From Surviving into Thriving in the First Year

Caring for two babies at the same time is one of the hardest things a person can do in their entire lifetime. It seems like it’s a never ending marathon. We all know that the first year of being a twin parent can be overwhelming and put us into what we know as survival mode. But are we destined to just “survive?” Or is it possible to have a more fulfilling life than just “getting by” during this time? Our expert today is Kristen Eberly, twin mom, and twin mom coach. She’s the founder of Harmony in Multiples, who helps twin moms go from “surviving into thriving.

View Episode Transcript

Featured Expert

Episode Transcript

Christine Stewart-Fitzgerald 0:06
Caring for two babies at the same time is one of the hardest things a person can do in their entire lifetime. It seems like it's a never ending marathon. We all know that the first year of being a twin parent can be overwhelming and put us into what we know as survival mode. But Are we destined to just survive? Or is it possible to have a more fulfilling life than just getting by during this time? Our expert today is Kristin Everly twin mom and twin mom coach. She's the founder of harmony and multiples. Who helps twin moms go from surviving into thriving. This is twin talks. The ultrasound shows your babies to be healthy. What did you say babies?

Kristen Eberly 0:46
You're huge. Are you having twins? Are they natural? Which one do

Christine Stewart-Fitzgerald 0:50
you like? Better wins? Ha my neighbors cousins, brothers. uncles have twins. So can they read each other's minds? How do you tell them apart? Twins,

Unknown Speaker 0:57
you got a two for one twins run in your family

Christine Stewart-Fitzgerald 1:00
double trouble. You're not having any more. You just you're not Octomom. If you're pregnant with twins, or you're an experienced twin parent, odds are you've heard it all before. Now it's time to hear from the experts. This is twin talks, parenting times to welcome to twin Talks. My name is Christine Stuart Fitzgerald, and I'm your host, I first had my identical twin girls. And then two years later, I thought that having another baby would be a good idea. Well, it was eventually. But it was truly hard the first couple of years. And I'll talk a little bit about more of that in just a bit with our guest. So if you haven't already, be sure to hit that subscribe button in your podcast app, and make sure you get the latest content. You can also get updates about our new episodes from twin talks and other great parenting shows by subscribing to our weekly newsletter at New mommy And if you're interested in getting an inside look at our show, then check out our membership club called Mighty moms. It's where we chat more about the topics discussed here on the show. And it's a great way to suggest topic ideas or even to let us know that you'd like to be a guest on an upcoming episode. Well, let's meet our guest today. So with us is Kristin Everly she is a twin mom coach with a background in maternal mental health. And she specializes in helping women manage the chaos of parenthood, especially as a twin mom herself. Kristen, tell us a little bit about your family. Yes.

Kristen Eberly 2:28
So thank you so much for having me. I'm so glad to be here today to talk with you. So I am Kristen. And I am a mom to a single 10 who is six and a half year old years old. He's a singleton boy. And I'm also a mom, two identical twin boys who just turned four. And so I am no. I am a friend of survival mode. I know what it's like I've been there. And I am excited to be able to talk about it today. I think for me, survival mode kind of like just snuck up on me. With my first I felt like I was I was okay. And I was really navigating. And I was specialized in early childhood mental health and maternal mental health. So I really thought that I was going to do great. And then all of a sudden became a mom and realize like, wow, this is this is a lot harder than I expected, and did a lot of work to be able to try to help myself and then help my kiddo. And then I became a twin mom in a minute back up in January of 2020. I was pregnant, but found out at my 20 week anatomy scan that it was actually twins. So he had two previous anatomy scans. And they missed that second baby. So I guess, yeah, hidden twin syndrome, I guess can be a real thing. And so that was January 2020. We found out it was twins at 20 weeks. And then I just started to feel like I was always like behind and I was catching up, I missed the extra ultrasounds I wasn't taking enough prenatal vitamins, we had to do the special heart checks all of the things and I just felt like I was perpetually behind. And then in March 2020 came the pandemic that my boys were born in April 2020. And so it was just it was just a whirlwind. And I quickly found myself in survival mode, without even really realizing what was happening and why it was there. And what caused me to be there. And it took me a long time to get out of survival mode. And I used that work that I did myself personally and then my training my education, my background, to be able to help twin moms either stop survival mode or if they're in survival mode to get out of that survival mode cycle. So we can enjoy our twins and we can actually find joy in the moments that everyone tells us that we're supposed to. So I'm glad to be here to talk about it. Well,

Christine Stewart-Fitzgerald 4:48
we are we are so glad to have you today. So we're going to take a break and we come back we're gonna be talking about what it's like to be in the first year and if how How getting out of survival mode might actually be possible.

