My Dream Team

A couple weeks ago I was watching the Grammys. Chance The Rapper came on stage to accept his Grammy for best new artist. His words in his acceptance speech resonated with me as a mother. He said, “I know people think that independence means you do it by yourself. But independence means freedom.” He was articulating that he was able to achieve his dreams because of the team behind him.

Raising twins is a team game. It can be very isolating and lonely. The team I am fortunate enough to have with me, has helped me find my freedom, my independence and my joy. When my boys were first born, I feared that asking for help meant I couldn’t do it on my own. Over the last year I have come to realize that knowing when I need help and asking for it is not a sign of weakness but rather strength.

For the first few months when my husband was at work, being home with two babies who needed to eat every few hours and finding time to pump their food seemed impossible. I was exhausted and felt like I couldn’t give them both the attention I wanted to. My team stepped in, to support the babies and me. We are so fortunate to have both sets of our parents close by and eager to help. For those first few months I had someone with the boys and me almost all the time. This not only helped the babies feel nurtured and loved but me as well.

After a couple months I began to enter back into the world. My husband and I had date nights and I was even able to even get my nails done. Those precious moments for myself reminded me that I am human and that I have needs. As a mother your needs and wants are often not all met but filling some of them gave me the strength to keep moving. I loved caring for my babies but this didn’t change my desire to also have moments where I was cared for. My team cared for me and this made me much more equipped to handle the challenges the boys threw at me.

As the babies got bigger, we finally got on a schedule. I felt like I was getting my life back. I could watch them on my own at this point because they were napping, eating and sleeping at the same times. I became so attached to our schedule and routine that I feared anything could throw us off. I became anxious if they didn’t sleep enough or eat enough; I worried every time a nap was shorter than it should be and I became terrified of letting go of control. If other people were watching the boys, I couldn’t guarantee they would do things exactly how I did. I feared we could lose our schedule and routine and I would have to go back to living in chaos.

I’d like to say, after a year, that I don’t still have these fears and worries but I do. However I have found ways to minimize them and have not let them take control of my life. I returned to working part time, my husband and I went on vacation and I decided to get myself back to the gym. None of this would be possible without asking for help and giving up control. The love Miles’ and Henry’s grandparents have for them is not only enormous but also endless. They would do anything to make their grandsons happy and watching the boys with their grandparents is an incredible thing.

Sometimes our parents don’t agree with our decisions, sometimes they question our choices and sometimes they do things their own way. Maybe every detail of how I would do things isn’t followed but I never have to worry if my boys are safe or loved because I know without a doubt that they are. We have left the boys for days at a time and they always get back on their routine. When we come back to them they are as happy and loving as ever. Our boys are amazing and so is our team.

I have always been someone who likes to plan, to control and to do things for myself. My husband will tell you I am strong-willed, stubborn and independent. Being a twin mom has challenged who I am in so many ways. I can’t control everything; I definitely can’t plan for everything and being independent now involves a lot of dependence. I often feel guilty that I still struggle with letting go of control and not letting our parents know how grateful I really am. I am still a work in progress. Each day that I get in a workout, I start to feel physically stronger, more independent, freer and more excited to be a mom.

As we finish the first year of twin parenting, I realize that in addition to me finding independence, I am also giving our children the gift of independence. They are able to flourish and thrive without us. Sometimes I want them to depend on me for everything, I am their mom after all. I have come to realize as the twins gain independence, so do I; we are all freer and happier.

The boys turn one this week. Of course our parents are helping us plan a party for Henry and Miles. While I cannot wait to celebrate their birthday, I feel like this celebration isn’t just about them. This is a day of celebration for my dream team. We made it a year, we worked together, it hasn’t always been easy but it’s been amazing. I love our parents more than I ever have when I watch them with our children. I am grateful everyday to be a twin mom. The freedom and independence I have been blessed with because of my dream team makes this gratitude possible.

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Embracing the Evolution – It Doesn’t Get Easier but I Can’t Wait for Tomorrow!

