Mothering Twins: What It’s Really Like

Twins holding handsWhenever I am out with the twins, we get stared at a lot. Granted, twins aren’t so uncommon these days, but they are no less fascinating.

Some folks venture to start a conversation, especially in the elevator of our condominium (technically, we are all neighbors, aren’t we?), the first question naturally is, “Are they twins?” (Yes), followed by, “So this is the girl, and that’s the boy!” (Yes, what gave it away? Her dress or his blue blanket?)

If someone is going to a floor higher than mine, hence staying in the elevator until I get to my floor (gah), I get this statement often: “It must be hard with two babies.” (No comment, I usually just smile and nod politely.)

The real answer is this: It is hard, and it is easy.

It really depends on the hour, and how much coffee I’ve had that day. It depends on if my husband is busy at work or traveling, or if he has more time at home. It depends on the behavior and moods of my older children. It depends on how I’m feeling about my capabilities as a wife and mother, at any given minute.

Sometimes, I think it’s harder to be the babies. The reality is, someone is always going to be unhappy/ dissatisfied/ discontent/ impatient. I am one person, looking after two people who are 100 percent reliant on me for every single thing in their lives. Granted, those things are simple – basic needs. Feed, sleep, purge, cuddle. On an endless cycle.

As civilized folk, our babies should also be dressed, and relatively clean. In our current parenting-theoried-out society, they are also expected to be played with, entertained, exposed to various sensory activities, read to, carried/ attached to their mother, attend baby yoga classes and Kindermusik sessions.

Who has time for that yoga-music stuff?

But back to the babies. Since they do grow bigger (yay me), they no longer fit on the twin breastfeeding pillow at the same time. This means I can no longer tandem nurse, which was a huge time-saver. Feeding one child at a time for 20 to 30 minutes at a time, every two to three hours, equals a lot of exposed breasts around here. It also means a lot of diaper changes (let’s not go into the cloth diapering discussion here, because in a household of six, I already have a lot of laundry to deal with. I do not want to wash things I could throw away, given the option. Sorry, eco folks. I do recycle things though!)

Essentially, it’s a lot of turn taking. Babies do not understand the concept of taking turns. When I’m feeding/ changing one, it means the other isn’t being fed/ changed. The one unattended to at that very moment will wail out of discontent/ impatience. This happens about 50 percent of the time, on any given day.

Being a twin is hard.

Since I’m only one person with two hands and limited strength and dexterity, it also means that I have to carry one baby at a time, when we’re moving positions (from bed to rocker, from rocker to changing table or bed, from changing table to rocker, from rocker to floor, from floor to bed – geez, there’s a lot of movement around here, when are you kids walking again?). I think I cover 10,000 steps a day. I also have biceps of steel on my favored arm (yay me again).

It also means that normal things take a ton of time. Like bathing them. Putting clothes on them. Feeding them solids (because yes, we’ve moved onto that now, don’t they grow fast?). Making said solid food. Washing all the things associated with feeding. It’s not double the time as one would think. It feels like triple or more. I spend a lot of time bathing, changing, feeding, washing. One or the other twin, spends a lot of time waiting for me to finish bathing/ changing the other one, and for me to make and wash all the things.

Being a twin is really hard.

Did I mention I have FOUR children? One of whom isn’t potty trained yet (almost! ALMOST), both can dress themselves, both still need me to clean them up (the 5 year old wants to take showers on his own, but I’m pretty sure his idea of cleanliness falls far from my standards), both require feeding all the time (what’s up with that, perpetually hungry children), and one leaves trails of tiny cars and Lego pieces all around the house, because I have so much spare time in between twin things, to either navigate tiny pieces of foot shrapnel, or clean that crap up.

Thank goodness for school.

The conclusion is this: it takes a lot of time to get through the daily things when you have twins (I haven’t even touched on sleep yet, that’s a whole other post!). To be honest, I can’t remember what it’s like to just have one baby, so mothering twins is not hard, because I can’t compare this to what I don’t remember. It’s easy on many days because my babies are actually pretty good kids. Even if half the time, one or the other is impatient and doesn’t like this turn-taking business and lets me know it. Loudly.

I wouldn’t trade this for anything though. Two to love? And two to love me back? I couldn’t ask for more. Also, babies holding hands is the best thing ever.

This post originally appeared on Writing, Wishing.



Alison Lee is a former PR and marketing professional turned work-at-home mother. After a 10-year career in various PR agencies, and of the world’s biggest sports brands, Alison traded in product launches and world travel for sippy cups, diapers, and breastfeeding. Alison is a former blogger (Writing, Wishing), and her writing has been featured on Mamalode, On Parenting at The Washington Post, Everyday Family, Scary Mommy, and She is one of 35 essayists in the anthology, My Other Ex: Women’s True Stories of Leaving and Losing Friends. In 2012, she founded Little Love Media, a social media consultancy specializing in blog book tours, and because she doesn’t sleep, is an editor at BonBon Break, an online magazine. Alison lives in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia with her husband and four children (two boys and boy/ girl twins). You can find Alison on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, and Google+.



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6 thoughts on “Mothering Twins: What It’s Really Like

    • Alison Reply

      I know, right? It always makes me wonder what I used to do with my “free time” when I only had one baby to care for. 🙂

  1. Janine Huldie Reply

    Alison, I had my girls close in age, but still they aren’t and never will be twins. So, I know I couldn’t even begin to imagine, but still I can’t thank you enough for always honestly sharing what it is like to have twins, especially here today.

    • Alison Reply

      I always admire moms who have children close in age! Because the pregnancy part would have me on my knees. Kudos to you!

  2. Jennie Goutet Reply

    I read this and I think – I can only imagine!!!

    It sounds like you’re handling it all much more gracefully than I would. 🙂

    • Alison Reply

      Oh, the grace. I think the babies give ME grace for stumbling through their first year. Thanks for reading, Jennie!

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