As moms of multiples, we need to cut ourselves some slack. And this isn't even as much about making time for self-care as it is just being nice to ourselves in our thoughts, actions, and words.
My twins are 16 months old, and I am currently 16 weeks pregnant with another set of twins (feeling ALL the feels!). It only recently dawned on me that most days I wake up with negative self talk in my head, running through all the things I didn't finish yesterday, and the impossible list of things that need to get done today. Not the best start to a day -- feeling defeated and overwhelmed before I've even begun.
So I've started trying to run through some positive affirmations about myself at the start of each day. Coupled with prayer and reading the Bible, this helps to set some semblance of calm before the busyness of the day commences when the twinadoes awake.
But why do us MoMs have such a hard time giving ourselves grace? I imagine this applies to all moms, but when you have multiples, it feels like the situations are amplified. I find that I so often compare myself to singleton moms (which I know I shouldn't but still do anyway...) and the waves of self-judgement start rolling in. "She's lost all her baby weight so quickly, and I still haven't after all this time."She took her baby out to such fun places, and we were just staying at home trying to survive." "How can that mom look so put together, and I can't even remember if I put on deodorant today?"
That's why I am so incredibly grateful for FWMoM! Even then, we shouldn't compare ourselves to others, but it certainly helps to see that our definition of "normal" is different from moms who have never experienced the joys of multiples... and to know and learn from MoMs with older multiples who have already walked the road we're walking, and have lived to tell the tale!
I always used to tell expecting MoMs that the best advice I had for them was to lower your standards or expectations -- whether it's expectations of what you're capable of, standards of tidiness around the house, you name it. Just making it through the day, whether you work or stay at home, and you have managed to keep multiple little ones alive and healthy (with or without help) is a win!
But now I would add, "Be kind to yourself." Life can be hard... Caring for multiples IS hard. But you are divinely equipped for this. God has seen that in you. You just need to see it in yourself. And celebrate all that you were created to be.
Author: Koula Budler has 16 month old twins, William and Emma. She works part time from home, creating content for an ad agency, and freelances as a writer and social media content developer for several clients. She is also the publicist for Fort Worth Mothers of Multiples.
I bought my double stroller pretty early in my twin pregnancy, around twelve weeks. I remember it very clearly because a friend of mine spotted it at a garage sale and texted to tell me I needed to go buy it right now. I was on a work retreat and wasn’t able to snag it at that moment, so I went to the seller’s house later that day, knocked on the door and awkwardly asked if she still had it. It was there, waiting for me: a Bumbleride Indie Twin, green, in excellent condition and priced at a quarter of what I would have paid in the store.
Fast forward six months. The twins had arrived! They were tiny and cute and never slept at the same time. They demanded so much from us. I was delirious. I was scared to take them anywhere, terrified they would scream at me in tandem, needing to be fed or changed or held or something I couldn’t figure out. So, at far younger than the stroller manual recommended, I strapped the babies in the stroller and started walking. We walked, then we walked some more. A lap around the neighborhood in the morning. Then another one in the afternoon. Then after dinner, a walk before bedtime. The stroller walk became my retreat.
Eventually the personal escape of the stroller walk turned into my social outlet. The lap around the neighborhood ended with playtime at the park. I began to meet other moms from the neighborhood. I texted my friend Michelle, a neighbor and fellow twin mom I met through Fort Worth Mothers of Multiples, and we walked together. I met another neighbor, Judy, just out in the street one day as she was going to visit a friend. A few days later, she spotted my green double stroller; we began to talk and set up the first of many playdates for my girls and her granddaughter.
We left evidence of our stroller walks all around the neighborhood. As the girls got older and more independent, they required a whole slew of items just for a short walk - breakfast, snack, sippy cup, another snack, toy, book, pacifier, many of which were thrown overboard during the course of the walk. In turn, my walks sometimes doubled in length as I traced my steps in an attempt to recover the lost items (pro tip: if your soothie pacifier gets run over by a car, just run it through a dishwasher cycle and it’s as good as new). As I got to know more neighbors, I would even receive texts letting me know they had found our little dolly on the ground a couple streets over, usually covered in tire tracks by the time I got to it.
