Saturday, January 3, 2009

Thursday, January 1, 2009

A Two-Minute Pep Talk for the Expectant Mother of Multiples

by Melissa Stanton

(Ignore the date, above. The following article is from my archives.)

A friend of a friend recently contacted me in a joyful panic.

A sonogram just confirmed that she’s carrying twins. Needing to connect with another mom of twins, this woman I’ve never met emailed me. “I'm excited, but really, really nervous,” she wrote. “Getting my head around having one baby on the way has been exciting and a little scary. Now I’m terrified. I don’t know how I’ll manage having two babies at once!”

While I can spend hours talking about the joys and challenges of raising twins (I have twin girls, and an older boy), I sought to assuage this woman’s fears and address her concerns in the few minutes I had free before meeting the school bus. Hence, my two-minute pep talk (adapted here a bit for a mass audience).


You will manage as a mother of twins, in ways you never thought possible, but don’t try to do it all alone.

A smart first step in planning for your duo is to seek help from other moms of twins. (Look for a mothers of twins or multiples group near where you live.) These moms will be able to share their tricks of the trade, including about doctors and baby gear, and they’ll be sympathetic to your current worries and future juggling act.

If you can afford help, consider hiring a doula or baby nurse for those early days and weeks after the twins are born, when you’ll be recovering from both the pregnancy (which might involve a period of muscle-weakening bedrest) and the delivery (often by a cesarean). If family or good friends are willing to help, say yes. When you have multiple babies, extra hands can be essential for feedings, diapering, bathing and cuddling. Having at least one other adult around can give a weary new mom a needed break.

Most of all, don’t be afraid to ask for—and accept—help, wherever you can find it.

When my twins were small, my husband lived out-of-state during the week for his job. When several of my girlfriends, each one a mom herself, offered to take turns spending a weeknight at my house and manage an overnight shift, I said yes! The twin-care routine that was exhausting to me was actually fun and exciting to my friends. They got to cuddle babies, they felt good about being helpful, and each was proud to have survived a shift without waking me in defeat. In a nutshell: Don’t say, “Oh, thanks. I’ll be fine.” If you trust your friends’ skills, and as moms I do think we need to trust, depend upon and help one another, accept the gracious offers. And if someone asks how he or she can help you, be specific: You can say, “It would be a big help if you could stay with the babies while I go to my six-week check-up.” Or, “I could sure use help at bath time.”

Several veteran moms of multiples (including me) report that young teen and pre-teen neighbors can be great helpers. While still too young to babysit, a 10 or 12-year-old can entertain a baby or two while you do laundry … push a second shopping cart when you take the twins to a store … trail after one toddler at a park while you track the other.

Another tip for managing multiples is to cut yourself some slack. Dirty dishes will pile up. You won’t cook great dinners. Your baby weight might linger. Don’t stress about it. You’ll be working a double-shift, and doing the best you can.


Melissa Stanton’s parenting and mom-related articles have appeared in Parenting, Pregnancy & Newborn, Nesting and Brain,Child, among other magazines, and on websites including,,,, and Following are links to some of Melissa’s mom-related essays and articles:

(P.S. We're still linking, so apologies if some connections don't yet work.)

* = Articles specific to being a stay-at-home mom

Personal finance:

Kid care:

Life Stuff:

Mom care:

Motherhood is a Job:

Multiples (caring for twins+):

"How To" Stuff

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Featured Appearances

The following media outlets are among those that have featured
Melissa Stanton as a mom-focused parenting "expert," publish
ed her articles and/or praised The Stay-at-Home Survival Guide.

To contact Melissa for an interview or speaking engagement, or to inquire about her writing for your publication or website, please email info [at symbol]

Melissa was featured on the Winter 2008/2009 cover of
Mom Writer's Literary Magazine (left)
Click here to read excerpts from the interview.

Other media coverage includes: American Family Podcasts, The Capital (Annapolis),,,
SAH Mom,'s Money Central, The Utne Reader ... Click here for details.

