Twins: 17 tips for staying sane under twin stress

Adjusting unrealistic expectations to fit reality can help ease such emotional stresses as the ones just described. While to acknowledge one's own limits may at first seem like admitting failure, reaming this skill is a key to coping with twins and other multiples. However, if you are experiencing persistent problems, you might want to talk to a counselor about how to handle the stress of parenting multiples.

Finding time to be alone-to rediscover oneself apart from the roles of mother, father, wife, husband, provider, cook or housekeeper-is essential in reducing emotional stress of any kind. As soon as parents and children feel comfortable being away from each other, it's wise to arrange periods of separate time. Perhaps parents can relieve one another, or exchange services with friends or family to get some respite time. If you can afford it, paying for childcare is well worth the cost.

Allowing someone else to care for you is a well-deserved way to alleviate the stress of constant nurturing. One mother of twins found that the relaxation of a regular massage and trip to the hairdresser made her feel "mothered." Being waited on at home or in a restaurant can have a similar effect. Whatever the activity, you don't need to justify such self-nurturing when you're meeting the double demands of multiples!

Many parents of multiples say their greatest resources are flexibility, humor, endurance and, again, the ability to ask for help. The support of friends, family, playgroups, sitters or community services can be an emotional lifeline as well as a source of physical relief. Often, just talking with other parents of twins, either informally or in a support group, provides emotional release and a chance to exchange useful tips. Even if problems differ from family to family, it's comforting to know you're not alone.

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