Stress On A Marriage With Twin Toddlers. Ways To Survive It!
Stress On A Marriage With Twin Toddlers. Ways To Survive It!
My twin tots are 18 months and 3.75 weeks old.
I have talked about marriage post twins before, but during the early phases. Now that we have sunken our teeth into toddlerhood, I realize that there are a few things that have changed the balance of our well-adjusted home, and brought with it new stresses that are related to specifically twin toddlers. How does this affect marriage?
Well, you may at some point during todderlhood with twins, find yourself losing sleep again. Maybe you never fully got it back. But it seems in toddlerhood a lot of changes may happen, and schedules can get all topsy turvy again without a moment’s notice. This can be very taxing on a couple.
Sleep at night may be disturbed for any number of known or unknown reasons. Babies require a bit less sleep at night by this time, and give up a second nap during the day. Some you may find took a 2 or 3 hour nap and suddenly turned it into 20 minutes, which is quite frustrating when you relied on that time to get something accomplished. Some give up naps all together like my 6 year old did well before a year old. Yeah, I still can’t believe that one.
The stress of sleep disturbances, boisterous babes, that need a close eye and a lot of attention, paired up with the chaos of back to school if you have other children.. can really create havoc. Any havoc in the home can definitely and adversely affect a marriage. In the beginning our adrenaline saw us through. Now we need to really lean on our support system again..Our spouses. Working as a team is ALWAYS most important. That rule of thumb hasn’t changed, but you may need a bit more patience then ever before.
There will be tender moments!
Newborn twins are helpless, innocent, primarily motionless, and sleep a lot more. Twin toddlers know how to push their boundaries, at times push your buttons, and are harder to contain and to occupy. Until they make friends completely with one another, you may find yourself exhausted entertaining two tots all day long, and at times keeping them from killing one another. (Quick note: Just like singletons…twin pairs are ALL different. Mine just happen to be crazy and not love sleep is all. You may get lucky. I have seen it.)
With exhaustion always comes stress. It’s easy to take your stress for you both to take this stress out on one another. Toddlerhood won’t last forever, and soon enough you’ll be looking back in forgetfulness and saying, ‘It wasn’t so bad’, so just cling on to that, ok? Doesn’t it feel like you just gave birth tot hem a few months ago? That’s my case in point. Nothing lasts forever! Don’t turn against each other. Not now!
#1) Patience is a virtue…acquire some (MORE)!
I’m sure if you made it to toddlerhood with a duo you do have some patience already. When patience becomes exhausted.. people can snap. Don’t allow yourself to get that way. You can recharge your patience meter and get back some sanity by getting out of the house. Not for a trip to the grocery store, but perhaps a trip to a play place where your twins can get out their energy. They just may sleep better at night to, and everybody will be happy.
On a nice day take them for a walk in their stroller or wagon. The sunshine and exercise refuels you and is naturally good for your overall well being and state of mind. Have your partner come along for a walk if he’s at home. Enjoy some quality time together as a family. Build positive memories for the future to look back on.
#2) Work on schedules..AGAIN if need be.
If your twins’ schedules have been completely thrown off, work as a team to help get the babies back on the right track. Feed them consistently at the same time each morning, afternoon, and night, follow the same morning routine every day, and put them down for a nap at the same time each day. If you don’t help them get on track they’ll be all over the place which is no fun for mom and dad. You may be lucky and not need any of this advice. If so, you are damn lucky indeed. Now may be a good time for some of us to pull out that Happiest Baby On The Block DVD again 😛 .
#3) Communication. Tell don’t yell!
And I’m not talking about the ‘You bastard, just go away or at least help out’, that admittedly sometimes gets muttered between partners who are over worked and under rested. There was honestly no real tension between my husband and I during the early months. Everything ran smoothly. The seemingly constant attention the twins require now, and the changes in sleep schedules have taken away some of the tranquility that used to be here, but all is not lost.
Stop the cursing, think before you speak, and when you are feeling overwhelmed or angry like your partner isn’t doing enough or you just need some help or emotional support, don’t harbor anger that will come out in negative ways he will not understand and he’ll simply get offended by. Tell your partner your feelings ALWAYS! Don’t yell them, sit down and talk..no screaming.
If he’s making you feel a certain way.. let him know it. If you are feeling something he is clueless about…admit it and explain it to him. Once the communication goes the teamwork ends and havoc is created along with bitter feelings that can in all honestly lead to divorce. Couple of twins really have to band together and work hard to keep their marriages alive and remaining open and honest. It’s extremely important.
#4) Ask for help.
There are days I wish we could afford a nanny so badly. Not a 24-7 one to raise my kids for me, but someone to occupy the twins so I can take a shower, or go to the bathroom without a baby on my lap. Someone that could prepare elaborate, healthy dinners, clean up the house, because quite frankly its harder then ever to do that stuff now. I see nothing wrong with that kind of help if you are able. Even someone to help tidy up once a week can relieve some stress at home. If you can do it, don’t feel bad you can’t do it all, take the help. I would!
If you have moms and dads or sisters and brothers willing to take the twins to the park or out for the day..take advantage. Sadly, I don’t have any of that, but judging by the amount of grandmothers and grandfathers I see at the park with their grandkids, more people seem to have that kind of support then not. It’s alright to admit you need a break and lean on someone.
#5) GET OUT!
You are still a couple, and as such you need to keep your marriage afloat and strong. You cant push the relationship, even temporarily aside, and only focus on the kids. This is easy to not even think about, just let it subconsciously happen. There must be balance or the marriage will suffer.
Let a good friend, family member, or trusted sitter watch your twins while you and your spouse reconnect with a night on the town. Even a few hours of peace, quiet, and talking can help you remember, ‘Oh yeah, this is what it was like. This is how it should be again. Let’s laugh a little and enjoy the things that made us fall in love to begin with.’ My philosophy is to get this together time as much as is humanly possible. It’s so important to reconnect as husband and wife and not just mom and dad.
#6) The ‘S’ word..SEX!
Sex is still an important part of a marriage whether one child or twenty. Believe that? You should. I must say my own libido has gone way down personally, but I do all I can to keep an at least 1x a week schedule of love making on my agenda. My husband is a night worker so with his opposite schedule as mine there isn’t as much one on one time at night or in the mornings.
We don’t get to cuddle and watch tv when the kids are sleeping at night, which is a good place for sex to start. He’s laying down before I am, so unless it’s a quick early morning thing, and I mean quick, days off are usually the only time to slip it in so to speak. The sex I mean, but take it any way you want to..it’s all the same thing. As Michael Jordan says..’JUST DO IT!’
I don’t always feel like I’m looking glamorous, or feeling peppy enough for a good lovemaking session, but it’s more important then you know. Keeping intimacy alive is essential. It helps you feel close to your partner and helps relieve stress. Squeeze the time in when you can no matter how you feel at the time. It’s good for you. And do know as the twins get older, the time and energy for sex will increase, as will your time with each other as a couple in general.
Right now you may feel like it’s all about the kids and never stops for a second, and that is rightfully so as they are going, going, and going at this age. If you have had singletons before you know each and every phase passes, sleep patterns become set in stone eventually, children go to school and start having play dates. It won’t be toddler madness forever.
As much as I think the toddler times with twins are crazy and most often exhausting, I do find them to be extremely fun. I completely enjoy watching my girls do so much more now, understand seemingly everything, and make me feel love and needed beyond words. Every bit of twinsanity is worth it and then some. Just remember to not forget about the couple inside of the marriage with twins, and remember that things change and ‘this to shall pass.’ You will ALL survive it.
Enjoy the ride!