And we're back with our guest today talking about what it might mean to go beyond just surviving that that first year of being a twin parent. So let's dive in. So, okay, so Kristin, as you're describing, we know it is it is so hard between the lack of sleep, and just the sheer time spent feeding the twins, and trying to keep some degree of normalcy, whatever that is. I mean, it just, it is just so overwhelming. And the new normal I mean, it's, it's like nothing but you know, like we we before, there's there's life before twins and life after twins, and there's just nothing that resembles it. And, you know, I have to say, when you're in your intro, and you mentioned that you you had a son, and you know you I mean you were you had your singleton first and my case, I had my twin girls, so I knew nothing about parenting anyway. But it sounds like when you had your your son you thought, Okay, I've been down this path of, you know, having a pregnancy and having a baby and you felt probably somewhat, you know, prepared for it. And then you find out twins is like, oh my gosh, this is just a whole nother ballgame.

Kristen Eberly 6:25
I thought it was gonna be confident. Second time mom, I knew what I was doing. And then it was twins. And then I had no idea.

Christine Stewart-Fitzgerald 6:31
It's just like, oh, so I think that's, that is just such a common thread, even for experienced parents that, you know, yeah, once we learn, we're twins. It's just like, Okay, this is just beyond my scope. I'm entering into this space of, you know, where I don't know how to handle it. And, you know, just it's almost like, immediately feeling overwhelmed. I mean, I, I can say for myself, it's kind of when, you know, found out having twins. It's like, oh, okay, I don't know where to go. Like, I don't know, like, I mean, I was thinking, in our case, we weren't planning on having a baby in our small little condo. And then when I was twins, it's like, wait a minute, we don't even have the space. Like, it just opened up a whole new realm. And I just felt like I literally felt overwhelmed, just within, you know, the few, you know, days and weeks of like, this is so much bigger than I was expecting. So I don't know, I think, you know, after we you know, when we get towards having the twins and then the date, the day to day and, you know, we're we're just we tend to shift towards just getting through the next day without shutting down physically or emotionally. So, when you hear from twin moms, how do they often describe survival mode?

Kristen Eberly 7:49
This, this is a really great question. And first, I want to describe what survival mode is and how we often end up in survival mode as twin moms. And then we can describe a little bit more about, like what what people are saying. So for twin moms, the constant demands and challenges of caring for too little ones can often lead to a state of survival mode. And that's like how I describe it as it's a heightened state of stress and arousal and our bodies. And our minds are focused solely on meeting the immediate needs of our children, and managing the day to day responsibilities of paring down parenting, our twins and maybe any other children that we have. It's a natural response to the overwhelming demands of twin parenting. It's like our body's way of prioritizing like survival and ensuring the safety and of the safety and well being of our children. It's helpful in the short term, it allows us to handle crises and meet urgent needs. But it becomes problematic when it becomes our default mode of operating on a daily basis. When we're constantly in survival mode, our bodies are flooded with those stress hormones like cortisol and adrenaline. And that often leads to that chronic stress, exhaustion and overwhelm. And one of the problems with survival mode is that we often don't know we're actually in survival mode until maybe looking back or someone we connect with someone who helps us see it or there's just it's so hard because it's like it's our normal, it's our new normal, right, like you said, it's our new way of being. But sometimes what I will hear from twin moms, is like, I feel like I'm just trying to keep my head above water most days, or someone will say like, I can't remember the last time I had a moment to myself, like everyday feels like a world whirlwind of feedings diaper changings and taking care of the kiddos. And like, they'll say things like I'm running on fumes, but somehow I just just keep going. Even like sometimes people will say like, I feel like I'm on constant high alert waiting for the next meltdown or diaper change blow out next week window next time they wake up in the middle of the night. Or they'll say things like I'm so exhausted, but there's always something else that needs to be done. Or things like I just need a break even a few minutes of peace and quiet would make a world of difference. And so when we hear these things we can say like Oh, that doesn't necessarily sound like what we expected these this early years to look like, we know it's going to be hard. And with twins, we know it's going to be even harder. But this is a little bit different. The survival mode is just like we can't, there's not enough time, we can never take a break, we can't rest. We're always thinking about the next thing we have to do, or the next like week window, feed, whatever it may be. And it's not for me, the biggest indicator that we're in the survival mode is that we're not focusing on finding these moments of joy with our twins or in our life. We're really having a hard time focusing on anything other than the next thing that we have to do.

Christine Stewart-Fitzgerald 10:37
Yeah, that's, that's interesting. You said like, it's kind of the you're saying it's like this primal instinct that we have just just get through and focus on. Okay, the next thing I have to get through this, this feeding, you know, I have to get through this. Okay, I have to get them diapered. And so our, our focus is like, in the immediate, so we can't even think about like, oh, my gosh, maybe it's sunny outside. And that might be a nice day. We're just like, oh, my gosh, I'm just so stressed. And I just want to I'm just feel so exhausted. And you know, and I totally, I can totally relate to that.

Kristen Eberly 11:14
Yeah, yeah, I know, when when I was here, it just felt like, Okay, this is just what I just was just what I have to do. There wasn't any other option. Really, I didn't know that there was other things that I actually could do. Like, when I found out it was twins, the very first thought that I had was, I mean, um, some other things I probably can't say on the podcast, but was like, one of the first things was like, how am I going to survive this? Like, that? Was my immediate expectation, rather than anything else? Like, how can I take care of myself? So I can do this? How can I build my village and my tribe and community? So I can do this? Well, it was that first thought is like, we just have to survive. That's almost the expectation when we have twins. Oh,

Christine Stewart-Fitzgerald 11:51
absolutely. I mean, I think that is just so common, you know, there's there's so many different, you know, Facebook and social media groups out there, you know, specifically on twins and, and I think it's just that is that is the common thread, just just do what you can to survive. And so and so is why is that unhelpful? Because I think that that is the common mantra. And I think what you're saying very much goes against that.

