Now my twins are 3 years old, I am starting to realise I have a lifetime of Mummy-guilt ahead of me.
When you have children of different ages, even if they are only 9 months apart, they are expected to achieve things at different times. All children are different and as parents we know not to rush them. Each child will reach their significant milestones in their own time and it’s important not stress too much about it. It doesn’t matter if your first born walks at 10 months and your second born learns to walk at 20 months. There’s no pressure on their achievements. If one excels at sport and one doesn’t, or if one achieves really high grades and one doesn’t… you’d never compare them against each other. As a parent, you never compare your children against each other whether different ages or twins. But if you have twins THEY DO! They expect to achieve the same things at the same time and the sadness on one twins face, if she can’t do the same as the other, triggers immense mummy guilt.
When you have twins (and even moreso identical twins), it becomes much harder emotionally when it comes to reaching milestones. The fact that they are both exactly the same age, they are expected to achieve their key milestones at the same time. It doesn’t make the blindest bit of difference to a parent, if one twin achieves something earlier or better than the other, because you love them equally and are proud of both. You know that it’s a reflection of their seperate personalities, qualities and skills, rather than the way you’ve raised them, but it does trigger the mummy guilt.
My twins learnt to hold their heads up, sit up, crawl, walk, wean and run at the same time as each other. Their teeth even came through within a day of each other. Yes… every single tooth. They have been raised exactly the same, but they are still individuals, with very different personalities. I love embracing their individuality, because they are identical twins but are still so very unique. Recently though, the developmental milestones have suddenly started to segregate now we have been potty training.
Fluffy, is fully potty trained. She will use the potty or the toilet, stand with a beaming smile of pride on her face and we all give her a clap and a cuddle and tell her what a clever girl she is. Tiny… just doesn’t get it. She will sit on the potty, do nothing, stand up and look proud… just like her twin does. And as a mum, I want nothing more than to be able to give her a clap and tell her how clever she is, but the problem is, she hasn’t done anything. If I make a big deal out of it, she will think that sitting on the potty alone is the goal and it will set back training even further. So, instead, we show her that there’s nothing there, and we say “well done for trying darling, but you haven’t done it this time”. She gets the cuddle for trying, but not the clap. And she looks so confused that it breaks my heart.
I’m sure that when the twins are old enough to understand what they are trying to achieve, it will be easier to explain their achievements to them and comfort them when they are disappointed. At the moment though, I wonder if there will be a lifetime of mummy guilt from raising twins?
What if one twin gets all A’s in her GSCE’s and the other only gets B’s? What if one falls in love and one doesn’t? I will be equally proud of both, but I worry they will always compare themselves against each other and feel disappointed. I want my girls (all three) to always be proud of all their achievements and never to feel disappointed or compare themselves against each other, but it just seems inevitable with twins. Is my heart (and one of theirs) going to break every time one of them achieves something that the other doesn’t?