I feel like every time I sit down to post I have a ton of little details about Ben and Nora that I want to remember, and a limited amount of time to write – they might wake up from their nap at any minute! (I never seem to sit down to write until they are nearing the end of their nap.) I should probably just blog after they go to bed at 7 pm, but at that point we cook and eat dinner and then it’s 8:30 and all I feel like doing is collapsing on the couch and zoning out on my phone. Being a mom is kind of exhausting! I will look back at this later and laugh because the babies are SO easy right now. They are immobile and they take two 1.5-2 hour naps and a third 35-45 minute nap. I understand that it is only going to get more exhausting from here out. But either way, by the end of the day I just don’t feel like thinking, you moms know what I mean?
I have also entered the world of mom Facebook groups, and it is a strange world indeed. Instead of consulting their pediatrician for every little question, moms get on and poll the group of 3000-5000 moms in whatever Facebook group they subscribe to. There are attachment parenting groups, breastfeeding groups, formula feeding groups, BabyWise groups, twin parenting groups, the list goes on and on. Any parenting philosophy you have, you can find a group of thousands of other moms on the same bandwagon who understand you. I personally am subscribed to a BabyWise group and a Mormon Moms of Multiples group. In some ways it’s really really great. I have asked questions and gotten great answers from the group. And it is really nice to have a group of like-minded moms who know what I’m talking about in regards to BabyWise or having twins. But then sometimes it turns into this crazy black hole that sucks me in and I can get lost scrolling these message boards reading everyone’s sleep schedules, wasting time and making me overly paranoid. Also, women get on there to complain about their husbands or mother-in-laws or bishops, and that gets a little weird. Anyway, I mention this here because I find myself checking the mom groups in my free time in the evening even if I don’t have a specific question in mind. It is a huge waste of time for the most part, but I do learn from others experiences. I also am able to recognize how grateful I am for my own situation and my babies and the experience I am having as a mother. Some women have a hard time and some don’t find fulfillment in it and some have very real, hard challenges, and I am just really grateful to be having such a happy experience with motherhood. I never want to take it for granted.
One of the biggest things I have learned is that as mothers, often our own instincts are correct because each chid is different and we know our children better than anyone else. Six months into this motherhood gig and I am just now settling in to feeling more comfortable and confident in my decisions as a parent. I’m relaxing a little bit about rigid schedules or what my babies “should” be doing according to the book, and going with their flow a little bit more. I’m still a big believer that routine and consistency is good for babies, but I’m understanding how to find a balance between keeping track of a schedule and going with the babies needs. It’s okay if they don’t wake up at exactly the same time each day (though most of the time, they’re pretty close), it’s fine if one day their first nap runs a little short, we will make up that time later on in the day. I used to feel that if their schedule got thrown off early in the day it would be a disaster trying to make it to bedtime. Now I have realized that it really does always work out. It really does! Some days they might need to go to bed 30 minutes earlier and that is FINE. They will be FINE. I will be FINE. I spent a lot of time in the early months so caught up in the details and the “rules” from my sleep books that it was hard to see the forest through the trees (this is one of the dangers of the BabyWise Facebook group, you have all these moms who are a little too reliant on the “rules” and rigid scheduling that it makes you start to think that way too).
Recently I’ve made the realization that my babies are PEOPLE. They have emotions and opinions and good days and bad days and some nights they cry and some nights they have a hard time sleeping and some nights they sleep 12 hours straight… and if they wake up crying it’s not necessarily because I did something wrong, like put them down 15 minutes too late or too early (this is a common solution to sleep problems suggested by the BW Facebook moms. If you keep your child up even ten minutes too late, their whole nap will be ruined. Talk about pressure to do everything perfectly)! I used to hear my baby cry and instantly have anxiety. Why is she crying? She’s not supposed to wake up for another hour! What did I do wrong? What do I do now? Now I realize she might have just woken up. It happens. If I just listen to her and wait a few minutes she usually doesn’t actually cry, and she settles back down. Anyway. I’m feeling more confident and less stressed and it is a very good thing. The other thing I realize now is that they really are constantly changing, and that I need to change with them and just let it happen and not stress about it. Deep down, I can sense when they are ready to drop a nap or transition to one less feeding or add solid foods. I know these kids! They are my kids! I can make decisions that are right for them, not just based on what a book told me.
That being said, I do not regret reading the books and I credit the knowledge I gained and the schedule and routines I implemented for my babies being such great sleepers now. The more I read on message boards, the more I realize that it is pretty dang awesome to have twins sleeping 11.5 to 12 hours at night and taking such great naps starting at just 4.5 months old. My only regret is that they are terrible at napping on the go, if we are out and about they have a very hard time sleeping… But I will take the two 2 hour naps and the predictability any day!
I have recently gotten back into exercising daily and it has given me so much more energy to keep up with the kids. I joined this five day accountability group – for just five days we committed to exercise and eat totally clean. It was exactly the kickstart I needed to get back into a healthy mindset. I had been using breastfeeding as an excuse to eat ice cream and cookies multiple times a day, which it turns out doesn’t actually work. For me, the first few months of motherhood were wayyyyy harder on my body than pregnancy! The pregnancy and giving birth changed my body for sure, but it was the months of sitting around the apartment feeding babies, the months of lack of sleep, and the months of eating all day long that really took a toll and turned me into a marshmallow. Hahaha. So just a couple weeks into my daily workouts and better eating and I can already tell exercise is getting easier and I have more energy to get up and down and keep up with those cute babies. It’s good!