Kristen Eberly 12:18
Yes, yes, because you see it and if people are involved in like, twin moms, support groups and virtual groups, or on Facebook groups, or whatnot, like, a lot of people will ask, like, when does it get easier, and a lot of the responses will generally be you just have to survive it until, I mean, sometimes people are saying survive until they're in like elementary school. And that that's just, that's a long time to not to be stuck in that survival mode. And so for me, that's why it feels heart harmful, because survival mode keeps us stuck in our current moment, it keeps us stuck in what I would call in action, meaning like, we're just, there's a lot of action, but we're just focusing on the next thing we have to do not on the what we can do to set ourselves up for success, to take care of ourselves to rest to get breaks to allow people to help us like when we just think you just have to survive it that just sets that mindset, if this is just something I have to survive. And generally when we think about that phrase, I just have to survive it, that generally doesn't mean like, and I'm going to enjoy it, and I'm going to take care of myself, and I'm going to find moments of joy, like it's just really shifts into, like, gotta get through it, buckle up, put your head down, put one foot in front of the other and keep going. All the while twin moms and moms all all moms are being told, have to enjoy it now. Because it's gonna go fast, and you're gonna look back and you're gonna miss these years. And so we're stuck in this impossible situation is like, okay, but I'm supposed to, and I'm supposed to survive it. But I'm also supposed to enjoy it at the same time, like, I don't know what to do. And then we feel like we're failing, we feel overwhelmed, we feel like we're not doing a good enough job. And we start to get these really poured and negative ways that we think about ourselves, when really, it's the expectation that we just need to survive, rather than the expectation of we can thrive in the chaos of twins. But we do have to do some of these things. So we can actually do that we need to increase our resilience, so we can handle the stress. And so we can be able to problem solve and think critically and ask for help and take breaks and all of the things that we need to do but are just incredibly hard to do, especially if we're stuck in that survival mode.

Christine Stewart-Fitzgerald 14:28
Oh, absolutely. No, I can totally see how Yeah, we have these conflicting messages. I totally agree that there's there's the oh, you know, here's here's the you know, the cuteness of twins and you know, when you watch and look at so many of the different you know, the reels on Instagram and you know, like the cuteness and you think oh, you know they're enjoying it and I guess I'm supposed to be enjoying it and I'm supposed to, you know, have these moments. But I don't I like but I can't identify with that. Like it's like I wish I had more of those or any of those, and but it's just not happening. And then there's almost this, like, comparison and sense of guilt. And, you know, and I have to wonder, what are all those feelings? Like? Like, what kind of effects does that have on us? Like on a physiological, you know, level?

Kristen Eberly 15:26
Yeah, like all of these things like it's when we get into that comparison, we see like, Okay, this thing is beautiful on social media, but I'm not seeing that my experience doesn't match. And we're stuck in that that survival mode, we start to start to think and feel like, oh, something's wrong with me, I'm not trying hard enough, I need to do this, I need to try this strategy, I need to try this activity to support the development. And then we just really continue to stay stuck in this constant state of like vigilance and reactivity that puts significant strain on our bodies and minds. So we're thinking about all of these things that we have to do. And Physiol physiologically that impacts our nervous system, it slips us over into, like what's called our sympathetic nervous system. And this system is responsible to for our fight or flight response, if that system remains activated and prolonged periods, that floods our bodies with stress hormones. And while we're, it's helpful for short bursts, that we have this stress response, like it keeps us safe. It helps us you know, do the thing that we need to do whatever it may be. But if we're in this chronic activation, it can lead to a range of physical symptoms, including like the elevated heart rate, increased blood pressure, muscle tension, like all twin moms are probably walking around just with their shoulders to their ears, because we're also tense and stressed because there's so much that we're responsible for. And then it can even look like compromised immune function. Like for me, when my boys bring home that bug, I know that it's going to take us a long time to get to get sick. If I am not in a place where I am taking care of myself. If I'm in that survival mode, then I know it's just going to be sick for a while. Oh,

Christine Stewart-Fitzgerald 17:01
yeah. I mean, that that totally makes sense. Yeah, I was gonna say just the idea of like, if you're stressed out and you're feeling anxious, then it's going to have all these effects on you know, like, sleeping, right and energy level. And, you know, thinking I mean, even I'm sure like breastfeeding, right? Because if we're not feeling great, then that's going to affect our ability to to breastfeed. And so then there's all those different gold layers of stuff that you know, kind of piles on there, I would imagine, yeah,

