Tuesday, July 19, 2011

The plight of twins, mothering, stress, zits and good friends

Hi Friends! It's been a while! I'm sorry! Geesh! 
And even now... I'm going to share a post with you that I wrote weeks ago. Forgive me. It's an honest post about motherhood. Hope you still like me. 

(Two-year birthday party for the boys, with mouths full of cake!) 

The pressure has been mounting around here. We have that darn house we couldn't sell under contract. (YEAH!) But boy, oh boy is it stressful at times. Will it all go through okay? And...we've got to finish moving out of it, etc. AND... the house we are in now... we are also selling. It was just a project fixer-upper. And it's on the market. So, I show it to people. They call. They ask... "can we see it tonight"? "How about tomorrow"? I start to sweat. I twitch. I pick up one room... and go on to the next to turn around and see the one room I picked up DESTROYED by my twins. They are two years old! Who am I kidding? So... lets just say that there are zits on my nose. And I'm clenching my teeth... lots.

So... yesterday, a good friend asked me to meet her at a pool club she belongs to. I thought... how fun??? My boys haven't seen a lot of "fun" action lately.

Today, I woke up excited about meeting my friend at the pool. With two toddlers... outings aren't exactly stress-free... so they aren't exactly frequent. And all day I told the boys about it. I spent about, oh... THE WHOLE morning packing up and getting ready for the occasion. I loaded the boys into the truck. Drove extra slow hoping they'd fall asleep on the way. (which of coarse they didn't until I looped around for about 30 minutes there). All was going to be worth it. I woke them up after a 5 minute nap... loaded them into the stroller and hauled two full bags of toys, food, diapers, wipes, clothes, etc. into the pool area.

I was sweating heavily. Semi-frustrated. My low tank of fuel just ran out. But I was greeted by my sweet friend and the possibility of a good day for all.

In the kiddie pool, a mom approached me and asked, "Are they twins?"
"Oh, boy. I have twins," she said. I tuned in.
She continued, "My twins are now 8 years old. And now I have a 2 year old also."
"So, you know, don't you?"
"Yes. I sure do. Twins are tough. I can't imagine what triplets, or quadruplets or ..."
"I can't imagine."
"And it's different," she said,  "I can assure you. Raising two at the same exact time. And raising one. I know. I've done it."

At that time... one of the twins fell down, feet up, head down in the water. So our conversation ended abruptly. My sweet friend sat with me in the kiddie pool area, even though friends of hers were waiting for her in the "adult area". And we had a nice time chatting, and the kids I think had a good time in the pool. But between running around to catch them, changing them, feeding them and grabbing food out of their hands that they stole off someone else's pool chair... I left the pool club in a fury. I was one of those mom's who you see and think... "geesh.... she's clearly having a rough day, all in a panic to get out." I didn't even see or notice anyone looking at me. I didn't care. I just had to get out. I'm sure I looked ridiculous. My poor friend.

I put the kids in their car seats with less patience and I murmured a few poor choice words.

And I drove off with tears in my eyes.

And as I drove away... I thought... I want more for these boys. I'm sure every parent, whether they have one child, or twins or 9 children, has thought this. They try their very best... but when the day is done... they want something even more for these little ones that they love so much, that are taking everything in with their eyes and their hearts. I had the opportunity to love them... and instead... I felt like yelling at the top of my lungs, "you little shit!" (Sorry, but I'm going to be completely honest), and maybe at times I said something like it semi-under breath. Maybe at times I said, "No!" in exasperation. Maybe at times I could feel that I was one of those parents that I didn't want to be.

You know, sometimes I wonder if I was cut out to be a mom... and a mom of twins at that. I talk to some of my friends who now have two children... and they say that they are doing things a bit differently with their second. They have learned from their mistakes. And I think... "Darn-it. I never had that opportunity to learn with just one. I screwed them both up!" All my "first child" mistakes are for two, and I have a feeling I make a bunch of them. I'm learning all of this mother stuff with TWO children who need love at the SAME TIME. And I wonder what the implications for this are. And Darnit. I just think I have a lot to learn. It's not exactly like I had asked for twins. Or prepared myself. Nope. It was like BAAAAM. Here you go. (Gosh, I don't mean to sound so awful... it will come around... promise).

