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Mom of Multiples Confession:: I was afraid to leave the house

There are lots of great nicknames for trios (the Three Musketeers; Alvin and the Chipmunks; TLC; or Harry, Ron, and Hermione).  The summer we moved to Omaha was the summer I found my independence as a mom and I left the house alone with the twins.

It was the summer we became the Three Musketeers. 

Before we were the adventurous trio of mom and her twin boys, we were a fearsome foursome.  My husband and I left the house as a family unit of four, all of us moving from destination to destination as a pack. At times I would go out with my twin boys alone, but I didn’t venture far or I relied on someone waiting for me at my destination to swoop in and help.

I get it.  Moms of young children are adventuring out into their neighborhoods without a second thought.  The big difference is that as a mom of multiples your young kids are the EXACT same age. This limits the ability to have one child understand directions better or serve as a helper. A second large difference is if you are a mom of only multiples, like myself, you did not get to have a trial run to figure out the ropes of managing one child, but rather have had to figure it out as you go.  

My largest anxiety with taking twins out by myself, was my inability to watch both of them at the same time.  In the time it took me to bend over and load one into the cart, the other had scaled the pile of groceries and was hanging over the side of the shopping cart. Another stressor for me was my lack of extremities to tend to each of them. I needed the super stretch powers of Elastigirl or arms that resembled an octopus to be able to reach for an item on the shelf, push the cart, and keep a hand on the wobbly toddler. Then there was the curious and well-intentioned person who would stop me to ask impromptu questions about being a twin mom, how old they were, or if they are identical. Those interruptions left me distracted and made our trips to the store last longer.

Ready for a new adventure

We moved to Omaha when the boys were 11 months old and we were ready for a new adventure. The combination of the boys walking, the desire to explore a new city, and the boredom from unemployment, was the push I needed to find the confidence to take the boys out and about on my own.  Just the three of us.

We started with small trips to Target and the grocery store where there wasn’t much orchestration or forethought. I would park next to the cart corral, load kids into cart, shop, unload kids into car, and put away the cart. Once we nailed that routine, we moved to going to splash parks, libraries, restaurants and the zoo. These locations were full of unknowns and required me to think through every possible scenario before leaving the house.

Lessons Learned

  1. A hands free diaper bag is a must. Backpack or messenger style-it is your choice. Everything goes in the diaper bag, leave the purse at home.
  2. Crowdsource your friends for places that have shopping carts that can fit two kids (leaving the bucket of your cart free for merchandise). I know that in the Omaha area Aldi, Target, Costco, Hy-Vee, and Sam’s Club are sure bets on this type of cart.
  3. Pee before you leave the house, because there is no way you are getting a double stroller and yourself all in a bathroom stall. I learned this the hard way and had to do my business with the door wide open at the zoo.
  4. It is okay to call it quits if things aren’t going well. I’ve left a cart full of groceries at customer service when my kids were throwing a tantrum.
  5. Use your resources! Often times grocery stores give out free fruit while you shop. This has helped to satisfy my little ones while I shopped.
  6. Make friends with the other people around you. When you stroll up to the splash park, be pleasant and say hello.  If people feel like they know you, they are more apt to offer an extra hand, or alert you when your kid makes a mad dash.

What have you found helpful in having a successful solo adventure with the kids?

 

5 Responses to Mom of Multiples Confession:: I was afraid to leave the house

  1. Jen Rosen June 27, 2017 at 11:42 am #

    Oh Becka! How well I remember the toddler phase. I don’t have multiples, but my two youngest are only 14 months apart and sometimes it felt like I had twins. I would even have people ask if they were twins once my youngest son was out of the infant stage.
    I have twice left grocery carts to the customer service desk with profuse apologies because I didn’t want to subject other shoppers to my kids’ sudden bad behavior. It happens, we are human and so are our kids.
    One thing I found helpful was too keep a diaper bag in the mommobile with extra sets of everything. I would carry into the store minimal necessities (often in a small backpack) knowing the car was a short trip to the parking lot. This of course doesn’t work so well at the zoo and museums, but for grocery trips, it left more of the cart free for items I needed to buy.

    • Becka DeLaPorte June 29, 2017 at 10:08 am #

      Jen, I echo the ‘quick bag’ left in the car. I learned very quickly that it was easier to keep an emergency small bag (almost like a makeup bag) in the glove compartment with a few of the necessities that I could grab and go. Now that we are working on potty training I feel like we are back to a large bag with extra underwear and clothes. Makes me feel like a new mom again. I am sure this time is short lived but it feels like we went backwards. Thanks for the support!

  2. Megan June 27, 2017 at 10:49 pm #

    I like your analogy of an octopus with how many hands a mom or caregiver of small children really does need. As a mom of multiples you then need double that! Stick with it! Loved your picture of your son on top of the grocery cart – such a true occurrence!

    • Becka DeLaPorte June 29, 2017 at 10:10 am #

      Parenting is unlike anything I have ever experienced and then have two at the same time-wow! Talk about ‘fake it till you make it.’ Hang in there fellow twin momma. I support you. Twin mom’s unite!

  3. Tessa Anne Adams June 28, 2017 at 4:25 pm #

    I can totally relate to the toddler years. I have often been caught leaving stores while apologizing with my eyes for my kids’ behavior. LOL. Great post!