I have worn the wheels off my stroller several times, once pushing it over a mile with a deflated back tire (pro tip: don’t do that). It’s had entire cups of coffee spilled on it, been disassembled, soaked, scrubbed and reassembled. It’s been unintentionally pushed down a hill with the brake on, then had the brake replaced. It’s been to the zoo, Sundance Square, trick-or-treating, an Aggie football game (whoop!), a scavenger hunt with some twin friends. It’s been flipped over by two standing twins. It’s had the snack trays’ stitching torn and then reinforced with the help of grandma’s sewing machine. The stroller has been my steady source of escape for the last 4+ years.
My girls are now almost five, and our stroller walks still happen, though not as frequently as they used to. The twins’ feet now hang past the footrests, and they often ask mommy to go faster and get to the park already. They prefer to ride their bikes sometimes, or to push their baby doll strollers instead. But as long as I can convince them, I’ll keep taking them on stroller walks. And when anyone asks me for the must-have item for twins, my answer will always be: a good double stroller.
Author: Tyler Wright is mom to four-year-old twins Audrey and Juliette. She is a CPA, yoga instructor, Moms Group Coordinator and Public School Liaison for her neighborhood association, and Webmaster and Newsletter Editor for Fort Worth Mothers of Multiples.
Yes, you read that right. Worry and fear are sisters. Identical twin sisters likely, or fraternal twins that look so much alike even family members can’t always tell them apart. They act similar, make messes together, and sometimes even dress alike to make them even harder to tell apart. There is one distinguishing feature between worry and fear, though: one has a deceitful smile, creeps in quicker to our heart, and stays around longer while the other is a little terror -- loud clamoring dread, and ruining even the greatest of experiences. Both sour our mind, distort our thinking, sap our energy and lead us to dark places and poor decisions. Yet worry is the one we tolerate or consider even noble to hold hands with as mothers. She makes us feel like perhaps we are getting something accomplished. Meanwhile, everything she says is all a lie. She fools us, she traps us, and her unattractive nature is a face only a mother could love... and so often we do!
Of course I'm not talking about any actual little people (don’t be tempted to put your kids’ names in here, lol), but of fear and worry. I’m usually pretty good with identifying fear when it comes up inside me, and over the years I’ve become better at overcoming it. Worry, on the other hand, can get me.
We moved over the summer, which was a significant adjustment, as well as a tax on my marriage, finances, and children. The moving prep time happened to be when preschool enrollment opened throughout the city, and we planned to enroll our twins. I had no energy to put into researching or visiting schools, so I let the search slip to the back burner. We successfully moved, and nobody lost their life (thankfully, although it was close), finances settled down, and my children explored our new home with excitement.
That’s when she got me. She took my hand and held on tight. I began to worry about what we were going to do about preschool. I called and emailed a few places -- anxiously waiting for responses, only to realize after days, most were out for the summer. I reached out to the free public PreK and they were so full, but offered me the waiting list. My boys were CLEARLY ready for a chance to grow, and I was CLEARLY ready for them to go off to preschool. The weeks rolled by, and day after day was filled with consuming thoughts about how we were going to find a school for them. Sure I prayed about it, but I didn’t truly give it over to God. I wouldn’t open my hand to Him, because I was holding the hand of worry. She wouldn't let go, either. School was starting for my older son, and I had found nothing.
Had you asked me if I was fearful about it, I would have said “No, it will be fine... We will find one.” But on the inside, that sinister, ugly worry had a tight grip. Just like twins, wherever worry is, fear is right there, too. Fear and worry come from the same place. Along with the entire family of anxiety, dread, horror, terror, disdain, panic, agitation, and distress... But just like fear, we can overcome worry with love. Do you remember from last month: “Love turns fear out at the door and expels every trace of terror (1 John 4:18)”?
The word worry is a translation of a phrase from the Greek meaning: “to be thoughtful,” considering or striving after. Worrying is thinking over and over something, allowing it to consume every thought. It’s replaying a situation in our minds; it’s feeling dread over tomorrow or that upcoming appointment. As mothers, we often misinterpret worry as caring about someone. “I’m just worried about...” and you fill in the blank. Being full of care is a symptom of worry, which is exactly where I was with the preschool search.
So, let’s get down to it. How then do we overcome, and let go of the pesky hand of worry? SO GLAD YOU ASKED!
