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On Having Twins

Twins

I used to think I didn’t want twins – especially not twin girls. I didn’t have any reason to believe I would have twins. I wasn’t even one to give a lot of thought to my future family. But I was a school-aged girl aware of school-age worries, and I imagined having twin teenaged daughters would be more difficult a thing than I cared to ever have to deal with.

Competition and comparison could be fierce, I thought. It’s tough enough between non-sibling girls. How much more of an issue would it be for twin sisters? I didn’t want to find out.

Little did I know at the time that I was slated to be one who would find out. Thankfully, my heart had changed in regards to having twins some time before I learned I was pregnant with them, and I was able to accept the surprise as nothing less than a double blessing.

I don’t know if middle school and high school will be as trying for my twin girls as I once imagined – they aren’t even five yet – but I’ve seen the competition and comparison begin already, at a much younger age than I had expected.

It’s not so much other people who compare them one to the other. It’s themselves.

Now I, who’ve long been aware of the dangers of comparison between siblings, have been careful to breed an environment for my twins – for all my kids – where they feel accepted and appreciated for exactly who they are.

And yet, even four-year-old girls have womanly tendencies: they compare themselves.

I hate the stereotypes that one must be dominant and one passive, that one will be artsy and one athletic, or whatever other dichotomies are imposed on twins by society at large. The truth is, they are two different people, and yes — they will be different. They will have different strengths and weaknesses. They will have different likes and dislikes.

But there is no need for them or anyone else to interpret the qualities and characteristics of one in terms of the other.

My job as Isabel and Elliana’s mom is to pour into them every good thing I possibly can, equipping them to accept themselves for exactly who they are – no matter who the other one is.

Who knows what adolescence will hold for these two sisters who happen to be the same age. That doesn’t matter yet. What matters now during these early and formative years is that they are being built up as self-confident individuals, secure enough in their own identities to resist the self-imposed comparisons I’ve seen creep in even at this young and tender age.

Isabel-Elliana-2013-Collage

I don’t know why I had those twin-mommy fears all those years ago. Perhaps the Lord was beginning to prepare me even then for what would one day be reality: I was to be a mother of multiples.

I tell you, I know it’s not going to be easy. Already we’ve begun navigating these difficulties in the way of activities and wardrobes and kindergarten preparation – and it takes every ounce of my motherly wisdom to make decisions that are good for both of them.

Raising daughters to be comfortable in their own skin is always going to be a challenge that girl-moms face, and it’s certainly an issue at the forefront of raising twin daughters. That scared me at one time; now it’s my responsibility and I embrace it.

I am blessed beyond words to have the honor of being a twin mommy, and I happen to think that my girls are blessed beyond measure to be twins. They will face comparisons over the years, I’m sure; but my hope is that against the backdrop of my motherly love and support, they will be equipped to confront what comes and empowered to stand up in confident assurance as the unique individuals they were created to be.

Twins-2013(2)

Are you a twin mommy, or maybe even a twin yourself? What have you learned about dealing with the competition and comparison that can so easily occur between twins?

 

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7 Responses to On Having Twins

  1. Chelsey Pederson April 3, 2014 at 12:21 am #

    Beautifully written Angela! I’ve had similar thoughts, especially when it comes to comparing one to the other. I think as a mommy of twins it’s even more important to highlight the strengths of each child, while teaching them to also appreciate their differences. I’m eager to see how Grace and Kalei’s relationship grows. Thanks for sharing!

  2. Angela Squires
    Angela Squires April 7, 2014 at 8:39 pm #

    I couldn’t agree more, Chelsey! I also think that the depth of the comparison “problem” could rest partly in the individual personalities involved. Some kids just have a self-confident nature, and those who don’t – whether a twin or not – may struggle more with feeling “good enough.” I think parents of multiples probably have a heightened awareness of that simply because we’re dealing with two (or more) kids who are on a level playing field: same age, same home life, same outside influences, and yet not the same personality.

  3. Trisha Iedema April 8, 2014 at 1:58 pm #

    I agree with your post and think it’s very important for my girls to have their own identity by exploring different things to see what interests each of them have and not necessarily what both of them have. This might be a little off topic, but my girls go everywhere together. This is mainly of course because they’re only three and are our only children. However, my husband and I would like to start taking them individually with me and one with him to spend more one on one time and to have them spend a little time apart. We’ve had a hard time doing it though. The girls are home all day with me while my husband goes to his job. Therefore, they both always want to spend time with him when given the chance and of course always want to go with him. Any suggestions on how to incorporate getting them to spend some time apart?

    • Angela Squires
      Angela Squires April 9, 2014 at 3:47 am #

      Trisha,

      We can totally relate to everything you said. We started being more intentional about the twins getting one-on-one time with Daddy (and apart from each other) when they were three, and it was hard for them to understand at first why one was getting to go and not the other. But after a couple cycles through the four kids, they started to understand that their turn was coming and that all was indeed “fair.” 🙂

      Because it’s hard to find time in the calendar for those special “Daddy dates” or “Mommy dates,” we’ve just had to get creative (and maybe a little loose with the definition). If one of us needs to run an errand, we’ll often take the next one in line along. When we meet Daddy somewhere after work and end up with both vehicles, the one whose turn it is gets to ride home in Daddy’s car. It’s a small thing that makes them feel special.

      Another thing we did this year to give the twins time apart (which we felt they needed due to the subject of this post) was to allow them to choose different activities to participate in. One chose gymnastics, the other chose dance. We also allowed them to choose to be in different groups in their AWANA program at church. Separating them in these ways has been huge for helping the comparison problem and has given them greater opportunity to be supportive of each other’s abilities and efforts. It also gives each of them something that is uniquely her own.

      I hope these ideas are helpful. Thanks so much for the comment!

      Blessings,
      Angela

      • Trisha Iedema April 9, 2014 at 4:42 am #

        They all sound like great ideas and we’ll definitely try them.

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