Before I had my twins, I had often heard moms say that they “lost” themselves after having their kids. They were so wrapped up in family life that they forgot about their own needs. I remember thinking with judgment, “How is that possible?” and “That will never happen to me!”
Fast forward… it happened.
I was never the girl who felt the need to always be busy or do extravagant things. Simple things made me happy. I enjoyed taking morning runs, spending time with friends and family, reading gossip/fashion magazines and binge watching Sex And The City while eating pizza.
Once I met my husband, my social life certainly picked up, but I still made time to do the things that I enjoyed. I was a big fan of “a little alone time.” It just worked for me.
When I got pregnant and found out that I was having twins, I knew that things were going to change. I didn’t realize just how much though. My babies were born, and just like that I got swept up into mommy-hood.
Days (and nights) were filled with feedings, diaper changes, laundry, bottle sterilizing and cleaning (x2). I was trying to be everything to everyone – a great mom, a great wife, a great homemaker, etc. I made sure to have everyone’s needs (there were a lot of them) met before I took care of my own. The scary part is that doing all of that felt natural to me. In my mind, that was what was expected of me. Eventually, I became exhausted and very unhappy.
What was wrong with me? Why was I so unhappy? I was lucky to have these two healthy, beautiful babies (whom I was able to stay home with) and a great husband. I should be the happiest girl ever! Something wasn’t right.
It took very little time to figure out what the cause of my unhappiness was. It was ME. I got lost in the shuffle. I was so consumed by taking care of everyone else that I forgot about me and my own happiness. When was the last time I looked at a magazine? Spoke to a friend? Went for a run? The simple things that I found joy in seemed lost and forgotten. Don’t get me wrong -I found great happiness in being a mother and a wife – but I felt like a piece of me was missing.
I needed to get back on track. Having twins was going to make it trickier to schedule “me” time, but I knew that I had to do it. I started with short runs on weekend mornings. I then added into the mix an occasional cup of coffee or quick dinner with a friend on weeknights after my husband came home. Oddly, at first, it didn’t feel as good as I expected it to. My mind was still at home. Dare I say I even felt a little… guilty? I stuck with it though, because I knew it was truly what I needed.
After a few more runs, cups of coffee and dinners, I noticed my mood lightening. I was becoming happier. I started feeling like myself again. I was enjoying being a mom and knew that part of the reason why was because I was taking better care of myself and my needs. Just a few changes made such a difference!
My twins are almost three-years-old now. As you would expect, life is crazy and hectic, but I am a happy mommy (on most days ;). Striking the balance between “mommy” time and “me” time continues to be a work in progress. Some days are harder than others. That said, I know that I’m a better mom and wife because I no longer let my own needs fall to the bottom of the list. I highly recommend it!!
Please feel free to send your twin questions to [email protected].
Jennifer Genel is a renowned twin expert and licensed social worker. She is an associate at Twin Love Concierge, USA’s Premier Twin Specialists. You can follow all of Jen’s ups, downs and everything in-between as she navigates being a parent of twins on her goingtwinsane blog. She lives in Brooklyn with her husband and twins, Jake and Rachel.
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