As a mom with two sets of twins, I’m constantly being asked what it’s like having twins. The best analogy I can think of to describe it is this: Having twins is like sprinting a marathon– a never-ending, cross-country, up-hill both ways in ten feet of snow – marathon where stopping to rest isn’t an option. (Heck, moms with newborn twins are lucky if they get a shower or a bathroom break.) Of course I don’t really tell people that, because I don’t want to seem like I’m whining or complaining but that doesn’t make it any less true.
Usually, when a mom with one baby asks me what it’s like having twins, I say something like, “It’s probably just like having one baby. I do all the same things you do, I just do them twice in a row”. I don’t know that I actually believe that, by the way. There’s a secret element to twins that most people don’t ever think about unless they have them. Life with twins almost demands adhering to strict schedules, hyper-organization, forward thinking and planning for practically everything, super-human multi-tasking abilities, complete selflessness, and a strong immunity for the need to sleep. Whew. Yeah, it’s takes all that, and coffee. Disturbing amounts of coffee. *Note: Moms with infant twins who are breastfeeding have to settle for cold, decaffeinated coffee that we made 4 hours ago and never had a chance to drink. See? I really wasn’t kidding about complete selflessness!
I’m going to state the obvious and follow it up with some less obvious observations. Twins are a lot of work. Remember the marathon analogy? I’ve never actually ran a marathon, but I’ve seen them and what really stands out to me is the number of people positioned throughout the route that are there supporting and encouraging the runners. There are people holding signs that say things like “Keep Going”. There are people standing by with water and protein bars to help re-fuel the runners when their energy is low. That’s like having twins, too. Twins draw attention because, well, they’re awesome. People will run to hold a door for you while you’re carrying two babies around. Complete strangers will sing your praises. You instantly turn into a super-mom in other people’s eyes. I suspect you don’t even have to be a really great mom to earn that title with twins. I think just surviving earns you an honorary cape. I’m not sure if moms of singletons get to experience that level of support in quite the same way. I get reminded everyday of how special my children are and how blessed I am as a mother – by people who don’t even know me! Having twins is like running a marathon in the way that people are lined up, cheering for you, encouraging you, offering you nourishment (sometimes literally in the form of food!) and holding up “Keep Going” signs. And just like completing a marathon, having twins is a badge of honor. (It kind of rocks.)
Moms with twins have two excellent reasons to lose sleep and two beautiful faces to adore. Sure, the work load is double, but so are the rewards. Even when things are bad (picture two screaming, colicky babies and a husband deployed overseas) they’re good. Better than good.
So, what is it like having twins? It’s probably just like having one child. I do all the same things you do. I look on in amazement at how incredible my little one is, overwhelmed with the purest, unconditional love for this precious gift that God has blessed me with. I just do it twice.