As a Mom of Twins, Are You Feeling Personally Fulfilled?

If you ask any mom today, especially a mom of twins or more, if she is feeling personally fulfilled with her daily life, and she may say “absolutely”! Another may answer that she is not. Ask another mom this question the morning following a sleepless night up with sick kids, and she may tell you … to bite her. When my first set of twins were six months old, my husband Bruce and I moved away from Northern Virginia, just outside of Washington DC, where we had lived and built our careers for nine years. We relocated, for reasons that included getting out of the crazy traffic of the Capital Beltway, as well as the desire to be closer to both of our families, and found ourselves in Gainesville, Florida. This particular city became our new home because Bruce received the best employment offer from a growing architectural firm there out of the several companies where he’d sent resumes in the various areas we’d considered relocating to. Though we were now closer to our families, we were not, however, in the same towns. In fact, we were still two hours by car from my parents, and ten hours from Bruce’s family. When the boxes were unpacked and we were finally settled into our two bedroom apartment, a particular realization of loneliness, isolation and culture shock descended upon me. My former life as a wife and professional no longer existed, and not only did we leave our home, city, jobs, friends and everything else familiar to us for the previous nine years of our lives, but I was now a full-time mom of two babies, and  …. well, that now summed up my life. Keeping constantly connected to friends on a daily basis wasn’t as easy as it is today. In 1995, the internet was just developing, and Mark Zuckerberg was only 11 years old. I kept in touch with my long-distance friends and family by phone, and was grateful when Bruce came home from work in the evenings. I loved my baby girls very much, and they kept me very busy. I took them up to our apartment pool, and for stroller walks around our complex, to the grocery store, the mall, and to a nearby park where a beautiful lake surrounded by a paved strolling/jogging path was it’s center focal point. I still, however, felt separated. Although I loved my life as a mom, especially after wanting to become a mom for so long, I missed my job … my old life. I missed enjoying my lunch hour with coworkers and friends, being challenged by projects at work, and needless to say, sleeping uninterrupted each night (but that’s another topic)! I took the advice of friends who were also moms and decided to contact the local twins club there in Gainesville so I could connect with other moms of twins. I also joined the Parents of Preschoolers group at our new church. Interacting with other women who were experiencing similar circumstances, or who were just wanting to form friendships, was the key for me to no longer feel alone and isolated. One area was still lacking for me, however. By the time my girls were about 18 months old and no longer breastfeeding, I contacted the creative department head who had been my boss in the corporation I worked for up in DC. We had discussed my freelancing for her before we had moved away, and I was now ready to work again. Granted, it would only be very part-time because my hands were very full with my toddlers, but I was ready to work, if only on a very part-time basis. Once I began to propose layouts and designs again, and receive rewarding feedback, I felt my self-confidence sky rocket. I had regained my ability to contribute my skills, talents and experience back into the career that I loved and had worked hard to build. I was an exhausted, fulfilled, busy but very happy mom! The paycheck that arrived every two weeks only added to the benefits of self esteem and growing self-worth. I was, of course, needed by my husband and my children, but knowing I was also needed in a professional capacity was enormously rewarding and fulfilling.  

My advice to mom of twins who desire personal fulfillment:

1) Realize that now as a mom, your life has now forever changed … but it can be better and more fulfilling than you ever imagined! 2) Count your blessings each day (your beautiful, healthy children, your supportive husband, the baby weight slowly ncoming off) because “a thankful heart is a happy heart” (yeah, I got that from a Veggie Tales song!) 3) Become involved in activities, organizations, clubs, church, and any other enjoyable activity where friendly human interaction is central to your involvement. 5) Take good care of yourself … don’t neglect your own needs such as exercise, wellness check-ups, quiet alone time, and regular salon/spa visits. 4) Hire a babysitter on a regular basis so you and your husband can go out and place “being parents” on temporary hold, and feel like “a couple” for a few hours. 5) Re-connect with your former career, or find a new one! My best advice is to find a way to work from home so that placing your children in day care or preschool too early isn’t an added expense for you, or time away from your children. (REMEMBER: they grow up SOOOOO fast!) And so to this day, two more sets of twins later, I’ve continued to enjoy my fulfilling life as a mom of now six children in addition to being a stay-at-home, work-from-home mother. I’ve also continued my involvement in my local twin club, church-related mothers organizations and ministries … all of which have kept me busy, productive, happy and, I believe, a strong role model for my children, especially my three daughters. If you’re like me, being able to stay involved with enjoyable activities, being available and flexible to plan my days around my children’s busy schedules, AND still being able to work from home to maintain and continue to develop my professional skills (and bring in needed income) could prove to give you a very rewarding life!

