Episode 230 of the Dad’s Guide to Twins Podcast Show Notes
Today we continue our father of twins interview series with Tony Hurley, father of fraternal twin girls and living in the UK. Listen as we explore his twin parenting journey, including:
- Twins were their first children
- Wife had c-section after expecting natural birth after induction
- Surprises for Dad in the operating room
- Transitioning back to work after being home with the twins
- When both parents are working from home with toddlers
- How to manage terrible twos with twins
- and more…
Connect with Tony on Facebook.
How do you manage twin toddlers while both mom and dad are working at home? We discuss that and much more on the show today.
Welcome to the dads guided twins podcast, the podcast that will help you survive and thrive as a father of twins Now, here’s your host, the author of the book, the “Dad’s Guide to Twins” Joe Rawlinson.
Hey everybody. Welcome to the 200 and 30th episode of the Dad’s Guide to Twins podcast. This is Joe Rawlinson. As always, you can find me on the web at twindadpodcast.com, where you find the complete Show Notes for this episode. And you can binge listen to all 229 previous episodes of the podcast. Today we’re continuing our father of twins interview series with a fellow twin dad. But before we jump into the interview, I want to let you know that today’s show is brought to you by my book, “Dad’s Guide to Raising Twins: How to Thrive as a Father of Twins“. You can learn more about that book for yourself at raisingtwinsbook.com Today like to welcome to the show fellow father of twins. Tony Hurley, welcome to the show, Tony. So tell us about your twins right now. How old are they? And what’s one of the most exciting things about this age.
So I have twin girls, they are two and they’re going on three for March. So we’re currently at a crossover between the terrible twos and the three-nager sisters are starting to come in. So a few tantrums here and there. Absolutely a handful. But there are absolute brilliant fun.
Excellent. Yes, that is a fun age when they’re an age where they they seem like they’re teenagers. But they’re not quite. I mean, they’re still years away from that. But the behavior that we saw with our girls, when they were that age of your girls is kind of indicative of how they will be when they get older. are twins your only children?
Yes, they are. Yes, there are firsts. And we’ve said that will be our last as well, too, I think two was always the the game plan. But we didn’t expect that straightaway. in one sitting.
Yeah, we had already had two boys. And then we found out we were pregnant with our girls, we were expecting just number three, and we end up with number three and four. So I understand your position. Okay, so let’s rewind the clock back to when you found out that you were having twins. What was your reaction to that initial news of twins?
Well, what can I say my jaw just hit the floor with a surprise. So what we did was Jess, my wife, she knew she was pregnant, from all the all the signs basically. So we wanted to inform the parents of the good news. So we went to go private scan. And we sat in this room, big massive screen, like a big projector screen. And the slog of the turnarounds was I said, Oh, are you? Are you on any medication? You know, to enhance the pregnancy? I said no. Why? It’s just it’s Well, the good news is there’s two of them in there. And as you can imagine, that was it. We were just gobsmacked. And all the way through the, through the process of you know, she was talking away to us, I don’t think we said a word. And so the point of we walked out and sat in the car, and we both just sat there for probably like 20 minutes. If you could just complete shock. So yeah.
That’s totally normal. I know, I was in shock to when we got you know, your mind races ahead to what, what that means for you what the positive what the possibilities are in the future. And so how did the pregnancy go for your twins? Are there any problems or complications?
No, we were very lucky for it. So the NHS staff were great from the start. And they were informed that we obviously had to go for more rare scans. A lot more appointments. And they did for one that there could be complications. But no, we were we were very fortunate. And we were fine until the end. So they would used to be to go on.
How many weeks along? Were they when they arrived?
I can’t remember now. I know we were I think two weeks out from the nine months actually for what to remember.
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That’s great for twins.
So tell us a little bit about the birth experience, how did that go? Was that what you were expecting? Or did you get some surprises there?
Well, again, with this be my first I didn’t really know what to expect at all It went it went well. My wife had to have a C section. So at first we went into the to the hospital expected that we were going to be born naturally. But after many hours of that we were 9am. And by about one o’clock in the afternoon the following day, they were born by C section. So there was a decision on nine A and B The following morning when we went into the hospital to go for the C section. So there’ll be the only complication would say But apart from that it was open went pretty smooth.
So she was already having contractions and was in labor when you went to the hospital.
No, this was this is a plan they gave us a date they said we can’t let you go all the way the following months. So a couple of weeks before and they said you gonna come in this date and they will as they say to start you off.
