In the USA, the number of multiple births continues to rise, due to improved medical techn0logy like in vitro fertilization. Living with twins or triplets is a very special challenge and a wonderful adventure.
Twins and Triplets- on TV and in Real Life
On television, we love to see different family models – like the Pearson family on the series “This Is Us.” Even though most of us don’t have the same type of family drama we see on the screen, who can’t relate to the family connections and craziness? Dirty laundry, homework and family celebrations – we all get it!
But unlike most American families, “This Is Us” invites us into a family of triplets, with three unique personalities. After just a few episodes, it becomes clear that parents of triplets or twins need extra support from friends and family.
Here are some of the challenges of families of twins and triplets, as well as ways friends and family can support those in the busy stages of life.
Child Care for Multiples– It Takes a Village
“To raise a child, it takes a whole village.” Many parents agree with this African saying, especially parents of multiples! Taking care of children can be a full-time job, but many parents of multiples have outside employment, possibly shift work or even two jobs – so they need all the help they can get!
Family members are ideal helpers, but they often live too far away, still work themselves or are not able to care for their children. Friends, a babysitter or a nanny are also a good option for childcare. While some tend to shy away from caring for twins or triplets, there are others who love the adventure and fun of these families.
These unique challenges parents of multiples face make it especially important for special support groups for parents of multiples.
Support Group for Parents of Twins and Other Multiples
In order to support each other, families have therefore joined forces with multiples. The organization “Multiples of America” – also known as the National Organization of Mothers of Twins Clubs – has branches throughout the country. In groups, the families support each other with tips and tricks. They also provide practical household help for many club members.
Many chapters offer an annual or biannual consignment sale, which is so important since you need twice the supplies – clothes, underwear, diaper mountains. You can score some great finds at a fraction of the cost, and have a much greater likelihood of getting matching items since parents of multiples are buying for two or three.
These clubs can also help you with the mental and physical strain of your bustling family. Seek out parents whose children are slightly older than yours and learn from their experiences. They will probably have some great practical advice.
Whether you have one child or many, Mothers of Preschoolers (MOPs) is another great organization for moms to have adult conversation and friendship while your children have free childcare. There are various chapter groups nationwide, and it’s a great place to get some much-needed parenting refreshment.
Tips on Organizing Daily Life with Twins
The exchange with experienced twin parents will help you to do justice to them and to organize everyday life. The older the children get, the more difficult it can be to keep up with their schedule.
Especially when you’re working full time, it’s difficult to coordinate your activities with your schedule’s other demands, so look into arranging a carpool. A good calendar system and clear communication can help you keep your family life and other obligations organized. Using tools like FamilyApp‘s calendar can help keep all those dates in order!
Many parents of multiples swear by routines, such as meal plans with a fixed weekly rhythm. They might have Noodle Monday, Soup Wednesday or Pizza Friday help you to save time when thinking, shopping and cooking. These families with more than one child learn how to harness their children early on for household chores. So the house is quickly tidied up again and there is time for the family.
Financial Support for Parents of Multiples
The extra costs of a child can seem daunting, especially for parents of multiples! Here are a few ways to help cover the costs.
For everyday necessities, shop consignment sales like the Parent’s of Multiples one. You can also seek out items from consignment or thrift stores. You’ll probably find some great things by asking friends with older children if they have extra supplies they’ve outgrown. Many churches or religious organizations might have things for free.
The Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) from the United States Department of Agriculture is also helpful. In 2014, over sixty percent of all U.S. infants were eligible for some type of WIC benefit. Check to see what extra benefits you might qualify for. In addition to extensive breastfeeding support, you can also get free infant food coupons from WIC if you cannot breastfeed for any reason.
In many countries, WIC is also the contact for the car seat program. This is where you can turn if you need car seats at a reduced price, or even free of charge. The Safe Kids Organization can also help you find a contact person near you.
Finding Balance While Parenting Multiples
Life with twins multiples can be challenging, but so rewarding! You get to see their unique personalities and the bond between them develop and flourish as they get older. In the midst of the chaos, make sure you take time to take care of yourself.
Lean on friends and family for extra support. If you’re in an area and don’t know anyone, churches or community organizations are a great way to connect with other people. They usually offer discounted or free childcare, so take advantage of that opportunity!
Even if you feel exhausted and overwhelmed at times, you’re doing such a valuable job. Keep up the good work!