We’ve all heard the rumors.
Parents of multiples have a higher divorce rate.
In trying to actually research that to see if it’s a fact, I came across conflicting numbers. I didn’t really put any stock into the studies and numbers I did read. In the end, I really feel that each family is different.
Is having a baby stressful? Of course it is! Having two babies (or more) at once? So stressful. I feel like I have been on both sides. After we had our first child, my husband and I needed to make some small adjustments. Having a baby changes things.
Ten months after giving birth the first time, we were pregnant again. Then came the unbelievable news. We were pregnant with twins.
By the time my oldest was turning 18 months old, we were bringing home newborn twins. No matter how prepared you think you are for the chaos, or how strong your marriage seems to be… you are in for quite a ride. A ride that will be bumpy at times. Very bumpy.
Speaking from my own experience, I was overwhelmed from the moment I brought the twins home. My oldest was not taking no longer being the baby of the family well and who could blame him. He was still a baby himself. I was stressed. I was overtired. It felt like there was always someone crying, always a diaper that needed changing, someone was always hungry … and no one ever really slept. I loved all three of my babies more than anything, but I was depressed and going through the motions.
While every day may have been different, every day was still the same. It was a never ending circle.
Feeling like that and trying to take care of three babies takes its toll. You barely have time for yourself, never mind your marriage. I remember for the first time starting to realize that a marriage sometimes takes actual work. Once you start neglecting your marriage, it’s that much harder to get back on the same page and remember why you fell in love in the first place.
Here are my tips for keeping a marriage healthy after having multiples.
—First things first. Take time for yourself.
I know it sounds crazy. You have more than one baby in the house. There is no time for yourself. I understand. Sometimes time for myself was actually classified as putting the twins in separate doorway jumpers where they could see each other, putting my oldest in front of a show with some plain cheerios and showering with the door open so I could hear whatever I needed to. But at least for a few minutes, I was by myself. Just a few minutes alone can change your perspective on whatever kind of day you are having. And who doesn’t feel good after a shower.
I can not stress this enough. It is so important to talk to each other. Always. My husband and I made sure we took the time each night to talk about our day, even if it was after we were in bed and shutting off the lights to try and get some sleep.
—Help each other out.
I can’t express enough the power of teamwork. No matter what we did, we tried to be a team. When it came to the twins getting up at night? We did it together. When one baby woke up, needed to be fed or changed, we did it for both babies. At the same time. While scheduling each part of your day seems tiresome, we found it easier than not having a schedule. On weekends my husband would ‘sleep in’ on Saturdays and Sundays would be my day. Sure ‘sleeping in’ may have only meant till like 8:30am but it sure beat the usual 5am wakeup time with the kids.
—If someone offers you help? Take it!
And run! No, I’m just kidding. In the beginning you may find yourself trying to take it all on. Someone offers help and if you are like me, you are too quick to say no. No matter how desprately you might want that help, you also want to look like you have it all under control. That doesn’t help anyone. Take the help, whatever it may be. There is nothing to feel guily about. Accepting help makes you a better parent.
—Make date night.
Ideally date night means getting OUT of the house. Once a month get someone to watch the kids, even if it’s only for two hours so you can have a kid free dinner. No friends or family close by? You may want to look into paying someone to watch the kids – for your own sanity. If you absolutely can’t get out, plan a night in for you and your spouse. Make a nice dinner after the kids are in bed. Light some candles. Even if you are only sitting on the couch you are still spending time together.
We do this every year and I swear it helps so much! One glorious weekend each year around our wedding anniversary, we leave the kids with our parents and head off by ourselves. We keep fairly close to home just in case we need to come back quick. Living in Rhode Island we usually end up in the Boston area. You don’t even need to spend much money. It’s a wonderful break and a chance to remember who you are as a couple, not just as parents.
—Never underestimate the power of a dance party.
I am totally serious. We started this when the boys were too small to even dance on their own. We would take turns and spin everyone around to the music. Back then we called it ‘Baby Dance Party’. As they got a little bigger it became so much fun. They actually ask for it on occasion now. Sometimes we even add glow sticks and dim the lights. It turns even the most stressful days into a good day.
My oldest has now just turned six and the twins will turn five this summer. I promise you it gets easier the older they get. Looking back I spent the first few years wondering when things would ever get better – and not be so hard. Now that the boys are all getting that much more independent, I see that it really does all work out. There will always be ups and downs, but if you and your spouse keep the lines of communication open – and remember to take time for each other – you will get through it in one piece.