Oops Moms of Twins: Your Stress Is Showing!

“I can usually tell if

someone is stressed out or not just by looking at their belly size.”

– Dr. Mehmet Oz in First for Women

 

Boy, if that’s true, than we’re a stressed-out society! Is it my imagination or does it seem like more and more people, from children to seniors, seem to be harboring excessive amounts of belly fat these days? In an excerpt from a to-the-point article posted on the awareness-building and informative blog, Always sick and Tired (Help me get healthy), popular blog writer and chronic illness sufferer herself Always Sick Chick conveys to her readers after thorough research the following:

“There are obvious ways stress affects us negatively. It can cause irritability, tiredness, loss of energy, loss of appetite or an increased appetite, make us crave unhealthy things such as sugary foods with no nutritional value, etc…  All of these come together and cause weight gain, but it’s the type of weight gain that it causes that makes it different from anything else.

When we are chronically stressed out, our bodies believe we are in peril.  We can thank evolution for this one, as the chronic stress of our ancestors was usually related to famine or extreme danger from a predator.  Such stress meant the body needed to store up fat for fuel to keep from starving or to give extra energy for the fight or flight against the predator.

Today, though, our stress is different.  We are not facing famine.  Quite the contrary, in fact.  Food is plentiful.  So whenever we are stressed, our bodies think we need food, even when we don’t.  And as we eat that double cheeseburger, our body is storing every ounce of fat in it for the famine that it thinks is approaching, or the marathon it thinks we need to run to escape that saber tooth that no longer exists.  The body does this with the help of a naturally occurring steroid produced by the body called cortisol.

You’ve no doubt seen those commercials about cortisol and how it causes stubborn belly fat. They’re selling you pills that don’t work, but their information about what causes belly fat is true according to Dr. Oz.  The cortisol makes you hungry, even when you don’t need food, because you’re stressed out.”

I found that the older I became, the harder it was for me to lose my pregnancy and post-pregnancy  weight, and I have had experience myself with stress-induced weight-gain and the inability to lose weight due to stress. It’s so frustrating, and the more stressed I am about the weight, the harder it is to take off … a truly vicious cycle.

Doctors and fitness experts agree that plain and simply: take in less than you burn, and you’ll lose weight; take in more than you burn and you’ll gain. Exercise while eating correctly will increase your metabolism and burn fat and calories while it also builds stronger muscle mass and allow you to have a more efficient metabolism. With more muscle mass, you’ll lose weight more quickly than if you only ate less or made better food choices because muscle burns calories, even while resting.

There’s some food for thought for you!

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Blessings ~

 

 

 

 

 

Moms of Twins: What Can You Do When Your Twins Become Aggressive?

One minute your precious twin toddlers are playing quietly …

… so you take the opportunity to go into the kitchen and prepare them lunch. Just after spreading peanut butter onto one slice of bread, you suddenly hear a scream, and then another! In no time, they’re both screaming, hitting, and punching each other … what happened?! You immediately notice that they are fighting over one particular toy truck. “Luckily,” you think to yourself, “we have TWO of the same toy truck!” After giving each child his own truck, and placing some distance between the two children temporarily, you proceed back to the kitchen, where you’ve left the peanut butter and jelly sandwiches half-made.

Suddenly, the ear-piercing screams erupt again! You toss your banana-slicing knife down on to the counter top and race back into the family room, only to discover that one of the boys prefers to have BOTH trucks to himself! The greedy culprit runs and taunts his brother while your empty-handed child screams and chases his toy-hoarding twin as if he’d stolen one of his limbs!

