Wednesday, September 26, 2007

A Day in the Life of a Working Mom with Twins

I knew from the beginning that given my financial needs and my personality, I would be a working mom. Going back to work was hard for the first week, but it really has done wonders for my overall sanity. I miss the babies like crazy while I’m away and I worry about them, but I also feel like I’m a better mother to them after having some time for myself. I don’t regret the decision at all, but I also acknowledge that I might change my mind about it in a year or two when the boys are older. It has shocked me to see how many women (mostly relatives) are shocked that I went back to work, especially since most of them went back to work themselves after they had their own kids. It seems that they all expected me to stay home even though I was upfront about going back to work from the very beginning. For whatever reason, they seem to think that going back to work when you have one baby is fine, but going back to work with twins is unthinkable. Um, hi—do you know how much diapers and formula costs?

Luckily I work with a lot of moms around my age and they have been a wonderful support system for me. Watching them and talking to them about their kids shows me that being a working mom is not crazy or selfish.

As far as feedings and schedules, it does get easier around the 3 month mark. I saw real progress when the boys hit 4 months. We aren’t successful at feeding them at the same time in bouncy chairs (way too messy), so what we try to do is stagger their feedings by about 30 minutes. We feed one and then the other, and most days that works out just fine. Occasionally they will decide they are both starving at the same exact moment and that’s horrible if you are alone, but it rarely happens these days. So, when A wakes at 5 a.m. to eat, his brother is still asleep 90 percent of the time. H feeds him, puts him back to bed, then feeds B, who is sometimes still asleep or just starting to wake up. By feeding them one right after another, this sets up the 30 minute gap between their feedings for the day.

Here’s how our schedule has been lately:

5:00 am: A awakes and is fed

5:30 am: B awakes or is woken and is fed

6:00 am: I leave for work

Both babies go back to sleep until anywhere between 7:00 and 7:30.

H leaves for work at 7:30 and our au pair takes over.

Babies are awake and happy to play.

Baby A eats around 8:00

Baby B eats around 8:30

Naps are attempted around 9:30-10:00 and last until the next feeding if we’re lucky.

Babies eat again between 12:00 and 12:30

Afternoon naps are often taken around 1:30-2:00.

Babies eat again around 3:00-3:30.

I get home at 4:00 and play with the babies, who are usually very active and pleasant this time of day if naps were successful.

5:30: I make dinner while the babies watch.

6:00: H and I wolf down our food as the babies start to fuss.

6:15-6:30: H and I both take a baby to feed for the final feeding of the day. This feeding, the most important and predictable of our day, always consists of at least 6 ounces.

7:00-7:30: The babies get their baths—H and I each take care of a baby.

7:30 pm: Both babies are in their cribs with lights out. They are falling asleep faster and faster with less fussing each night.

8:00: The babies are asleep and H and I get our one hour together before we go to bed at 9:00.

Anywhere between 2:00 and 3:30 am: Baby B usually calls out for a pacifier or diaper change but quickly goes back to sleep

5:00 am: The process starts all over

Hope some of this helps. I found the best thing was setting their bedtime at 7:30 and having a predictable routine each night starting with the 6:15-6:30 bottle. No matter how bad the day has been, their bedtime routine has resulted in two sleeping babies by 8:00 for the last two months. This has been wonderful, because I know that no matter how bad things have been, everyone will be calm at 8:00 and stay that way for at least 5 or 6 hours.

Now that I’ve written out an actual schedule I’m just waiting for a sleep regression to come and mess it all up.


lori said...

wow! i just stumbled upon your blog, and i'm nearly in tears. you have been through so much! congrats on your baby boys. i'm so glad to know that you are on the mend. you are one strong lady!

oh, and yeah, any time a mom tells you that her life with an infant (or more than one infant/child) is constantly rosy, you can be assured she's blowing sunshine up her own ass. only you know what's best for your family and/or your situation, so tell her where to shove that unsolicited advice of hers. there's some kind of jealousy going on from that neighbor of yours, and she's just trying to make you feel as shitty as she does.

i am also an infertile, and i also had a traumatic birth with my daughter (severe preeclampsia and suspected hellp). here i am 20 months later, and i'm still not over it. i still have nightmares about it, and i have very vivid and detailed memories of the parts of the birth that i was conscious for. someday, i hope to heal from it all. it gives me some comfort (twisted as that may seem) to know that it's normal to not be over it yet.

wishing you the very best!

take care of you!

GLouise said...

You are doing great! Great schedule too!!

PS. I'd be happy to email you those baby pictures of my little girl, but I don't think I have your address! :-)