The battle in our minds over worry starts with calling it what it is. Worry is fear. Once we come to recognize it for what it is -- an ugly deception of fear -- we can overcome it. Our culture in America says that worry is a good thing. The truth is, worry gets you nowhere! Luke 12:25-26 says it best: “Does worry add anything to your life? Can it add one more year, or even one day? So, if worrying adds nothing, but actually subtracts from your life, why would you worry about God’s care of you?” Worry steals from you. It is not noble or good of you as a mother to obsess about anything. When you hear it in others, and in yourself, recognize it for what it is and call it out!
Once you admit that fear is there, then you can deal with it the right way. Whether you know Jesus as your savior or as a historical man, His recorded words are full of wisdom in this area. Let me share His thoughts here, because this is what jerked the slack out of me and helped me identify and get beyond the fear of not finding a preschool for my twins. Jesus was talking to people, some of which were probably mothers, and just like us, they dealt with everyday worries. I often wonder if there were mothers of multiples there in the crowd...
“This is why I tell you to never be worried about your life, for all that you need will be provided, such as food, water, clothing—everything your body needs. Isn’t there more to your life than a meal? Isn’t your body more than clothing? “Look at all the birds—do you think they worry about their existence? They don’t plant or reap or store up food, yet your heavenly Father provides them each with food. Aren’t you much more valuable to your Father than they? So, which one of you by worrying could add anything to your life? And why would you worry about your clothing? Look at all the beautiful flowers of the field. They don’t work or toil, and yet not even Solomon in all his splendor was robed in beauty more than one of these! So if God has clothed the meadow with hay, which is here for such a short time and then dried up and burned, won’t he provide for you the clothes you need—even though you live with such little faith?"
Hang on. I want to pause here a minute in the narrative and say, He is not saying don’t ever think about any of the natural things. We must have clothing, and prepare food... that is life. Sometimes that’s the majority of our lives on the daily! What He is saying is we do not have to be consumed with thinking about and worrying over them. His bigger point is not the things in front of us, it’s what is going on in our mind, and who we are holding hands with -- fear or love. Ok, back to the story...
“So then, forsake your worries! Why would you say, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear?’ Doesn’t your heavenly Father already know the things your bodies require? So above all, constantly chase after the realm of God’s kingdom and the righteousness that proceeds from him. Then all these less important things will be given to you abundantly. Refuse to worry about tomorrow, but deal with each challenge that comes your way, one day at a time. Tomorrow will take care of itself.”
And there's the kicker at the end! When we refuse to worry, we stop fear in its tracks and kick it out of our minds! I like the word "rebuke", because it’s the opposite of worry. What rebuke means is to “give no thought.” When fear comes into your mind, you can refuse and rebuke it by not paying attention to it. It starts with recognizing the fear in the worry, and then rebuking it by not giving it any of your time and attention. He gave us a practical plan on what to think about instead. In the scriptures above He said, think about His Kingdom and all that proceeds from it. Ladies, that’s where the goodness is at!
To wrap up, we did find a preschool in the ninth hour. Once I relaxed about it, I could clearly see my hands were tied to fear and I was able to let it go. Bye Felicia! You momma, can do the same thing with all that concerns you! Tell those ugly twins of fear and worry that your house and heart are too full of your own multiples to give them any time!
Author: Tonya Flowers is the mother of 3 boys: Lucas who’s a 3rd grader, and 3 year old twin boys, Wyatt and Timothy. She is a nurse part time, a minister at her church, and serves FWMOM as our Chaplain.
As little girls, many of us played with baby dolls. We fed them, rocked them, bathed them, dressed them, and fully embraced the responsibilities of "mommying". Becoming a mommy someday was amongst our biggest hopes and dreams.
Despite those dreams and plans, many of us realized that becoming a mommy was exceptionally difficult, painfully heart-wrenching, and didn't "just happen" like we expected. It was a long road, filled with doctor appointments, ongoing fertility treatments, tears, prayers and heartache. Fortunately, it's not a hopeless endeavor and help is available.
