Monday, June 13, 2011

Twin fog

I've been chatting with a twin mom friend who's a little bit frustrated at not having any time for herself.

I call it twin fog. The opposite of twin romance, if you will.

The feeling that even though they're sleeping and you're no longer sleep deprived (or maybe you are, in which case I take my hat off to you), you still have no energy or passion to do the things you love to do.

Or used to love to do, pre-babies.

Like you're in a fog.

Once they're down for the night, it's cooking, cleaning, eating, prep for the next day, and then bed.

I was thinking about my friend this morning and I remembered something Rebecca said.

She said ages ago (around the time her twins turned two) that she's sort of coming into herself and feeling like she can do things for herself again.

You know, recapture some of the pre-mom stuff.

Two years later.

And then I read Mandy's post this morning, which is outstanding, by the way. Go read. Mandy and I always email a couple of times back and forth behind the scenes and she said some great things.

One of which I hope she won't mind me repeating.

That for a long time she thought of time during the day as "baby time" and "off time". When the babies napped, it was "off time" otherwise it was all "baby time".

And that she eventually realised she had to just realise this is her new life.

Something clicked when I read that because I feel that way too.

In fact, I said to D a few weeks ago that I'm finally fully realising "this is our life". All of it - the craziness, the no time to have a hot cup of tea (this is my ultimate pleasure these days - I know it's a bit sad, but hey, it's winter), the difficulty of running errands, the wonder of having actual conversations with them while out, it's all the "new normal", to coin a Dr Phil phrase.

So, I think we have to all go through a mourning of sorts for our old lives. Especially those of us who like control.

My life where I could sleep til 10 every Sat and Sun, get up and leisurely have breakfast and tea, read for hours and hours every day, and on and on.

But as Mandy also said in her email to me, it's just for a season. And it does get easier all the time.

To answer the Multiples and More question of the week, which is what are some of your favorite parenting myths?

My favourite parenting myth is that I'm the only one going through something....

  • babies who don't sleep
  • thin babies
  • babies who walked late
  • discipline issues
  • not loving the newborn stage
  • really anything other than what normal, happy, perfect babies are supposed to experience :)
So did you have the twin fog, or just the fog? When did you start feeling like you accepted the new normal?

And what is your favourite parenting myth?


  1. Anonymous8:24 pm

    I need to tell about my 'twin thing' (that's what I call it)...or maybe I should blog about it :-)

  2. Anonymous8:25 pm

    Okay that comment is from me, Hayley...keeps doing that...wierd!

  3. In so many ways, I still feel like we treat our lives as "kid time" vs. "off time" as well. We have an obsession with only doing household or personal things when the kids are sleeping. When the twins were young, this was a necessity but now it's more of a hold over habit. It's hard to get everything done in those few hours when you are awake and the children are asleep. I know I can do more throughout the day than I used to, it's just hard to change my ways after two years of doing it that way!

  4. I definitely went through a "fog" period of feeling like my life had become unrecognizable (which of course, it had in many ways). There is also an adjustment period of letting go of the ideals and expectations you might have had for your family life that just aren't feasible at first.

    In the last six months, I have really come around to the idea of carving out a little time for myself and getting back to the things I enjoy. I have also tried to adjust my goals for what I want our "family life" to look like and am trying to shape us in that direction. Does that make any sense at all? : )

  5. I definitely sort of think that nap/sleeptime is "me" time. Kindof. I'm a teacher and I'm off for 9 weeks starting next week, and one of my huge goals is to get out there in the world and do all sorts of things WITH the babies in tow. Good for them, good for me. But now, I tend to go to bed around 9PM every night just to feel rested. We get up at 6AM. I can tell you that on the weekends, the US Farm Report is on at 6AM every Sunday. Yawn. I SO miss sleeping in and staying up late!

    Two years eh?

    LOVE your myth list. Mine have done just about everything kind of late developmentally, and it worries me to no end. They turn a year on Friday and Addison is just now pulling up on things, and Lauren really isn't interested. And yes, the newborn stage was exhausting and SO HARD for me. I am loving this current stage, where they DO stuff!

  6. I'm glad to realize that I'm not the only one who it's taken +2 YEARS to begin to feel at home in the "new normal". It has definitely been...and probably will always be...a journey. But, to serve up a far-overused (but very true) adage, "Life's a journey, not a destination."

