to think my friend is deluded or am I just pessimistic?

(65 Posts)
MrsHuxtable Tue 21-May-13 13:53:54

So, my childless friend and I just had a conversation about having twins that are born a maximum of 2 years after a first child. (I'm newly pregnant with No2 and due to increased twin risk worried that it's what might happen to me).

I said that I know someone who has this set-up and that the women is a wreck. She openly admitted that just running away is on her mind a lot. I can totally understand this as it must be so hard, physically and emotionally. It's a constant cycle of nappies, feeding, winding, nappies, feeding, winding. When one baby goes to sleep at night, the other wakes. and then there's the toddler in the terrible twos. No family around to help out either. A husband working long hours. The hassle of getting around with 3 so little etc.

My friend on the other hand thinks it sounds like a lovely set-up and that it wouldn't be a problem. That because you already have a child and are therefore an experienced mum, it would all be a breeze.

Is my friend being utterly deluded because she doesn't even know what it's like to look after one child?

Or am I being a pessimistic git who is an incompetent mother because I think I would be a total wreck under the circumstances described?

I have a friend who has that kind of gap, she and the dad say they basically don't remember the first year or so of the twins life, it was so exhausting and difficult.

Now they are older I get the impression they quite enjoy having got the chaos out,the way early on though.

Bogeyface Tue 21-May-13 14:03:11

I have to admit that I have always felt that the hardest jump was going from 1 child to 2. You think you know what you are doing, which you do with a newborn, however a newborn and a toddler is a totally different kettle of chaos! So I can imagine that going from 1 to 3 in one go must be hell on toast.


BTW, I have 6 and it gets easier with each one after #3!

lolalou22 Tue 21-May-13 14:05:08

I have 2 year old twins and a 4 month old baby and must admit its hard sometimes but i am so glad the twins came first as they play together quite lovely when their getting along giving me chance to look aft and play with the baby. think the other way around would defiantly be tougher and i agree the first year of the twins life is just a blur i don't remember very much of it at all (thank goodness for video cameras lol) so the thought of a two year old as well gee wizz indeed

Cakecrumbsinmybra Tue 21-May-13 14:08:08

Yes of course your friend is utterly deluded! Tbh, if she hasn't had kids yet, I would take any child rearing comments she makes with a pinch of salt. Luckily twins are not in my family at all, but with hindsight I probably would have coped better if DS2 were twins, rather than DS1. But don't get me wrong, I'm sure it would still have been hell grin

Cakecrumbsinmybra Tue 21-May-13 14:09:06

And lolalou has just proved me completely wrong - I don't have twins, so what do I know?!

Dawndonna Tue 21-May-13 14:10:25

19months between ds2 and twin dds. First year absolutely exhausting, but it's been fab and doable. Twins are sixteen and a half now!

PoppyWearer Tue 21-May-13 14:11:45

I know someone with that setup and it was only when the twins were getting towards 1yo that she started to feel a bit more normal and get out of the house once in a while.

She also had to get quite a lot of help around the house to keep the family afloat in terms of housework and admin.

Definitely not easy.

You have to ignore your childless friend and not challenge her, until you have children, you cannot imagine how demanding they can be.

I know people with that age gap and it is family support that makes the difference.

My friend has twin boys (and three more children), who are now two years old, they are like a little tag team, one distracts,whilst the other gets into mischief. They are the cutest pair, ever, she has had to child proof her house, though and still puts them in nursery, when she is off work. She has family help, also.

I don't think being an experienced Mum makes that much of a difference. I have just become a Nan (i do overnight care) and it is wonderful, you have none of the stress that new Mums, filled with hormones and recovering from birth, have,or a partnership to consider.

She has no idea how children can impact on a couple.

Friend is being deluded. One of the very first things I did after I had a baby was revise my previous thinking that having twins (at all) was a charming idea. Never mind having twins in the "tricky second baby" slot that Bogeyface describes.

However there's little comfort in being right if this is a situation you think you might be facing! It could well be true that an experienced mother might be better placed to hit the ground running with twins in the sense that you have the advantage of perspective now and can see the bigger picture about what matters and what is pfb stuff that can get chucked out the window if needs must.

