10 ORGANISATIONAL TWIN TIPS by TWINGENUITY
Let’s face it, being a twin mum is never going to be easy. Yes, your heart is full but I can tell you right now, sometimes it will feel like your hands are somewhat fuller. Whilst there are really no ‘secret’ parenting hacks that are the key to unlock the day in day out chaos you are about to endure, there are a few small things you can implement that will make your life just that little bit easier.
1. Pre-make baby bottles
(Formula fed babies)
When it comes to cleaning and making up bottles, you’re going to want to keep this boring but inevitably necessary task to a minimum. I’m telling you now, it’s boring as bat shit, and jusssst when you get on top of them there’s a fresh heap laying in your sink again. In fact, I should warn, your kitchen sink will never be clean and empty of plastic bottles, containers, lids, bowls, sippy cups etc ever again. Like ever. From now until your kids leave home your kitchen sink will feel like the joker constantly laughing at you reminding you there is still more work to be done.
(Sorry… I feel like I needed to get that out of my system. Rant over. Moving on…)
Save time and sanity by buying enough bottles to last a full day’s worth of feeds and make them up every evening after the babies have gone to bed. For us this is 14 bottles in total between the twins and Charlie. So, every evening before bed you will find us washing and pre-making ALL bottles in a quest to ensure everything is prepped and ready to go for tomorrow. Line them up in the fridge from left to right (or whatever system works for you) so you’ll always know where you’re at. This way all that is needed is a quick heat in the microwave and you’re done. If you’re one of those people who is against microwaves that’s totes cool, butttt just so you know you will be making your day to day life a million times harder waiting for you baby’s milk to heat up in a cup of boiling water, 15 times a day. Save yourself the anguish.
Also, if you decide last minute to leave the house you can quickly grab your bottles and you’re on your way. When leaving the house with three children feels like a bloody marathon (because it is), anything to make the process quicker and easier you will be grateful for. This is also a great one for when visitors drop in and ask “what can I do”.
2. Schedule Help
Organising help for yourself before your baby/babies arrive is a really great way to ensure the help is there when you need it, without you having to think. Having a rough schedule for any help that is available to you i.e. in-laws, grandparents, friends, sisters, brothers, babysitters, neighbours, your sister’s best friend’s brother’s aunty… you get the gist, IT’S ALL HANDS ON DECK (first the first 6 months anyway). Anyone that is willing to help must be utilised.
In our house, for example, we have set help scheduled into the week:
– On Sunday evenings Ben’s father and ‘not so wicked’ step mother collect Charlie for the night and deliver her back Monday afternoon WITH DINNER for us for that evening.
– Mum takes the twins (yes both) for a WHOLE NIGHT every Monday. Here lies the difference between relative mental stability and completely losing my shiiiiiiii*
– Thursday Charlie spends with my mum.
– Lena (our helper) we work into the day according to where or who needs it most.
It all comes down to planning. Use your pregnancy as a chance to get organised and recruit helpers! I recommend having a monthly calendar up next to the whiteboard with who’s doing what and when. So you always know when help is next coming.
NB: When it comes to offers of help always say YES! When someone asks if they can help you, say YES. Say YES before you even know how they can help. Say YES now and figure out the ‘how’ later. I hope my caps lock and repetition has gotten the message through. If you take nothing more out of this post… just remember YES YES YES YES YES always YES!
Speaking of help I’m going to get you in on a little secret. Many don’t know about this particular government scheme because its quite hush hush. The Special Child Care Benefit (SCCB) through centrelink can provide you with in home care… for free. Its called ‘Zest Care’. One criteria is having three under school age. In order to apply you will need to fill out the relevant forms with centrelink, but beware, due to the system being so stretched you will also need to provide a written statement from your GP that your children are at risk of harm or neglect, and do so ever 12 weeks. Now I can tell you right now that if you’re like me and have three under one, the chance of your children being ‘at risk’ (and I use this term loosely) is high. With twins and a toddler your functioning will be at an all time low. So apply. The worst case scenario is they reject your claim and you’re in no worse a position. For more information click here.
3. Precook & freeze meals
This is a big one. Welcome to your new existence of eating to live rather than living to eat. No longer will you have time to sit and enjoy your dinner or breakfast. Fast food will become your new best friend, and not the fast food you might think. Boiled eggs, muesli bars, bananas, bread, basically anything that is relatively instant with the least possible amount of prep time will make up your new diet. Whilst these foods are great and all, let’s face it, your body is going to need a little more than that, especially if you’re breastfeeding.
Prepping and freezing meals in advance will ensure you get at least one proper meal per day. I recommend (if you have the space) buying a second small freezer to allow you to go reallllly OTT with the whole idea. I do love a little OTT OCD!
I started freezing meals early on in my pregnancy with the twins. Each night when I was making dinner I just made extra. Simple as that. I bought cheap plastic containers from Coles and would place a dated portion or two in the freezer.
Also, if your in-laws are open to getting involved ask them to do the same. This way when you’re starving but don’t have the time or energy to prepare something for you, your other children or your partner – everything you need is there and ready to go.
4. Get a whiteboard
This one was a real life saver for us. I found in the first few months with the twins communication was really difficult. Whether it was between myself and Ben, my mum, grandparents or other help, communicating who fed last, how much and when they were next due was almost impossible. I was sleep deprived like you wouldn’t believe and running on empty most of the time. Ben would ask me when the boys were next due to feed and it would take me a good few minutes to conjure the brainpower to work it out. Because there are two, you will often also find yourself getting swamped in confusion when it comes to WHO is doing what, especially if (as in my case) they look the same.
The solution? WHITEBOARD. WHITEBOARD. WHITEBOARD.
The whiteboard ensured that Ben (or anyone for that matter) could take over at any moment and know exactly who needed what and when. Every morning I would write ‘JACK’ on one side and ‘WOLFE’ on the other and then scribe down their day using specially formulated code language, ie. F for feed and S for sleep. Always work in anticipation of what’s coming next!
Another wonderful element of the white board is its ability to host the beloved ‘to do list’. Write up a list of to do’s ie. prep bottles, finish washing etc. so visitors asking what you need can quickly pick a job and get to work.I repeat… all help must be utilised.
5. Bathing does NOT have to be part of the daily routine
There you go.. I said it! I know having an evening routine is ‘so’ important with babies, buttttt so’s your mental health. The whole bath thing I find unnecessary and just another massive obstacle in concluding our sometimes never-ending day! Now, I know some of you will be reading this right now thinking ‘how ridiculous and unhygienic’ and to you my response is this… you enjoy bathing your twins and toddler every evening whilst I sit on the lounge with my glass of wine.
When the boys were little(er) I bathed them once a week. Yes, you heard correctly. Mondays were bath night and it was non-negotiable. Obviously if there were poosplosions or other unforeseen circumstances then I would bath them where necessary, but for the most part it was Mondays. Now that they are older and onto solids I have included a second bathing night, Friday. So we have moved to two baths a week.
Until your babies can sit safely in the bathtub, bathing with twins is just a bit of a logistical nightmare. So, save yourself the time and stress. Until they reach this milestone keep it simple.
Stay tuned for Part II
– 10 ORGANISATIONAL TWIN TIPS by TWINGENUITY –
I hope this offers some insight. Please feel free to share & add your comments below!
For those breastfeeding/who plan to breastfeed – I will have an entire post dedicated to this next month!”