Newborn babies eat every two to three hours, and approximately 8 to 10 times per day. For the past couple of months, day and night, I have been tethered to a newborn baby for approximately 30-45 minutes each, 8 or more times per day. With each meal usually comes a diaper change, making it about an hour per child. For those of you doing the math, for a twin mom, that is a total of 16-20 hours a day dealing with feeding and changing alone. If I am lucky, I have one hour in every three available to me for the other needs in my life, such as eating, sleeping, and wistfully staring out my kitchen window dreaming of simpler times.
In spite of this incredible schedule, I’ve been determined to get outside to enjoy the sunshine and get a few steps under my feet once or twice a week. The tasks involved in getting the babies out the door are numerous. I outlined them all, and it is at least a 25-step process similar in difficulty to the Ironman triathlon.
Parents know that the travel bag is essential. As a new mom, I admit I haven’t gotten this down pat quite yet, so step one always involves checking it to see if I’m ready for any and all disasters. Both babies must be fed, changed, and dressed appropriately.
Strollers are another battle. These are feats of engineering. Ours is a double-length contraption capable of hauling two babies, a week’s worth of groceries, and a hundred diapers, that’s able to fold up into the space of a carry-on suitcase. Still an amateur, I’ve yet to master folding and opening it without a few curse words along the way. Once both babies are secured and the travel bag is in, I’m exhausted and sweaty, having over-dressed for the weather. I don’t get out much. I weigh the risk of leaving two babies in a stroller on the front step to go change against an uncomfortably warm walk and usually decide bringing a cold beverage is splitting the difference. Nine times out of ten, once I’m out the door and it’s locked, I go back in for my phone, which I’ve left on the stairs in the foyer.
All of this, of course, is happening while one or more children is crying. Like the fans of your rivals jeering in the stands, you have to keep your head in the game and not lose focus. There have been times that I have succeeded in doing this all silently with no tears, but that’s about as rare as a shutout in a playoff game.
The payoff for this is a glorious hour outdoors with fresh air in my lungs. Both babies are soothed by the rocking of the stroller over the various bumps and curbs, and they’re blissfully asleep. I get some sun and stretch out my stiff joints. If I’m lucky, I get some adult conversation too. It’s worth it.
And like any sport, I can only improve with practice.