When Does It Get Easier?

It’s one of the top questions moms of twins ask during that intense first year. I’ve been stopped at the mall more than once by an exhausted, harried mom with a double stroller, and asked this very question.

If you’ve asked this question yourself, you can probably guess what my response has been.

“It doesn’t really get easier; it just gets different.”

That’s code for “I’m still struggling, too.” And, “Just wait. You think that is hard? Try wrangling twins that run in opposite directions!”

But on a serious note, it’s true. Each age and stage has its own set of challenges, and its own set of priceless twin moments. In the first year or two, the struggle is often physical for moms. Postpartum hormones, breastfeeding, lack of sleep, trying to lose the twin skin, chasing after toddlers than run away from you in parking lots. Then,
our twins enter into those terrible twos or tyrant threes, and parenting becomes much more emotionally and mentally draining. (But, at least the kids are mostly sleeping through the night by then!)

My twins turn five in July, and I must say, age four has been a great age for us. I’ve informally polled my mom friends, and I’m not alone in this assessment. It seems like four, generally speaking, tends to be the light at the end of the dark, noisy, whiny tunnel that is age three.

If you’re still in the throes of twinfants, double trouble terrible twos or three-year-old tyrants, here’s a list of four reasons to look forward to age four.

Built-in Playmate: At age four, I finally started to realize just how special–and convenient–it is that they were born with a playmate. Four-year-olds are mature enough to engage in make-believe play. So having a twin to engage in those fantasies means that I don’t have to be the Emily to my son’s Thomas or the Boots to my daughter’s Dora as often.

Logic: They may not be ready for that college-level philosophy class, but they’re capable of understanding logical cause/effect relationships. In other words, they get consequences. Sure, they may not always obey my instructions, but at least when they don’t, they’re making a conscious choice and accepting the consequence.(Well…accepting might be a bit of a stretch. They may sulk or stomp to their rooms, but hey, they go there for timeout without too much of a fight.)

Trust: By this point, I’ve known these kids for nearly five years. During that time, we’ve built up some trust for each other. I can trust my kids to get up on a Saturday morning and entertain themselves in their rooms for a half hour or 45 minutes before I drag myself out of my bed. Take a moment to really let that sink in. If you have crack-of-dawn early risers like me, that extra 30 minutes is glorious! Sure, I’m still awake, but at least I’m cozy under my blanket.

No More Baby Paraphernalia: By age four, the cribs, swings, bouncy seats, high chairs, bottles, sippy cups, special bath tubs, strollers, and perhaps, even the baby monitors are GONE. You can reclaim that cabinet shelf for your own cups and toss those leaky, plastic sippy cups. Alleluia!

Four is fabulous. It’s not perfect, and believe me, the sass that can come out of a four-year-old’s mouth can make your jaw drop. But it’s been a really fun time for our family, and I hope it is for yours too.

What are your reasons for enjoying the age and stage your twins are in right now?

Jessie is the mother of 5 year old boy/girl twins and blogs over at Mother.Runner.Writer

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  1. Jessie….thank you for this! my twin girls are smack dab in the middle of the tyrannical/traumatic threes….i’m so glad it gets better with 4!
    Jill recently posted…Friday, Pretend, and TriscuitsMy Profile

  2. My husband always tells me not to tell preggo twin moms how hard it is the first year. My response to him is that I’m not going to tell them it’s all sunshine and lollipops when it’s truly the Pit of Despair that first year! I think age three has been the Sunshine and Lollipop stage for me. Has it been perfect? No! Can they talk back? Oh, yeah! They play together, they are potty trained, I can go into public without one of them running off and asking people if they have seen another girl who looks just like the one I’m holding! Seriously, the first year was so hard, I didn’t know if I would survive it! The second year, I finally came to terms with it and by the third year we had all gained a little respect for each other. My girls had the opportunity to go to their first birthday party this summer and I just loved it! They went to a little camp my friend does each summer and this fall they are set to go to preschool. I love watching them mature and enjoy life.

    • So glad to hear that three isn’t treating you badly! It’s interesting how everyone has a different experience. The first year was hard for me, but not as hard as I think it is for some moms/twins. The temperment and personalities of our kids have so much to do with it, I think. Preschool is a blast. You’ll love seeing all the crafts they bring home and how much they learn!
      Jessie recently posted…I’ve got a new website! MommyStrongFitness.comMy Profile

  3. Thanks so much for this. We are in the middle of the threes and losing our minds. For me babies were hard, ages one and two were fun (not easy but fun), and three is torture. At least they say hilarious things to make me laugh and briefly forget all the drama.

  4. Great post!

    I agree that every stage has its amazing moments, and its challenges. Of course I consistently remind myself that I can do anything on a full night’s sleep! 😉

    KNOCK ON WOOD as I type this (!!!), at 3 1/2, I have so far refused to utter the words “terrible two’s” or “tyrant three’s”. I’m just rolling with it…and so far, each and every stage has seemed better than the last. Certainly these days things are “easier” — or at least it feels that way. We’ve been able to travel a bit this summer, without our SUV being packed to the gills with every known baby product. We can go places impromptu, as well, and that just feels huge to me. And our girls play together really nicely for the most part.

    We’ve largely moved away from baby gear, and it’s nice to walk through the house without hurdling gates and tripping over pack-n-plays. We’re still hanging on to our highchairs, though, as those are our time-out spots. I’m looking forward to saying goodbye to those at some point…glad to hear that the “consequences” part becomes a little more clear in the next year or so. 🙂
    MandyE recently posted…Super Stuff on a SaturdayMy Profile

  5. So there is light at the end of the tunnel!
    Amber recently posted…London 2012 Summer Olympic GamesMy Profile

  6. I so agree! Four was fabulous. Mine just turned 5. LOVING it!

  7. Good to know the light I see is hope and not an oncoming TRAIN!!! My twin boys will be 4 in December 🙂

  8. My twins are 19 months and whenever I start thinking about how hard it is, I remind myself that I’m no longer sleeping in 2 hour increments. Once they started sleeping through the night, I think things got significantly easier. Not easy, just easier.
    Rachel recently posted…Quinoa with BroccoliMy Profile

    • You are right. Sleep makes it easier to deal with everything. Age 2 was not bad for us either. It was hard with my son because he had developmental delays and a massive speech/communication delay. But I never thought of it as the terrible twos. It was actually fun to see them develop into little personalities.
      Jessie recently posted…I’ve got a new website! MommyStrongFitness.comMy Profile

  9. It really has its ups and downs. From like 8-10 months I thought I had made it. Sleeping through the night, nap schedule, happy babies. Then they got mobile…. scratch that! I now dread public with them. They just turned a year. I love how funny they are and watching them toddle around. I love what they can do…. but still there are two of them and they already seem to team up. I do think it’s gotten easier, but it still has a long way to go.
    Thanks for the post, it’s always nice to know that I’m not alone. Sometimes moms make it look so easy, and it;s just reassuring to know all twin moms have the same problems.
    Mary recently posted…Just a boy and his catMy Profile

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