I'm so thrilled that the Fort Worth Mothers of Multiples (FWMoM) is sponsored by a fertility clinic that has TRULY changed the lives of so many of our members. Dr. Kaufmann at Fort Worth Fertility has given us the children and the families we desired, and has literally made our dreams come true. What an amazing gift to the families, and an amazing gift to FWMoM that we are sponsored at the PLATINUM level by such an incredible group of medical experts. They provide outstanding medical care in addition to support and love to each and every hopeful mama that walks through the door. We are incredibly grateful for their partnership with our organization.
Thanks to Dr Kaufmann and staff, FWMoM member, Laura Hickman, is now a twin mama. Her story is shared below:
Dr. Kaufmann and Fort Worth fertility forever changed our lives. They were one of the most important pieces in our path to becoming parents.
My husband and I met Dr. Kaufmann in January of 2018. After years of infertility we though of him as one last "Hail Mary." He was just another fertility doctor among a long list we had met but to no avail. However, Dr. Kaufmann and his staff turned out to be different. They cared about our having a family as much as we did. It was very refreshing. For the first time, we had real hope for children.
Dr. Kaufmann is very straightforward. Although he will tell you "the numbers," he will also be with you as long as you want to keep going. I believe that Dr. Kaufmann and his staff are the best people to have on your team. They truly invest themselves in every patient. They will celebrate with you and grieve with you. It's just the level of care you get with Fort Worth Fertility. Fortunately for us, it was a celebration. We went from a married couple to a family of four when we welcomed our twin daughters in early December of the same year.
We will always be grateful to Dr. Kaufmann and his team. They helped us to become parents and forever changed our world. I firmly believe that we would not have our girls without their help.
Congratulations to the Hickman family! We are thrilled to know your story and so many others like it thanks to FORT WORTH FERTILITY.
Author: Beth Wangerin is a mom to a 4 year old boy (Drew) and 2.5 year old twin girls (Audrey & Alyssa). She currently serves as the VP of Sponsorship & Fundraising for Fort Worth Mothers of Multiples.
As our previous year came to a close and as our new year began, I wanted to choose a fitting theme for the FWMoM end-of-year banquet. The right theme would speak to both the previous year as well as the coming year, and as such would need to symbolize both endings and beginnings. What better symbol than keys?!
Keys are symbols of opening and closing. In itself, a key is a tool that can be used to lock or unlock something of value (because if it didn’t have value, why bother locking it away?). In the right person’s hands, a key can be a valuable resource. When presented with a key, you are essentially receiving and accepting a new opportunity.
Our newly-installed executive board members for 2019-2020 were presented with “keys” to success in their positions this year. These volunteers work hard to further the *mission of the organization. Our mission gives us direction, and within that mission are core values. I presented these values as keys to the different positions as follows:
President: organization, delegation, and professionalism.
1st Vice President in charge of Membership: friendliness, responsiveness, and enthusiasm.
Programs: preparation, collaboration, and creativity.
Social: an outgoing personality, hospitality, and inclusiveness.
Secretary: attention to detail, accuracy, and timeliness.
Treasurer:efficiency, precision, and promptness.
Fundraising & Sponsorship: cooperation, persistence, and fellowship.
Parliamentarian: expertise, instructiveness, and adherence.
Special Events: reliability, confidence, and innovativeness.
In addition to the keys for board members, there are keys to success for all members of an organization. Especially for new members, I believe it is important to receive direction from more experienced members, specifically on how to get the most out of your experience. I was able to put together the following “FWMOM” keys to success to fulfill that purpose:
“F” is for... Fellowship: Make the most of your membership by attending meetings, socials, and playdates. Get involved and get to know your fellow MoMs.
“W” is for... Work together: Volunteer for a committee, take part in community service
projects, or deliver a meal to a new MoM. Join in the fun and the mission of FWMoM.
“M” is for... a “Me, too” attitude: So many times we can feel like we are alone in our struggles, but the truth is that many of us have shared experiences. Rather than judgement, you will find understanding in this tribe.
“O” is for... Own it: This organization’s success is dependent on its members. If you have an idea, share it. If you want to make a change, start it. FWMoM is what we make it, so let’s make it great!
“M” is for...Make time: You get what you give. If you put your time and effort into getting involved, you will get a lot out of it and form amazing relationships. Invest in yourself and invest in others.