    Too, I was feeling a bit down recently, as I *really* miss travelling. A FB friend of mine from high school took a trip to New Orleans, on of our very favorite cities, a couple of months ago with her five-year old daughter. I asked her how it went, and she said her little girl had a blast. I found myself thinking...we have THREE MORE YEARS before our girls will be five and could enjoy such a trip to the same degree. And then I stopped short, thinking - in the scheme of the world - how quickly three years will ZIP by. I should really try to enjoy our trips to the ice cream parlor now, as our girlies will be grown before we know it.

    (And of course I don't mind you quoting me, Marcia...and thank you for the very kind words! :) )

  7. Biggest twin myth for me was that our children would actually get on... so much of the time it seems like my twins hate each other! Adjusting to this reality has been super-hard for me, and I still find it really frustrating when other people assume that they never fight.... they ALWAYS fight! ALWAYS! Except when they are asleep, which yeah, I still think of as 'me-time'. Hoping the boundaries of what's me time and what's family time will blur a bit as they get older.

    (and ps, YES, I definitely did really cry! Oh yes indeed. It was so embarrassing).

  8. About 4 weeks into having the triplets at home, I was battling with this "new normal" and just said that I cant fight it, this is it. This is what I wanted. Once I accepted this my life became so much easier. Feeding every 3 hours, instead of driving me mad made me happy. Its a concious decision you have to make and then things get so much easier! I understand exactly what you are saying.

  9. Ai, you know, sometimes you really hit the nail right on! So true. But yes, I have accepted but I still sling to having a bit of something for ourselves as I am the opinion that you can not let the old you "die" - maybe just put it on life support for a while.

  10. omg. i *just* got the comment you left on my blog last week. it was marked as spam for some reason! i don't remember a lot of the beginning and i guess that counts as twin fog. i think i remember significant improvements at 3 mos, 6 mmos, 9 mos, 12 mos, and 18 mos. now it just seems SO much easier than it was last year at this time. B and i know that this is our new normal. but our kids go to bed early, so we still have time together every night. it is pretty awesome actually :)

  11. Oh, this is so true. And I'm still there, the twin fog. The lack of motivation, and coming to grips with this being my life.

    It's not all bad or anything, it's just a lot of work!
    Thank you for writing this!

  12. Never heard of the "fog" but now that you have mentioned it in your blog, I think this is what I am experiencing these days at home and it is terrible. I like the myths.

  13. Thanks for the shout out...I was just talking to someone about the twin "fog" the other day! Yes, mine lasted for 2 years...normal people say it's the first year, but they only have one baby...I had two, so I get to double that time frame!

    It's amazing what it does to your brain...Husband keeps lamenting his old life, but I keep reminding him that there's no going back...not ever.

    Then he cries!

  14. To be honest, both times I only felt more normal once I stopped breastfeeding. While I breastfed my life literally revolved around my babies and their feeds and not having my b**bs become so full that it became unbearable. That said, I had a lot of help the first time around and didn’t feel like this was SUCH a huge adjustment. Also, my Tween was a lovely, lovely baby. He slept well and adjusted easily to situations so it was relatively easy (despite his ADHD issues which were around then already) for me to slot him into my life rather than the other way around.
    With my 2nd child I really battled. It took a long time for me to adjust to my “new normal”. I did have less help this time around so I often wonder if that played a role in how I felt about the “new normal” that I so resented. This was a child that I simply couldn’t slot into my life no matter how hard I tried. It was the other way around. It took a while (even after I was done breastfeeding him) for me to feel more myself and to accept that this was my “new normal”. In fact, I only accepted my “new normal” as a Mom of 2 at the beginning of 2011. This is probably why I only felt like I could finally sort out my weight and other issues this year. Maybe I just needed to be ready to accept and embrace my new normal. Once I made that shift, all fell into place and for the first time ever I am really enjoying my new normal. I have had to work exceptionally hard to not become so completely buried in motherhood that I forget about myself and my marital relationship. As you know, this is a constant balancing act.

    My favourite parenting myth = me being the ONLY MOTHER EVER to experience an exceptionally picky eater, a child who wouldn’t sleep, a child who reached every single milestone late, a child who has delayed speech, a child who doesn’t really like crowds and performs in shops and at parties. I do what I need to do to maintain my sanity and just ignore the smug mamas already!

  15. I'm totally engulfed in twin fog -- the babies are only 8 weeks old. And I went back to work this week. And my other kids are almost 6 and three. And my dog died. And the air conditioning went out when the heat was 100 degrees.

    It's a wonder that I'm wearing my own clothes when I head out of the house and not my husband's...

    Stopping in from Multiples and More to read your excellent post!


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