All moms feel Mom Guilt at some point, no matter how many kids they have. If the most common feeling shared by moms is exhaustion, then the second has to be guilt. It’s in our DNA (or it at least feels like it).
“I’m not spending enough quality time with my kids.”
“I’m not doing enough to help my kids reach developmental milestones.”
“I’m feeding my kids too many chicken nuggets.” (Am I right, or… am I right?)
But for moms of twins and higher order multiples, mom guilt is kicked up to a whole new level. Moms of multiples have the unique challenge of sharing their time and attention with two (or more) tiny humans of the exact same age.
At the exact same time.
Things-that-cause-twin-mom-guilt are not few and far between. The examples are endless, and range from things that are almost certainly inconsequential, like the twinge of guilt you feel every time you leave one twin in the car for an extra 12 seconds while you carry the other twin into the house first, to things that cause real concerns about long-term effects, like when you’re wracked with guilt that you aren’t producing enough breast milk to feed two hungry babies and have to supplement with formula.
In the phase of motherhood when you are the provider of everything for your kids, coming to the realization that you simply will not be able to give twins the same time and attention they would each get if they weren’t a twin is tough. Like, really tough.
Sure, your twins will grow up with a built-in best friend and be blessed with the ability to read another person’s mind (just kidding… sort of), but they will also grow up with a mom whose attention is almost always divided. They’ll grow up with a sense that they have to share the spotlight and be one of two (or more) centers of your universe, especially if you also have other kids. They will grow up knowing that sometimes you did not offer immediate comfort in their times of distress because you had your hands full with another kid who also needed you at the very same moment.
I don’t blame you for feeling a sense of guilt sometimes. I have it too.
But I’ll tell you this. You might feel guilty that you are not able to give your twins your undivided self (although you are able to bottle feed a baby using your feet, and that’s saying something), but I have a hunch that like many things in life, it’s harder on you than it is on them.
Remember: it’s not your job to make your kids’ lives perfect. It’s your job to prepare your kids to overcome challenges and rise to the occasions that life will undoubtedly throw at them as they grow up. It might be an unintended outcome of being a twin, but by experiencing less-than-perfect trials at home, they are actually developing character and being set up to have a realistic understanding of how the world works. Learning how to wait your turn, for example, is an important life lesson. Think of large families with a lot of kids: they all learn these lessons very early on and turn out no worse for the wear. In fact, these kids quickly learn how to pitch in and help the family out, rather than expecting to be catered to at every moment.
It’s been said a million times before, but it bears repeating that kids are incredibly resilient. They are adaptable and trusting and forgiving. Even more so for twins. I firmly believe that twins are born knowing that there are two of them and one of you and sometimes that means waiting. Sometimes that means sharing their mom’s attention. And sometimes that means there are more videos of one twin stored on your phone than of the other (sorry).
But it never means that your love is divided in half; instead, it means it’s multiplied by two. And your kids know this.
The fact that you feel mom guilt at all means you care and that you’re trying to be the best mom you can be. You are learning what it means to be a mom to your twins each and every day, and because of that, you are — without a doubt — the best person in the world for the job. You and your kids were made for each other. They might not show it while they look you in the eye and throw their food on the floor, but they love you for you.
There are a thousand and one things to feel guilty about as a mom of twins, but there are a thousand and two things to feel proud of. So this is it, mama, you got this. You’re doing it.