I have some not-so-fond memories of people giving me advice while I was pregnant. They ranged from "stop eating until your pregnancy nausea goes away" to "You and your husband can still go to the movies. Just take the kids with you in their infant carriers!" Uh...okay?
The truth is, there is a lot of really good advice out there from more experienced moms, and also a lot of advice that has absolutely nothing to do with raising multiples. I know these people are well-intentioned, but it has made me very aware of giving advice myself.
I don't know the first thing about raising singletons. In many ways, I imagine it's harder (how do you entertain a single child all day??).
On occasion, I'll get a chance to visit with one of my singleton mom friends and the topic of rearing kids will come up. We will start swapping stories about babies and their reflux or teething, or toddlers and their climbing or obedience issues, and my friend might ask me what I think about something. My first response is always, "I don't know anything about raising singletons, so what might work in my situation, won't necessarily work in yours."
1. Singleton Pregnancies
Probably my favorite example of my complete lack of knowledge in this area is the following conversation I had with a friend who was coming over to help me once a week just after our kids came home:
Friend: I'm pregnant! But don't worry, I still want to come help every week.
Me: You are?! That's awesome! I'm so excited! So every week, we will take a picture of your belly so you can see how fast you grow!
Friend: .Uh...Rebecca, normal people don't change that much week to week. If you take a photo every week, you won't see any change. Once a month photos makes more sense.
Haha! It just didn't occur to me because I had significant growth every week!
I also don't know what it's like to be pregnant for 9 months. I did 27 weeks, 6 days, and I was done. I can't imagine being pregnant for an extra three months. (Obviously, I didn't enjoy being pregnant!)
2. Healthy Newborns
So let me get this straight: You go to the hospital, have a baby, and then leave three days later with the baby? Goodness, as much as the NICU was really difficult, I had nurses who held my hand for three months and taught me how to do everything from bathe to feed to dress my babies. I also knew that they had been checked up one side and down the other which was a huge comfort.
I can't imagine walking out the doors of the hospital with my three day old baby and being left to figure it out on my own.
3. Raising Singletons of Different Ages
Yes, raising four kids the same age is hard, but I don't know any different. What I can't imagine is coordinating skill development for kids of different levels plus keeping track of the different needs of each age level. What I find even more incredible are those moms with multiples and singletons (or another set of multiples!). Whoa...
4. Working Outside the Home and Raising Kids
Seriously, I can't figure this one out. I don't work outside the home because childcare would have been three times my salary. I do work from home as a blogger and freelance writer, but it's very part-time and after the kids are in bed. How in the world do you mamas work outside the home and maintain your awesomeness in the evenings and on weekends? I honestly don't think I could do it. I think the stress alone would knock me out. Those of you who can coordinate all of that have my admiration!
5. Not Being Afraid of Germs
In my dreams, I can send my kids into a play place or gym and comfortably watch them play. Instead, whenever we go out in public, I inwardly cringe and have to talk myself down. I'm terrified of germs. Flat out, 100% terrified. If someone sneezes or coughs, I freak out. Runny noses? So scary (and I know most of the time it's teething!).
I'm aware that most of those fears come from having NICU babies, needing to scrub in to see them, use hand sanitizer whenever I touched them, and being on lockdown for two winter seasons. I've asked other multiple moms when the fear goes away....apparently it doesn't.
Singleton moms probably notice germs to some level, but probably don't obsess about it to the degree that I do. I don't know what it's like not to be afraid of germs, and I really wish I did!
Multiples mom or singleton mom...I've pretty much decided that all moms are superheroes in one way or another. We each have our own specific challenges and situations, but each of us want the best for our kids and will take down anyone who stands in our way. Moms are so courageous. That's all I have to say about that.
I call myself blessed to have both multiples moms and singleton moms among my friends. Thank you to each one of you for pouring your lives into mine, letting me learn from your situations, and laughing with me as we chat about the silly antics of our kids!
We are ONE!
6 hours ago