As you rush over to break them up and spare blood loss, you realize that one had actually broken the skin of the other while biting his arm … good grief! After verbally correcting both children, hoping that your stern voice and serious facial expression has made an impression, and after washing and bandaging the wounded child’s arm, you think to yourself, “What am I supposed to do? How am I supposed to handle this? Are my children abnormally, overly aggressive? How do I put an END to this behavior?

Does this sound like you?

And as we all know, this scenario can involve boys, girls and both, so no mom is immune!

Toddler aggression is very common in singleton siblings as well as twins.

If you’re experiencing this type of behavior, you are NOT alone. So, first know that. Secondly, it’s only natural for any child (or person for that matter) to a react as a result of any type of provocation. Even newborns react by screaming and flailing their arms while experiencing unpleasant stimuli. As children age, however, they learn that hitting, punching, biting, scratching, for instance, are effective methods to defend or to assert their needs, wants or express an injustice of some sort, and are all quick releases of frustration that match their feelings. It’s instinctive, reactive behavior to want to fight back as a method for getting the point across!

Professor’s House, a home, family, and children information resources website posts an article on childhood aggression which states: In the early years, the hitting is pretty benign. They do it because they don’t know exactly how to handle a problem. They hit because they have been hit or scratched or pushed by other kids along the way. They hit because they are angry. They hit because they truly don’t realize that their actions can cause any sort of real pain or damage. In these years – the appropriate parental behavior is to try and teach kids how to take the high road. Children should learn to ask for mediation from adults rather than handle situations themselves.

The article goes on to say: (Another way) to keep siblings from hitting each other is to give them other options. Remember they are angry, mad, and frustrated. Help them find their words and help them find solutions to the problem that don’t involve the strike of a hand. What works for each of your children will be different. Part of the reason not to hit for a kid has to be what will happen to them should they decide to do it anyways. However, your goal is to help your child deal with what they feel in the moment and give them ways to control it. When you notice that they do, they should be rewarded. What the real issue is is self-control. When you teach your children how to control themselves, they will be far better in the long run. This self-control may entail listening to your child throw a fit or buying them a punching bag to release their anger. They should be told time and time again that hitting can hurt people physically and emotionally until they understand this fact. Chances are your child doesn’t want to inflict injury, but just wants to get their way.

When an argument arises between your children, please consider this …

Your children must learn to work out their own disagreements. Sometimes the argument has begun over something very insignificant, and if it has occurred in the privacy of your own home, perhaps allow the children to see what solutions they can come up with on their own. I am certainly not saying that you should let them tear each other to pieces, in fact, once the fists start flying, it’s time to intervene. But, if we as parents get involved in every single altercation that our kids get themselves into, we run the risk of making the situation a lot bigger than it actually is, and we don’t allow our children to find their own way of working it out. There’s nothing wrong with verbal expression … in fact, a good shouting match (without foul language and name-calling) can go a long way in your child’s ability to stand up for himself, to defend herself, to assert himself, and to debate in a healthy, creative way even at the young age of 2 or 3!

So, the key isn’t to stop the fighting, but rather to teach the correct and civil way to disagree.

When your children begin to argue, keep in mind these 3 tips:

1) Allow them to work out the problem themselves verbally. Shouting’s okay unless the volume could wake a sleeping baby or two! Intervene when you think it’s time to suggest a solution that the children could consider and debate.

2) Intervening and making too big of a deal out of a small issue (for instance, calling a family meeting together) could drag out an otherwise “no-big-deal” situation into a much bigger problem, and may only magnify the problem and cause more stress on everyone.

3) If or when physical aggression such as hitting, biting, scratching, etc., begins, immediately intervene and correct your children by taking the item being quarreled over away (“now no one gets it!”). Speak to each child impressing upon him or her that big kids don’t try to hurt each other, … that there are much better ways to argue or to express anger, …and sit them each in time-out for a cooling off period.

 

For the complete article from Professor’s House, go to: http://goo.gl/Hl5dn.

And for a lengthy, in depth mom-forum discussion about toddler twins and aggressive behavior, visit: http://goo.gl/A9ujn.