In the early hours of the morning, I was skimming the news on my phone as I nursed my twin boys back to sleep. I came across a study that claimed twin moms lived longer. The reason, the study concluded, was that moms of twins were physically stronger. I didn’t read the article in its entirety, because I fell asleep in the middle of it, drool spilling down my chin as my babies night nursed for the millionth time. But before I fell asleep I remember muttering to myself, “This study can’t be right.” I reflected on my current state—somewhere between weathered and how do I still have a pulse—and decided that there must have been an error in the study’s data collection process. Perhaps the control group was a rare race in the Appalachian mountains that only needed four hours of sleep for optimal health. Personally, I felt like I’d aged years in only the first few months of my boys’ life. I mean, the lack of sleep, constant nursing, and the stress of keeping two small humans alive was enough to bring me to my knees. Some days were better than others, but my mindset with each passing day was one of survival.
And I survived.
Now that I am out of those crippling, sleep-deprived days, I see some merit in this study’s findings. Granted, the data collection was from women in the late 1800s who conceived naturally (obviously), but I think all twin moms have super strength.
It is easy to think about how your twins are shortening your life through heinous sleep deprivation torture tactics and emotional warfare, but here are five ways I found having twins actually made me a stronger and healthier mom.
- Built-in Weight Training
Forget fancy weight training programs. You don’t need a personal trainer. You have two humans to cart about. And unlike a singleton mom, you get symmetrically muscular arms. Yes, you are lugging two infant carseats, pushing that double stroller up the hill with two solid baby butts inside, and you are deadlifting two babies off the floor from playtime. With twins, you have a progressive weight program in which the weight increases daily with each and every feeding. Just when you think lugging those babies is manageable, boom, a growth spurt. Oh, and wait until the toddler years. You haven’t tested your strength until you’ve carried a squirming, trantruming toddler to the car, while the instigating twin sits coyly on your hip! You are strong as hell, twin mama.
2. Elite Cardio Training
Forget high intensity interval training (HIIT). Sure, it’s all the rage right now. But have you tried the “twin-split”? This elite cardiovascular exercise occurs when one twin doddles, looking at each fallen leaf and unique stick in the street, while the other twin sprints in a parking lot full of cars. You have to swoop the poky twin onto your hip, and then full out sprint to catch the runner.
Moms of multiples log the miles. I’ve never owned a Fitbit, but if I had to guess, I’d say I hit my 10,000 steps by 7:30 AM. Twin moms don’t sit—ever. You are constantly doing inventory. “Okay, there you are. Now where’s your brother?” you ask a million times a day as you wander the house. You cart laundry, run to the other room for more diapers, pick up a million messes, and chase your kids from room to room. Relaxation is doing the dishes while they nap.
3. You Eat Out Less
Eating out…no seriously, you just can’t. When you have one kid, eating out isn’t exactly enjoyable, but it is doable. Taking twins out for a meal…are you kidding? You couldn’t pay me to eat at a restaurant. I mean really, I’m not going to pay good money for an average-at-best-meal served with a side of angst and a heavy helping of “why the fuck am I doing this.” No. Stay home. It’s not worth it. You are outnumbered. It is simple math. It just doesn’t work. The silver lining is that you save money and calories by eating at home!
4. Increased Flexibility
For the first two years I opened doors with a ninja kick. I shut the garage door by craning my neck to hit the button with my nose. I could balance on one leg and stretch my other leg to pick up a dropped toy with my toes. Without a spare arm, you get resourceful, and quick. The result is some awesome contortion moves and increased flexibility.
5. Increased Mental Fortitude
Thinking about running a marathon? No problem! It couldn’t be as hard as carrying twins to term. A 26.2 mile run would be more relaxing than any given day parenting twins. Think about it. You can plug in your headphones and get like…what…four hours of silence. I would stop for a coffee though, so my time would be closer to five hours. I joke, I hate running long distance. Scrap the marathon part…let’s just go get coffee.
Joking aside, moms of multiples are tough as nails. We are warriors. Think about all the physical challenges we have endured. The stress on our bodies to grow and stretch with multiple lives; the sleepless nights feeding two babies; for some, making milk for two; double the patience as we watch two toddlers buckle their own carseat. I can only imagine the teen years. Twin mom-ing takes fortitude. This no-limits mindset certainly transcends into other areas of life including fitness and health.
While the published study was referring to physical superiority through awesome genetics, I’d say all moms of multiples have a special strength no matter how they conceived. Each day is a blessing. Each day is also a test of your strength. So here’s to all my fellow twin moms. Cheers. Cheers to a few extra years of this wonderful life.