Relationship after twins or triplets
When you are the parent of a small baby, you learn pretty quickly that you have less time for your partner than you did before. In general, you have less time for everything. When you are parenting twins or multiple babies there seems to be even less.
Multiples are incredibly special and a blessing, no doubt, but with great blessings comes great responsibility (I stole that line from Spiderman).
The effort that goes into caring for one newborn is huge, and vastly different to anything either parent has experienced before. Then you double that with twins, and in the first twelve months of their young lives, the time commitment and work burden on the parents is simply overwhelming. It takes up virtually all of their waking hours (which are about 20 hours a day when you have newborn twins!).
Your relationship after twins or triplets
Some of the main reasons why parenting twins or triplets puts a strain on your relationship:
- You have very little time left for anything, let alone intimacy or special time together as a couple.
- The financial burden is large and stressing about money can put additional strain on a relationship. Many families may need to get a bigger car or a bigger home, which stretches the dollars even further.
- Parents can sometimes get pulled into the argument of ‘Who does more’, when both are working round the clock.
- The amount of baby equipment needed for multiples is obviously multiple that of single babies. The lack of space can cause stress as can not having a place in your home you can retreat to that isn’t filled with baby mess or unfolded laundry.
- No matter what you do, you can never sufficiently plan for twins or anticipate how difficult it will be.
How do you keep your relationship on track once your twins or triplets are born?
The fact that you are looking for help about your relationship after twins or triplets is a good sign that your relationship is still strong, because you want very much to make things better. That is an excellent start.
Make sure that you are sharing the parenting
One partner will inevitably be spending more time with the babies than the other one, but one way to lessen the disconnect between you is to make sure that you are still parenting together and working as a team.
Of an evening, make sure that you talk about what the babies did that day, and any developments or milestones, even little ones. Discuss decisions together so that both parents have input and are on the same page; even minor decisions such as choice of formula or starting solids.
Make sure that both parents get one on one time with the babies to encourage their own bond, and so they get to know their children, and appreciate what goes into caring for them.
The parent who goes out to work often very much wants to be helpful and also to be needed. Make sure that you give them that opportunity, and don’t try to do everything yourself, or spare them some of the pain.
Couples time when you have no time (or money, or energy)
Recommending that you schedule in regular date nights is great advice, and if you can manage this your relationship will definitely benefit.
But very few parents of multiples have the ability to take regular date nights, because of a lack of time, they might be on limited funds and can’t afford nights out and babysitting, or they simply are too tired. For most parents in the first 12 months, nights out as a couple are not really a possibility.
Often mums of newborns will feel reluctant leaving their children with babysitters anyway. So, you might need options for relationship help that can fit within your bonkers schedule and your exhausted state.
Try to spend time together as a couple every few days, even if it is just at home or only for a little while. The aim is just to connect to start with and remember who each other is and possibly why you fell in love in the first place.
Turn off all screens for twenty minutes and have a conversation, including looking at each other. Over dinner is a fine time for this. Have conversations that don’t revolve around the babies or your partner’s job.
Ask your partner questions about themselves that you don’t already know the answer to. You could try to outdo each other with the creativity of your questions. Ideas include ‘Would you rather live without salt or sugar?’, ‘If you could go back in time when and where would you go?’ or ‘What superhero power would you most like to have?’.
Once your kids get talking they will start to ask some pretty bizarre questions, so this will get you into good practice.
Let the little things slide
‘Pick your battles’ is a great parenting philosophy for when you are fighting with older children, so it might make sense to start putting this into place now.
Let the little things slide. If your partner does things that bother you, for the sake of your relationship, try to only get upset or make an issue about the ones that are actually important. It can be hard to tell the difference between big problems and little ones when you haven’t slept in a week but learning to let things some things go is a very good idea.
You will have different ways of doing things but try to focus only on getting upset about things that affect your child’s development or safety, not things like who keep putting the stinky nappies in the kitchen bin.
Ask for help
While parents of twins do find a lot of things harder than parents of single babies, this very special group of parents is also more likely to recognise this. Thankfully, parents of twins or triplets are aware of this, and are more likely to enrol in couples counselling or parenting courses.
Intimacy after twins or triplets
So many parents of twins or other multiples face a low sex drive after twins or multiples are born. Unfortunately, it can become almost the norm – it is probably rarer to find parents of newborn twins engaging in regular nookie!
If you are experiencing a low sex drive after twins, then I have some good news for you. It is very unlikely to be caused by anything serious, and with almost all couples who go through this, it will pass.
Twinfo has a full article on intimacy after twins or triplets which you can read HERE.
Will our relationship after twins or triplets be OK?
There is a bond between you that no-one external to your relationship can understand, and that bond can be what keeps you going through the hard times. The first 12 months is the most difficult, and then it gradually starts to get easier and you will see the sunshine again. Focus a little on your relationship now and then hopefully you will be able to see the sun together.
Twinfo has a closed Facebook Group which is a safe space for ALL Parents of Multiple Birth families who live in Australia to come together to discuss any relationship issues you may be having. Please note, this group has males and females in it. All relationship types are welcome.