NotYoMomma Tue 21-May-13 14:19:46

I think she is.deluded but you are also pessimistic.

Your post is totally negative and a bit doom and gloom

MrsHuxtable Tue 21-May-13 14:21:33

God, that's another thing she keeps going on about. The importance of staying passionate lovers when you have a baby etc.

I don't generally challenge her but she always manages to make comments that make me feel inadequate as a mum and wife.

Apparently all other babies she knows sleep through at 3 months (DD is 15 months and doesn't), nobody she knows breastfeed for longer than 6 months other than me, she had never heard of it. She can't believe that DH and I haven't had a childfree holiday yet (we don't want to and also don't have any family in the country).

The list goes on.

I work 20 hours a week, study 30 hours and look after DD 4 days a week (DH is at home the other 3) so the 30 hours studying are when DD sleeps and my friend can't understand that I said, I will probably not go back to work after DC2 or only 1 day a week, as I couldn't imagine coping with 2 children, that amount of work and studying.

Bogeyface Tue 21-May-13 14:22:40

Actually that is a good point about not being PFB. Our best man and his wife had twins and they ran themselves ragged with doing everything "right". She was surprised that I didnt bath my lot every night when they were babies, and that a wet-wipe-wash followed by "that'll do" didnt mean they died of dirt!

By the time they had their 3rd child they were a lot more relaxed, so I am sure that you would be too.

pollyblue Tue 21-May-13 14:22:52

I had my twins 12 days after my first dd turned 2.

I am not a wreck grin I have no family support (though a couple of close friends have given fantastic emergency help on occassion) as they all live miles away, so DH and i muddle through as best we can. He works, i went to college part time when the twins were 14 months old (he had the dcs then) - they're now 6 and 4 and i'm still studying part time.

I think the key is to be super organised and resolutely cheerful in the face of chaos and much noise. Everything passes and yes, there are tricky patches but overall it has been fantastic and i wouldn't change it for the world.

PrincessScrumpy Tue 21-May-13 14:23:08

I had dd1 who was 3 when dtds were born and know a number of mums with a smaller age gap. For me it is constant but not unpleasant. The laughter of 3 far out weighs everything else. It depends on the babies really. Dd1 was horrendous as a new born - colic, reflux and constant crying/refusing to sleep. Dtds were prem and fab sleepers... Dh returned from his 1st day back at work after paternity leave to find dd1 and I had baked cakes and cooked dinner! (and I was still smiling). I love having twins - financial strain is the hardest as childcare was more than I earn so had to give up sad

ClairesTravellingCircus Tue 21-May-13 14:23:43

As someone who has a 12yo, 8yo and 15 mo twins I think you are absolutely right!!

I know a few people with the toddler+baby twins set up and it is very hard unless you have lots of help, and then it's still hard!!

pollyblue Tue 21-May-13 14:25:25

MrsH you're friend sounds a bit of a tit grin

Bogeyface Tue 21-May-13 14:26:00

God, that's another thing she keeps going on about. The importance of staying passionate lovers when you have a baby etc.

Sorry but that is hilarious and exactly the sort of thing a non parent would say grin

I don't generally challenge her but she always manages to make comments that make me feel inadequate as a mum and wife.
The only person who can make you feel inadequate is you! She hasnt had children so her "opinion" isnt actually based in fact or on her own experiences, but on what she sees and what other people tell her. You can safely ignore any of her so-called "advice" and just wait until she has a child of her own. Then, when she is shuffling around in her PJ's at lunchtime, barely awake and funtioning, you can remind her how important it is to stay a passionate lover to her husband grin

TheRealFellatio Tue 21-May-13 14:27:31

I know someone who had twins when her other children were 4 years 3 months, and 3 years old exactly.

she barely left the house for five years. YANBU.

BalloonSlayer Tue 21-May-13 14:27:55

The clue is in the term "childless friend."

