As a Birth to Three speech-language pathologist and a twin mama, I seem to suddenly have a whole slew of twins on my caseload. Perhaps it’s because I’m a sucker for twins since I have them myself. Perhaps it’s because I can somewhat relate to what these parents are going through so much more than a parent of singletons would. But either way, I work with a lot of twins and their parents every day at work.
The question I get asked most is: “Does it get easier?”
I never quite know how to answer this question because I’m more inclined to think it only gets more difficult. But I would never answer the question this way to a client. The most recent time I was asked this was a couple of weeks ago. I finally came up with an answer I could live with, and it was this:
“It doesn’t get easier; it just gets different.”
Everything about being a new parent is difficult. Knowing when (and being able to) sleep, what the baby’s (or babies’) cries mean, when to eat and feed them, when you should bring them to the doctor, what to do about visitors, to decide to stay home or have a babysitter or send them to daycare. The questions are seemingly endless. There are just too many questions as a brand new parent, especially when your first child is actually two children!
What I wish I could tell them, and in a nice way I do, is that I wish I could bottle up this “baby” time so it would last a bit longer.
I wish I could tell them to savor this time with their babies before they begin bickering. Before they start talking back. Before they begin throwing tantrums over getting the pink cup when they wanted the green.
I wish I could tell them that potty training twins isn’t for the faint of heart. That they would still be late for everything, even almost five years in. That they would remind everyone to get their shoes on 25 times before finally snapping at them and whisking them out the door. That they would be carrying two screaming 30-pound 3-year-olds off the playground, one under each arm, because they wouldn’t stop running into the parking lot.
I wish I could tell them that questions only become more frequent and more difficult to answer. I wish I could tell them how I have no idea how to navigate friendships and gender and hormones and evil in the world. That after nine years of being a parent, I still haven’t slept through the night.
I wish I could tell them it gets easier, but since that would be lying, I tell them that everything changes. And it changes a lot. There are always going to be difficult days. If someone had told me that it only gets more difficult from here, I know I wouldn’t have been able to savor the good times I had when my babies were tiny.
I listen to their difficulties but also try to help them understand that there will never be a time like this in their lives again. When I think about how my twins basically screamed at me (and each other) all day today, I should probably tell myself this, as well.
There will never be another “today.” My children will never get any younger. I will forever be answering the difficult questions.
I look back, and I realize the easiest time in my parental life was when my twins were babies. As a second-time parent (this time without PPD), it was the most content I’ve ever been. I know the days are long, the nights are difficult, and the sleep deprivation is maddening. But I will never look back knowing I could have spent more quality time with those children.
I need to remind myself to be the type of go-with-the-flow parent I was back then. I know it would help me now.