The twins are walking now. How is a parent to keep them in line, maintain a household and keep his/her sanity all at the same time?
So the twins are in full fledged cruising mode, romping around the house, getting into everything and all you want to do is maintain some sort of normalcy in your daily life. Will your house ever be clean again? Will you ever have a moment to stop and hear yourself think? Will you ever have time to carry on an adult conversation with your significant other again? Will you ever find time to finish reading this article? Take a deep breath and try to remain calm because the answer to all of these questions is “yes”.
Though if you are still holding on to the fantasy that your life will somehow return to how it was before you had twins, it is time to look in the mirror and come to a new realization. Most likely by this time in your journey of twin parenting, you have already figured that out.
When children learn to walk a whole new world is opened up to them. They learn that there is so much more to their environment than they realized and now they have a way to investigate it. This new found freedom helps to charge the toddler with even more energy than she ever had before. And for parents of twins and multiples that energy is multiplied into “twinergy!”
Here are some tips on dealing with that multiplied energy, keeping your children safe and maintaining some semblance of sanity.
Get down to their level
You should have done this when the children started crawling and the purpose of this article is not to address “baby-proofing” your house (that is covered elsewhere on this site), but the importance of child safety can never be repeated enough. Crawl around your house in all of the rooms and areas that your toddlers will have access to. Look for anything that could seem interesting to inquisitive walkers. Remove any safety hazards as well as any objects/situations that might cause unneeded stress for you should your little ones get into them.
Once you think you have removed all safety/sanity risks, let your children walk around and follow them. Undoubtedly they will find things that you would never have imagined. Now that you have removed the unwanted objects it’s time to think about adding some new ones.
There is all sorts of play equipment that you can add to your children’s environment to help keep their interest peaked while at the same time keeping their focus off of unwanted destruction. It might also be beneficial to dedicate an area or a room as a “safe area”. A room with closed door or gated of area might come in handy during those times when you need to coral the toddlers for a few moments (note that it is never a good idea to leave your children unattended for any length of time no matter how safe the environment).
Burn off excess energy
I know that the last thing you want to think about when you are worn out by twin toddlers is anything involving exercise. However, if you can round up the munchkins and go for a walk or to the park, you will be expending some of that built up “twinergy.” Remember that energy spent at the park is energy that won’t be spent at home.
Consider getting help
Although raising twins or multiples is extremely challenging many parents feel that looking for outside help somehow makes them seem like “bad parents.” This couldn’t be farther from the truth. Consider getting help with childcare or housekeeping. Think about family, friends and relatives and don’t be afraid to ask for help. It doesn’t make you a bad parent; it makes you a smart parent and in the end, a sane parent.
Get some “me” time
Sometimes we as parents of twins or multiples get so consumed with parenting that we feel that we lose sight of who we are. Even if your neighbor can only watch the twins for an hour a week take them up on it! Go out and get your hair done, go shopping or just go to the mall and walk around. A little “me” time can go a long way to helping you feel like a person again.
I think that the most important aspect to maintaining your sanity while raising twin toddlers is to keep realistic expectations. Maybe your house isn’t going to be as clean as it was before the twins, maybe you aren’t going to have time to cook those extravagant dinners, maybe you really are less of who you “used to be” and more of a “parent” now. But you know what? That is ok. In fact, I promise you that once you learn to embrace it, you wouldn’t want it any other way.