I have been a wimp. I read about other twin moms and I know I have been a complete and utter wimp. You see after the twins were in hospital with jaundice at five days old and the paediatrician said I would not be failing if I got help, I took the help part a little too far. My MIL came to help out most days with the twins so that they could be fed together and never had to cry without being soothed. It was awesome. It meant that I felt my kids were getting all the love and attention possible and I was seldom stressed out by having two crying babies and only one pair of hands. There was almost always another pair of hands in the house.
I have from time to time managed a feed on my own, or handled them alone for an hour or two, but never any extended period of time. I have been so very fortunate to have both an au pair (my sister) and a domestic so there is always another pair of hands. My sister has never been left alone with the kids for more than an hour at a time, the domestic has never been left alone with the kids and I am very seldom alone with the kids because with an au pair and a Daddy who is so involved and hands on I have been able to always have help. And from one perspective it has been awesome. I love that at no stage have my kids felt abandoned, alone or ignored just because someone was already busy with one of them. But I have also come to realise how this has created problems of its own.
First off my kids expect attention the moment they ask for it. Already showing signs of requiring instant gratification or they lose it a little. Doesn’t make for the easiest going kids on the block. But much more importantly my confidence to handle my kids alone has dwindled. Some of this from the early days when I would suggest to my MIL that I would handle a feed or a day alone and she would say no she didn’t think I should. I know she was trying to be helpful, but it left me feeling that she doubted my ability to cope alone with them and so my confidence was dented. Then I just seldom tested my coping ability. One night (when they were about 3 weeks old) Chris was meant to be home by 4pm to help with the 5pm feed, but got badly held up in a meeting and the twins decided to demand their feed early at 4pm. I had two screaming babies , didn’t have bottles ready, because it was early and really wasn’t at all too sure what to do. I ended up propping them in their rockers and trying to feed them at the same time. When Chris came home he found two cried out exhausted babies with milk dribbled everywhere and a wife sat on the floor between them, almost hysterical in tears. I begged him to never leave me alone again, that I simply couldn’t cope alone. And I believed it. Instead of focusing on the fact that we had managed and were all fine, I couldn’t see beyond the crying babes and me stressed out.
When it comes to my babies I have surprised myself over and over. I am generally speaking one of the most capable, confident and strong women I know, but I am so obsessed with doing everything ‘right’ for my babes, that my confidence has taken a real dive. I am normally Mrs Independence, but since the latter part of my pregnancy I learnt to accept help from others and then stopped being so independent altogether. Mostly I think it has been a good learning experience, but once again I think it has been taken too far.
So the other day I had to work on a Saturday and Chris insisted he would be fine with both babies all by himself. I was so excited that he was going to go it alone as I was convinced that if he could cope it would help me believe I could cope too. And he did brilliantly. He said it was hectic and non-stop, but he coped fine, with only a brief period of trying to soothe both babies at the same time, but he coped fine and everyone was calm and happy when I got home. Well that sealed it. I can definitely do this.
So last night Chris had a work function and rather than my usual approach, asking my sister to help me out and stay late, I decided to go it alone. So at 5ish my sister headed off and I loaded up the twins for our usual evening walk as part of the pre-bedtime routine. We walked happily until just after 6.00 and when we got back I got everything together and handled last feed and bedtime by myself. Of course Sausage decided this would be the evening he would loose the plot. Actually poor boy was obviously having a rough wind day again and had a mini-screaming fit during his evening solids which eased after a good burp. But before I could even start feeding him his bottle he started crying inconsolably and it took ages to settle him enough to get him to take his bottle. Anyway I managed. By 7pm Pudding was asleep and by 7.20 both babies were fast asleep in their cots. I did it!
Yes it wasn’t easy, it wasn’t ideal, I would much rather have Chris home to be part of the family bedtime routine. But I managed and I managed fine, without getting stressed, without either baby being left to cry, without any real issues. I did it. I cannot explain how re-empowered I feel now. I feel so much better knowing that I DO know how to look after my babies all by myself. Just because it takes a village to raise a child doesn’t mean I need the village at my beck and call all the time. My confidence is restored.
In fact last night was our first night of not needing to get out of bed for either baby at all – all night. I did have to help Sausage with his winds a couple of times after he went to bed when he was crying, but by 8.30 he had had 3 more burps and was sound asleep and I never heard from either of them again until 6.00 this morning! No dummy run, no rolling him back over, nothing! Our first real sleep right through the night. Needless to say I am feeling on top of the world today. Confidence restored and a good night’s rest. Here’s to Mommy Power!