Kristen Eberly 17:29
because emotionally, like operating in that survival mode can lead to the sense of overwhelm anxiety and emotional exhaustion, we may find ourselves like constantly on edge, and we're worried about, you know, supply, we're worried about the next thing that we have to do, or we're anticipating the next crisis, or challenging, or the next crisis or challenge and struggling to find moments of peace and relaxation and miss the chaos. So and then our emotional reserves become depleted. And that just makes it really difficult for us to regulate our moods and respond calmly. And then mentally that survival mode, it impairs our cognitive functioning, making it harder for us to think clearly to concentrate to make decisions. We may experience even like brain fog, forgetfulness, and difficulty with problem solving. And that just makes us feel worse, and even more frustrated about

Christine Stewart-Fitzgerald 18:16
ourselves. Wow. So it's so just being having that level of anxiety, it just, it's gonna bog us down even more, even though we think that we're doing the best. We're just it's we're getting even more stuck. So yeah, I can just yeah, this is just like, This is so unhealthy on so many different levels. Okay. So what do you what do twin moms need to do to start getting out of it and, you know, into a more balanced life? Yeah,

Kristen Eberly 18:42
that's a wonderful question. And I love this question, because oftentimes, we get all of his information. And then we're like, okay, but what do I do? And then now our anxiety even increases even more. And that is the opposite of what our goal is today, we want to decrease that overwhelming that anxiety. So I really appreciate this question. And the very first thing, it's often like, you know, I will say, it's not a magic pill, it's not a quick fix. It's not this one strategy that you do, and everything's going to be rainbows and butterflies and sunshine. It is this process of taking care of ourselves. And but the very first way that we do that is we need to know what's happening. We need to like, pay attention to our emotions, pay attention to our feelings, pay attention to the signal. So like, our emotions are just signals and information that our body is telling us like, hey, something's going on here. We're not okay, do pay attention to this. And so what we can do is we can connect with like, wow, I'm feeling really anxious about breastfeeding. And so we can really identify Okay, so anxious about breastfeeding. What is that? What's what's happening here? And so we need to be able to identify our feelings to get that information so that we can decide what we need to do. Do I need to see a lactation consultant? Do I need to decrease my expectations? Do I need to seek support do I need to drink more water but once we can identify like, Oh, I'm anxious About this, then we can tip over into a strategy some something that we can do to take action. So we can be able to get out of that stress response and that survival mode. So that little again, that very first thing is like, we need to first pay attention, but survival mode, folks, it forces us to disconnect from those feelings and emotions, like we can't really think about, like what's happening emotionally for us, we need to keep going. So the first thing is like slowing down and being able to pay attention. Like when I work with twin moms, I talked to them, like, let's look for moments, literally moments where we can take one minute, 30 seconds, even if we can't find that to pause, take a deep breath. And just to ask yourself, What am I feeling right now? Mm hmm. And so it can be just these really small things where we are now starting to retrain our nervous system and retrain our body that like we can pay attention to these emotions to these things, because then we can take action. Mm

Christine Stewart-Fitzgerald 20:55
hmm. I can, I can totally relate to that. I mean, I think, especially I know, when my girls were the first year. I mean, I think if somebody asked me, you know, how do you feel? Of course, the first thing out of my mouth would be, Oh, I'm tired. I'm just tired, there's tired, it's like, Well, okay, well, what kind of tired? Are you? Is it just is it a physical tired? Are you emotionally tired? And I think there was probably a lot of things to unpack there. And I know, you know, and first like, so my husband I, of course, we didn't have any prior experience as parents. And so we were still negotiating our roles, like, you know, who's doing what, and, and okay, you know, I mean, of course, like I would be breastfeeding, and what did I need him to do? And, you know, I had like my mother in law, but there was all these things where I think I was just, aside from being physically tired. I think there were, you know, I might be just frustrated that maybe things weren't done a certain way or frustrated that, you know, it wasn't getting enough time. Or maybe I felt like I wasn't getting enough of something. And yeah, I think it was just, it would take a little bit of time just to stop and say, Well, okay, besides being tired, what are those feelings? Yep,

Kristen Eberly 22:13
yep. Yeah. Yeah. And I think that's, that's so important. And for us, like are similar, our experience was similar because my we tag team to my husband took my oldest and then I took the twins for when everybody was home, and we were just trying to figure life out. And so even then, like, it was just okay, I'm kind of figuring out how do I how do I split myself into two to be there for these two babies? And there was just a lot of overwhelm for me and a lot of like, I am I doing enough? What's happening? I know, one of the things that I struggled with the most that I think a lot of twin moms struggle with is like, they're both crying, they both need me at the same time. Who do I respond to first and for me, like having to choose which baby to respond to first was so incredibly hard for me and brought up so many feelings that sometimes I just had to disconnect from because I was in that survival mode. But now looking back, I was like, Oh, wow, I was really struggling. And but I was in that survival mode, I was focused on the next thing I had to do. I wasn't focused on anything else. Like what my expectations were for myself, like, I will admit, I am in perfectionism recovery, I think if that's what it's like, and so I had really high unattainable expectations for myself. And I think, honestly, it's so experience that a lot of modern moms have today is that there's so much parenting information. So much information, social media, which is in theory is a really great thing. But often the information comes too often too fast. And sometimes it's just not even applicable to twins, where we can't have these beautiful sensory enrichment activities with twins, when we have 30 minutes for tummy time bottle, you know, cleaning, or pumping, or whatever it may be. But sometimes we have these really high expectations, and I will say like, oftentimes are our expectations of ourselves that we have of ourselves as moms and as twin moms is usually a huge source of anxiety and overwhelm for us. Because we think that we need to do all of these things and do everything perfectly. And then we feel when we don't do that because it's not attainable, then we feel like we're failing. And then we feel like we're not trying hard enough. And we just need to try harder tomorrow. And we try to get new ideas and new things. But really what's happening is that we are focusing on the wrong things. It's not focusing on what I can do for the babies. We need to take care of the babies, but we also need to focus on what can I do for myself so I can take care of myself so I can show up for the mom that I actually want to be and I can meet some of these maybe more realistic expectations that we have.