So it was an induced birth.
And what was your experience like as a dad, during the C section?
It was a kind of a combination of terror and trying to put on a brave face. So the first part of it, obviously, I’ve been awake for quite some time. So both of us have through through the day and through the nights. And I remember the, the nurse just putting in an epidural and my wife said, into her spine. And when they explained to me what it was doing, I think I nearly passed out just at that point for the C section, well, why is the counter of it, she probably won’t really remember too much of it because of what they administered to her to help her get through the pain. But me, I was sitting right next to her and holding your hand and just trying to be calm Eagle way through it.
Everything happens kind of quickly, when it’s time for the babies to come. So when you when the babies are born, when your girls are important to they have, we’re able to hold them right away, or did they have to go off for some special care?
Yeah, no,the only thing they went out for was just a good weight. And then, so straightaway, we could we could hold them. Yeah.
That’s fantastic.So I suppose after a few days in the hospital, you were as a family able to return back home and get started.
Yeah, it was. It was after three days, we’re back at home.
So tell us about your work situation before the baby’s arrived, where you and your wife both working? And how did you manage time off?
Yes, we’re both working. Jess works pretty much up to about seven months before she went quite far into it. Obviously, worked all the way through. So we’re very fortunate, were had a moment’s notice a year maternity leave. And I only had to I had two weeks for myself. But it was it was quite a stressful time, working all the way up until that point, and to the point where you’re ready to go with it, you didn’t really have time to think about it, then all of a sudden, it was a senior off. And this is gonna happen a big major life changing event.
That’s right. That’s I mean, that’s what happened with me too. I was working right up until this time for the babies. And then changing gears and switching from work mode to all of a sudden we’re going to be having to,
It’s quite a shift. So you had two weeks off, and then you went back to work did any family or friends can help with the babies?
After only two weeks, Jessie’s mother helped out for a week. But she, she was around the house, she was helping to clean and cook noodles and just keep on top of looking after the girls. So from what I remember, Jess wasn’t really allowed to move around too much for a couple of weeks after the C section. So it’s advised not to work to anything too strenuous to rest up as much as possible, as much as having a newborn baby twins. will allow you to.
Yeah, that’s a good reminder for dads listening is that mom has to go through the C section it’s going to be there’s going to be some recovery there as it is major surgery, where they literally have the cut mom open and pull the babies out. So anything you can do to a mom with recovery and using her burdens after delivery is great. Tell us about that first year. I know the first year of twins is kind of a blur. It’s kind of hazy and foggy. What do you remember about some of the challenges of that first year?
Yeah, hazy and foggy is is how I would say it was, to be honest from so when you first bring them back with you, you’re at home, you’re just what the heck is going on. You’ve your routine, everything just kind of goes out the window from what you knew before having the first couple of weeks off work was absolutely fine, because you could just kind of live within that time zone that the twins were on then having to when you had to go back to work was was the more difficult time so having to fall in back into that sort of nine to five routine. But then having to also get up in multiple times in the night time to do a bottle feeding was was quite tough going I remember some points, getting into work and just just feeling like an absolute zombie. Like it just did not know what was going on. But I was very fortunate. My workplace was it was very understanding and very caring. So but the only way you can kind of, I suppose explain it is it’s, it’s kind of like living in a bit of a bit of a war zone almost. And any plans that you had to kind of do things around the house or just yeah, anything that you’ve planned before kind of goes out the window and you’re just kind of living to get them through this this initial sort of year with of the developmental leaps the Yeah, feeding the late nights, they’re up and down all nights, sleepless nights.
You’re always in zombie, you’re always sleep deprived. I remember just like you I’d be at work at my desk, and I would just kind of zone out. And I would realize that I’m just completely exhausted and I kind of focus. And then I know I’m going to be you know, taking care of the babies when I get home. Oh, what were some of those milestones that your kids hit that made things a little bit easier for you as a dad?
A good friend of mine actually gave me, who had kids before me Give me a good bit of advice. And he said, what you got to learn to do is adapt all the time. You might have got one thing, right, that seems to work for them. And then the next couple of weeks or a few weeks time, they’ll progress on to something else and you have to figure out what that is. I suppose the milestones it’s as daft as it sounds were when we used to have to feed them in the evening, when you when you first start off your first bottle tea is like a baby one only administers literally a drip of milk through it, it takes about 45 minutes sometimes just to finish a bottle was a slowly, you know, not always it. But then as you go through the stages of the different teeth on the bottles, then it shortens the time that you’re feeding. And that was definitely a milestone, then the biggest one was when they were able to hold the bottle themselves. And you could just, you could give it to them and just keep it keep an eye on them. You don’t have to sit there try to you know, focus to stay awake, he was holding this bottle. So it’s, I suppose easing into more of the the bedtime routine. So it’d be able to put them down then in a cart by themselves and just let themselves go to sleep with a bottle and just keep checking in on them rather than having to constantly be there for them and hold it for you.