Another dear friend of mine once comforted me in a crying mess. After failing miserably with grace and patience, I asked her, "Would they be better off with their mom in Africa?" Even though she's sick with HIV and dirt poor...would they be better off?  

"Jenny, she would make the same mistakes, my friend. It's okay." She said it with pure certainty and love.

Gosh. I love my friends. I love my friend for saying that. And I love my friend at the pool for helping me and loving me, with no judgement when I am sure that I might have been a bit of an embarrassment.

I've been thinking quite a bit about what it means to be a mom, to be a parent. And it's the hardest darn thing I've ever done in my life. No holds barred. It sucks all of your "me-ness" right out of you. It makes you HAVE to grow more and more in loving the "other". Or else, you start shrinking. If you don't let go of that "me" life... it starts to take you over... and you end up, as C.S. Lewis describes in "The Great Divorce" a tiny poof of an existence, shriveling up to nothingness. I don't want to end up that way. But some days I am holding onto that "me" life with bloody knuckles.

You know...before kids... I thought I was a pretty descent, semi-selfless person. But boy, oh boy did I have a lot to learn. Am I the only "cotton-headed-ninny-muggins"??? I sure as heck felt pretty shriveling today.

And yet... 
we came home from the pool... and we sat on the couch. And I held them both to my heart.

And they smiled at me a smile that only their Mommy knows . You had to be there...


  1. your boys are so so lucky to have you as a mom. I love you and your honesty..your writing..your heart.
    I admire you.

  2. This is so sweet and your friend said some wise words - you're doing what most of us only dream of.

  3. "Maybe at times I could feel that I was one of those parents that I didn't want to be." I do not have twins - just two two-and-under, but I totally get the saying things under your breath (or not so under your breath), the exasperation at a "fun" outing, etc. Thank goodness for those couch-moment-smiles.
    Thank you for your transparency. You are not alone.

  4. You are my hero! These are some words I needed to hear, (our 1st baby is due in a few months). It's amazing how a heart can hold so much love:-) xoxo

  5. "Darn-it. I never had that opportunity to learn with just one. I screwed them both up!"

    Friend! I had never quite considered it like that! What a lot of pressure you put on yourself...YOU love them with a mother's heart and at the end of the day, mistakes and all, they are the luckiest little boys in the world to have you. I love you!!!

  6. Jenny I love you! Those boys are so blessed to have you as their mommy, I am sure of that!

    I love how your posts are just so honest! You see my friend... I think you should write a book, I would read! I mean, you could have a camera following you around like those reality tv shows and I would watch it! (and I am not a tv person and specially not a reality tv person!)

    I just feel like you are so humble and so grand because of that! I have so much to learn from you... so trust me, when it comes my time to be a mom, I will be surely calling you! You are a wonder woman!

    Hugs & kisses from Rio!

  7. Funny how the babe's change things huh?

  8. you got my email. so you already know how i feel (and i get to screw up 4 all at one time..i didnt even think of that! we're in the same boat! hahaha.) but seriously. love you. you were so much less crazy than you think... just an overwhelmed mom like we all can be at times... doing the best she can. you're a gem.

  9. You are a great mom and we all have rough moments. You are blessed and so are those handsome boys!!!

  10. Oh Jenny - this was such a wonderful post. Thank you for your honesty. I have no idea how you do it with twins...but with my two boys (almost 3 and 9.5 months) I so often feel SO overwhelmed, stressed, frustrated - definitely not the mother I'm striving to be. It can be so tough - but you are an amazing mom and those boys are so lucky to have you. Thanks for sharing!