Other websites and magazines that have featured Melissa's articles include: Chesapeake Family, Pregnancy & Newborn, Parenting, Baltimore's Child, Betty Confidential, Just the Facts Baby, Nesting ...


Real Life
Support for Moms
© is hosted by Melissa Stanton, author of
The Stay-at-Home Survival Guide: Field-tested strategies for staying smart, sane, and connected while caring for your kids (Seal Press/Perseus Books).
Welcome to the Real Life Support for Moms
Website and Blog!

ABOUT ME: I’ve been an employed mom (while a senior editor at LIFE and People magazines), a stay-at-home mom (of three, including twins), a work-from-home mom and, once again, an employed mom in the full-time workforce.* I understand the hoops women have to climb through in order to balance a career and family, or leave the paid workforce for a while to work as a stay-at-home mom. (Yes, stay-at-home motherhood is a job.) I wish the so-called "Mommy Wars" between stay-at-home and employed moms would cease and desist. Motherhood is too often treated as a spectator sport, with women on the field as its fiercest competitors. It's destructive to us all when either side takes the hit. (Pictured: Me and my then-young trio. Click here for my "author biography.")
ABOUT THIS WEBSITE/BLOG: I believe that mothers need real life support, based on the constantly changing joys and challenges we face as women who are also moms. We all know, and others are glad to tell us, what we "should" and are "supposed to" do as mothers, but the reality of being in the trenches can be quite different from the once-size-fits-all advice (and fantasies) that are often preached at women who have or may someday have children.

Although my book (see below) is for stay-at-home moms, I know from my own experience that the grass isn't perfectly green on either side of the fence. Instead of debating who has it better or tougher, who's living the dream life or not, who's doing motherhood "the right way" or not, women need to accept and support one another as we each try to raise smart, caring, independent children to adulthood without losing ourselves in the process.
The Stay-at-Home Survival Guide specifically for and with women who are employed as the hands-on, 24/7 caregivers of their children—and who sometimes struggle with the daily grind and life-changing realities of stay-at-home motherhood. Unlike many other books on the subject,The Stay-at-Home Survival Guide does not sugarcoat, sentimentalize, or reduce to slapstick the realities of being a stay-at-home mom.

(Caveat: If you're blissfully happy being a stay-at-home mom and feel you're living your dream, you don't need this book. As a reviewer from so accurately described, The Stay-at-Home Survival Guide is "perfect for any mom who has felt she has the best job in the world, and the worst job in the world, all within a two-minute timeframe.")

In the book, moms from around the country and I acknowledge and address the perks and pitfalls of managing, enjoying and, yes, surviving our stay-at-home careers. Stay-at-home moms are often told how "lucky" they are "not to work." While I accept that a stay-at-home mom can be perceived as being lucky to get by (even barely) on one income, it could be similarly said that an employed mom is "lucky" to have a super career that allows her to also be a mom. What I don't accept is the assertion that stay-at-home moms are lucky "not to work." Stay-at-home motherhood, especially when it involves caring for small children with no help, is nothing but work!

Speaking of moms being supportive of one another
: I wrote
"The Guide" by working late at night and, on occasion, during daylight hours while also feeding, chauffeuring, entertaining and overall caring for three little kids. The only reason the book even exists is that after many rejections, my proposal finally landed on the desk of an editor who had once been a stay-at-home mother. She understood that for many women stay-at-home motherhood isn't a walk in the park. (In fact, she knew from experience that day after day of pushing a stroller in a park can make a mom a bit batty.) She understood the need for the book and the audience it serves. Thank you, again, Laura Mazer!

P.S. If you read and enjoy The Stay-at-Home Survival Guide, please
talk it up to friends and give it a 5-star review on! The book is staying alive entirely by Internet buzz and mom word-of-mouth. If you're on Facebook, please become a Facebook Fan of The Stay-at-Home Survival Guide! You can do so via this link:

Click here to read reviews of The Guide.

Thank you!

* Ignore the date on this post. I returned to the full-time workforce in January 2010.

Contact Melissa at info[at] or sah_survivalguide[at]

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