It started with fertility. My husband and I spent years trying to get pregnant. It was physically and emotionally draining but I always knew it would all be worth it when I got pregnant. Then I got pregnant with TWINS. My first trimester was brutal. I was nauseous all the time; I couldn’t keep any food down and I was exhausted. I told myself after this trimester it will get easier. Then at about 23 weeks pregnant I was put on bed rest. I prayed for the babies’ safety while losing my mind on the couch. As the weeks passed I grew more and more confident the boys would be okay and told myself it’ll be over soon and the babies will be here safe and sound.

The most joyous day of my life was the day the boys came into the world. People warned us the first three months would be hard. They said you just have to make it through and it will get easier. The boys aren’t a year old yet and I can honestly say I don’t remember everything about the first 3 months. I was so exhausted and delirious, much of it is a fog. I remember Henry having colic and walking around the house with him for hours every night while he cried and sometimes so did I. I remember pumping at 3 in the morning after feeding the babies and thinking to myself “this has to get easier!”

From fertility to bed rest to the first few months of life with twins I can say each of those stages were hard and the next were easier. This led me to think it would keep going this way. Then it stopped getting easier. 

From 6 to 9 months the twins were sleeping through the night (mostly) and taking 3 naps a day. I was finally able to sleep and it felt amazing. My life was very scheduled and I looked forward to a time when they would take less naps and I could do more. At this point I was able to put the boys in bouncers when they were awake and get things done in the house. The shift from 3 to 2 naps was anything but easier!

It doesn’t get easier; it changes, evolves and becomes more complex. For awhile I was in a funk. I threw my back out from chasing my heavy boys around the house. They suddenly needed nonstop attention and supervision and I was physically and emotionally drained. They were napping less and I felt like I could never get anything done. It seemed like they were always sick or teething and I was exhausted.

Then one day when I least expected it, Miles took his first steps. I cried tears of joy. Henry’s first steps came shortly after. Miles seemed to take his first steps unintentionally but when Henry walked, he clapped for himself and looked at me waiting for his applause. I cheered for him with so much excitement. I could see Henry was intently watching his brother to see what he was doing so he could master this new skill too. They are constantly inspiring each other to learn new things. They are so unique and each experience with them is so special and getting to experience these joys with two is so fulfilling and remarkable.

Now they run in opposite directions and fall all over the place. They’ve started fighting over toys and love wrestling. I realized I have a choice; I can stay in a funk, feeling disappointed this stopped getting easier or I can embrace how this journey is evolving. It can be stressful when the boys want different things, have different needs and are constantly depending on me. It is also exciting. No two days are the same; no two minutes are the same! They have started to interact with each other and me in a way that is so awesome. They actually make me laugh and I’ve learned to really look forward to the time we spend together.

There are things that I miss about the phases that came before this one. I miss when they would snuggle and fall asleep on me. I miss when they were less mobile and we could go more places. It’s okay to miss what was special about what came before. If I focus on the past I may miss what is special about the phase we are living in right now. I love when the babies mimic me. I love when they laugh at me playing peek-a-boo. Most of all, I love how they look at me when I walk in the room. They smile so big and jump with joy in the morning when I take them out of their cribs. It is the best feeling; I feel so loved.

I imagine as they learn to talk some things will get easier and others will get more dynamic. I imagine toddlerhood will be full of new ups and downs. One day I will have teenagers who will challenge me in ways I cannot even begin to imagine. What I have realized is that I need to embrace and enjoy these phases as they come and go. I also need to remember that each phase will be filled with unique challenges and my husband and I will take on each challenge just as we have this first year.

Letting go of the belief that it will get easier and embracing the reality that life with twins will be constantly evolving has freed me of feeling disappointment. As new challenges come I may become frustrated at times but I expect the challenges to come. Seeing my boys jump for joy when I walk in the room, watching them run around having so much fun and having my days filled with twin hugs and kisses is filling my heart in a way I never knew was possible. I cannot wait to see what is coming tomorrow!