Image Credit: kangheungbo
This is a guest article from Delyth Raffell, mother of twin girls and founder of Twins UK, who writes from her own experience about the challenges of having twins. Here she talks about how to handle the important issues of work, your relationship and maintaining your sanity when you are looking after twins.
Forget the housework! I found that just to get through the day was enough of a challenge, never mind worrying about daily chores like housework, cooking and ironing. I was lucky that my mother came to stay with us for the first few months and that was an enormous help.
I tried to be supermum for a while and do everything but this is exhausting and you need to focus your energies on your little ones instead.
Although as a mum you feel you should be able to cope with everything, it’s really important to know when and how to ask for help from others. Everyone loves twins and are really eager to help and I would ask them to run quick errands or allow me time to take a shower in peace!
You really learn to value time so much more that you took for granted before children.
It’s also important to remember that you should not isolate yourself. It can be very lonely on your own at home with twins but I definitely benefited from joining the local twins clubs as you can really share your experiences and learn so much from mums who have lived through the same situations as well as have some fun.
I also tried to meet up with friends occasionally and spend some time alone with Graham as it’s so easy to lose yourself once the babies arrive and your relationship can suffer.
Having twins placed an enormous strain on our relationship even though we had been together for 20 years. You hear how having one baby is a life-changing experience – but having two places even more pressure on your relationship as it does feel like a relentless cycle of nappy changing, feeding, crying, washing with no end in sight; even the smallest things can be blown up out of all proportion due to lack of sleep and stress.
The most difficult part of the day is when your partner arrives home from work as you feel you deserve a rest but so do they.
It’s best to agree how you will manage this period beforehand. I would usually take half an hour off and let Graham play with the children and then we all muck in for the night-time routine.
I also struggled with leaving a job that I loved and as a life-long career woman, I found the shift to motherhood incredibly hard to adjust to; but with time this does get easier and your children do become your first priority and you adapt your life around this.
However, I will always feel the need to work as well as this gives me a great sense of personal achievement too. My business Twins UK allows me to be there for my children when they need me, will fulfil my aim to provide support for the multiples community and also give me the satisfaction of running my own successful business inspired by my wonderful children.
There is no doubt about it, having twins or more is very expensive. It’s important to set aside some money early on as you will have a lot to buy initially and, if you have no other children, there are no hand-me-downs.
Your family will usually be happy to help and you can get good second-hand equipment, clothing and toys from twins clubs, locals newspaper ads and friends. Make sure you ask for discounts when purchasing multiple items.
You may also need to consider moving house or buying a bigger car which is an added expense not normally associated with having one baby.
You also need to be aware that twins or more do not get any special additional financial help from the government. Although you get child benefit for two babies, this is paid at different rates for each child.
You will also need to check out your maternity allowances, paternity leave and tax credits. Childcare is an enormous cost for two babies and one of the key considerations when thinking of returning to work or staying at home. When I returned to work my girls went to Nursery five days a week which costs in excess of £1000 per month.
I now have a nanny which is even more expensive but gives me more time and the girls benefit from fun-filled days and one on one time with an experienced professional carer.
About the Author: Delyth Raffell is the founder of Twins UK, a website dedicated to families with twins, triplets or more from pregnancy to pre-school. She offers straight-forward advice, their exclusive TwinKits™, unique TwinGifts™ and an extensive range of products to make life with multiples a little easier.