Christine Stewart-Fitzgerald 24:43
Right? Oh my gosh, yeah, there's there's so much in there that I can totally relate to. I mean, like, I think you know, like, yeah, the expectations. I mean, when I first found out I was having babies and I was like I spent so much time shot hoping for all the baby gear. And you know, I think it's funny because I think I had in my head, like, oh, you know when to have the babies, and they're going to be sleeping in these cute little cribs and they're going to have these cute little outfits. And, you know, I'm going to show pictures to the friends and family. And you know, I thought I had like this organization system. And it just, it just went out the window. And I think it was really, it was really disappointing because I really felt like I had things together. And it I really didn't. And, you know, I can say, I know I have a number of friends who like, you know, example, they would give up completely on dressing the babies in the summertime. They're like, okay, they got diapers. So yeah, we've got

Kristen Eberly 25:47
I've been there. Yep.

Christine Stewart-Fitzgerald 25:50
So yeah, I think there's the expectations, like there just seems like there's so many different layers put on us. We allow that to be put on ourselves really, that we just have to go. Okay, well, is this something that's really important?

Kristen Eberly 26:06
Yeah, yep. And this is, there could be a whole like, I don't know, multiple podcast series on expectations for moms today. But it's in the messaging that we get every single day of a good mom, like a good mom is selfless. A good mom loves every moment of parenting a good mom was made to be, you know, to do this and to find joy in every single moment. And if that's the expectation of what a good mom is, when we think about it, like self, being selfless means like, you have no self, you have no needs, you have no identity, you don't take care of yourself, you take care of other people. But what that looks like in reality is survival mode is depletion, and is just as chronic state of overwhelm, because we're human beings. And we need to be able to fill ourselves up and do things that take care of our bodies and do things that take care of our minds and drink enough water and eat healthy foods. So we can keep going. Like there's so many things that we need to do. So we can actually be that good mom that so many of us are just desperate to be.

Christine Stewart-Fitzgerald 27:06
Oh my gosh, we're at let's take a break. When we come back, we're gonna continue our discussion about what twin moms need to do to get out of the survival mode.

Welcome back to Twin talks. Before the break, we were talking with our twin mom, Coach Kristen Everly about what it takes to move out of survival mode. We talked about first identifying the feeling that you you might have and then looking at your expectations to see, are they healthy? Are they realistic? And let's maybe they need to be paired down. So what else do twin bombs need to do? Yeah,

Kristen Eberly 27:50
this is a wonderful question. One of the things that I talked about with a twin moms that I work with is we really need to think about what are your needs? And so when we think about needs, like these are the things that allow us to function, you know, maybe our basic needs, or maybe so we need to make sure our basic needs are met, like are we eating? Are we drinking enough water? Are we getting some moments of rest and trying to get as much sleep as we can? And no sleep is super tricky with twins, but really thinking about those basic needs. And then like what other needs do we do we have that remind us of who we are, that fill our cup up so we can keep pouring out of it for our kids that we can, you know, be able to show up for ourselves and for our families in the way that we want to. And so really checking our needs and identifying what those needs actually are. And they're going to be individual for each person, what might be something that I need, like I need a homemade caramel latte every morning. And that makes me find joy in the morning when I my boys wake up way too early still, like so that is one of my needs that I have decided this, this fills me up. This brings me joy. I'm going to do this every single morning. And so what I do for twin moms to make this very practical because I've lived it and I know that these grand strategies and things just use there's too much to do. And so I try to strive to make things as practical and possible. So one of the intentions that I have my twin moms that I work with that I have them set is let's do at least one thing a day. That's just for yourself. For me, it's that it's that homemade caramel latte. For other people it might be something else could be eating your food while it hot. While it's hot. It could be going to the bathroom with the door closed. It could be like all of these really basic things that when we write when we think about it, like oh yeah, I don't think I do that. And then those are the needs that reminds us that we are a human being who has needs and then the second part of that and then those needs deserve to be met. Because when we're in the survival mode, one of the strategies that we do so we can keep going is we self sacrifice our needs. We stopped taking care of ourselves, we think oh I'll take a shower and wash my hair tomorrow and then tomorrow turns on For five days, and we're just feeling really dirty and bad about ourselves. And so we need to really focus on what are these one things that we can do so we can so we can show up for the way that we want to be. Because if we have these expectations, like we talked about, and we're not meeting our needs, there's no way that we can attain those expectations. And then we're left feeling awful.

