Happy Valentine’s Day! While this is our 11th February 14 together, it is our first as parents. So we can expect the next few years to be filled with sticky pink and red cards and footprint heart cards. We can’t wait!
We’ve never been big Valentine’s Day people. We would go to Red Robin for dinner (surrounded by kids when we didn’t have them yet? yes, we were weird) and enjoy a no-wait/non-expensive dinner out. Last year to honor Valentine’s Day, we didn’t really feel like our normal spot of being surrounded by kids (we wanted our own and weren’t having any luck), so we did some special things on the blog instead.
This year, I want to reflect on how we can focus on our marriage and raising twins. It’s not easy, but if anyone can make this work, we can. First of all (I’m a little biased), we have one of the strongest relationships I can imagine. The statistics for couples raising multiples isn’t encouraging, however, so we have to always keep an eye on our relationship-meter. Here are some things that we’ve done to focus on each other, as well as our babies during these first few months:
1. Communicate: Of course this is #1 on the list (as it should be). You have to talk to each other daily to make sure the other has a handle on the new adventure that you have started.
2. Apologize: Tim and I are both really stubborn and don’t like to give in. Still, I have swallowed my pride many times and apologized, even when I felt like I didn’t need to. You see, I just didn’t have the energy to be stubborn. And you know what? It felt good to let it go! So while I am still stubborn as an ox, I am a lot faster at giving in.
3. Laugh at the Crazy: Oh, is there a lot of Crazy up in this hiz-ouse (house). From imagining that I was breastfeeding the babies in the middle of the night while both were safe in bed to Tim talking in his sleep about his job to us waking (nightly) to think there were babies in the bed with us, we are 110% crazy. You have to laugh at it or it will get soooooooo much worse.
4. Accept the Crazy: Tim learned this lesson early on. I would have horrible mood swings during my 2nd trimester. If he just let me be an emotional wreck, I got over it in 5 minutes, and I was the most pleasant person on earth. Try to interfere, and you might need to fish an icepick out of your skull. Once you give in to the craziness both before and after baby, you will fare so much better!
5. Name Calling: Not mean name-calling, but loving names… towards your children. Now, before you think me an awful mommy and Tim an awful daddy, remember #3. Humor! We have called our babies some names (my personal favorites are Prince and Princess Poopy Pants), but we do it lovingly. An all-time best moment was when Tim just finished changing Aud’s diaper and she managed to poop again. And then he changed her. And she did it again. He called her a word that we will not use when she gets older and can repeat words. I just laughed and laughed.
6. Talk about Poop: Speaking of Princess Poopy Pants, be okay with talking about poop- specifically the color and consistency of poop. Also, be okay with talking about your own bathroom habits and post-birth issues and types of spit-ups. Nothing is off the table. Speaking of table… you will be talking about these at every meal. Get used to it. If you will be embarrassed, don’t go out in public. You will talk about poop at a fancy restaurant. Don’t say I didn’t warn you!
7. Take Time Away: You both have to be able to get away, both together and separately. Whether it is for a long, hot shower, an hour, or a night, you must get away. Do it sooner rather than later. You will appreciate each other and your babies so much more that way!
8. Call a Self Time Out: Be self-reflective, and know when to step away and ask for help. This goes back with communication. After almost 11 years together, Tim and I have gotten good at reading each other. I can tell when he needs relief, and vice versa. Whether we are able to admit it or not, the more sane one will force the other one to take a breather. 2 minutes of being “mean” and forcing the other parent away will save you from a huge meltdown or blowup later.
9. Say “I Love You,” and Say it Often: There will be times when you can’t think straight, you are mad about something (probably inconsequential but which will seem really big at the time), and plus you have spit-up in your hair/on your shirt/inside your socks, but still make sure to tell each other that you still love them. Even if you don’t quite feel the love at that moment… say it. Remember why you started on this crazy journey in the first place.