When does it get easier? It's a question that new parents of twins or multiples ask frequently. Caught in the haze of round-the-clock infant care, dazed by sleeplessness, postpartum recovery and rollercoaster hormonal crashes, the first few months of raising twins can be quite overwhelming. It's easy to wonder, "When will this end? When will it get easier?"
There is no simple answer to the question. There is no timeline with a designated "easy" milestone after which point life with multiples becomes a bed of roses. Every family is unique and every phase of parenting presents its own set of challenges and frustrations.
I think the basic answer is that there will be times when life gets easier, but there is never a phase of parenting where it becomes "easy." The timeframes will vary among families, depending on their circumstances and their personalities.
But I want to give new parents hope and encouragement, because I vividly remember feeling a sense of desperation in my earliest days of motherhood. Things do get easier, as the babies start to sleep for longer periods of time -- and therefore so do their parents! Things get easier when the babies are able to maintain a more regular schedule, so that their parents can plan around feeding times and nap times and maybe actually accomplish some other chores inbetween. Things get easier when the babies smile and laugh in response to their parents and to each other. Things get easier when the babies can hold their own bottles or feed themselves.
Things get easier when the babies start to crawl because they don't have to be carried every where. Then things get easier when they can walk on their own. Things get a lot easier after they're potty trained and you're done with diapers! Things get easier when they can buckle themselves into and out of the car without assistance. Things get easier when they outgrow their stroller. Things get easier when they can dress themselves, brush their own hair and wash their own hands.
Life is easier when they start going to school or daycare all day. Things get easier when they become old enough to fix their own lunch. Things get easier when they can stay home alone without a babysitter, do the dishes, make their own bed, and take telephone messages. Things get easier when they get a drivers license and you don't have to play chauffer. And life gets a lot easier when they get a job and move away from home.
Yet, with all of these milestones, parenting multiples doesn't get "easy." There will be moments when parents say, "Wow, this isn't so bad. I've got this under control!" And days when they think, "Life is good. Look how far we've come." But then there will be times when they look back fondly on the "hard times" and wonder exactly what they were complaining about. Somehow the diaper changes, nighttime wakings and feeding schedules of infancy seem quite manageable when compared with a double dose of drivers licenses, dating disasters and a whirlwind of sports and school activities.
Being a parent is never easy, no matter how much money you have or how well your kids behave. Raising children is just plain hard. Because you love them and want the best for them, you can never do enough for them. Because humans are imperfect, there are no perfect parents and every parent wonders whether their best is good enough for their children, who deserve so much better.
What about you? When did things get easier for your family? Share your thoughts with other parents.