Guest Blogger : Zeenah - Mother.of.7 "talking the twin life."
Im so excited to introduce Zeenah from the blog Mother.of.7 to my readers and feature her on my blog. I have met Zeenah a few times at events and she is always the warmest , unpretentious and nicest person.
Many may not know that I have a twin sister. Hearing Zeenahs stories of raising twins is identical to the stories my mother used to tell me of my sister and I.Mothers of multiples are courageous warriors, raising one child is hard enough but having two or more littlies going through the same phases at once is on a whole new level.
I reached out to Zeenah to appear on my blog and answer some questions about her family and impart some wise advice to mothers of multiples.
1. How do you juggle parenting 5 children? ( 2 angel babies).
Well let me first start by telling you that juggling children before lockdown is totally different from juggling them during lockdown.
Before lockdown, there was a routine, there was loads of help and there was time to catch a breather. During lockdown (which seems to be the norm for now) is quite the challenge. My 19 year old has been staying with his grandparents since lockdown level 5 and he has been such a great help in driving them around and doing their errands while they stay home and keep safe. He is also back at College twice a week and busy writing exams at the moment, so the quiet time at his grandparents is really good for his studying. My 16 year old has been a great help with the 3 Littles, I don't know how I would of coped without him as my husband has returned to work at lockdown level 3.
Needless to say, I am coping. I have a routine with the Littles, but all days are not the same. Some days I am winning, some days not. I am quite lucky that they are all close in age (the twins and Zaeem are 18m apart), so they really play well together or interested in the same activities.
They are home for the rest of the year and I am working from home. Like I said, some days are better than others. There are some days that I finish my work at night because the day has just been too hectic.
2. Do you apply different parenting methods to your older children , than you do your younger children?
Yes most definitely. Teenage parenting has a total different method, its quite easy for me. My 16 year old loves his gaming, so if his schoolwork or chores are not done, I simply disconnect the Wi-Fi hahahaha. Works like a charm.
The twins are at a very needy and jealous stage, so they take up most of my time and attention. Zaeem is such a good big brother and little brother, there will be times that he is playing quietly with my teen, or where he will be playing with the twins. Zaeem is 3 and he is by far the easiest child to deal with right now.
3. Do twins run genetically in your family?
Yes, my mom's aunt had 3 sets of twins. So it has skipped a generation.
4. What do you feel is the biggest challenge when parenting twins?
When the twins were born, my biggest challenge was trying to breastfeed 2 babies, the pressure was so much and I felt like that was basically all I was doing. As they grew the other biggest challenge was sleep deprivation, with 2 babies it is quite tough. For example one baby would be crying and then other would wake up, so then there would be 2 crying babies. I am quite relieved that stage is over hahaha. The biggest challenge now that the twins are toddlers is the jealousy and they are so territorial over everything and over each other. So say there are 2 balls (the exact same balls) they will want to take each other's balls or fight over the same ball lol. Another example is when one twin gets hurt or is crying, then the other would console him. It is the cutest thing.
5. Parenting twins is difficult. Is this your reason for starting the @twinparents_cpt?
This is the very reason I started Twin Parents CPT. For support for myself and other twin moms. Sure I had help from family and friends, but I still felt alone and like they never really understood the nitty gritty of twin parenting. I love our little twin community. It has been such a God send to many twin parents not only in CT but all over SA. Since the inception there are more admin ladies assisting with our group.
6. Having a resource like @Twinparents_Cpt is surely incredibly handy for parents of twins. Are there other resources Twin parents can use to help parent their twins?
There are other Facebook groups running, but these are mostly American groups, which I felt was helpful, but I wanted something that could grow, and we could organise meet ups too. Making it more of a family group. When the twins were born, I searched high and low for apps, there was not much going on for twins, I am not sure whether this has changed since then.
7. What advice do you have for parents expecting twins? ( it can be one piece of advice or some tips and hints to make life easier).
Get as much sleep as possible lol. But seriously, dad too, get as much sleep as possible, you are going to miss sleeping.
You are going to need help in those first few months, get the help you need before the babies' arrival. If you cannot afford a nanny, then a family member.
Accept help, you are going to need it.
Ask for help, don’t feel like you are a failure if you can't cope. This is a whole different ball game.
Crying is ok, for you and the babies. You cannot console both babies at once, there will be times (many times) that they cry at different times, at the same time, cry each other awake.
Don’t forget to eat, you are going to be so occupied that sometimes you forget to eat. Make sure you are healthy for your babies.
8. What item or products should be on a twin parents “must have” shopping list?
Firstly, my most used item is my lightweight Joie side by side stroller. Your twins are not going to be newborns forever and you cannot rock 2 babies to sleep. I used the pram (actually, I still use the pram) to make them to sleep.
Then a rocker or Bumbo seat or any other seat ( I am putting both choices because I know everyone has their reasons are preferences), these are great when they become mobile and you just don't want them to go anywhere for a few minutes.
A feeding chair is a must have.
Obviously, you will need 2 of everything.
9. What is the best thing or thing you like the most about having twins?
I love watching these 2 little humans growing with each other, witnessing how totally different they are from each other and how (as little as they are) how they stick up for each other. I love dressing them in the same clothing, it is the cutest little thing ever.
10. What is the silliest question people ask you when they see the twins? (My mom used to get asked “Oh, did you have twins on purpose? And “did you know you were having twins?”).
There are quite a few silly questions, but the silliest was "What is the recipe for having twins?".
11. Covid-19 has affected many people. Has it had an effect on how you parent? I think I mainly answered this question in number 1. But yes, Covid-19 has affected my parenting. If anything, I think I am a more of a laid back (stay at home, working from home parent). Lockdown has made me slow down a lot and as challenging as it may be on a daily basis, I am so grateful to have this time with my boys.
12. If you were the President of South Africa, what Law (Bill) would you Sign into Law.
As a twin parent, for sure double the maternity leave when having twins.
I would also love that working moms be given a 5 hour working day, instead of 8 hours.
13. What social stigma does society need to get over?
Stay at home moms are not on holiday. A SAHM day is so busy and full, I don't know how they do it but they are amazing.
14. What values do you try to instil in your children? I try my best to teach my kids to be kind, loving, considerate and honest. My teens know how much I dislike dishonesty. We should all think before we act. We have lots of love and affection going around in our home, and I hope they can carry these values with them throughout their lives.
15. What is the most important piece of parenting advice you have received?
It's ok not be ok. That is the most important advice I received, especially because I suffered with PPD after my second born and it crept through again after the twins. So, for any new parent, or any parent. I would like to end by saying "It's okay not be okay”
I am Zeenah, a parent blogger from Cape Town.
My family consists of a young adult, a 16 year old teen, a 3 year old toddler, 2 year old twins and a loving, supportive husband.
I am also the founder of the support group, Twin Parents CPT, an exclusive group of ±250 twin parents from Cape Town.
Life is meant to be lived; cherish the exciting moments, and relish in those all too brief moments of relaxation. I am here to live my own life, and live it passionately. motherof7 serves as a vessel to project my passions, and clue in my loyal readers as to what inspires me in this crazy world that I call “Organised Chaos”.
Follow Zeenah and her family on her blog and social media accounts:
Instagram – www.instagram.com/mother.of.7/
Facebook – www.facebook.com/Motherof7southafrica/