I am so excited to see where this year takes us, and I have high hopes for the future of FWMoM. I am honored to be your president this year, and am grateful to serve alongside so many other amazing board members. We recognize that our accomplishments are not to the credit of any one individual, but rather to the group as a whole. Just as each board member has their own specific tasks to accomplish throughout the year, we all have our own Keys to success within the organization. When we choose to unlock that potential, there’s no limit to what we can achieve! Therefore, I hope each of you will join us in “opening the door” to another successful year.
*The Mission of FWMoM is to enhance the understanding of the unique experience of raising multiples through the exchange of information and engaging with the wider community through fellowship and service opportunities.
Author: Ashley Hughes is a twin mom to 4 year olds, James and Timothy. She is a wife, baker, artist, and the President of Fort Worth Mothers of Multiples.
“Alone we can do so little, together we can do so much.” - Helen Keller
What does serving others mean to you?
This valuable question is one that we as adults can address in our own lives without thinking twice. It might be an area that we haven’t honed in on in some time, or one that we frankly need to cut back, but nonetheless we know the answer.
Consider this… would your children know how to answer this question for themselves? What does serving others mean to them?
This summer, FWMoM tackled this head-on and created a one week program that focused on the many aspects of community service. FWMoM KIDS: Kindness In Dedicated Service camp was developed for children ages 3 years and older to teach the many aspects of service to our Fort Worth community.
Day 1: Bethesda Gardens Memory Care
Our campers were greeted at Bethesda Gardens Memory Care Center with open arms to spend time with a special group of older adults who don’t always have a chance to be surrounded by the sweet sounds of little children. Some of the residents have lost the ability to communicate, many the ability to walk, but none of them have lost the love and admiration for the innocence and freedom of being a child. For our time at Bethesda Gardens, the children sat at tables with the seniors, and together they decorated brown bags with colorful and encouraging messages for the recipients of Meals on Wheels throughout Tarrant County. We finished our day with a sack lunch in the 50’s Dining Room with... you guessed it… a real jukebox!
Day 2: Meals on Wheels of Tarrant County
Our campers were so proud to take their decorated brown bags to donate to Meals on Wheels of Tarrant County, and learn of the organization’s important service in delivering meals to our most vulnerable citizens of Fort Worth. Campers were taken on a facility tour where they viewed the industrial size kitchen where meals are made and packed. They also saw the vans that deliver meals to distribution centers, and even the storage unit where they keep food and treats for the dogs and cats of these homebound citizens. Did you know that Meals on Wheels serves over 3,500 meals per day? Our campers learned so much!
Day 3: Fort Worth Aviation Museum
What an honor it was for our campers to spend the day with true heroes -- the service members at the Fort Worth Aviation Museum. These men and women taught our children about our majestic American flag and the importance of the Pledge of Allegiance. The education did not end there. We were taken on a guided tour throughout the field of airplanes and helicopters, where they allowed the kids to touch and climb inside the aircrafts, sit at the flight simulators, all the while learning about the sacrifice of being a service member.
Day 4: Fort Worth Fire Department – Station 8
This day offered our campers a window into yet another aspect of serving the community. The dedicated men of the Fort Worth Fire Department Station 8 educated our children on fire safety and prevention, fire suits, and what was undoubtably the campers’ favorite part… the fire hoses! After the fire fighters gave each of the children their very own fire hat and badge, they even had a chance to spray the parking lot with water directly from that big red engine.
Day 5: Benbrook Stables
The final day of camp this summer was our End of Camp Celebration, which was hosted at the Benbrook Stables. The families got a private walking tour through the stables to see the horses, ponies, and donkeys. The campers learned that not only is it important to serve the citizens of the Fort Worth community, but to take care of and serve the animal citizens as well. The day ended with a trivia game to recap all of the facts that campers had learned throughout the week about community services. The campers also each received a sweet treat, and a certificate signifying all of the work and learning that they had participated in that week.
It was a fun-filled week and the campers learned so much. One thing is for sure: we moms feel more secure in how our “campers” would answer the original question…What does serving others mean to you?
The launch of Fort Worth KIDS camp was a huge success this summer, and there are already plans in the works for two sessions next summer. If you are the mother of twins, triplets, or more and want more information on Fort Worth Mothers of Multiples and this exceptional camp that it offered to its members, please go to fwmom.org for more information.
