A friend of mine recently quoted Dr. Phil, "Having two children is 120 hours a week of work -- that's 40 hours per kid, plus 40 hours of working or maintaining the home." (She paraphrased.) The joke is that with twins, it's at least 3 times the work of one child (Baby A, Baby B, and logistics between them). I'm figuring it's about 120 hours of childcare alone, plus twice the laundry, cooking, and supplying two kids who wear the same size and eat the same amount.
On Wednesday of last week, Jon flew to Amsterdam, then Korea via Germany. He flew on nice planes, above Coach class all the way. So for the next week my primary responsibility was taking care of Jack and Salem at home, with Nanny Erin's help.
Now, being alone with twins for stretches up to 36 hours is in fact cause for panic, but only in retrospect. I didn't really know what I was getting into, seeing that the last time he took this trip he left for 5 days not 8, and at that time the twinfants stayed put. But this did give me the opportunity to contemplate life as a single parent of twins.
The first thing I noticed is that Jon does a boatload of housework. It took me two days to remember to bring in the mail, or take out the trash. And when both twins need attention, he can competently care for one or both for long stretches. Saturday morning, I desperately needed to restock the fridge, and managed to dash out while Erin kept the boys; I'm extremely glad I didn't have to drag both of them to any stores. Because of his height, he is better able to step over the gate holding a child than I am, so I usually penned one and opened the gate, which unfortunately just gave them more insight into how to open it. (They're working on it. I see them standing there, considering the latch, discussing options in Babel.)
What did I manage to do besides baby care? Not much.
- I lowered the boys' high chairs
- I posted to Facebook a couple of times
- I went to the store while Nanny Erin was here
- I published a couple of blogs for BOGO Baby
- I took some videos of the boys playing piano
- I played with them a lot
- I ordered necessities on the Internet
What are your options as a single parent of twins? Well, first you need help. Second you need distractions, lots of them, including some for the kids. It's best not to let the laundry pile up, nor the bottles, though being a single parent making all the decisions pushed me to encourage the boys toward sippy cups to stretch the bottles. I did notice that the laundry moved along more quickly, being 25% fewer clothes to wash. Even so, I suspect single parents of twins often sleep in their clothes.
I know I did. I call them single-mommy jammies, and I justified it by showering almost daily. Years ago, a friend told me "There will be many days you do not get a shower." I swore that wouldn't be me. But that was before we had twins, so it seems appropriate while taking care of both alone to let some things slide an extra 12 hours.
Jon's been home two days now, and the experience of taking care of twoddlers is being replaced by "Can you please get Jack/Salem off the table? How are we going to get the to stop climbing up on the table?" And he brought home lots of laundry, and has run a few loads. Thank goodness.