What Happens Now? Preparing for Life as a Twin Parent

The Dad

What Happens Now? Preparing for Life as a Twin Parent

SHUT UP. 

Those were the words out of my beautiful wife’s mouth after the ultrasound technician informed us that there was a second baby. We were both stunned.

Seconds after telling us “there is your healthy baby,” she said: “…and there is your second healthy baby!” With Kayla being a twin and both of us having a history of twins in our families, we had the conversation multiple times about the possibility of twins… but still nothing prepares you for that moment!

I have to be completely honest–and my wife will back me up on this–I was hoping for twins. I never really thought through the reality of life with twins, but just always thought it would be “cool” and “fun” to have twins. And, while yes, they are definitely “cool” and “fun”, they are also expensive and exhausting and produce twice as many diapers, smells, screams, and medical bills.

We immediately began asking many of the questions you see below in our preparation for twins. Here’s how we managed some of the biggest obstacles:

How will we afford it?

You won’t. Ok, that’s an exaggeration. But only slightly.

Many of our nights toward the end of 2017 (the girls were due May 6, 2018) were spent trying to figure out the best way to make it work financially. Can one of us stay home full-time? Will we both keep our full-time jobs? Do we try and go part-time at work? If we are both working, do we find a daycare? A nanny?

After running the numbers, we decided the best decision was to both stay in our current positions and hire a nanny full-time (which often ends up being cheaper than a daycare with 2+ kids, depending on where you live). We really wanted to figure out a way for one of us to be less than full-time, but just couldn’t make it work.

My best advice to you is this: brainstorm all of the potential scenarios and look at your situation from every possible angle. Our solution didn’t become clear until months after we started having intentional conversations about it. In the end, you just make it work.

Will we ever sleep?

A silver lining of our girls spending nine weeks in the NICU is that we were able to delay the inevitable sleep loss and spend some time focusing on Kayla’s recovery. Hudson, our oldest, was a really good sleeper and we hoped that the girls would be the same.

One of the best things we did when they came home was utilize Owlet baby monitors to monitor their heart rate and oxygen levels. It sounds extreme, but the piece of mind that they provided, especially since the twins were eight weeks premature, made them totally worth it. With Hudson, we used the Angelcare audio and movement monitor, which also worked really well.

Ask any parent ever and they’ll tell you that the first few months are the worst when it comes to sleep deprivation. Twins are no different, but I’m happy to say, it’s not twice as bad as one baby. It definitely helps if you can get them on the same sleeping/eating schedule (this should be one of your primary goals). On a related note: Dads, do as much as you can to help with the feeding process. Obviously, there are some things we can’t (biologically) do, but find as many ways as you can to help (middle of the night diaper changes became my area of expertise).

Will THEY ever sleep?

Let’s be honest, the previous question really just hinges on this question: Will they ever sleep? And with twins, it’s “Will they ever sleep at the same time?”. We chose to have our twins sleep in the same room so that they could be together and it would also be easier to share clothes, diapers, etc. It does, however, make it a little more difficult for sleeping.

Obviously, a concern is that they will wake each other up. They certainly do, especially in those first few months. But, you’ll be surprised by how resilient of sleepers they will become. We prefer the trial and error strategy so most nights involve us just putting them in their cribs and seeing what happens. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t! But again, you figure it out.

How many diapers will we need?

You don’t want to know. Ok, I’m going to tell you, but you still don’t want to know.

In the beginning, we planned for about 10 each per day. It was pretty accurate.

10 diapers x 2 babies x 7 days = 140 diapers/week.

…I know. Right?

Now that they’re more than six months old, we use about twelve per day between the two of them.

As soon as you start planning for a new baby, I’d recommend stocking up on diapers. Buying a box every week or two before the babies got here relieved a lot of financial pressure once they were here. Amazon and Target both offer subscription services that make it easy to keep up and avoid that late-night run for diapers (yes, we’ve done it).

Will I need to buy a new car?

Ha. ha. ha. The twins forced us to become a minivan family. More embarrassing, I love our minivan.

When Hudson was born, Kayla and I were both driving Toyota Corollas. Wanting to get something a little bigger for safety reasons, we sold one of them and signed a three-year lease on a mid-sized SUV. We figured it would be perfect. At MOST, we would have two kids by the time the lease was up…

Well, after the realization that we didn’t own a vehicle that would hold our new family once the twins were born, we began the search for an SUV with a third row of seats, because in both of our minds a minivan was not an option. We are still fun. We are still “hip”. A minivan is like admitting you’ve officially given up on trying to be young. But, when we compared the prices between a used Tahoe or Expedition and a used metallic ice blue Toyota Sienna with sliding doors and butt warmers, we hung our heads in defeat and became minivan people.

Will we ever leave the house?

Yes! We consider it a big accomplishment–and relief– when all the kids are in their car seats in the van. It’s definitely not as easy, but we still enjoy getting out as a family whenever we can. Our biggest challenge is timing out our trips to maximize each kid’s happiness – all must be recently fed, changed, and in relatively good moods right before leaving the house. It sometimes feels like a “packing list” is necessary for even short trips to the grocery store. We’ve forgotten to pack bottles or an extra change of clothes before… and we’ll just say those drives home are less than ideal!

As far as leaving the house sans kids: Sorry, it won’t happen nearly as often. Which is why I think it’s so important to leave you with these two things that I am still working on myself:

  1. Make time for date nights out. It might only happen once a month or less, but make it happen. A night out to dinner with my wife is so precious and I realize how much we took it for granted before kids.
  2. Love your time at home. You’ll (be forced to) spend a lot more time at home than you may want to or may be used to. Embrace it. This season of life is difficult, but it’s also temporary. Don’t wish it away and make sure you take advantage of all the time you get as a family at home.
Your life will never be the same with twins, but it sure is a fun adventure!

What did I miss? What are you still wondering about? Let me know in the comments below!

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About the author
I am a professional dad of three. Let me clarify - I'm not a professional dad. I am a professional. And I'm a dad. I have a career that I love as a high school social studies teacher. And I am a dad of three to a two-year-old son and twin baby girls.

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