the way it is until they’re old enough to be helpful and not destructive.”
When our kids were really young, my wife and I would put all the kids to bed and then we kind of blitz through the house for about an hour, tidying everything up, cleaning things up so that when we woke up in the morning, the house was at least in good shape, ready to tackle the next day.
By trying to stay on top of it a little bit every day, while the kids were asleep, it set a good stage for the next day. So we weren’t tripping over things immediately when we woke up in the morning.
You Can Only Do So Much
Todd says, as a stay at home dad of twins (he had three kids in two years), “just do as much as you can. Basically, you’re always going to be behind on everything. Kids come first. Whatever else you can do is a bonus. Weekends are for catching up from the week and preparing for the week ahead. It’s okay to let some stuff go during the week and try to catch up on the weekend. When you have a little more time or maybe your partner’s home from work and you can double team the tasks that need to be done.”
(RELATED: Check out the Dad's Guide to Twins Youtube channel for additional helpful twin tips and tricks videos.)
Make the Must-Do List
Sandy says “I don’t get everything done and I accept that. I make my must do lists. And then my regular to-do lists, the must do list takes priority and the to do list is just a bonus.”
Sandy makes a great point here about prioritizing. What is most important for you to do during the day? That way, when you do get a pocket of time to work on something, check that must do list and tackle that first, most important task and work your way down the list.
Your House Will Be a Mess
Taran Lee home says that “when they were babies, I didn’t get much cleaning done. My mom would help with the laundry whenever she could. But day to day cleaning was put off. Now that the twins are three, I set them in front of the TV or their tablets and get the house vacuumed, clean beds made, et cetera. I’m lucky they have an older sister who helps as well. My house was way cleaner now than it was when they were little. It’s just the way life is.
The season that you’re in right now with your twins, it’s going to evolve over time. If your house is a complete disaster mess wise, it’s not going to be that way forever.
As your kids get older, take better naps, get to bed more easily, or even are able to help themselves around the house, things get a little bit easier for you to manage.
Robert reminds us that “if stuff gets done and gets done, if it doesn’t try again tomorrow, for example, the laundry might be clean, but it doesn’t always mean it gets put away. So there are trade offs, you know, maybe you have to do just the bare minimum to make it through this day. And that is okay.”
Don’t Forget Your Needs
Rachel Baker says, “got hardly any housework done. When my twins were babies, I was too busy trying to survive the first few years as they woke up regularly in the night. I used to nap at times when they napped and quickly tidied the house on other sleeps.”
Remember you have to take care of not only the twins and the house, but yourself. So make sure you’re balancing your needs for rest, for food, for your must do items with those needs of your children.
(RELATED: Love podcasts? Check out the entire Dad's Guide to Twins Podcast archive for additional twin tips and interviews with twin dads.)
Things Take Longer Than Before
Dan says that “it’s tough. Tackle one thing at a time and don’t count on getting it done as quickly as you would have before twins. It will get better. Don’t set any expectations.”
Adjusting expectations is a big key to parenting twins. You have to reset your expectations of what is possible on a daily basis. Twins are the priority, and they suck up a lot of that time and energy.
You just have to adjust other things, but it does get better over time.
Enjoy the Journey
Brandy says, “do what you can when you can, but don’t waste time worrying about having the perfect house. Time goes by way too fast. So enjoy them while you can and they are with you all day long. Enjoy the journey of parenting your twins.”
Enjoy the journey of raising your twins because they’re not going to be little kids forever. While you may be having a hard day today, look for the positives. Look for the little moments of joy that you have with each of your twins.
Use Everything You Can
Meredith says that “it’s not ideal, but I turn on TV. When I have to clean (they’re two and a half), they get into everything and I don’t want them getting into cleaning supplies. Sometimes I put them in their room with a few books or toys and I shut the door.”
You want your kids to be safe while you’re cleaning. And sometimes you just need a few moments of time while you can get something done.
Don’t feel bad if you have to put them in front of a screen or put them in front of some toys to play with. Those are tools for you to help in your parenting. Just use them wisely.
(NOTE: Still expecting? Get weekly updates on your twin pregnancy here.)
The Big Picture
I hope you’re seeing a theme here with these parents of twins is that you’re not going to get everything done that you were hoping to get done and that’s okay.
Focus on your interactions and your moments that you have with your twins. Then maybe scramble when the twins are taking naps, or they go down to bed to try to knock out some of those things on your to-do list.
As your twins sleep better through the night, as they take naps during the day, or as they start to get older and can actually help with tidying things, cleaning things, everything gets a lot easier.
Hang in there!