Episode 98 of the Dad’s Guide to Twins Podcast Show Notes
Listen as we discuss the following:
- How to filter the essential advice you should follow with your twins
- How many people you should receive advice from before acting
- Why you need to judge the person giving you advice
- Why you should experiment as a parent of twins
Hi there, and welcome to the 98th episode of the Dad’s Guide to Twins podcast, this is Joe Rawlinson. You can find me on the web at twindadpodcast.com where you’ll find much more information on having and raising twins along with the show notes for this episode. In fact, you can go back and listen to all previous podcast episodes or read the transcripts at twindadpodcast.com.
I have made a deal with Audible where you can get a free audio book version of my Dad’s Guide to Twins book at freetwinbook.com. Now, as a parent of twins, if you’re expecting twins or the twins are already here, it has likely directly altered the course of your life. The news that you’re expecting twins can really rock your world. Now, if you think back to when you’ve found out that you’re having twins,– it may be last week, it may be several years ago,– think about that shock that you experienced. It probably took weeks or months before that wore off, and you accepted the reality of the situation.
Now, once that shock wears off, you’re going to find that you are swimming in a sea of information. Some of this will be self-imposed information, because you’ll be searching on the web, and you’ll be asking others for advice on how to handle twins. Maybe you have friends that have twins or know your local multiples group. Well-meaning friends, family, and probably, complete and total strangers will thrust other information upon you. So you are going to be bombarded from all directions with information about what to expect with twins and how to raise your twins. Now, this means that you need to apply some filter to decide what is important, what is essential, and what you can dismiss or not have to take action on.
(RELATED: Still looking for the right twin gear? See my Twin Baby Gear Essentials.)
We’ve found a few things that helped us as we filtered out unneeded, unwanted, or unnecessary information as we try to make sense of our journey with our twins everywhere from what to do during the pregnancy to raising them as toddlers and beyond. Today, I want to share with you four different things that you need to consider when you’re getting the information from other people.
Number one. If you hear the same advice from several people, like three or more people, you need to listen up. Think about a quorum setting where they call multiple witnesses to testify of the same event. Same is true with advice that you’re going to apply with your children. You will soon have your hands full of the challenges of day-to-day raising of your twins. You don’t have to reinvent the wheel, because other parents have gone before you. If you start to hear recurring things in the advice that you are receiving, it’s definitely worth listening to. Make notes, and talk about ways to implement this advice with your spouse. You’ll be glad that you did. So remember, if you hear from more than one person, you might need to listen a little more closely, and see if you can apply that in your family situation.
Number two. When listening to or taking advice, try to find out how similar the person giving the advice is to you. How similar is their family situation, their twin situation, to what you are going through or what you are about to go through? This will truly help you filter out the advice and information that is not applicable to you, and it will help you set reasonable expectations about what you’re going to experience.
For example, a first time parent of one child has a huge learning curve. It takes a long time to figure everything out. Now, once you already have a child, and you have your second child, you tend to enjoy that second child a little bit more, because you’ve been there. You’ve done that with the first, and you remember what you did, you remember what works, and it’s relatively easier, because not everything is brand new to you. So it goes with each additional addition to the family. You learn from what you did, and you’re a little bit apparent with each child. Well, at least, hopefully. So first time parents of twins will be doubly overwhelmed.
So if twins are your first children, it’s going to be a much different experience than if you are having twins after having another child or more. Parents of multiples that have already had different other children already have learned the ropes of parenting, the basics of child care, and so they can apply those skills with their twins, and the child care is going to be slightly different. So if you are taking an advice from someone whose twins are their second and third children, and your twins are going to be your first and second children, try to figure out what the discrepancy is going to be between the advice that they are giving you and your reality. Now, the more closely you can find someone to be related to your situation, the better the advice is going to be.
Sure, there are many things that apply to parenting twins that are broad-spectrum than apply to twins regardless of where they fall in the birth order of your family. However, if you can find someone who is more closely to your situation, it’s going to be a lot easier to see the similarities between you and the advice that they’re giving.
(RELATED: Check out the Dad's Guide to Twins Youtube channel for additional helpful twin tips and tricks videos.)
Okay, number three. One person’s experience is not necessarily generalizable to your own. So an example from our experience of raising twins. My wife talked to several different women about breastfeeding twins prior to the birth of our twin girls. So we were set to breastfeed our baby girls just like we’ve done in breastfeeding for each of our boys that had come before. Now, after our twins were born, we tried breastfeeding. My wife dealt with a lot of frustrations because it wasn’t working like everybody else talked about. She had one picture in her mind based on the advice that she had received from others that wasn’t quite matching the reality of her experience.
Upon reflection, this was due in large part because of the fact the mothers that she talked to had their twins in different birth order. For example, they had their twins first,– so they only had the twins in home and had to care for them– or they had twins, but they just had one other child. Alternatively, in our situation we had two boys ages 3 and a year and a half when our girls were born. So we have two very active, energetic toddlers, plus our newborn twins. Having two other young children in our home changed the face of what breastfeeding was going to be for us. Oftentimes, you’ll receive advice, and you’ll think that that nugget of wisdom will work as is for your family. And you may have to put that into practice and realize, “Well, it didn’t quite work as we were expecting.
Okay. Number four is to remember that parenting is an experiment. You, as a parent, are a scientist. First step of the science program was you created these twins. Congratulations. The second step of the program is to continue the experiment to figure out what is going to work in your home and with your twins. Now, make notes of what’s working, so that when people come for advice from you, then you’ll know what to say to them. And also, don’t forget that it’s okay when something isn’t working. You can try something else and see if a different pattern, a different habit, a different routine will be better for you and your twins.
All right. So those are four things that you need to consider when you are getting bombarded on your self-imposed bombardment of information about having and raising twins. Think about how many times you’ve heard that advice from other people. The more time that you hear it, the more likely that it’s a valid advice. Think about looking for advice from people who are in a very similar situation to your own, and remember that things are not necessarily generalizable to your situation. And fourth, make sure that you are okay experimenting and trying different things to see what’s going to work, and don’t give up.
(RELATED: Expecting twins? Avoid these 4 critical mistakes expectant twin parents make.)
I do talk more about the challenges of overcoming having and raising twins in my book, the Dad’s Guide to Raising Twins: How to Thrive as a Father of Twins You can find that book at raisingtwinsbook.com. Once again, that is raisingtwinsbook.com. And that will help all the way from newborn twins through the first year toddlers and beyond. Now, if you’ve enjoyed this show today, will you please do me a favor and leave a review on iTunes, because it will help other parents of twins, just like yourself, find the podcast. I would greatly appreciate that. Thank you so much for listening, and I’ll see you next time.
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