Christine Stewart-Fitzgerald 30:18
Oh, my gosh, you know, I love your idea of just, you know, having one thing in the day, because I mean, that makes it so easy to think about, like, Okay, what is my one thing and maybe it's, it is the same thing from day to day, like, like what you have? Or maybe it's just like, okay, you know what, I just want to get outside. Yeah, just want to go for a walk today. And maybe tomorrow, I'm going to reward myself with, you know, a, you know, latte or just Yes, yeah, yeah, we're, or, you know, maybe even like, Okay, I want to have talked to one of my good friends on the phone and just have that, you know, maybe 30 minutes yesterday, just to talk. Yeah,

Kristen Eberly 31:00
yep. And it's really these, like simple things that we can do. We think it's simple. But honestly, for us, it's life changing. Because it reminds us, oh, yeah, I can do these things. And oh, yeah, my didn't needs deserve to be met. And then now once we have the success of doing the one thing, the hope is that we can build on it. And then we can do these beautiful things. And I think when you said going outside, that just, that's like one of the most important things that we can do is get outside and move our bodies. So if we can add those to the list of needs that we're doing, those are so regulating for our bodies and foreign nervous system and help us stop that stress cycle. Hmm.

Christine Stewart-Fitzgerald 31:34
Oh, absolutely. And you know, I think, okay, as twin parents, we all know that to do those things. Sometimes it's we're either taking the twins with us, or we're finding someone who can help us because I mean, there's times when we just we need to be alone. I don't know. I mean, I love I love my girls, but there are times where, oh my gosh, I you know, I would have them like they would like my youngest, she she loved to breastfeed, she would be on me all the time. And there were times I just needed to tell her to not be physically on me, I needed to have my space. Yeah. And so just to do that, though, it seems like it, it just required some degree of planning. And I'd have to say, Okay, I need this time, you know, and I'd have to either get, you know, babysit or someone. So I think there's there's maybe to have those needs met, it takes a little bit of legwork to communicate that and say, I need to do this, or I need to plan it out. Yep. So it requires a little bit of forethought, right? It does.

Kristen Eberly 32:35
It doesn't, I will say this is not like a just do one thing, and you'll be great. Like, it does take work. And it does take money. And this is why it's so hard. And this is why like we need we need help. We can't just say okay, I'm going to add this to the list. And I'm going to do one more thing. We can get really creative about how we how we meet these needs. And that's one of the things that I work with really hard with twin moms is like, what does this look like for you? And how can we individualize this to your current situation, because not everyone has access to childcare support, not everyone has a partner that's available and home 24/7. And so we do have to get creative. But the very first thing that we need to do is we need to communicate our needs to someone else, we can't just say, Okay, I'm gonna focus on this, and I'm gonna do it all by myself. Like, we have to be able to communicate it and say, This is really important to me, I've learned that I'm just insert and I'm just in survival mode right now. And I need some help getting out of it. So in the morning, I need you five minutes to go take the twins and I will do this, this and this. So it does require planning and communication. And I will say this communication, sometimes in in partnerships and in relationships like this, it's easy, their partner is like, okay, great, I got it, no problem. Sometimes there's a lot of barriers to that. And it takes multiple conversations over time, just to set that, again, that realistic expectation of it's not always just do this and everything will be rainbows and butterflies and sunshine, sometimes there are boundaries that we need to set and we need to say, this is what I need. I am letting you know, this is what I need. And I need you to do this, this and this. We can talk about what that looks like but we do sometimes have to set a boundary and for me boundaries are just saying what's okay and what's not okay for us. And so that boundary might maybe it's like it's not okay for for in my situation for a while it was like it's not okay that I wake up every morning really early, and you get to sleep in. But my partner didn't know that that was a problem for me because I didn't say anything to him about it. And so once I was able to say like, Hey, we need to switch off on the weekend so I can be able to get some sleep then then it worked out but it takes that step of we need to actually say something and set that boundary for ourselves.

Christine Stewart-Fitzgerald 34:46
Yeah, I think that is the hardest thing is just as committed because and I get it like I think our partners I mean in a lot of guys, our husbands are just really clueless. I mean and I think you know extended for and some family who who just haven't had this experience? I mean, they can't they just don't know they're not inside our heads. So yeah, I think we, you know, we might be saying, Hey, don't you see that I'm, you know, I'm tired. And I'm, you know, like, just exhausted, I'm doing this Don't Don't you get it, but it's really not clear what. So I think, you know, maybe that's time just, you know, verbally say it or, you know, a little note, you know?

Kristen Eberly 35:29
Yeah, it can be anything. Sometimes it can be even like text messages, we have this belief that it needs to be in person. And maybe that's like, the, the what we're shooting for. But I know, if I were to have a conversation with my husband about something important, and my kids are around, we're not having that conversation. Because everybody has needs and everybody's loud, and everybody wants attention. And so sometimes it can be like text messages, some kind of times, it can be like, hey, writing a note, whatever works, the whole goal is that we have that communication so we can connect on this issue. A lot of times we see in these early years, we're both in survival mode, both partners. And so we disconnect, we don't communicate, we just survive. But anyway, that we can, we need to be able to communicate what's happening. So we can be on the same page, and we can support each other. Because it's hard. I don't know if you know that. But raising twins is really hard. And we we have to be able to do it with our village and with our people as much as possible.