Her opinions on what parenthood is like are as valid as mine about what it is like to be an astronaut and land on the Moon. "So I said to Neil Armstrong, Couldn't you have spoken a bit more clearly? Those breathing masks aren't all that cumbersome."

OutragedFromLeeds Tue 21-May-13 14:28:08

Newborn/baby twins are really hard, even without an older one, but 3 would be a nightmare I imagine.

Lovely when they're all older though!

TheRealFellatio Tue 21-May-13 14:28:21

I mean for 5 years from being heavily pg with twins, until the point at which they were all at school. It was just too traumatic. grin

Lioninthesun Tue 21-May-13 14:28:51

She can't really comment knowledgeably if she hasn't had one child yet... I would just smile and wait for her to have hers wink and then you can remind her of your earlier convo's in a friendly way. Try not to be too hard on her or yourself. We all do the 'my child will never do this/that' when childless, and you sound as though you are putting a lot of pressure on yourself, so try not to worry about this!

ZenGardener Tue 21-May-13 14:29:06

I have 4 year old twins, plus a two year old and am pregnant with #4. My husband works away from home during the week and no family around to help.

I'm very happy though. The house is a constant mess but I do my best.

I do think having the twins first helped as baby #3 is quite easy going. The three of them play together well but there are a lot of fights/arguments too.

I'm quite a laid back person though. I don't sweat the small stuff. There are days I spend a little longer than necessary in the toilet just to escape the noise for a few minutes.

I have a friend who only has one child and finds motherhood very stressful. She worries about every little thing. I think a lot depends on your personality.

pollyblue Tue 21-May-13 14:29:13

your even, tsk

Pobblewhohasnotoes Tue 21-May-13 14:29:34

Yeah, but everyone's the perfect parent, until you have kids!

Why on earth are her opinions getting you down? You should be laughing at them, not taking them to heart. She clearly has no idea.

Lordy, I'm always tempted to describe the variety of possible birth injuries when people bang on about getting back in the sack ASAP.

Mind you my sister tried to convince me that maternity leave was a year off and really thought I would agree! This was after she spent an afternoon babysitter my DS who at 6mo, took offence at who knows what and screamed his head off the whole time.

Great rest!

ZenGardener Tue 21-May-13 14:35:14

Ps I have a childless friend who loves to criticize and give me her pearls of wisdom. I stopped seeing her though. She felt she knew exactly what it was like having young children as she had two dogs and coped fine. She thought there was no excuse to have a basket of laundry sitting in the hall or toys strewn about the living room. Yes, she's crazy!

I think one of my favorites was when she explained toe I should just lock the children in the bedroom with their toys and then I could get the housework done.

BalloonSlayer Tue 21-May-13 14:35:27

Buy yourself a little notebook and when she makes one of these pronouncements make a little show of getting it out of your bag and pretending to write in it.

When she asks you what you are doing, say: "I am writing down all the stuff you come out with so I can make you a hilarious little book when you have your own children. You'll laugh and laugh!"

katieelh Tue 21-May-13 14:35:40

I had twins when my first was 2 and tbh it wasn't as bad as you would imagine. I felt like I really geared up for it and was super organised. There was a point where my twins were in special care and my toddler was admitted to the childrens ward with a uti and I was recovering from a c section,sleeping on a pull out bed on the ward where I though ' oh my god what have I let my self in for' but it was all fine in the end! My twins were very poorly for a long time so I think I was so so greatful and lucky to have brought them home that I was able to deal with all the rest.

MrsHuxtable Tue 21-May-13 14:38:48

haha, that's a great idea.

Yes, I also have some pelvic floor damage which makes sex in certain positions rather unenjoyable and dear friend reckons, I just need to do my kegels more often. I do do them btw but think I'm a little beyond that.

oldwomaninashoe Tue 21-May-13 14:40:16

I had twin boys, with two older children (both boys) of 3 and 6. My husband is self employed and worked all the hours that god sent to provide for us all, no family help either.
You cope, you develop stratagies, and the baby stage is the least of your worries.......its when they get mobile the real problems start!

Congratulations on your pregnancy OP grin

HibiscusIsland Tue 21-May-13 14:48:28

I think you should make your friend's comments into a childcare advice booklet and say you want to refer to it to get tips. Then if she has a baby you can give it to her as a present. grin

HibiscusIsland Tue 21-May-13 14:49:05

Oops sorry. I see Balloon had the same idea before me!

DoubleLifeIsALifeHalved Tue 21-May-13 14:49:42

Ignore and smile (if you can!)

I used to think twins wod be cute, instant family, they'd entertain each other etc etc... I was very young and childless of course!!!

Lazyjaney Tue 21-May-13 14:49:58

Twins are hard, a toddler and a baby are hard, a toddler and twins are horrendous (had a friend who had that) If your friend ever gets that way tyou can piously lecture her about staying passionate grin

qwertymclate Tue 21-May-13 14:50:25

I have twins that are nearly 2. If you get them into a routine from the start then it's not a problem. I have a far easier time of it than a lot of the mums I know with singletons. We live in a different country and have no help, and have never had any. DH works and I'm a sahm. It depends on your personality and your attitude. We're laid back and go with the flow. I find it's more people without twins that seem think they are so much work.

Onesleeptillwembley Tue 21-May-13 14:50:50

I've never climbed Everest, but hey, how hard can it be?

HamletsSister Tue 21-May-13 14:53:09

I was the oldest child in that set up. (I posted about this recently, elsewhere). My mother had me and then 2 years later, twins. My father worked away a lot and my mother (this was 40+ years ago) was told she was not allowed to breastfeed twins, although she had breastfed me. She did as she was told! (Even though she was a trained nurse). So, when my father was away, she had to wake me in the night so I could bottle feed one of the twins while she had the other.

Surely something we would frown on nowadays. But what else could she do? It was, I am sure, a hard, hard time for her. She had no help. She has not really talked about it much but I know it was a bit of a blur and my father's frequent affairs began soon after.

Your friends knows nothing.

I have two, 18 months apart, and that was hard enough.

motherinferior Tue 21-May-13 14:54:34

I have a very lovely, extremely competent mate whose third baby turned out to be twins. She says quite honestly that she lost the plot for about three years grin

I haven't asked her about the passionate lovers bit, but I can assure you that passions do not run madly high in most parental households of my acquaintance.

motherinferior Tue 21-May-13 14:56:20

I recently had to put up with a childless colleague who used to go on about what a lovely break maternity leave must be and how she looked forward to a 'year off'. Also obviously the importance of Date Nights and so on and so nauseatingly forth.

oscarwilde Tue 21-May-13 14:57:35

A close friend had twins and a toddler, born when the toddler was 18 months old. I think it is fair to say that even with a LOT of family support they have found it very difficult. Finances have meant that have both needed to work full time which hasn't helped.
Your friend is deluded. Bless.

DoJo Tue 21-May-13 15:03:43

Sounds like a 6 of 1 situation - she's seeing all the positives and you're seeing all the negatives. As anyone with children knows, there's no guarantee how you will cope with any of the things they throw at you, whether they will sleep well, whether it will be a complete battle to get them to feed and how your other children will react to the change in setup etc. I don't think she's being ridiculous to believe that it can be done and that it would be possible to enjoy aspects of the arrangement but I don't think you're being unreasonable to suggest that it could be difficult.

MrsHuxtable Tue 21-May-13 15:10:06

Oh, I can see the positives.

DH and I are unsure whether we'd like 2 or 3 children all together so I'd love it if the choice was taken out of my hands.

I can also see how it would be lovely to have a little group of children once the exhausting baby time is over.

BUT I'm fecking tired now. I haven't slept through a night in 17 months and I'm pretty sure twins would push me over the edge. Luckily, it's all academic for now.

FreckledLeopard Tue 21-May-13 15:17:53

I don't know. I always thought twins would be nice, once you'd already had a child.

DD is now 12 and I want more children at some stage. I figure twins would be fine, since they're an 'instant' family and as they get older, they can entertain/fight with each other.

Having said that, DD didn't sleep through the night til she was 3.5 years, so I accept that with any child, massive sleep deprivation is par for the course, so what's the difference between one child not sleeping and two?

