Matthew and Jonathan

How to enjoy your twins and multiples

As I reflect on our experience, I won’t deny it was desperately hard at times. I have shed tears of exhaustion, tears of frustration and tears of helplessness but throughout it all I have had many, many “tears” of joy and laughter that kept me going through the more challenging times.

So what’s the secret of surviving the early years of twins with a positive experience?

For me, even after seven and a half years, I still get a kick out of seeing the boys together. Two individuals and yet the history of one is inextricably entwined with that of his brother. They are quite different in appearance, personality and interests and yet the similarities are too many to mention. Being the same age has its advantages. Although they’ve tried to claim that a three minute difference is significant, I can’t say I’ve noticed when it’s come to films we want to see, games we want to play and places we want to go! Through necessity the boys learnt independence and social skills early and teachers have often commented how good they are associating with other children, working well in groups and sharing (not necessarily seen at home!)

For the boys there is always someone to play with, fight with and be with. They are able to share new experiences like starting school, learning to ride a bike and trying to ice skate. In spite of the competitiveness, the bickering and the rivalry, there’s that indefinable connection that not even their big sister has with them.

Feeling overwhelmed? Then let’s be practical! How do you really enjoy those early years?

  • Remember that your family is unique – don’t compare yourself with anybody, especially those who have had singleton pregnancies
  • Keep your expectations low – in those early days, if you can get yourself dressed, the children fed and a ready meal into the microwave for you and your partner then give yourself a pat on the back
  • Housework is definitely over-rated. A story, a game, an activity or outing is a lot more fun than cleaning a loo that will look no different in a few hours!
  • Enjoy the small things – snuggling down with them for an afternoon nap is luxurious
  • Take lots of photos because when you look at them in years to come, you’ll realise that you remember very little of those early years
  • Meet other twin/multiple birth parents – they understand what you’re going through
  • If possible make child-free time for you and your partner
  • Never say no to offers of help
  • Share with a friend the struggles you’re having.

Multiples are special. They fascinate us. They are miraculous quirks of nature. Although there was no way I could anticipate what hard work multiples could be, not a day has gone by when I’ve wished that our boys were more than three minutes different in age!

Ruth from West Dulwich, mum to Laura, 13, Matthew and Jonathan, 7

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