Missing Out on the Good Times

photo credit: ToniVC via photopin cc

photo credit: ToniVC via photopin cc

During one of my recent talks to a Moms of Multiples group, I asked the audience to help me understand why organizing alone time with each twin can be an emotional hurdle. One woman related that alone time with each twin interferes with family time, especially during the weekends when full-time working parents can spend time together with their children. Another woman shared her concerns in a delightfully humorous way. She explained that her well-intentioned, engineer-minded husband was not the most stimulating or kid-friendly babysitter! Consequently, she felt reluctant to leave one daughter at home with him because then her daughter would be missing out on fun times with Mom and her sister.

While we all agreed that the girls must have more fun with Mom, I pointed out how this mother was caught up in the twin-parenting conundrum of trying to make things fair and equal between twins. Although loving parents strive for equity for each twin, it can become quite a problem as the children venture out into the wider world beyond home to discover that oftentimes life experiences vary considerably. These fraternal twin girls will most likely find that they have different academic strengths, social skills, or athletic capabilities. Discovering and celebrating these differences will help each twin develop her own sense of self. As I told the group, I have talked to many adult twins who remain angry and upset about how their individual opportunities and successes were thwarted by an adult’s decision that twins must be treated equally. For example, one young woman told me that she was not allowed to play varsity soccer because her twin sister did not qualify, and the coach would not take one twin without the other. As parents of twins, we must educate others that we do not expect identical equity in our twins’ lives.  In fact, twins are two different people who happen to be born at the same time.

Have you experienced this parental conundrum of wanting to treat each of your twins exactly the same? Please comment below.

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  1. I was at that Moms of Multiples meeting and agree that ideally it would be nice to spend separate time with each twin. But what do you do when both children want to go with one parent and if you don’t go all together the child who is not with the wanted parent has a major tantrum/meltdown? I feel very guilty and terrible if I leave one child screaming and upset.

    • Dear Jessica,
      You did not mention the age of your children. Nevertheless, I do understand that it is quite difficult to follow
      through with alone time when the children are protesting. However, if you feel compelled to begin, it will most likely be a bit difficult at first until everyone is accustomed to the new routine. I believe it is important to think about how the children are exercising their power by not wanting to do what is asked of them. If you believe in the importance of alone time you will be
      able to tolerate the initial screaming and crying – and just like other parental precedents, the children will come to accept that this is what is expected of them. I can assure you that it is well worth the struggle in the long run. Thanks for writing.

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