Are your girls Identical twins are fraternal?
No, they’re not identical. And they’re quite easy to tell apart. Because one is a blond and one’s a redhead so.
Excellent. And they shared a room since you brought them home and they’ve been separate at your house?
No, they said they both shared a room up until now. And I don’t think we’ve, we’ve dropped it into conversations with them about potentially if they if they want their own rooms, but I don’t think they need to do that yet. They’re happy to stay the same room together.
Yeah, my daughters have been roommates, since they were brought home from the hospital. They would love to have their own rooms, they just don’t have rooms for them to have. So they just have to keep sharing until till they leave the house and go off to university. After that year of maternity leave for your wife, You’re both going back to work. So how did you arrange childcare for your girls?
Well, we’re very fortunate that we’ve got two sets of grandparents between us. And they were very, very welcoming and throw them to look after the race before the day he was hardcore. Just to go back to work in certain I can understand that after a year you’re out. And it was hard for it to, you know, start that routine of dropping them at their grandparents and then onwards to work. She spent a year with him day in day out every day. But that’s let’s say that we were very fortunate in that case to have that sort of support around this.
Oh, that is fantastic. And when you look back at some of the baby gear, or children gear that you got equipment, that’s something that really was helpful for you.
Always say we’ve got this, we have a star projector lamp, I think we bought it for about 20 pounds from Amazon. And it just nice and colorful. Just project stars in the moon onto the onto the ceiling. And it says nice and slowly. They have to watch that. We’ve tried all mannerisms and things. Related this this particular sheep, they’d say you press it and it plays like a heartbeat and music and stuff like that ends. People will suggest all sorts of weird wonderful things to you. And you can try them all and why not work. And then the most random thing that you just happen to purchase will be the be the one that works for them.
That’s right, you never know exactly what your children are going to like until you actually have it. Tell us about this last year with COVID and pandemic and lockdowns Have you been able to manage everybody at home and the toddlers at the same time?
In in the UK when we first hit the original lockdown back in March last year, I’ve got to say that was that was hugely painful. We weren’t allowed to go anywhere basically, to drop the girls off or grandparents or we didn’t have any support so that that work still expected us to carry on as we could work from home. So having to juggle two year old twins. And work was was insane. Also, a lot of wind was consumed in the evenings when they went to bed. A lot of late nights having to catch up with work. So what me and Jess would do is we would have a look at our day planners for the next day. If we had meetings. We would whoever had a meeting person would take care of girls for a bit and vice versa. Or there were if there were times where it’s it clashed. We had to work stick frozen on multiple times over. Yes, it was tough. And we as soon as we we at least a little bit of the lockdown in the summer. And they can start to go back to the grandparents we really felt the benefit of it we well, he never take it for granted in that way. They were they’re certainly tough times during that original one. So at the moment, unless we go backwards again into a further lockdown at the moment we still have support from grandparents so we’re very fortunate again, to be able to just To drop them off at the grandparents and get on with a full day of work.
Yeah. When our when our kids were much younger, my wife and I were both working at home and had to do the same thing you’re describing where we look at the calendar together. Say when are you when you’re you doing this? What are you doing that and then just juggle the responsibilities. So well done. So before before COVID were able to travel at all with your twins when they were little.
Yeah, we’ve we’ve been able to take them on holiday to to Ibiza, that the party capital of Europe. And the funny thing is we came back from the go into the past capital of Europe feeling get refreshed and awake for a nice lovely break ins. We slept as well, which is this is not how you normally come back from Ibiza. But we are into camping. So before the lockdown happens somewhat, we’ve mostly got a couple of camping trips here and there in our transport van. And yeah, this is something that we want to stay heavily involved with, and then continue to do and then plans to go obviously on further camping trips to coast or to festivals. And that’s the kind of thing that we want to get into doing regularly with them.
Yeah, that sounds like fun. My children love being outside and doing hiking and exploring and doing all those things, as well. So if we can get back to that, assume your girls are almost three right now. And you’ve mentioned the beginning some of the challenges you’re having with terrible twos moving into level threes. So that aside, what are some things that are working? What are some parenting things that are working for you right now, with your girls?
