It’s Multiple Birth Awareness week, so I thought I would suggest ways you can help Multiple Mums. Since my triplets are two years old, I’m sure there are more ways you can still help as they get older as well. If you have older multiples, please leave further comments below, I would love this to be a resource for those who are hoping to help out but don’t know where to start.
Mothers who have multiples, or higher order multiples are very busy people. If we weren’t aware of the fact, we would soon become aware, because most people you meet say, “Oh, you must be very busy.” And I flash them my widest smile, (if I’m not in the middle of trying to keep my child alive and away for the traffic,) and say, “Yes, yes I am!”
Since we are so busy, and most of the time, we are very grateful for all forms of help, I thought I would share 8 ways you can help a multiple mum. You know, just in case you were wondering how to. If you weren’t wondering how to and you know parents with twins, triplets, or God help them, quads, quints or beyond, keep reading and be inspired. (Although many of these suggestions would be appreciated by any mother!)
1. Hold A Baby
I know that it’s simple, but seriously, it can be such a big help! Of course, proceed on this one with caution, because like any parent, multiples are cautious and often reticent to let strangers hold their babies. So please, don’t swoop in and grab. But if there are more babies crying then a mother has arms, ask sweetly if you can help. If you are good friends with the multiple Mum you might be surprised how often you can be of assistance by doing the very easy and delightful task of holding a bub. Examples of times that I have found this useful have been at church on Sunday’s. When there are people I know around me, I am more than happy for them to scoop up a little one who is making too much noise and hold and distract them. When the babies were very young and unsettled with reflux my wonderful book club used to hold them all evening while they slept. It was like a little holiday, especially for my husband who would retreat with relief for a child-free evening.
|Book club after the babies were born.|
2. Hold A Child’s Hand
Of course, a variation of the above topic. Once the multiples are a bit older, if a mother looks like she’s struggling to keep children in one spot, volunteer to hold a hand or walk with a toddler. Now the triplets are two, they are getting better, but it can just be so challenging walking them to places.
Walking into kindy is super challenging, sometimes I would really appreciate a little assistance as I shuffle past holding three hands at once and keeping an eye on the Kindy boy. At the moment, when we are out, I hold two hands in one hand and one in the other. Unfortunately Jayden is insistent that he holds hands on his own. I’m trying to work on this, because it’s not very fair, but it’s so hard when he doesn’t get his way and has dropped to the ground in carparks and other public places having a tantrum!
3. Take the Multiples Older Sibling(s) on a Playdate
If you are doing something with your children, and think you could squeeze in one or two more, offer to the multiple Mum to take the big kid(s). Sometimes, life just seems so easy when only the multiples are present, because big kids can really make like difficult sometimes with their own set of needs. Plus, especially while the multiples are young, the siblings of multiples really do miss out on activities just because Mum is so busy. So just going to a park can be a rare outing for multiples and their siblings, so don’t underestimate how much it will be appreciated by the Mum and the kids!
I have a friend who regularly offers to take Trent for playdates with her son. Trent relishes these times. He also goes over to his friends Nana’s house on other occasions. He now calls her Nana also and talks non-stop about the things they got up to in her backyard! Even if you are an older person who is able to take a Multiple’s sibling away for a few hours, they will have fun!
4. Cook Meals or Bake
I’ve mentioned before that cooked meals are so appreciated in our house. We regularly had people rostered and cooking meals every night before and after the triplets were born. It was such a relief when I was too big to stand for very long and then in those early days when all I was doing was breastfeeding day and night. In those days it was hard enough to get time to eat myself let alone find the time to feed my family.
|Multiples are tiring for Daddys too. The early days. Look how tired The Accountant is. The price of being a great (and hands on) Dad.|
When you have young multiples, finding time to do even the mundane jobs can be complicated. I’ve spoken about my Ironing Lady, our pastor’s wife who has been doing our ironing for over two years now. Seriously, not having to worry about that chore, makes so much time for other things and for spending more time with the children. If you have a few hours spare, why not drop by a multiple Mum’s house and volunteer a few hours to clean. Or head out to the garden, (or send an able bodied man around), because especially in the early days, the garden will most likely be in a state of neglect. I’m getting to the stage now where I’m wanting to plant vegetables again. I already had one attempt, got everything weeded and planted. Then killed it all. It’s been a few months since that attempt, it must be time to try again!
6. Invite a Family with Multiples Around to Your Home
I am on quite a few Facebook pages with Triplet Mums around the world. It regularly comes up that people are hurt because people no longer invite them to their homes for meals or even the children miss out on being invited to parties because there is so many of them. Parents who have multiples still need to socialise, and it’s good for children to get out and about also. I know that it is daunting having a large family around, but if you ask, most families would be happy to bring various elements of the meal with them. Or, meet each other at a park for a BBQ if you fear that your home just won’t cope with too many little children.
|Plus dining out gives the multiples an excellent chance to learn appropriate etiquette! And in this instance, what better way to
learn it over a milkshake and sprinkle bun!
7. Don’t Pity Us
Don’t tell a Multiple Parent, “I’d shoot myself if I had triplets.” Seriously. I’ve had someone say it to me. Don’t say, “Poor You”, “Should I send you a commiseration card?” or “I’m so glad I don’t have triplets”, (Insert twin, quad, etc. …), “I’m glad I’m not you.” Once again, all been said to me. Us Multiple Mums love each of our children dearly. Our multiple children make our life richer. So if you do pity us, be helpful and say nothing.
|If I wasn’t a Multiple Mum, I wouldn’t have this moment. And it’s priceless.|
8. Give Them A Spa Voucher – Or Offer Babysitting Services
I haven’t had this happen to me, but I can’t tell you how many times I fantasized about it happening in the first year. I was seriously sooooooo tired. I had visions of being whisked off to a luxurious 5 star day spa and wearing a fancy bathrobe before having a full body massage, facial and a spectacular makeover. Of course these fantasy getaways were handed over with full babysitting services provided for the children. I also dreamed of having a weekend away with my hubby, and happily that happened February last year. (Beautiful two days. Thanks honey. And Grandma’s babysitting services. xxx) Now I know that most of us can’t afford to give away packages for a whole day away, but maybe if you have a friend who is a multiple Mum, (especially with babies) you could get a group of you together, throw some money in a hat and then babysit the kids together. (You know, safety in numbers!)
|Mummy and Daddy out for dinner.|
Another variation of this would be to just offer babysitting services so Mum and Dad could go out to dinner or watch a movie together or some other sort of date. Especially the Multiple parents that don’t have extended family nearby. (Or if you are extended family and haven’t been called on, try offering!) Having multiples is stressful, so more than ever cultivating a marriage brings stability to the family.
|For the record, I will still accept vouchers for a pedicure at someplace like this…
image credit here
So, do you think you could do any of the above for a multiple Mum? Are you a multiple Mum yourself? What have you found (or fantasised about) really helpful from others during your multiple journey?
And if you are on the triplet, pregnant, babies or just want to reminisce, you my like checking out my reflections on Things that once terrified me about having triplets.
Or Advice for Surviving With Newborn Triplets
Or Advice for mothers pregnant with triplets