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.