The short answer: I don't.
Yeah, I know. Not what you fellow twin moms want to hear. But honestly, when the twins are awake, almost nothing gets accomplished.
I debated for a while how to best present this information, and finally decided to just lay out our typical daily schedule. I hope that doesn't bore anyone too badly. We have slowly developed a routine that allows me to maximize my productivity.
7 a.m. or so: wake up. I get out of bed, make the bed, and change clothes while they play quietly in their cribs as they wake up. From first stirrings to starting-to-fuss, I can usually plan on 45 minutes.
8 a.m.: breakfast. I unload the dishwasher while they are in their high chairs, unable to break dishes. Some mornings they eat in the car while we go to run a quick errand before exercising. Sometimes I can fold a load of laundry while they eat breakfast too. While they follow me around I'm able to start loads of laundry, change the sheets on their bed if needed, take the diapers to the outside trash, put their dirty pajamas in the hamper, etc. They are big enough now that they consider it great fun to help me with these chores, and so they "help" out with what they can.
9:30 a.m.: exercise! Monday-Friday we go to the exercise class they hold at the church for an hour. The twins run around the gym with the other kids and play with toys from the nursery while the moms get their work out in. Twin moms, I highly recommend finding something like this. I would never exercise otherwise. I feel good because I did something for me, and they have a fun time playing. Everyone wins.
11 a.m.: the twins play in their cribs with toys while I shower and get ready for the day. Sometimes they scream their heads off, but that's okay--I can't take care of them if I don't take care of myself. On the days they scream, I hurry fast.
11:30 am.: lunch. Sometimes I'll fold another load of laundry while they eat and are contained, or will pick up around the house, or read the mail, or whatever. I always clean up lunch--sweep the floor, put away the dirty dishes, wipe off the counters, etc.--while they're in their high chairs, otherwise I can't do it. They scream if I don't let them play with the broom, try to pull all the dirty dishes out of the dishwasher, and cry if I don't pick them up.
noon - 3:30 p.m.: nap time! The twins have recently switched to one long nap a day, and I absolutely love it. People say I'm lucky because my twins are such good sleepers, and I am, but the truth is I put in a lot of work to get them this way. While they nap, I have me time, a.k.a. writing time. I don't do anything I don't want to do while they sleep. Sometimes I feel guilty and selfish, but the truth is I'm a much better mom if I have a few hours to myself each day. I need that time to be at my best. This is when most of my critiquing, writing, outlining, reading, etc. gets done.
3:30 - 6 p.m.: play time. Sometimes we go outside and play. Sometimes we play inside. Sometimes we watch TV. Sometimes we run more errands. Sometimes we go visit Grandma. I don't get anything accomplished but playing here. I've tried before, and the twins start being naughty because I'm not paying attention to them.
6 p.m.: dinner. It used to be I couldn't even cook unless someone else had the twins, but they're getting a little better about this. Now they let me cook while they play. Sometimes they try to make me not cook while they scream. Either way, the food gets made. Depending on hubby's school schedule that semester, he's around to help.
6:30 p.m.: bath time. Hubby's usually home by this time, and so we tag team. He cleans up dinner while I bathe the kids, or vice versa. The twins help us clean up the toys. We straighten up the house.
7:15 p.m.: bedtime. Scriptures, prayers, a bottle, and unless the twins are sick or something, they're down for the night. After finishing straightening up the house an getting ready for bed myself, I have a few hours until my bedtime. I can fold laundry, watch TV, spend time with the husband, do more writing, etc.
Cleaning is reserved for weekends, when Daddy's around to corral the boys while I vacuum (they can't leave the vacuum alone, so it's impossible to clean while they're around) and do the rest of the cleaning.
So there you go...our day in a nutshell. As you can see, I really don't get a lot accomplished. My standards of cleanliness, which used to be rigid and bordering on OCD, have relaxed a great deal. My kitchen floor is always sticky, my carpet usually sprinkled with cracker crumbs. If I can keep up on the surface cleaning type stuff once a week, I'm happy. The more deep cleaning isn't even something I have the energy to think about anymore. My laundry sometimes sits in the basket for days before I can fold it. All errands are done with children in tow, sometimes cranky but usually glad to be out of the house. Date nights are extremely rare. Our lives are pretty hectic and crazy, but I wouldn't change it for anything.
My schedule keeps my life sane. I protect it rigidly, and will bend it for next to nothing. It keeps our lives running as smoothly as possibly, and when the schedule gets broken, all heck starts to break lose.
So I don't accomplish a ton. Not nearly as much as I'd like to accomplish, for sure. But I have two beautiful sons, and the memories I'm making with them each day are priceless.
TWIN MOM TIP: Implement a schedule. Find what works for you, and stick to it. Trust me on this one.