SHE SAID / HE SAID – PART 2 Making time for each other

The thing I love about this blog is getting to share my thoughts and experiences as one of MANY ways to cope with this wild ride, it’s not THE way.. it’s ONE way.  J and I are similar in that we both love to problem solve and then share our findings so this SHE SAID / HE SAID thing is so fun for me because it shows how two people, in the same household, can have different thoughts and approaches but ultimately come to the same conclusion.  J and I don’t talk about our answers… he sends them to me, I cut and paste and send it to you.   This week we answer 2 questions that were sent our way (thank you).
Q: What are you most excited about for the future with your twins and what are you most nervous about?
SHE: I’m excited for the little things: how their sense of humour will develop, who their favourite teacher will be, what will they be curious about, how the 4 of us will navigate through life and will this new found inspiration to keep things simple and in perspective continue (for me).   I’m nervous for conversations about gender “roles” and social pressures with the twins – especially considering J and I have such strong opinions on being authentic and not fitting into a box.  I want them to be happy, loving, goal oriented and confident humans and it’s crazy that they will turn to us for that guidance … I guess that makes me nervous about parenting in general. (no pressure right?)
HE:  I’m most excited to learn if they have the “twin bond” that we’ve heard so much about. To know your kids could have such a strong lifelong friend is very exciting. And although there is a bond between siblings, apparently the twin bond goes to the next level. I’m also pretty interested to see how they will support each other and gain new interests because of the other. They already get upset when they are in separate rooms so I’m sure they will attract each other to activities/hobbies/sports and even friends that may not have been in their original comfort zone. Having one boy and one girl should also open them up to being more accepting of the opposite sex and ideally limit gender stereotypes to a degree.  When it comes to being nervous about anything it really tends to be either very pragmatic (the cost) or over emotionally (their safety). I’ve always thought of having two kids so the cost was pretty much expected, accept that you get hit really hard at the beginning since there are no hand me downs (like stroller or highchair) so you need two of pretty much everything right away. It’s also extremely expensive having two kids under two in daycare so it’s really made the decision for a single family income a lot more straight forward. Based on what we’ve researched approximately the first $50,000 before tax income would go towards daycare for two 1 year olds in Vancouver. It was pretty easy to make the logical decision for Kendahl to stay at home a second year, although the idea of being a single-income family has been a little unnerving for me. As for the emotional side, it’s nothing really specific for twins, but I simply get really nervous about my kids safety. The twins tend to get into a little more mischief between them (picture one twin standing on the back of another…yes it’s happened), but I’m assuming all parents are worried to a degree about the safety issue.
Q: How have you found/made time for each other?  (what advice would you give new parents, based on our last 2 years?)
SHE:  Honestly, I haven’t.  My focus is always on the twins, so much so that leaving the house looks like this:  Twins: extra diapers, water, soothers, soother clips, extra shorts, shoes, bucket w 2 shovels, sunhat, sunscreen, bug-spray.  Me: wallet, phone, sunglasses, shoes….where are my damn shoes…. am I wearing deodorant?  Take the chicken out before we leave, take the chicken out before we leave…  By the end of the day I have given so much to them that I sometimes just need to be alone; curl up with Netflix ..and eat chocolate.  It’s hard to find time for each other   It’s hard to reconnect intimately after child birth, it’s hard to feel connected when you are exhausted and overwhelmed.  So the times we have been able to go out are all due to J’s foresight that it was needed.  And I give him full credit for that not only here but in person.  I have always made sure to acknowledge all the ways he’s kept our lives moving forward while I focused on the NOW. I think the fact we could talk about our exhaustion in the beginning and not hold it against one another reminded us that we were on the same team.    We made sure to stay physically connected in simple ways like holding hands, or touching each other’s leg when we talked.  It sounds so small as I write it, but I can remember it making such a difference at the time. As the twins have gotten older and we have been able to give a little more energy to each other we have done a few things (again simple) that have helped:   1) HANG OUT with each other….  it doesn’t always have to be romantic, but it gives you the chance to feel human again and remind each other that you LIKE being together.   2) On the advice of P and G, we had a kid free night.  Getting a full 24 hours without kids is a HUGE reset.  I didn’t believe it would make SUCH a difference but being able to just relax and “go with the flow” (remember what that felt like pre-kids??) is priceless.  3) take advantage of your surroundings. I remember so many new cafes and restaurants opening up in Vancouver when the twins were first born and we were lucky to have J’s parents take the twins a couple times a week so we could have time to explore and try new things (when we weren’t sleeping or doing errands).  In Tamarindo we have explored nearby beaches, gone surfing and taken in the occasional happy hour – whatever helps you continue building memories as a couple.
HE:  Use the support of your family and accept their offers. Honestly most of the first year I wasn’t thinking about finding time for “us”, but instead just finding time to veg out. So during that first year I believe family were the ones suggesting we have a night, or afternoon, out together. At first I was reluctant to take up the offer (thinking we were the only ones that could take care of the twins), but the sooner I let that go the better it was for Kendahl and I. Setting a regular time for my parents to take care of the kids was probably one of the better things that happened to our relationship during year one. We knew that every Tuesday & Thursday from 4-6pm my parents would take the kids out of the house. A lot of the time this was used to allow us to sleep (particularly early on) or take care of household chores, however, when we finally felt like we were starting to catch up we’d actually use the time to be a couple again and quickly pop out to enjoy a  drink on one of our local patio’s. Getting that first “date night” experience again was really important and reminded me that I wanted more of that. From there I’ve been very vocal about having a babysitter while we’ve been travelling. It keeps us sane being able to leave the house, have a dinner together and just be a couple. Having some hindsight, my recommendation would be that you don’t need to plan anything overly special for you and your partner, but just simply going out could be all you need. We recognized Valentine’s Day and our Anniversary during the first two years, but it was scaled back considerable and that was okay for both of us. 
Check out more SHE SAID / HE SAID posts here and let me know if there is anything SHE and HE can share our perspectives on.  Sometimes it takes seeing an other person’s view to understand how you truly feel about an issue..  it’s not about being right or wrong.  It’s about being honest.
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