I was lucky to celebrate Mother’s Day with my children and my own mother. Such a blessing in so many ways. I’m grateful she was here visiting and also grateful she’s here, considering the year she has had and the battle she has fought. I am so grateful for her presence in my life.
I wanted to write a few thoughts about this first year of motherhood. It has been so, so good. A lot of people, especially parents of multiples, have said to me “It gets better, don’t worry! The first year is the hardest!” And I just have to smile and play along because seriously, this first year has been really, really great and not that hard at all. I don’t want to minimize the struggles that anyone else goes through with their babies. I know it can be really hard. Maybe part of it is our perspective, having waited several years to start our family maybe we see things through rose-colored glasses. But I think we have just been blessed with such relatively easy babies.
I also have to make a plug for BabyWise because seriously, being diligent about healthy sleep habits and structured feeding schedules from the start has made everything a breeze. The babies slept through the night from 4.5 months on and they are great nappers as well. I think not being exhausted and sleep-deprived makes everything easier. And keeping them on a schedule has enabled me to take care of both of them without it feeling like twice the work. (At least I don’t think it does. I’ve never had just one kid at a time, haha.) I am a huge believer in structure and a schedule. My kids have thrived on it and it has made things so much easier on me.
It’s been really amazing to watch these little people grow and to see their individual personalities right from the start. I love how unique they each are and it’s been so fun to notice their differences side by side. It’s still a little surreal to me that I have twins. I have been surprised by how individual my relationship is with each of them and how I think of them as individuals, not a set. I don’t think of them as “twins” most of the time, just as “my kids” or as siblings.
I can’t count the number of times I’ve been proven wrong on something I thought I knew about being a parent. You just can’t understand it until you’ve been there. An example: I thought it would be so easy for me to let my kids cry it out during sleep training. Logically I knew that letting them cry it out worked and gave them better sleep in the long run, so I should be able to throw on a pair of headphones and ignore their crying for a few nights when the time came. The reality of it was that I could not not listen to them crying, and I sat outside their door listening to every sound and feeling so anxious about doing this to my sweet babies. I knew it was the right thing and yet it felt terrible and I questioned myself the entire time. For the record, it was the right decision, within three nights they were getting better sleep than ever and sleeping 12 hours straight, so it was definitely the best thing for everyone. But never again will I judge people for being so emotional over hearing their babies cry. It is HARD. And there are so many things like that, things I had opinions about or thought I “knew” before having kids that I have learned I didn’t know anything about, or my opinions have totally changed. Breastfeeding is another one, I thought it was “normal” to stop at one year, but now that I’m here it seems silly to stop now just because that’s the “norm”, and I could easily see us going to at least 18 months. I thought I wouldn’t want to continue nursing, but I have loved it. I just didn’t know what I didn’t know.
I hope I am appreciating this experience enough. I hope I am soaking it up. I feel like I am. But at the same time it is going by so fast, and I often feel like I can’t keep up. I wish I had documented things in a more beautiful way, but I do think I’ve at least done something to capture each phase, even if it wasn’t in professional quality photos or carefully edited prose.
I also hope I’m not messing it up. They’re starting to throw little tantrums and I know they also soak up every word I say and every tone of my voice or facial expression I use. I hope I am being patient enough. There are definitely times when they are whining or crying or screaming or scratching my face or biting while nursing (or doing all of those at once) that I lose my patience and become less than the ideal mother I want to be. I hope the times I am kind and patient outweigh the times I am not. Being a parent really exposes who you truly are, deep down inside. Sometimes I see too much impatience or pessimism or anxiety in myself as I plan and carry out each day with them. I am working on embracing the things that are out of my control, and just rolling with it and being more easygoing.
I also have been surprised by how ever-changing the kids are. I look at them and I think about them in the context of how they were last week and how they might change next week. I am very aware of the fact that they are constantly changing and growing. The little quirks they have or funny things they do, some of them only last for a week and then they stop doing that thing and start doing something else. It’s a joy to watch all of it unfold, and at the same time I have this feeling like there’s sand slipping through my fingers and blowing away on the wind. I’m trying to be present in the moment, to see them as they are right now, to appreciate what they’re doing while also holding onto where they’ve been and looking forward to who they’re becoming. It’s a crazy ride and it’s amazing to watch it all unfold.
So, overall, I love being a mother and I am so grateful for the opportunity to do so. I can honestly say that I don’t take it for granted, I appreciate it every single day. I am so lucky to get to mother these kids. It is a sacred calling and I hope I am doing a good job!