I recently read an article about the divorce rate for parents of twins being higher than parents of just one child. Having twins is the third most difficult thing that I have ever experienced. Our first three years of marriage have been a baptism of fire and our relationshop has been pushed to it’s limits. The first test was infertility and IVF treatment. That was quickly followed by our second difficult challenge, our twins being born 10 weeks prematurely.
After 6 months, when they had finally found their sleeping rhythm, we were sure that the hard times were behind us. In some ways they were. IVF and preemies were emotionally challenging for both of us. Out twins are a blessing but they may be our biggest challenge to date.
What we were not prepared for was just how physically and mentally draining it would be. As I mentioned in my last post we have both been ill so often. I have been sick 5 times in the last 6 months. The lack of sleep and breaks with young twins is really hard on the body. Our twins are the best thing that have ever happened to us but the lack of downtime has put a tremendous strain on our relationship.
There is little or no for time for our relationship. We are just parents at the moment and it is taking its tole on our marriage. I’m not saying that we are looking to get a divorce but it having no time for each other is pushing us to our limits. By the time we feed, bath and put the kids to bed it is 9 O’clock and we have been on the go for 15 or 16 hours.
Having twins and not much help causes us to feel constant pressure. We never really get a break from the feeding, changing, crying, working, shopping etc. Being switched on the whole time is not good for your health or your relationship. You need to make time for each other and take time to switch off completely.
5 Reasons That The Divorce Rate For Parents Of Twins Is So High
When you have twins you do not get many breaks. Any breaks that you do get are used to tick things off your forever growing to-do list . Constantly trying to be productive is a habit that is so hard to break.
When you have twins and you get a babysitter, they can usually just mind one baby. Not many people, even family, can handle twins. It’s really hard work and it’s not for the feint hearted.
When you get a babysitter for one kid and have just one kid, it can feel like you are getting a break. Having one kid is not really a break. You still have to look after a child. This is not a chance to recharge your batteries. While it is easier than minding two, it is still work.
Sleep deprivation is a killer. It negatively impacts so many areas of your life. It influences your mood, your health and your energy levels. I cannot count how many times in the last year and a half where I have only got 3-5 hours sleep and had to do a 16 hour day of work and baby minding.
Lack of sleep impacts your relationship as you have no energy to enjoy each others company. On top of that sleep deprivation also causes you to be irritable. Very often, Olivia and I will snap at each other over something minor as we are so tired. Stress and sleep deprivation are a desperate duo that lead to regular arguments.
3.Not Enough Time For Each Other
Parents of twins only get 10-30 minutes of quality time together each day. By the time you have come home and done all of your parenting duties it is late. At 9 O’clock after a long day, you are too tired to spend any quality time together.
At the start we tried to do date nights but this became to hard. When you wake up a 5 or 6 AM you are exhausted by 9 O’clock. If you get a babysitter at night, you are too tired to go enjoy a date night. If you stay out late and have a few drinks then you are exhausted when you get up at 5AM.
Parents of multiples have nobody to talk to about their problems. Not many people understand just how hard it is to have twins. Even parents of multiple children don’t understand the added pressure that having twins has on a relationship. The fact that nobody understands you makes it hard to open up and let other people know about your struggles.
My wife and I are effected differently by having twins and have a completely different perspective on our situation. This makes it hard for us to understand each other. I struggle with managing the pressure of work, being the sole source of income and looking after the kids when I finish work. Olivia struggles with managing two demanding kids on her own Monday to Friday.
The changes to our lifestyle has been drastic and we are both close to burn out. Our health suffers from the constant pressure and the feeling of isolation puts strain on our relationship.
Being sleep deprived, over worked and under constant pressure is enough to give even the most patient person a short fuse. I’m a very easy going person and I rarely get angry. Since having the twins I have been much quicker to snap, especially with Olivia. It’s out of character and I know that it’s caused by the pressure of having twins.
The only time that we have fought more than in the last months was when we were going through IVF treatment. Being in a constant “switched on” state is not healthy and when you put anything under enough pressure it will break.
How To Protect Your Marriage From The Pressure of Twins
Writing this post is like therapy for me. It’s self serving but it is also helpful for other parents of twins. If you have twins and are struggling then you are not alone. Many parents divorce for all of the reasons that I have listed above.
Putting my problems on paper has given me a lot of clarity and helped to take action. If myself and Olivia are not showing up for each other then we are not showing up for twins. I will never put my children through the emotional turmoil that is caused by a divorce.
Instead of giving up, we are doing what we did when we went through IVF treatment. We are working harder on our relationship then we have ever worked. We are making massive changes to improve our situation.
As I was writing this post, I stopped and put an ad on line for nanny to come by for one day per week for 6-8 hours. She will come over the weekend and give Olivia and me a chance to put our marriage first. Yes, this will be expensive but it will give us time to put the spark back into our relationship.
It is hard to see it at the time but adversity and struggle always brings positive change. Our relationship is going through adversity and we have made the change of making more time for each other. If you are struggling with anything in life then you have two options. Give up on what is causing you to struggle or make a change. Giving up is easy but making big change is hard.
I will not give up on my marriage or my family. The only thing to do is work hard and make positive lasting changes. Is your marriage struggling from the pressure of parenting twins? I would love to hear from you int eh comments below.