Parents of twins experience the same stressors that other parents face, and then some. Here are some of the most common causes of parental stress, and some suggestions for how to address them.
Twins put an economic stress on a family, sometimes before they’re even born. The costs of prenatal care and birth for twins exceeds that for singletons. Many twins are born prematurely and require hospital stays. Once home, the cost of formula, food, clothing, diapering, etc. is double that of a single baby. As the twins grow, parents face the cost of childcare, extracurricular activities, school tuition, and other expenses.
If you’re worried about your financial situation, take some time to educate yourself. Go to the library and check out books on budgeting and saving money. Clip coupons for products you routinely buy. Look for “two for one” sales, garage sales, and thrift stores. Check out the links at the bottom of the article for some great information on budgeting.
Two screaming babies? Two tantruming toddlers? Two school-agers with bad grades? Whatever the cause of your parental stress, twins can increase it exponentially. The key to reducing your emotional stress is to take some time to get to know yourself. What are your reactions to stress? Do you fly off the handle, screaming and yelling? Do you retreat into yourself? Do you play loud music? Take a look at your usual method of stress management, and decide if it’s working for you or not. Consider building some additional “me time” into your day, even if it’s after everyone else is in bed, and plan to do something during that time that you enjoy—take a long bubble bath, write poetry, read a book, or work on a scrapbook. Reserving time for yourself can ease your stress during the day, because you know you’ve promised yourself something special for later.
There are many causes of psychological stress in parents of twins, not the least of which is post-partum depression (yes, men can get it, too!). Parents of multiples are much more likely to suffer from depression during the first year of their twins’ lives. If you notice any signs of depression, it’s important to see your doctor immediately, and to follow her recommendations for treatment. Depression isn’t a sign of weakness—it’s a disease that is very treatable.
Other sources of psychological stress include stresses involved when twins are premature, developmentally delayed, or in some other way not what a parent expects. Again, it’s important to address these stresses if they seem to be impairing a parent’s ability to enjoy his/her children. Licensed Family and Marriage Therapists are excellent resources when it comes to learning how to cope with this type of stress.
Info and Worksheets on How to Budget: http://www.moneyinstructor.com/budgeting.asp
How to Combat Parenting Stress: http://stress.about.com/od/stressmanagementtools/a/parentcare.htm
Reducing Special Needs Parenting Stress: http://www.aspergeratlanta.com/dan12.htm