**April is Multiple Birth Awareness Month. Multiples of America is a non-profit organization dedicated to supporting families of multiple birth children through education, research, and networking. In partnering with local support groups, health care providers, researchers, and educators, and with the highest standards of integrity, respect and professionalism, we endeavor to aid parents of multiples and to raise public awareness of the unique qualities of multiple birth families.**
When I found out that we were expecting two little surprises, one of my first thoughts was how much we would have to spend on childcare. Did you know that the average cost of childcare for an infant in Oklahoma is $7,288 annually? When you double that expense for twins, you are looking at $14, 576 a year on childcare alone. It just seemed like a terrible idea to put my children in the care of others to benefit so little financially. So, I decided to work from home around their schedule once they arrived.
I’m now self employed so I work during their nap times and on the weekends when their father is available to focus on them while I work. We all know how reliable an infants’ sleep schedule is, though. As any mom of multiples can attest, it is a herculean task to get more than one infant to stay on the same schedule. This is not the easiest adventure of my life, but I am sure every mom would agree that the first year is brutal whether you are doing this dance or not.
I juggle constantly to feel like I am getting anything accomplished, whether it is taking care of the boys, keeping our house reasonably clean, or getting business tasks accomplished. For months, I struggled with constantly feeling like no matter what I was doing at the moment, there were five other things I should be doing. I finally realized that all my multi-tasking was not getting anything done well.
So, something had to change and something had to give. I knew it wasn’t going to be my children; so, I had to figure out how to make time for my business.
Motherhood is about nothing if not about juggling priorities and learning how to be efficient. I have found a few tricks to help my focus and my sanity. Here are my handy dandy tips for those of you looking to work from home or find some balance.
1. Put the phone down. If the boys are awake and want my attention, I stop checking emails and other updates and pay attention. I used to try to multitask while snuggling my babies, but when my sons began to hit the phone out of my hand, I realized how little real attention they were getting from me. Now, the phone is put out of reach. The emails will still be there later.
2. Sleep scheduling is my best friend. For the last six months of the boys’ first year, they were mostly off schedule from each other and would not go to sleep unless I was lying down with them. I was completely unable to get anything accomplished. Now, I know there are lots of approaches to bedtime and sleep training. Find the one that works for you. For us, we just had to make the leap cold turkey. The first few nights were brutal, but now the boys fall asleep within 15 minutes of lying down in their cribs and typically sleep for around six hours at night. Amazingly, this has adjusted their little daytime schedules too.
3. Admit defeat. I will never do everything perfectly. I will do most things well enough. My house will not be perfectly cleaned if you drop by to say hi. I may still be in pajamas. It doesn’t matter. I do a load or two of laundry a day and I do dishes one time a day. Everything else gets done if there is time. I spend the boys shorter morning nap focused on housework. When they wake up, it is done. Their afternoon nap is for working on my business.
4. Prioritized to do list. The essential things to do are first on the list. I get those done and then work on the rest. If the boys wake up early, the essentials are done, and I move on to just being mommy.
5. Be flexible. You will have terrible days. The minute you have an important deadline, the babies will be teething or sick. At the end of the day, if the babies are alive and cared for and you are still reasonable sane, you win. Let go of what you did not get done and how things didn’t go as planned. You get a new chance to begin tomorrow.
The more you learn to roll with your days, the happier and more successful you will be, whether you are a mom to one infant or multiples.
Hi! My name is Hope, and I live in Moore with my 13 month old sons, Abel and Ryker. I spend my days with the boys and working as a Barefoot Books Ambassador, selling books and unique gifts for children. Find me on Facebook at www.facebook.com/hopesbarefootbooks. We love to go for walks and to the zoo. The boys love to read and play with books and get into everything. I am looking forward to the boys getting older and starting to enjoy other outings in Oklahoma City.