If your first pregnancy results in twins (or higher-order multiples), life sometimes seems like a never-ending learning curve. And now that our children are a bit older, one of the more frequent questions we get from people is “Does it get any easier?”
This is one of the few questions I never feel I have an answer to.
Yes, most of the time, having four-year-old triplets is “easier” than having newborn triplets. Our sleep is much better and their constant care is no longer an intensive 24/7 ordeal.
But does it feel easier? I’m not sure.
Certainly, having all your kids in one shot has its advantages. We won’t have to revisit the diapering stage EVER again. And night-time feedings are a thing of the past.
These are stages that most parents-of-three return to, like some sort of Groundhog Day nightmare, for over a decade sometimes.
But, unlike first-time POMs, they have the advantage of learning from each kid as they go. And with every subsequent child comes a sense of confidence. And this brings a sense of calm.
Our friends with different aged children get the benefit of cutting their parenting teeth with the first child and hopefully making some improvements to their parenting style with the next one.
They have the comfort of knowing “this too shall pass” when their 3 or 4-year-old has a melt down (because the kid’s toast was buttered in the wrong direction and pattern) because they’ve been there before with an older child.
These parents definitely tend to be more chill. It’s the reason first born children are never given an un-sanitized soother, while their second or third siblings are routinely fed French fries that may or may not have fallen in the dirt.
But lately, I’ve begun to realize that Chris and I will always be first-time parents when we hit every new developmental stage with our children.
Parents of multiples face each new stage at an extreme level of intensity… two or three or four toddlers with no emotional control… two or three or four teenagers with raging hormones. All hitting at once, with no prior experience.
And this ‘growth and development’ in your children seems to creep up on you. A new challenging phase will blindside you, just when you think you might actually be getting good at this parenting thing. Ha!
In this state, a parent never seems to have the time or ability to reflect, gain perspective, or think out a strategy for moving forward. The opposite of calm.
I often joke to my family that I’m not sure Chris or I will make it out alive.
Despite the challenges, raising multiples does make you a quick study… especially in what NOT to do as a parent.
Let’s just say… when I mess up the consequences don’t take their time to appear.
Parenting is a hard gig no matter how many children you have… or their ages. For us, we forge ahead, always with our nose headed to whatever storm lies in our path.
We don’t have the benefit of experience or hindsight. But we do gain confidence at each new stage.
And I take solace in that.
It comes from looking back in the rearview and seeing how far we’ve come.
Seeing that we’ve survived… and that ultimately, we’re better parents for it.