To be able to understand what’s going on in their mind, which obviously, we don’t fully know. But it’s, it’s sometimes when their behaviors are, I’ll say strange or challenging, it’s been able to just think to yourself as sometimes it’s as frustrating as it can be to try and talk to them as if to understand what their their issue is, and try and get that information out of them. Sometimes it’s very easy to, if you’re having a bit of a day where they’re, they’re having quite a lot of tantrums and just being awkward, it’s easy to get wound up. So good thing is, is just to remember, it’s it won’t be like it every day. It’s just phases that they go through. Over the next day, there’ll be a lot of back to them sweet themselves. But, the main thing is just being able to talk to them and enjoy an extract that whatever feeling is going on basically or whatever the issue is, in a cool car manner. difficult sometimes, though.
Yes, that can be very difficult. Do you have any habits at home about how you can spend one on one time with each other girls are they always together?
They spend quite a lot of time together, we have recognized that this is probably a good thing to try. So my wife looks after a friend’s horses. So on a Saturday in a Sunday, she’ll take one of the girls down at Atari each time. And I will do so I will do something around the house or if we’re allowed to travel somewhere go to look at a play center or something like that, just to try and spend a bit of one on one time. And it’s actually the yeah, the difference it makes when you separate them just for an hour or two. It’s it’s very refreshing, it’s you see a different side of them, you haven’t got two of them bouncing off each other and fighting against, you know, because that’s the animosity, it’s, it’s nice.
It’s great, they do have the occasional time to get them apart and spend some one on one time with him. Like you say, that’s really when what I’ve observed too, is you get to see more of their personality, as it is instead of them always interacting with their sister, which can be,
Like you say it could often be fighting or yelling or whatever it is, you get to build a one on one relationship with them. That’s great. So when you look back over the last three years, so what have you been able to do to maintain the relationship you have with your wife?
I think the main thing is, is working together remembering your team, it can be I don’t want to sound absolutely negative, but sometimes that the downs can really put you know, drive a wedge between you as a couple, you have to remember to stay headstrong with it and complement each other when something goes right. During a difficult phase. And I’ve seen examples of friends where they will split they will do what they call shifts with the with their girls or with their with their children, where it’s it’s another parents turn to do with the night shift and stuff like that. I don’t think you can really operate like that. I think if one parent is extremely tired, then the other one has to kind of step up a little bit more and, you know, help out rather than trying to sort of divided opens. I just think it really works. So yeah, working together. Just remember the times that you demons, you know, working together and complementing each other really helps.
Oh, absolutely. I realized we had to do everything as a team, my wife and I, when the twins came, because it was just the sheer amount of work that had to happen to take care of too little people. So you’re spot on as a reminder there to work together. And when things go well complement each other. Because oftentimes, when you are sleep deprived, or things are not going, right, it’s not. It’s not a personal thing with you and your partner. It’s just just life at the moment. And it’s, you’re going to get through
So let’s, let’s suppose that your best friend finds out that he’s having twins. So what would be your one piece of advice that you would give to him?
It’s time to dig deep. It’s gonna be fun. I know, it’s the main thing is to get is just to be supportive of your partner. As best as you can say, remember that it’s not It’s, it’s very difficult. I think we’ve to be able to rely heavily on your partner to be able to do the be the sole carer, well, you’re going to work or maybe you need to do. So I would say to say to a friend that, yeah, pretty much that you’ve got to be ready to where to pitch in as well. Certainly.
That’s great advice. Great advice. Well, Tony, as we wrap up today, if listeners want to connect with you, what’s the best way to reach out?
You can contact me on Facebook if they need to.
Perfect. Yeah, we’ll link up to that in the show notes for the podcast today. Well, Tony, thank you so much for spending time with us and sharing your story. We really appreciate it.
I hope you enjoyed that chat with Tony. His experience raising fraternal twin girls. If you’d like to reach out to Tony, I’ve linked up his contact information on the show notes for this episode over at twindadpodcast.com. Again, today’s show is brought to you by my second book for fathers of twins. It’s called “Dad’s Guide to Raising Twins How to Thrive as a Father of Twins.” It’ll walk you through those first couple years of twins from newborns to crawlers to toddlers and beyond. You can learn more about that book at raisingtwinsbook.com thank you so much for listening, and I’ll see you next time.
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