Author: Janae Huffman is a twin mom to 5 year olds, Audrey and Eleanor. She is a part time Occupational Therapist and the VP Special Events for Fort Worth Mothers of Multiples.
Having 34-week gestational twins had been fairly smooth sailing for us. The first two weeks had been spent in the NICU, but we were so thankful we had healthy little boys to take home and love. Life continued to move forward with the similar struggles we all face with multiples: schedules, bottle brigades, sleepless nights, trying to leave the house for any reason... but overall life was moving right along. We were keeping these active little guys healthy and happy, and I felt confident in their growth.
We had reached the boys’ 3-year-old well child checkup and all seemed normal, ya know... Preventing the exam room from being torn to shreds, keeping the medical supplies from being destroyed, eating through all the snacks in our bag to pass the time -- just a normal day with two toddlers! There I was in the pediatrician's office, smiling at the two wonders sitting on the exam table together with their dinosaurs, when a few simple words invoked unexpected fear. “I can clearly hear some speech delays,” our doctor said.
Fear. My confidence soon melted away as a thousand thoughts ran through my head at once. What? Wasn’t it normal for them to mispronounce words at barely 3? Why? Why hadn’t I picked up on “delays?” How? How had I missed something so important to the development of my babies? Was I still adequate as a mother and had I let them down somehow? Fear.
Worry. Anxiety. Dread. Confusion. The emotions piled on all at once as I kept the smile plastered on my face and listened intently for direction, insight, anything that would help me process and create a plan. For those who know me well, planning, being on top of things, and ahead of the game is where I like to live. This unexpected news pulled me back, back into a place of fear and the unknown, without a plan on how to move forward.
This experience is common to almost all moms. Not the speech issues, but fear. Fear is sneaky, it comes upon us when we least expect it. It comes in many forms... some which we can clearly identify like the fear of spiders, the dark, and others not as obvious like worries about the future of our kids' well-being.
What I want to unpack in our series of a Fearless Lifestyle is how we overcome fear, for good. Not just manage it, tolerate it, or control it, but truly obliterate it!
It is possible to live a life in which fear does not dominate you. Fear is a thief and a liar. Fear places a cloud over your eyes, so the future is hazy and difficult to navigate. Fear comes to steal your confidence, to take you off course, to lead you to make irrational decisions. Fear compromises your ability to think clearly, and causes missteps that can produce fateful consequences in your life, and the life of your family. There is an answer, a powerful one, and it is LOVE.
The opposite of fear is love. When we choose to place our trust in the God who loves us unconditionally, fear flees. You see my friends, God is Love, He doesn’t just have love to give, or display the attribute of love, HE IS LOVE. Psalms 23 reminds us of this truth. Verse 2 says, “He offers a resting place for me in His luxurious love...” which leads to verse 4: “Lord, even when your path takes me through the valley of the deepest darkness, fear will never conquer me, for you (LOVE) already have!” There is no fear in love, so when I feel fear creep up and fill my mind, I know it’s not coming from my God... who is Love.
When the sting of the doctor’s insight had settled, and nap time had commenced, I began searching for answers and created a plan of attack for speech therapy. I didn’t get very far because I was distracted by my own thoughts. Would my twins ever talk right? Would they develop a speech impediment? Would low self-esteem grow, and would they ever be able to get a good job? Did we have the money to pay for speech therapy…? My mind raced. I began to pray, which I admit I should have done at first, and once I did this scripture dropped into my heart: 1 John 4:18 “There is no fear in love [dread does not exist], but full-grown (complete, perfect) love turns fear out of the doors and expels every trace of terror!”
I had my answer, perhaps not for what my next action was for my boys, but my next move was towards Love... and the fear melted away.
As our year continues in Fort Worth Mothers of Multiples, we will take time at each meeting to unpack what this truly means and discover together how to overcome fear every single time. I promise, my friends, that you can live a fearless lifestyle, overflowing with a love so powerful that fear stands no chance. I am looking forward to walking out this journey with you!
Fort Worth Mothers of Multiples
P.O. Box 123874
Fort Worth, Texas 76121
Fort Worth Mothers of Multiples is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization.