Tuesday, 14 February 2012

Get In The Ring

When we found out we were having twins a friend of mine sent me a book about managing life with multiples.  It was a wonderful reference guide and helped us plan for the first few months as parents.  One thing in the guide that really stuck with me was a statistic about the divorce rate in parents of multiples being significantly higher than that of parents of singletons.  And I have to say it worried me - A LOT.  Before we started trying to conceive we both had a long conversation about what would happen if we found out we couldn't have children and at that point we had decided that we wouldn't adopt or do any fertility treatments and we'd be happy with our life together, if that was what was meant to be.   In retrospect this discussion was immediately after an emotional viewing of the movie Up where we both cried for what felt like 90% of the movie.*  Chris is my best friend and during pregnancy I worried about a laundry list of things: about us and our new family dynamic and how children would impact our relationship.  Would we love the babies more than each other, or not enough or would one or both of us regret the decision to have kids?

My husband and I have very distinct fighting styles.  For the most part we natter and bicker more than fight, but when we do actually go into battle we both have our go to weapons of choice:  I freak out, want to talk it out** and then I eventually get over it, while he gets sulky, doesn't want to talk or if he gets really angry he just agrees with everything I say, which turns up my rage dial to a solid 10.  In our 8 plus years together this has been how we fight, but this somehow changed when Molly & Jack arrived.

During pregnancy I learned how the babies reacted to my emotional state...when I got upset and emotional, they would freak out and it felt terrible.  That was when it hit us, we now have an audience with front row seats to everything we ever fight about.  So it's time to fight fair or at least clean up the language a little bit.  

The things that we fight about have altered slightly, but still have some of the same themes to them.  Only we have less time and energy to deal with them.  This is how it usually goes:

Round 1 - Battle of the Bleary-Eyed
It doesn't matter if one or both of us gets up in the middle of the night to a screaming child, we both had interrupted sleep.  I am well aware, and appreciative, that you work long hours at your paid job all day and come home to immediately tag in and that you regularly give me breaks to regain my sanity and you rarely complain....However, when you say, "At least you have the chance of possibly getting a nap during the day" I want to slam your face off of the high chair.  Sometimes it's hard to remember that this isn't a competition about who got less rest.  We are both tired and lack of sleep has always been one of our bicker triggers.  
The Ice Pack: Give each other a nap sometimes.  Even 20 minutes helps....an hour is even better.

Round 2 - You're Not Listening to Me
There is more noise going on here than ever before.  Most conversations happen among baby noises, dishwasher noises, laundry timers and so on.  So it's really easy to lose what is said in the daily grind. It's a constant battle between not being heard and being a nag.***  
The Ice Pack: Write stuff down...on the calendar, in an email to each other or on a list if it's important.  Acknowledge what the other person said so they know that you actually heard them. 

Round 3 - You Still Aren't Listening to me or Sometimes the Squeaky Wheel Just Wants to Make Some Noise
In the realm of traditional gender roles we generally defy them, except for this one...When Chris has a bad day at work he doesn't want to talk about it.  I don't work that way.  When I have a bad day with the babies, I want to complain.  This doesn't mean that I don't enjoy being at home with them, even though some days I really hate being at home with them, but it especially means that I don't want suggestions on how to fix my day.  I don't need a solution - I need an ear, a hug, a shoulder to cry on and a thank you.****
The Ice Pack: This is a new one for us that we just got a handle on this week....when I just want to complain I'm going to warn him that I'm venting up front.

Down for the Count
Six months in things may not be easy, but it gets better every day.  And we do fight...but I think we give in easier and hold grudges less....cause who has the energy for that?  At the end of the day we're on the same team - some days it's just hard to remember that.

*When I told my mother about how upset the movie had made Chris and I, she felt a need to confirm whether or not I was aware that it was a cartoon and that the characters aren't real people.  Yeah, I know, but it doesn't make me any less sad.
**I really mean scream it out.  
***Not so surprising, I am the nag 90% of the time and we both aren't heard about 50% of the time, especially when it comes to running out of cat food or milk.
****I finally curbed calling Chris at work crying at around month 4, I know it made him really uncomfortable, especially when he was in meetings.


  1. What book were you reading before the twins arrived? Most of the ones I've borrowed from people seem like regular baby books but qualify all the "new baby" tips with a times two.

  2. I was reading Mommy Rescue Guide - Twins, Triplets and More, Pamela Fierro....It was good and mentions things that we do that horrify a lot of singleton parents, like that Molly and Jack share bottles and soothers because they're putting everything in their mouths anyway and you don't need the additional worry of keeping their stuff separated. It also has some good info on double strollers...but honestly I learned a lot of tips and tricks we use from watching TLCs Make Room for Multiples....I looked at who I thought had good systems and we tried them out.

  3. Thanks! That show terrifies me, but mostly because it's not yet my reality and I can pretend it won't be as hectic as it looks!

    1. The best piece of advice (gift) you can ask for or give yourself is casseroles, soups, lasagnas, chili, cook extra and freeze it while you're still expecting. Our friends cooked us so much and it made life so much easier and healthier in the first few months. We arrived home to a freezer full of home cooked food...it was wonderful. Also - don't say no to help when it's offered.