Christine Stewart-Fitzgerald 36:25
Yeah, absolutely. And so, so if we communicating our needs and setting boundaries, and so what are some of the other steps that you would recommend within this process? Yeah,

Kristen Eberly 36:36
and so one of the things that we really want to look at is like, what are the things that are easy for you already, we don't want to reinvent the wheel. So if you have strengths, or if there are things that you are really good at, if there's things that you enjoy, like we really want to focus on, like how to incorporate those, like, for me, like I'm pretty good at organizing and planning. And so that was one of the things that like, Okay, I really need to focus on organizing and planning, so we can make our outing more successful. So let me pack the diaper bag with everything that we would need. Like, that's something that was a strength for mine. So I didn't necessarily need to reinvent the wheel, I was able to remember the things that I'm good at. Because for me, having twins was the most humbling experience that I've ever had. And reminding myself of my strengths to things that I'm good at, has been really helpful to reconnect with myself and reconnect with that confidence, my certainty of myself as well. And then some of the other like, really practical steps that we can do is, like I said, is movement, doing things that remind us of who we are being outside, and there's, there's a bunch of different strategies and things that I work with, with with the twin moms that I do so we can regulate our nervous system. And so we can be able to take these practical strategies and handle the stress and thrive with twins. Hmm,

Christine Stewart-Fitzgerald 38:03
that's interesting. You're, I think you're so right, like, the idea of the strength and the strengths can be, there's the physical strengths of, you know, maybe it looks like, you know, using going outside, or if, you know, if you're, if you'd like to go hiking, then figuring out a way to do that you're going outside or, you know, I know and like in my case, it's funny, I think like, career wise, I ended up getting involved with my local twins club, and, you know, did some different programs and brought in, you know, I was part of charge of the speaking program. And it was really great for me to I met some friends and we have we're lifelong friends now. And so I felt like I could do something different that it was fulfilling for me personally. And it was, you know, hadn't planned on it. So. Yep. So I think I think my, my takeaway is just that you can do things differently. And it's, it can be unexpected as well. Just, you know, finding, you know, finding commonalities with other, you know, twin parents or just, you know, like going and exploring new places that maybe wouldn't have gone to be, you know, and and finding connections there. So, I, it's like, I think it really means you have to have an open mind to it.

Kristen Eberly 39:29
Yeah, yep. And that's one of the first things to go in survival mode, right, is that it's, we're just focused on that next thing. And so if we can do these small things to take care of ourselves, then it opens up our selves for this problem solving this creativity and this being able to be flexible and adaptable and maybe trying some new things that maybe we wouldn't before in the first place.

Christine Stewart-Fitzgerald 39:49
Yeah. Now also, okay, I read your guide and your guide, you know, you talk about choosing your village and, you know, to say it really matters stayed with me because I know like we just mentioned that there's there's so much out there that is prescribing a certain way of parenting, everybody has their opinions. And everybody's saying that this is, you know, this is this is the next big thing. And you know, this worked for me. So it should work for you. I'm so so what's your advice to twin moms about checking and choosing their village?

Kristen Eberly 40:24
Yeah, and this is really something that's unique for modern moms now is that we have so much influence through social media. And we can connect with people that we've never connected with before people that we wouldn't relate to like, it's it is a beautiful thing. And there are some risks to social media. And so this is one of the things that I talk to twin moms a lot about is like, we really need to check for your like virtual village. And oftentimes, this virtual village is becoming our own village, there are some twin moms that don't have the twin mom group in their community, or they can't, for whatever reason, go to the twin mom group, or they don't know anybody who has twins. And so we're really relying on this virtual village that we have that is that can be such a beautiful thing. But one of the things that we really need to think about is how am I feeling after I consume this person's content? After I you know, watch their real, read their carousel, like, whatever it is like, how am I actually feeling? We need to pause and tune in to say, okay, am I feeling like, am I feeling motivated? And am I feeling like, seen and heard and connected? Or am I feeling like I need to try harder, like I need to do more, or feeling like just really bad about ourselves, like, I'm not doing that. And I should be doing that. I'm failing. And so if we leave some of these social media pages and really feel like really bad about ourselves, then that's a sign that they are not part of our village, they may want, they may be a wonderful content creator, whatever it is, but that person might not be for you for where you are in this moment in time. I know for me, and the work that I put out on social media is really trying to talk about the hard parts of twin parenting, and really provide a safe place for twin moms to do that. But there are some moms who my page is not for there's been people that have reached out to me that are one of their twins has passed away. And my content really made them grieve their experience all over again. And so I am not for that person. And so I asked her to unfollow me and to make sure that she follows people that that don't activate this for her so much. And so we get the choice for social media, who we follow who who we don't follow, but we really have to pay attention with who we are engaging with how they make us feel about ourselves. And if they if we feel seen and understood, are really important things to think about when we're looking at our virtual village.

