How do you handle the stress and mental struggle of raising twins? Raising twins is hard and it can become a huge, a stress, a burden, and a mental struggle for parents of twins. So just remember if this is you, if you’re feeling down and out, you’re not alone. We all go through the struggles, particularly when the twins are really young, it’s really hard.
As you get through that time, there is a light at the end of the tunnel. So stay positive, keep your eye on the horizon because things will get easier.
Here are some practical things other twin parents recommend you do to overcome some of that mental struggle and challenges of raising twins:
Cry it Out
Kelly says that “some days I just walk away and let my wife know that I need some time to myself. I lock myself in the bedroom and I let out a good cry. They say, men don’t cry, but for me, I have to let it out. Somehow.”
Definitely talk with your partner about what you’re feeling If you need a break, if you’ve reached your limit, and you just need to tap out and do something else while they take care of the twins. Then you can switch at a later time, it’s okay to find a way to let your emotions out. Don’t hold them in.
(RELATED: Check out the Dad's Guide to Twins Youtube channel for additional helpful twin tips and tricks videos.)
Jessica reminds us that many of the twin parents that she knows “have had to do some kind of medication and or therapy at some point, there’s no shame in it. It’s just doing what needs to be done, to be better parents for our kids. So if you feel like you need some extra boost, extra help, don’t be afraid.”
Don’t be embarrassed to go talk to your doctor, to seek out some extra help that you may need for your mind and your body to function properly.
Don’t Worry About the Small Things
Stewart says “celebrate every little win and try not to sweat the small stuff.”
This is a good, positive look on things. There’s tons of things to be worried about, to be concerned about, to be down.
Try to focus on what is going well, the positives and the good little moments that you have with your twins.
TV is OK
Pietro says, “you just have to find the patience and understand that it will get better. What I like to do is turn on YouTube on the TV. Cocomelon becomes your best friend.
(RELATED: Your twins will need a lot of gear. Here's the complete twins baby registry checklist to get ready for your twins' arrival.
Pietro has a good point here. Sometimes you need some backup and that backup may be in the form of technology. If you put on a quick show or a quick video to help calm the kids down while you catch your breath and regroup, and go ahead with the rest of your day. That’s okay. No shame in that.
Amy says, “get out of the house, take the kids to the park or to a family member’s house or a friend’s house.”
A change of scenery is solid advice. If you’re feeling cooped in or trapped in your house with twins, get out, go somewhere else.
Fresh air in nature is very therapeutic, not just for yourself, but before the kids themselves. It’s a great change of pace that can help alleviate some of the challenges you may be having.
(NOTE: Still expecting? Get weekly updates on your twin pregnancy here.)
Don’t Do It Alone
Nate says, “I still struggle with this, but I’ll tell you what people tell me. You don’t have to do it alone. You don’t have to do it on your own. It’s hard to accept, help from others. At least for me, but you’re not weak or throwing in the towel. You can accept help, especially on the really hard days.”
Remember this when you’re really struggling and you need help. Call in the help from your partner, friends, neighbors, family members, or if you’re struggling with the mental health issues, from professionals. It’s okay to do that. It’s not a sign of weakness. It’s just empowering you to do better as you go forward.
Focus On What You Can Control
Tom says that he has “twin six year old boys, one with down syndrome and what I’ve learned over the past six years, and I’m learning every day. You don’t stress the little things are those you cannot control. Focus on the big issues and enjoy how life comes.
Just like when you’re expecting your twins, there are so many possible complications with twins that are outside of your control. You can only focus on your preparations, getting ready for the twins. Same thing once they’re here, you can only focus on what you can control. Many things are out of your control, focus on what you can do and do those little things every day.
When there’s minor annoyances, let those things go and just move on.
Enjoy the Moment
Rod says “it’s hard work mate, very hard work. And I question my sanity more often than not. However, it’s those small moments to see their faces light up or hearing them talk about stuff they care about or a cheeky smile, that melts your heart. Sometimes you just need to have time out to chill and gather your thoughts. Hang in there, man.”
Some of those precious little moments that you have with your twins during the day could be very small, a smile, a giggle, a fun moment that you have with them. That’s what makes this whole thing worth it.
When you’re struggling with feedings, diaper changes, or chasing them around the house, focus on those joyous little moments, it can keep you going day to day.
Do Your Best
Tom says, “I just keep doing my best and hope in the end. It’s good enough to keep them on the straight and narrow at the end of the day.”
That’s all we can do. We can just do our best as fathers, as parents or twins. Just do your best every day. Give it your best shot. Love those kids. Do the best you can. We’re going to stumble. We’re going to make mistakes. It’s part of the journey. It’s part of the process and the twins are going to drive us crazy.
They’re gonna wear us out both physically and mentally. So if you’re struggling with the mental anxiety or depression, don’t be afraid to go talk to a professional about that.
There’s a light at the end of the tunnel. Those first couple years with twins are really, really hard.
It’s really, really hard and that can wear you down, but they do get more self-sufficient and they’re able to do things by themselves. They sleep through the night, they feed themselves, they get potty trained, all these things work out in the end and eventually they’ll be out of the house.
You’ll look back and realize, wow, that time went by really fast. So enjoy the moments while you have it’s okay. You can make it, hang in there.
If you’re still expecting twins or in those early months with twins, I recommend you pick up my book, “Dad’s Guide to Raising Twins: How to Thrive as a Father of Twins”. It will guide you through those first couple years with your twins and help you thrive along your twin parenting journey, you can get a book for yourself here.