Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Tuesdays in Twinland: You Can't Relate to Other Moms

I've been struggling with a lot of things lately, and life in twinland is definitely one of them. I love my kids, but the truth is being a mom is hard, and being a mom of twins is really hard.  I am trying really hard to love the toddler stage--and there are things I truly enjoy about it--but most days I feel like we're in survival mode, just trying to get through the day without a meltdown.

Before I had kids, I often felt a little "left out" of conversations with other women. In Utah, it feels like most of the women I interact with are moms. Very few women in my neighborhood don't have kids. I think it is natural for women who are childless, whether by choice or by infertility, to feel excluded by other women who are in the "mom club." Moms gravitate to talking about their children, and if you aren't a mom, you end up accidentally getting left out. You can't relate. You can't offer anything to the conversation.

I never thought that having twins would bring with it another kind of loneliness in social settings. But the truth is, I still feel excluded from the mom club. In a lot of ways, I just can't relate to other moms, and they don't relate to me.

I often find that other moms treat me in one of two ways: 1) I am a celebrity they practically worship, because they have no idea how on earth I can handle two children of the same age, or 2) they think I'm some sort of weirdo for having twins, and don't understand how that's really that much different than having just one. There also occasionally is the the third response, where people seem to think I'm just an attention hog for having two. They take a, "What's the big deal?" attitude. Most people are in category 1, and it makes me feel horrible. I'm not some superhero. I'm just someone doing the best I can, and more often than not falling short of my goals.

In mom conversations, whenever I add to the conversation, people often say, "Yeah, but you have two." As though my comment is invalid because since I have two, I clearly don't experience the same thing as women who have just one. Which might be true.

Them: "My five month old baby is still sleeping horribly at night!"
Me: "The twins weren't sleeping good through the night until six months."
Them: "Yeah, but you have two."

Them: "I'm having a hard time getting the hang of nursing. When it's going to start being fun like other moms talk about it being?"
Me: "I really didn't enjoy nursing, and I never experienced the 'bonding' that other moms talk about. I just did it because it was more healthy for the twins and cheaper for us."
Them: "Yeah, but you nursed two."

Them: "It is so hard to get things done with my baby around! She always wants my attention."
Me: "I know what you mean, I feel like I can't get anything accomplished except when the kids are asleep."
Them: "Yeah, but you have two. So it's probably easier for you, because they entertain each other. I have to entertain my baby by myself all day long."

Sometimes it almost feels like other moms are trying to compete with me. Like they want to prove that having one baby is just as hard as having two. I'm not disagreeing with them. The twins are pretty good natured, and I definitely think it could be more challenging to have one very difficult toddler versus two pretty good ones. But I don't think "motherhood" is a competition. It's just something we're all struggling to do our best at. All I want on the other side of this is happy, healthy, well adjusted kids and my sanity. 

Sometimes I'm the one rolling my eyes too. I definitely am guilty of sometimes thinking, "You only have one toddler, what are you complaining about?" When women talk about how hard it is to keep their toddler quiet in church or how quickly their toddler gets into trouble, I can't help thinking, "Try having two toddlers." It's no secret that my twins are quite rambunctious, curious, and destructive. They can battle with the most mischievous of toddlers any day of the week.

All I'm saying is it's really hard to relate to mothers of singletons. Because I don't understand what it's like to just have one, and they certainly don't understand what it's like to have two. Each position comes with a unique set of challenges and complications that the other doesn't necessarily have.

It's just that most people are in the singleton boat, not the multiples one. So I'm always kind of on the outside looking in. Again. No one consciously tries to make it that way, and I'm fully aware that I'm probably doing some of this to myself. But that's how it feels. Like I can't relate.

I'm not saying I wish I only had one child instead of two. I love being a twin mom, and would willingly take on the task again if given the option. I'm grateful for my sons, and wouldn't change them for the world.

But sometimes I really wish I had a few twin mom friends my age to talk to. Women who were in the same stage of life as me, struggling to figure out this mom thing and keep two crazy kids in line.

TWIN MOM TIP: Try to find other mothers of twins that you can talk to. There are two ladies in my neighborhood who have twins, and even though they are at a very different stage of life than me (they both have teenagers, one has a married daughter) it is still so nice to be able to sympathize with them sometimes. It's even better if you can find twin moms with twins near the same age as yours.

1 comment:

Ryan and Jessica said...

I think this is how all of life is really so it can even extend out farther than even parenthood. I am not a parent but I find myself in positions like this all the time with people, everyone has different struggles and different trials and so many times people try to compare and contrast their trials with everyone elses and somewhat compete with them of who has it worse (or better) when in reality there is really no way to compare abecause you can never know what someone else is going through even though their trials don't seem as bad (or even as easy) as yours but nobody really sees the entire picture, there are way too many factors that go into it to really see. I think this is the same thing that you are saying. I hope I am making sense. I definitely have never been a parent to any child, twins or otherwise, so I don't have any experience in that but all I know is we are all just people trying our best to have good functional lives and be as happy as possible in the process (we just need to remember we are still human and it won't always be so easy). And I think any type of parenthood has their many moments of struggles and we as women (including me... I am guilty at times) need to stop comparing ourselves and trying to be the most picked on and actually just support eachother because even two singleton moms and two twin moms can have a vastly different experience from eachother. That is the wonderful thing in life. "I love you and you love me, we are as different as the sun and the sea... and that's the way it is supposed to be" Right? Longest comment in the world is now over... Love ya! and Love your boys!