Christine Stewart-Fitzgerald 42:57
Hmm. I can understand like, Yeah, I think there's, there's probably a number of pages out there or, you know, digital creators who have this seemingly sort of perfect life. And you know, and I've seen them there's, there's a few though, let's say, before twins, I used to do a lot more traveling, and I still I love to travel. And so sometimes when I see some of the pages where, you know, they're they're traveling with twins to, you know, exotic places. And I think, oh, gosh, you know, I wish that I could have done I mean, when my girls were little I mean, we we did not travel for the first few years. And it or I mean, we're starting to now because they're older. And so I can relate because there's, there's sometimes I feel like, well, why couldn't we do that? Well, why didn't we just get that together? And so there's this this almost sense of like, I'm missing out. And so I have to really catch myself to say is that is that filling me up? Is that making me feel good? Things that I have control over? Is it? Is it inspiring me? Or is it making me feel like I've just you know, I'm missing something? So yeah,

Kristen Eberly 44:12
that's so important. Yeah, because it comes on, like we see a reel and like every five seconds, we're seeing a new reel, or new post or whatever it is. So we normally don't take the time to think about that. But that's something that we can intentionally pay attention to is if we go to someone's page and we look at their stuff and we think oh, I don't really know this just makes me feel like I'm not trying hard enough or this makes me really miss travel. And now that's taking away from being present from from my girls, then we could think about you know what, know that one right now that's not where I'm at in this life. And being able to continue to almost like trigger and activate yourself by seeing that it's just not for you right now and it's not filling you up like you said,

Christine Stewart-Fitzgerald 44:53
yeah, oh, wow. Well, so what I know you've got a really great program so What resources can you recommend to our listeners today who really want to make a change in the way that they define their life and, and really thrive as a twin parent? Yeah.

Kristen Eberly 45:09
So I have a free guide. So I've given you the free guide. So it'll be in the in the show notes. And so that free guide is a great place to get started just to learn a little bit about me, and to learn about the work that I do. And it has some really great strategies in there to be able to help us notice this survival mode and then do easy and practical strategies to help ease that maybe overwhelming anxiety. And then I'm active on Instagram, my handle is at Harmony underscore, in underscore multiples. And so there I really tried to focus on posting that the content that I needed. When I became a quick twin mom, I needed other moms out there saying like, this is the hardest thing I've ever done. And I needed to see to just for people to be able to say that this, this is hard. And so I tried to step into that space on Instagram, I have a Facebook group that I offer as well for twin moms, focusing on easing that overwhelm and anxiety and overstimulation for twin moms. And then I also have a program a coaching program that I offer twin moms as well. And in that coaching program, we really focus on all of these things that are causing us to stay stuck in survival mode, and then really focus on how do we get twin moms on the twin mom. Three thriving path. And so that's what this program focused on. And then I provide coaching within that program, because I know how important it is to be able to get that support. Oftentimes we buy a course and we think we're going to spend time doing it and we're going to get it done and we never do. I honestly can say I probably have two or three that I've purchased in the past and haven't had the time to do. And so what the program that I offer, I provide coaching support within the program to help with accountability to help with motivation to help with Okay, what does this look like an actual real life you tell me to do one thing for myself, I have no idea how even to get started, I don't know what to do, then we can provide that coaching support to be able to individualize this for for your life, so each person can have that opportunity to thrive with twins.

Christine Stewart-Fitzgerald 47:20
Wow. Well, this has been such an enlightening discussion with you today. And so thank you, Kristen, for bringing forward so it's just really important information that we don't get elsewhere. And for our listeners if you'd like to learn more about Kristen's program to help twin moms thrive, so you can visit New mommy where we'll have all the links to Kristen's website and Facebook group and you also have all the twin talks, podcast episodes, plus videos and more.

Well, that wraps up our show for today. Thanks for listening. If you like twin talks as much as we do, we'll please consider checking out the amazing businesses that sponsor our show week after week. And we'd also love for you to tell other twin parents about this resource, which of course is absolutely free. And if you want to check out some of our other parenting podcasts such as newbies, everything about newborns, parents savers, think parenting hacks the boob group, the lowdown on breastfeeding, and preggy pals everything you could possibly need to know about pregnancy, then visit our website at New mommy Thanks for listening to twin talks parenting times two

Disclaimer 48:37
is it has been a new mommy media production. The information and material contained in this episode are presented for educational purposes only. Statements and opinions expressed in this episode are not necessarily those of new mommy media and should not be considered facts. While such information and materials are believed to be accurate. It is not intended to replace or substitute for professional medical advice or care and should not be used for diagnosing or treating healthcare problem or disease or prescribing any medication. If you have questions or concerns regarding your physical or mental health, or the health of your baby, please seek assistance from a qualified health care provider

Transcribed by

Love our shows? Join our community and continue the conversation! Mighty Moms is our online support group, with parenting resources and helpful new mom stories you won’t find anywhere else! You’ll also have a chance to be featured on our shows.

Become a Mighty Mom!