What NOT to say to mom of twins

Twin babies are irresistible. Here's Sydney Cohen in purple, Alexandria Cohen in pink.
Twin babies are irresistible. Here's Sydney Cohen in purple, Alexandria Cohen in pink.

I didn’t get a half-off discount on the double boxes of diapers and wipes or the doubled expenses for food, clothing, education and mommy-and-me activities.

Catch up to present day: My daughters recently got braces. Both of them. At the same time. 

8. “Which one is the good one?"

This question actually upset me. No one would dream of asking the mother of a single child or children born years apart to identify them as being either good or bad -- right in front of the children, no less!

Variations on this question included, “Which one is the smart one/friendly one/shy one/quiet one?” and/or “Do they have different personalities?” 

9. “Double Trouble!”

This made me furious. Flashing back to my daughters in incubators in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, hooked up to monitors as I prayed they would not have lifelong health complications, to hear a stranger imply the twins were a burden was especially rude. I realize people who said this were referring to the extra challenges that raising two babies simultaneously brings, but it was really just a euphemism for “Oh man, are you screwed! Glad it’s not me!” 

10. “You have your hands full.”

Don’t you just love people who state the obvious? Better full than empty, I say.

11.”I don’t know how you do it!”

Honestly, there were days when I didn’t know how I did it either. I was overwhelmed and exhausted. But what were my options? To only take care of one baby and let the other one fend for herself? I managed the best I could. At times, I gave people the benefit of the doubt: “I’m sure you would do what you needed to do to take care of your babies, too.”

12. “My children are 11 months apart so it’s like I have twins, too!”

Granted, it is not a competition on who has a more difficult job as a mother. Maybe these mothers were simply trying to find some common ground. But if you don’t actually have twins, you truly don’t know what it is like, and you really should not comment. It would be as ignorant for me to day, “Oh girls are easier to raise than boys.” I don’t have boys, so how would I know?

13. “Why didn’t you give them matching names?” and/or “Why don’t you dress them the same?”

Because I think giving twins rhyming names like “Kara and Sarah” or “Chloe and Zoe” is stupid. I would never ask the mother of a single child or of children of various ages, “Why did you name your son Igor?” 

For the same reason, we chose not to dress our daughters the same. We want to give each a sense of individuality. They already shared my womb. And a birthday. And a face. We felt the least we could do is dress them differently and as they got older, let them decide if they wanted to dress the same. We wanted to raise them with the conviction that even though it is so special to be a twin, that they are still complete and special people as individuals.

(Ironically, when they started private school they were required to wear uniforms. But they often opt to wear different color polo shirts.)

Every year at their birthday parties they get their own cake and we sing “Happy Birthday Sydney” and then “Happy Birthday Alexandria”. I never wanted to penalize my daughters for being twins and forcing them to always have to share everything in their lives.

14. “Are you done having children?”

None of your beeswax.

Being the mother of twins is an incredible gift. I’ve often felt is it a special member-only club or a secret society that you just have to be blessed to be able to be a member of. It’s been more than a decade and there are some nights when my husband and I still marvel to each other and say, “We have twins!”

Our daughters are the biggest blessing in our lives and even though having two babies at once did bring unexpected challenges, we can’t imagine life any other way.

And not all the comments we get are rude. Like when someone would look at my daughters and say, “Oh honey, G-d bless you.” 

And I’d reply with, 

“Thank you. He already did.”

Miami Herald

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