MrsHuxtable Tue 21-May-13 15:21:46

If one child wakes up every three hours and goes back to sleep, you can sleep inbetween. Imagine 3 children taking turns waking up!

I've always secretly fancied twins blush not really sure why! They just seem quite special. I'm pg with my 3rd, Nd there'll be 21mths between them and DS, which makes me nervous enough tbh! So I'm glad, this time it wasn't.

ClairesTravellingCircus Tue 21-May-13 15:29:31

with any child, massive sleep deprivation is par for the course, so what's the difference between one child not sleeping and two?

the difference being that if they don't wake at the same time, you get twice as many wakings, and if they do and you are not your won...frankly it's a nightmare that I've had to deal with a few times, and it ain't pleasant!

If you get them into a routine from the start then it's not a problem If it was just that easy....

the baby stage is the least of your worries.......its when they get mobile the real problems start! couldn't agree more!

AllOutOfIdeas Tue 21-May-13 15:55:22

I had dts when dc1 was 17months, no help, dp working 6 days a week.

I went out most days, bf'd them both til 8months, my house is still standing and i am not a wreck.

The early days were a bit more sleepless than a singleton but i guess i have been lucky that none of mine had reflux or Colic and were very happy babies.

I am very laid back and although i had a routine, it nap flexible so i didn't get stressed over it.

Now they are older its even easier as they are all around the same age there is no trying to find things/games /days out to please dc that are years apart iyswim?

Maybe its a bit of both- your friends view is pretty much how i found it tbh and i could draw on the very recent experiences of dc1. But i appreciate that won't be everyones experiences.

ClairesTravellingCircus Tue 21-May-13 16:40:13

That should have said "and if you are on your own" blush

15 months without a decent night here!

DeskPlanner Tue 21-May-13 16:50:13

Never listen to advice from childless friends. It's not usually helpful .

JamieandtheMagicTorch Tue 21-May-13 16:55:46

I found a 2 year old and a newborn very very hard. I think a 2 year old and twins would have pushed me over the edge.

I don't think you can really comment unless you've had one or two children, and know how you coped with that.

Some find motherhood (the early bit) easier than others

I have nearly 19 months between my toddler and my twins.

I am living the blur... I have one twin who Does. Not. Sleep. He has reflux. He is dairy, soya and egg free diet. The other is also cows milk protein intolerant. They weren't diagnosed until 6 months for one, a few weeks ago for the one who doesn't sleep. They are 13.5 months old. My toddler is 2 yrs 8 months. It is absolutely relentless, and feels worse because of the sleep deprivation (the non sleeper has 4-5 'in desperation' night feeds, wakes every 1-3 hours and always has done. Both were very discontented babies, no way, in hindsight, could I get two unhappy reflux babies in.a routine. Both were ebf too.

I thought if you had one that didn't sleep, what's the difference with two. I found out the hard way, after numerous nights when it'd get to 4am and I hadn't made it to bed as i settled one, then the other, then the first one again. We have a nanny now I'm back at work, an ex nursery worker who says my non sleeper is one of the most difficult babies she's ever looked after.

So, overall, a lot would depend on your twins. Now Mr. Non sleeper is walking and on meds for reflux he's miles happier, and for me, its way easier with him walking. His brother isn't yet though, so maybe I'll change my mind?! I won't, nothing could make me go back to those days

I also think twins then a singleton would be easier, as i couldn't manage going out by myself with an under 2 and 2 babies. You can't manoeuvre a double buggy round a playground to supervise your toddler, not in our local one anyway, and even if you could, mine will only sit in.the buggy while its moving and fairly briefly or its a cacophony of screaming. One baby you could have in a sling. I still can't manage a playground alone with 2 one year olds and a 2 year old.

All that being said though, I have a lot of family support, some paid help 2 days a week now (extra to my working two days) so that we can get out more and their twin interaction is so wonderful.

If i could have decided not to have twins, I wouldn't have. Maybe that wouldn't be the same without my help though?!

Hissy Tue 21-May-13 19:52:10

Someone once told me that having one child is like keeping a pet.

