2020 has been, no doubt, a Christmas platter of challenges. A platter that’s been left out in the Aussie December heat for too long, perhaps. Despite all that has come before, and what still lies ahead, I hope that this holiday season gives all of our members the opportunity to relax just a little and reconnect with their loved ones, even from afar.
But every year, holiday season brings some unique challenges for those families with young multiples. For those that are lucky enough to spend time with extended family, there can be a massive juggling act involved (and that’s not just packing the car!).
Last Christmas, I had a 2 year old son, and my twin girls were 4 months old. Here’s some tips and tricks that might just help you conquer this holiday season with (most!) of your sanity intact. And for those with older multiples, I know these won’t all be relevant, but I hope they help you, even a little, with the holiday prep!
Be kind to yourself!
Whatever your approach is this year, whoever you see or don’t see, however much time you spend or don’t spend, remember to be kind to yourself. In the grand scheme of things, you might choose to maintain your routine over promising to attend multiple (pun intended!) events. And that is perfectly ok. After all, this is just one year of what will be many beautiful holiday seasons to come! If you need the space to spend with your little family, then be kind to yourself, and say no when you need to.
Traditions are great, but do what you can
There are so many beautiful traditions that families follow this time of year, and they have a very special place as children get older. But if your children are only little, try adapting them. Last year we left the girls with their Aunty and snuck out with our son to look at Christmas lights without them – it was great! He got one-on-one time with us, and we got to enjoy his little face without distractions. Stick with one or two really important things, grab a couple of cute photos if you can, and consider your job done! Remember, next year that tradition will still be there.
To host or not to host?
This is a tricky one. If you have the space, and you know your guests will respect it, hosting is great chance to keep young kids in their routine. Consider asking everyone to pitch in with the food, whack a few strings of tinsel on the table and bam! Then, you can make the most of an afternoon nap while everyone else enjoys cuddles with the bubbas. It might not be what you usually do, but perhaps this is the year to make a change, even if it’s only temporary. And if you’re travelling, consider taking a white noise machine (or download an app onto your phone) along with a monitor – it means you might be able to get some decent naps in for the kids, even away from the house & normal routine.
Find the magic in the little things
I used to get really upset that I didn’t have the time or energy to take loads of cute photos, or to dress the kids in lots of cute Christmas outfits. I used to compare the photos some of my other friends had and wonder “why can’t I do that?!”. But then, I remembered what made us special. We have multiples. Embrace the crazy. Grab a couple of pictures when you can and ask your friends and family to grab photos for you during the holidays, without you having to specifically ask. Make it a group effort, because raising multiples and capturing the special moments takes more than one (pun definitely intended)!
Pick one moment over the holiday season to breathe, to-refocus and to remember that life with multiples is a life multipled with love.
Wishing you and your family a wonderful holiday season. Don’t forget to share your photos with us on the members page or via our Facebook or Instagram @bmbanorthside
R U OK?Day is 10 September 2020. It is a national day of action to remind Australians that every day is the day to ask “Are you OK?”, if someone in your world is struggling with life’s ups and downs.
The message for R U OK?Day 2020 is “There’s more to say after R U OK?”. In what has been an incredibly challenging year on so many unprecedented levels, this year’s R U OK?Day will help Australians to reach out to their friends and loved ones and guide them through how they can start a conversation that could change, or save, a life.
If you know a multiple birth family, we encourage you to take a minute to ask them, R U OK? Multiple births are truly amazing, but they can also bring significant levels of stress and physical, emotional and financial turmoil. Parenting can be a tough gig, but juggling the responsibilities of a multiple birth can be, quite frankly, overwhelming. A multiple birth starts out as a high-risk pregnancy. The challenges from then on are not necessarily high risk, but they are still high stakes. There’s always more than one to worry about and the parents of multiples that you see are juggling that every minute, of every day.
Have a think about some of the things that might be running through the mind of a multiple birth parent:
How will I afford this? How can I afford more than one baby?! How can I afford all the extra equipment?
They were born so early. They needed so much help. I couldn’t even hold them when they were born, it broke my heart. How can I ever make up for that?
Everyone says I need to breastfeed. How can I feed them at the same time? Why isn’t this working? Should I express? How will I find the time to express, they need so much attention. I’m so tired, I can’t think straight. I cry all the time.
I can’t get out of the house. It’s too hard. There’s no point in me trying to keep friendships, I can’t even get out of the house to see them. My friends don’t understand.
My partner is struggling so badly at the moment. I don’t know how to help. I’m hurting too, but they have so much to deal with.
I can’t function at work properly, I’m so tired. I’m so scared I’m going to make a mistake, but I don’t know how to ask for help. What happens if I get fired because I’m not performing well enough? I love my kids, but I need some sleep.
Am I giving enough attention to each of them? How do they know I love them equally?
I can’t go to that event. I have 2 (or 3 or more!) toddlers, it is physically impossible for me to look after them in public by myself, I’m so scared they will run away and there’s only one of me to chase them. No one understands how stressful this is.
What’s the best way to help them through school, do we put them in the same class? What if one is doing better than the other? They keep getting compared?
How do I afford to keep doing all their favourite activities – they like different things, I can’t afford this. How else can I help them?
Their development is behind. We have so many appointments we’re just trying to keep on top of, to make sure they don’t get left behind. They are starting to realise they are different, how do I help them through this?
How do I encourage them to develop their own identity as they get older? I want them to be friends? Why don’t they like each other? Is it something I’ve done?
Why is this SO HARD?
Makes you think, right?
So what can you do to help?
Start the conversation. Listen with an open mind. Encourage action. Check in.
R U OK? Day has some amazing resources available to help you start the conversation with your loved one, and to go beyond asking R U OK? Because, after all, there’s more to say after R U OK?
Check out their website for some great tips, and let’s start talking.
Multiplying helpful news, information and resources for our members and the public.
Welcome to the new BMBAN public webpage and our brand new, shiny blog! We can’t wait to share some amazing new content with you and keep you updated with all the latest news and events happening with BMBAN.
We hope you’ll enjoy it as much as we love creating it!