It seems odd that in the last two weeks I’ve had three separate conversations that have made me feel connected to complete strangers. It’s funny how situations can present themselves at the very time you need them most.
Raising toddlers can be challenging. Really, really challenging. Some days are easier than others. But lately my days have been tough. And I’ve been getting a bit down on myself about it. As a parent, it’s hard not to compare yourself to others at times. I’ll think, What am I doing wrong here? And oftentimes social media gives the impression that everyone is always happy. No one shares the pictures of their kids throwing a huge fit in the store or having a meltdown because their shoe came off. We know that happens all the time, but sometimes it’s easy to forget that when you start to measure yourself against others.
My girls are now three years old. They are emotional, irrational toddlers at times. They fight, they hit, they yell. And while I try to remind myself that this is typical toddler behavior I can’t help but wonder if this is just typical for MY kids. Being a parent can sometimes be rather isolating. I rely on my mother-in-law, sister, and the girls’ nanny for their thoughts and opinions on things, but there’s rarely someone there in those moments when you feel like you need some reassurance or even someone to exchange a side eye with when your kids are out of control.
I recently had three separate exchanges with other mothers of twins and I wanted to share these with you. Although these women were strangers to me our conversations felt so familiar that I couldn’t help but feel connected to them.
Mom with younger twins
I was coming out of Michael’s with the girls and we were waiting to cross the street when another mom with a stroller approached us and asked if my girls were twins. She shared that her twin boy and girl were just over a year old and that she also had a five year old son. She looked tired (<– I know…I hate when people say that) and asked me if it ever gets easier with twins. I laughed a bit and said, yes, but it’s a different kind of “easy.”
It’s definitely hard when you have two infants who can’t talk or walk. I’m not sure I could go back to that stage. Carrying two car seats around, loading and unloading the double stroller everywhere, and just leaving the house was a battle. Oh, the panic of thinking whether I could fit the stroller through the doorway of a new building! Compared to that time it IS much easier now. But I’ve traded that in for the bickering, whining, and temper tantrums.
My heart really went out to this woman when she admitted that she cries just about every day. I’ve been there! I told her that it really does get easier and that there are so many wonderful things about having twins. I wouldn’t trade that for anything. We talked for a bit longer until she had to go. Our conversation was a good reminder of how far I have come as a parent, that being a mother never gets easier – it just changes, and that it’s okay to admit how incredibly hard it is at times.
Mom with older twins
On our way to school one morning the girls started fighting about something (i.e., nothing) and then one of them pushed the other and fighting ensued. Even though school is just 5 minutes away it was the longest ride ever. I had HAD IT.
I got to school and must have looked wild-eyed because one of the other parents (who has four kids, including a set of six year old twins) asked me if I was OK. She sat down with me for a bit and just talked with me. She shared some stories about her kids with the intention of showing me that it’s normal for siblings to fight – especially twins. Toddlers are impulsive and ridiculous at times. And while she didn’t tell me anything I didn’t already know, on that day – in that moment – it just felt so good to talk with someone who has been in my place and to remind me that I need to give myself a break. It was nice to have another woman say, “No, you’re kids are normal. They fight. They’re toddlers. They’re nuts.” Amen.
Mom with twins the same age as mine
The girls and I were waiting in line at Starbucks and there was another woman in front of us. The woman commented on how well the girls were behaving and said she has boy/girl twins about the same age (at home). I told her to follow me around because their behavior changes in seconds. She laughed and said that her kids are the same way. We started talking about the life stages we’re currently in – keeping up with potty training, keeping them busy, naps and no naps, independence issues, and all the defiance! It was quite funny that we were experiencing the same things. Honestly, we only spoke for a few minutes, but I loved having the opportunity to gab with another mom who has twins the same age and just laugh about it all. We spoke comfortably in a way that I probably wouldn’t with other friends.
So on the days when I feel completely swallowed up I am going to try and remind myself of these conversations.
That I show up everyday as a parent and do the best that I can. And while parenting doesn’t get any “easier” it is the most gratifying thing in the world. I have two amazing, thoughtful, independent little girls who have blossomed before my eyes. My heart is so full!