[Shared by Five's a fellowship]
1. Be prepared to get very little sleep. If my two are anything to go by, you will be up and down like a demented yoyo throughout the night. Of course all babies are different, but just knowing that you probably won’t get your full eight hours, will help. (The Beef used to take a flask of coffee to bed with him!)
2. Don’t be afraid to ask for help! It’s not unmanly to do so! Let’s face it, even with two of you around, you’re going to need it. See every visit from a family member/friend as an opportunity for them to lend a hand. They want to coo over the ickle tiny cute twins, they can change a nappy or two as well. Maybe ask them to bring much needed supplies on their way. It doesn’t hurt to ask!
3. Trust your gut instincts. The chances are that you will be right and if you’re not, well you’ll have a better idea of what to expect next time. People will be very keen to give you advice. Some of it will be worth following but if they don’t have twins, they probably won’t have a clue. You know your babies better than anyone else, have faith in what you’re doing, even if you’re not entirely sure what that is!
4. Be patient. I can’t stress this enough. Your sanity will be tested to the limits and sometimes, you will get to breaking point. When they’re both screaming at the same time for any amount of reasons and your resolve is starting to shatter, make sure they’re safe, go to another room, take five minutes to gather your wits and then go back in.
5. Step away from the games console! This also applies to the newly upgraded desktop PC, that you’ve taken over half of the bedroom with. If you’re a gameaholic, start weaning yourself away from your shiny virtual world, before the twins arrive. You simply won’t have the time to indulge that hobby for a while. We’re gamers in this house and a year on, we’re only just starting to gain a few gaming hours in the evenings. This can go for any hobby that is time consuming though. It’s a small sacrifice in the long run.
6. Stock up in advance. Nappies, formula (if you use it), teething pain medicine, wet-wipes - stock them up high! You’ll go through so many that it will be impossible to never have enough. It will also prevent your other half from sending you out to the supermarket, in the middle of the night, because you’ve ran out of something vital.
7. Choose wisely when buying baby things. It’s easy to go mad buying baby stuff and end up spending a fortune, but there are some things you won’t be able to do without and other things, that will sit in the corner of the room and never be used. Bouncy chairs in my opinion, are a must-have, as is a large, twin-size play mat to keep them amused on. Things like changing tables, nappy bins and those contraptions that you sit your child in the middle of, and they bounce like mad, while bashing the hell out of the toys around the outside – aren’t really necessary They cost a fortune (especially if you buy two), your twins will outgrow them pretty fast and then they’ll sit taking up room in the garage or loft. If it’s a gift/freebie/second-hand then great, snap it up, but as long as you interact with them, get them on their tummies and give them little things to play with – they’ll do just fine.
8. Share the load equally with your partner. It’s really easy to get into the trap, of resenting each other for what you have and haven’t done. You’ll recognise it when it happens. Oh she’s had more sleep than I have, or you changed less nappies than I did. I’ve done this, you haven’t done that. It will happen. Just remember that you’re both tired, exhausted and are doing your best. If you try and share your parental and domestic responsibilities as equally as you can, it makes for a better atmosphere all round. It won’t be an exact science but will make a whole lot of difference and you will both be thankful for it, unless you want to turn into a pair of bickering teenagers.
9. Keep a check on your mental health. It’s a sad fact, but the stress and strain of raising any child, let alone twins can have a big impact on your mental health. I suffered Post Natal Depression after my twins and The Beef has just been diagnosed with severe stress. Do some research about mental health if you want, but be compassionate to yourself and your partner and learn to know what to look out for. There is nothing to be ashamed of, by recognising that something might be wrong – in-fact it is the hardest and most admirable part. From then on, there is a wealth of help available to get you back on the right daddy track.
10. Learn to laugh. I don’t know about you, but The Beef is a man of very few words. He doesn’t like to show much emotion, and struggles to know the right thing to say. What I do know, is that he is doing his best and can laugh off most things. Being a dad isn’t easy. There’s a whole heap of pressure on you, whether you’re the bread winner of the family or the stay-at-home-dad. You’re expected to perform, be strong, protect and provide and at times, it can be an impossible task. My advice is, to learn to laugh because it does get easier. Laugh at the hard times, find some amusement in each challenging situation and just laugh it off. Laughter has an amazing power to lift the mood of yourself and those around you – so utilise it!