“You sure have your hands full.”
“Bless your heart.”
And my personal favorite, “Better you than me!”
These are the phrases I hear on endless repeat any time I am out and about with my twins. I know babies and toddlers are cute, and two babies are apparently exponentially cuter than one, but these platitudes drive me crazy. And I know from my fellow MOMs (that’s Moms Of Multiples to those of you who only have “singletons”) that I’m far from alone. So I thought I would do my people a public service and share a few things that all MOMs want you to know:
- My reproductive health and family planning are none of your business. I was open with my struggle with infertility and my decision to go through in vitro fertilization. I am happy to share my story with others who may be in a similar situation. That does not mean I need to share all the details of my babies’ conception with strangers in the checkout line at Target. You wouldn’t believe how often complete strangers ask me if my children were natural. What is the proper response to that question? I also don’t need anyone to tell me that I have a boy and a girl, so I am “done.” I don’t remember you having a vote, CVS pharmacist.
- We don’t care that your sister’s neighbor’s cousin also has twins. Not to be insensitive, but I just don’t care. Twins are rare enough to cause a second look, but not so rare that I need to know about every other set that has ever been born. And don’t try to one-up me by telling me about your mailman’s granddaughter with the triplets. Just don’t.
- Boy/Girl twins are never identical. Repeat after me … “identical.” Now think about what that means. And never ask again.
- Please don’t ask me to compare them. It doesn’t matter who was born first. That one minute of life experience isn’t doing much for the older twin, trust me. Don’t ask who is smarter, or more athletic, or more artistic. Parents of multiples try really hard not to compare their children. The answer to the question is always changing anyway.
- We don’t want to be a sideshow. At least not most of the time. Every once in a while my twins are dressed in cute outfits, their hair is combed, and both are happy and well behaved. In those moments, I will admit, I enjoy the extra attention that comes with having a pair of adorable toddlers. But most of the time, I just want to get on with the business at hand. If I stop to talk to every sweet grandma who wants to chat, I will never get through the grocery store. So even if you want to say something complimentary or encouraging, keep in mind that shopping with twins is like having two ticking time bombs in your cart. Running errands or eating at restaurants are a mad dash to the finish line before someone has a meltdown. If you see a MOM out and about, she may try to avoid eye contact. We aren’t being rude. We just want to get the job done.
- Strollers, infant seats, and shopping carts are a big deal. The logistics of moving two babies around at the same time is hard. The strollers and infant seats are heavy and cumbersome. My biceps are more sculpted now than ever simply from heaving my 35-pound stroller into my van. It’s heaven once your kids can sit up in a shopping cart because you finally have room for the giant boxes of diapers and all the rolls of paper towels you go through. We rate stores based on the design and availability of double carts. Hooray for you, Publix and Sam’s. Target, you are right about so much, what the heck are you thinking with that cart design? MOMs shoot daggers at those who dare put their school-age single child in our precious double cart. Without that cart, shopping is pretty much impossible.
If you really want to help and show your support for a parent of multiples who is brave enough to go out into the big wide world, here is what you should do. Smile. Hold the door open so she can get her monstrous stroller through. Smile again, even after she runs over your foot. And never, ever take the double cart!
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