It’s been a long time since I felt I had the time or energy to really write, but here I am, back again!
I have spent the last month or so parenting my twin toddlers largely alone, and while it’s been a very rewarding experience, it hasn’t always left me with much creative energy at the end of the day. What would usually be time spent reading, writing, or crafting in the evenings, quickly warped into time spent eating ice cream in front of a good TV series! Life has had a very different pace, but now I am home again and back to my usual routine, I’ve felt some of my usual creative energy creep back into my evenings!
My husband and I took the twins down south to visit my mum for a week. At the end of that week, my husband had to return to work in Manchester, but I was keen to spend a bit more time in the city that I grew up in. We decided that I’d stay on in the south for another few weeks with the twins, and my mum would be around to lend a hand where needed! As it happened, on the day my husband left to go back up north, my mum sustained second degree burns to her feet, seriously impacting her mobility, and meaning she had to spend as much time as possible off her feet! Nonetheless, we stuck to the plan.
We had lots of space where we were staying, which both twins absolutely loved. They spent their days running around the garden and exploring in a safe environment, which meant that by bedtime they were tired and fell asleep straight away.
I made a conscious decision early on in the trip not to use high chairs. Every meal, come rain or shine, was eaten picnic style on our Close Parent play mats. It worked perfectly – the play mats have a wipe clean side, but when they were looking particularly grubby, I’d just chuck them in the washing machine. Eating every meal outside also meant that the amount of cleaning up I needed to do was minimised – I’d just shake off any crumbs into the bird feeder area my mum has set up, and birds and other beasties ate it in no time! This worked well as the weather was warm, even when it was wet. I’d have struggled more with meal times had it been winter!
On the topic of meal times, it’s worth mentioning that a combination of batch cooking and a few toddler ready meals made my life easy. Having twins, batch cooking is my norm anyway, but it really paid off when I was doing things by myself. I scaled up the quantities of a few of my meals too so there was enough for my mum, and a few spares for the freezer! Favourites to batch cook are; coconut daal, halloumi stew, and cheese and tomato pinwheels!
When it came to getting out and about, not having my husband and the car around to help didn’t actually matter at all! The house where I was staying was in a city centre location, so everything I could have possibly needed was right on my doorstep. On the days when my mum was feeling up to it, we ventured out to the nearest coffee shops and had little coffee dates with the twins – something that’s not nearly so easy at home! I took the twins to some of my favourite childhood spots, including the beach. Luckily, I still have all the relevant bus and train routes imprinted into my brain from my teenage years, so even little day trips were nice and easy. I’m very lucky that both twins are great on public transport – they either sleep once the bus or train gets going, or they watch the world through the window.
My biggest success of the whole trip was a paddle in the sea. I took the twins for a little coastal walk with an old school friend, and when my friend had to go home, we headed to the beach. I was incredibly cautious, but I have one twin that loves looking at pebbles, and another that loves the sea, so I was confident that I could keep everyone happy while being completely safe. I found a spot where I could get the buggy close to the water’s edge and set up my trusty Close Parent play mat for my daughter. Sure enough, she happily sat on the mat examining the pebbles. Less than six feet away, I was able to take my son for a little paddle in the sea – holding his hands the whole time, and watching my daughter too. We only stayed in the water for a few minutes because as you can imagine, keeping two toddlers completely safe in this situation is pretty mentally exhausting! We spent another ten minutes eating snacks together on the mat before packing up and heading home. It might not sound like much, but to me, it was an enormous win being able to safely manage twin toddlers at the beach by myself! Hooray!
Generally, the whole trip was lovely and a total success. I even managed quite a bit of cloth bumming too, which I wasn’t sure about to begin with due to managing the laundry alone. In the end, it didn’t really matter that my mum wasn’t able to be very hands on, because I was able to cope well by myself. That being said, my mum was very good at making sure I always had a coffee, and she was chief twin cuddler!
I’m back in the north now, and despite having such a wonderful time, I missed my husband terribly so I’m very glad to be home. It’s been really affirming though, seeing how much I am capable of doing by myself!