When you're growing up, getting to know yourself — your likes and dislikes, interests and talents, is your job, and it's not always an easy one.
When you're growing up, getting to know yourself — your likes and dislikes, interests and talents, is your job, and it's not always an easy one. Moms of twins may appreciate this about their children even more than the rest of us. On the theory that the unique challenges posed by raising twins or multiples develops some special wisdom, I've gathered tips from Circle of Moms members who have twins or multiples on handling four common sticky situations. Whether you have same-sex or close-in-age siblings, a big family, or simply are parenting under the constraints of a busy, budget-conscious life, their advice on everything from shared after school activities and friendships to how to dress your kids is likely to he helpful to your family as well!
On the Necessity of Shared After School Activities
In spite of the desire to let each child discover and explore separate interests in extracurricular activities, moms of multiples say that parents have to do what keeps them sane rather than what fosters individuality in kids. That’s one of the reasons mom of twins Sherri C. sticks to a “one activity per season” per child rule. She says not only is it too expensive to do otherwise, but that she simply can't be in multiple places at the same time to chauffeur and chaperone.
Janet G. feels the same way, and solved the logistics problem by coaching her twins’ soccer and T-ball teams. That way her twins were able to participate in after school activities, but also had to be in the same place at the same time, which made it manageable for her.
And Juanita E. says that while she certainly believes twins are individuals, unique from one another, the only way for a parent to manage children's participation in many different activities is to set up some kind of a system to keep track of schedules and to get help with all the drop-offs and pickups.
On Shared Friends and Birthday Parties
When it comes to twins, Circle of Moms member Nete N. thinks it’s rude not to invite both of them, and indeed, Sara B. reports that the first time only one of her twins was invited to a birthday party was a struggle. She debated whether or not she should ask the mom to invite her other twin, but decided against it, as she thought her girls needed to learn how to deal with having different friends.
Siblings who are not twins also sometimes have to deal with the exclusion of one of them from a mutual friend's birthday party. Siblings close in age often share friends, and even if they don’t, some parents expect birthday party invitations to be package deals, especially when kids are very young.
Not all moms agree. Whether you’re talking about twins or not, Becky F. thinks it’s simple: "If the invitation is only addressed to one of my children, then only that child goes."
On Matching Outfits
Like Sherri C., who loves seeing her two oldest (non-twin) boys dressed alike in family pictures, many moms are sometimes tempted to dress their kids in similar clothing, whether to keep things simple or to sit for a polished family picture.
Moms of twins who fall into this camp say that dressing your kids alike when they’re younger is not only cute, but can also help you keep track of them in public places. On the other hand, many feel that there's a built-in expiration date for matching outfits: as kids get older it's likely to hamper their independence. And Megan S. takes a harder line, saying she never dresses her twins alike. “They are two different people and should be treated as such,” she says.
Alicia D., who has twins, suggests a compromise for youg siblings: similar outfits with different prints.
Image Source: Joe Goldberg via Flickr/Creative Commons
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