Having 2 is like keeping a ZOO.


DinoSnores Tue 21-May-13 20:20:46

This will out me if anyone knows the same person, but a friend of mine had 4 under 3 at one point as a result of twins 3rd time round. She's got out the house most days, EBF for 6 months, DH not around much during the day because of her work. It is possible.

As for me, I've found going from 1 to 2 at home much much easier than just having 1 or being pregnant with a toddler.

rednellie Tue 21-May-13 21:00:08

I think it depends on the children, my twins are relatively speaking easy babies.We have a routine, but I'm always wary because maybe that routine.just couldn't be imposed on other children. And there's nothing so demoralising to a parent of a genuinely high needs baby - oh you just need a good routine.

Having said all that, I have found it hard and my DD has found it hard and sometimes I wonder what it would have been like to have had two singletons but you know what, today dt1 was being pushed around on a trike by dt2 both laughing like hyenas their big sis shouting encouragement from the side lines...

rednellie Tue 21-May-13 21:01:43

So to answer the op, you are BabitU, but your friend is an idiot wink

baileyslover Tue 21-May-13 21:13:14

If you are high risk for twins what about triplets wink
My triplets were born when my older son was 20months. They are 9 months and 2 1/2 now and yes it has been a blur. As for sleep deprivation - In the first few weeks I was lucky to get 2 hours from 6am to 8am, and no day naps due to toddler.
I am still standing, just, but wouldn't change it for the world!

ChippingInLovesSpring Tue 21-May-13 21:22:50

Hux - your friend is a twat! Does that help wink

In all seriousness though, she doesn't sound like much of a friend sad

Twins are hard bloody work - twins with a toddler would have me on my knees... Baileys triplets would have me over the edge, triplets with a toddler and I'd have left home grin I'm glad you woudn't change it - but bloody hell, you must be knackered!!

rednellie you are wise as always. I love you a bit too much for pointing me in Dr Sears direction for some reassurance about high needs babies for my DT1 if not for all your other advice <sorry everyone, fellow twin mum from numerous threads>

Tiredsparrow Tue 21-May-13 21:31:16

I gave birth to twins with a 1 Going on 2 year old.

It wasn't as hard as people might think, although i did have a lot of help and support. like someone said previously I think a good routine helps.

I now have baby number 4 on the way. So that will be a 3 year old, twins at 1 (going on 2) and a new born. I have to say I don't get many congratulations, just looks of sympathy ha

I have 3.5mo twins. It's fucking hard. And they are pretty good babies. I would love 3 kids but the thought f another baby fills me with dread at the moment. Going from 1 to 3 - sounds like hell tbh.

And the sleep thing. I've had nights when it's got to 6am and I've had 1/2 hr sleep, I've had 4 or 5 nights like that in a row. And you can't simply pass the baby to your DH because that baby may well be hungry just as the other has fallen asleep.

Often they will only sleep during the day on top of the big tandem feeding pillow (which has me inside!) or with the buggy on the move so I NEVER get a break during the day, unless my DH is here to help. Even worse is if they don't sleep at roughly the same time during the day - those days a fucking awful.

But they are lovely and amazing and all mine and just starting to notice each other and smile at each other so I can just about forgive them the rough stuff.

Cakecrumbsinmybra Wed 22-May-13 10:44:18

Having read your other posts, I think your 'friend' is not really doing much for your self confidence, is she? It sounds like she puts you down at every opportunity, whether subconsciously or otherwise. Distance yourself a bit and stop confiding in her about your sex life, etc too.

Heleneahandcart1 Wed 22-May-13 11:25:02

I think you are being very pessimistic. I have 14 month old twins, an 11 year old and a 15 year old. I have never been more happier and chilled out about life since my twins were born. My husband works overseas for 2 months at a time and then comes home for 3 weeks. I don't really get any help from family or friends though I visit my parents a couple of times a week. I'm even thinking about ttc again knowing fine well theres a higj chance it could be twins again, the only thing that stops me is the space issue. in fact the only one who gives me any stress is the 15 year old.

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