“If you wanna make God laugh, tell Him your plans.”
I, like many moms out there, tend to be a planner by nature. We are most at peace knowing what is coming next. Our planners are filled with “to-do lists” and events and adventures related to kids, work, and our own social lives (and let’s be honest, since having kids this category has collected dust). I knew when I went away to college I had to find a nice boy to settle down with if I was going to get married and have my first kid by 24.
My plan was so precise and detailed, I felt like I was in control. But boy, was I wrong.
After a long road to baby #1 which included a fertility doctor who explained to my husband and I that we would not be able to conceive a baby naturally, we were nothing short of shocked, confused and panicked when we found out we were pregnant just three months after giving birth to our first child.
For the next nine months we scoured the internet for books, blogs, or checklists to prepare us for raising our “Irish Twins” (siblings who are 12 months or less apart). Unfortunately, we didn’t find many resources, and most of what we found painted a pretty bleak outlook for our first year as a family of four.
Although these close births are fairly uncommon, I want to share what did work and give a few tips and tricks on how to survive the first year with your Irish Twins. And for those of you who were better planners than myself, feel free to read along and keep these ideas in your back pocket in case God decides to laugh at your plans, too. 🙂
It takes an army.
I cannot stress this enough. Raising Irish Twins take a lot of energy! The first six months we leaned on our families and friends for help and guidance constantly. That’s not to say we didn’t take time to try to figure out our new situation on our own, but we are incredibly lucky to have both sets of grandparents nearby who would duel it out to spend time with their grandkids!
If you find yourself far away from family, start surrounding yourself with a strong “mom tribe.” Join a “mommy and me” group in town, team up with a few wonderful women and start a bible study, or start consolidating so your mom can move in with you (I’d like to say I’m kidding, but I would have given up my master bedroom in those first few months if my mom and mother-in-law could have just moved in 🙂 ).
Accept the help when it is offered in any form. When a meal is offered, take it. A friend offers to come over for an hour so you can nap, get those comfy jammies on and get some shut eye! When your husband comes home from work and offers to watch the kids so you can get out of the house, change into your “going out leggings” and hit the aisles of Target with a HOT coffee in your hand! However help is offered, do not feel ashamed to take it!
Get your “baby wear” on!
Research and invest in a quality baby wearing option — because that little munchkin is gonna want to be held all the time and your toddler will be getting into EVERYTHING! Seriously though, you will find yourself with at least one child strapped to you at all times. But these systems are incredible because you can stay hands free and get so much done around the house, or you know, just survive the day 🙂 . I have had great luck with my Boba Wrap, and Lillebaby carrier, but have also heard great things about Tulas and Moby wraps! Do your research, try some on, and save up for the one you really want. You will spend more time with it than your partner most days (LOL)!
You will sleep again!
The most discouraging thing I read before welcoming my Irish Twins was “YOU WILL NEVER SLEEP AGAIN!” And I will admit, in the beginning sleep is hard to come by, but it is just a phase. Keep your expectations low and form short term goals. Establish a bedtime routine as early as possible — even if it feels silly at first, babies pick up routines so quickly! And remember that the constant eating and short cat naps are all just a phase. You will be surprised at how quickly sleep does return to you! And trust me, after two years of relatively little sleep, you will be so grateful for those first few full nights of sleep! 🙂
It’s the best thing you never planned on!
I will never forget laying on the operating table for my C-section still doubting if I was ready for number two. How could I love another baby when I still had a baby at home? Guilt swept over me for not being sure if I wanted number two. I can’t explain how it happened, but when I heard that baby cry, and when they placed him on my chest, he had my whole heart just like everyone said he would. He was everything I never knew I needed. And I had more than enough love to spread among my Irish Twins.