The Twin Daycare Life: Tips from a Full-time Working Mama (Guest Blogger)
Written by: Katie Williams, a guest blogger and fellow twin mom
Returning to work full-time after the birth of my twins was one of the hardest seasons of my life to date. The days concluding my three-month maternity leave were filled with tears and anxiety. It certainly took time finding balance in my new role as a twin mom and learning to function at work on broken sleep. But, nearly nine months later, we are thriving in our new normal. While coffee deserves some credit, it’s quality childcare and a solid routine that have made my transition to a full-time working mom so much smoother. Knowing my babies are being cared for in a safe place allows me to fully commit myself to work during the day.
Our twins started daycare at 6 months old and we haven’t looked back once! (Okay, maybe when they got Hand, Foot, and Mouth Disease we did for a minute.) But overall, we have been so pleased with our daycare experience. It’s not easy getting two twins to daycare every day, but its do-able!
Today, I’m sharing 9 tips for living that twin daycare life:
1. Get on a list early. Like first trimester early. Good quality daycare is in such demand and most have long waitlist times, especially when you are requiring two infant spots. Before we had even announced my pregnancy on Facebook, we had two guaranteed spots.
2. Prioritize what’s important to you. We wanted a school close to our home and cameras in the classroom. Watching my little ones play in their classroom via the Watch Me Grow app does my heart good during the work day. We also asked about discounts – because daycare is expensive – and were pleased to learn that most offered a multiples discount!
3. Know what’s included. Your twins will be eating breakfast, lunch, and snacks before you know it, and it’s important to know what is and is not provided. At first we sent purees, puffs, yogurt melts, etc. But since the age of 10 months, they have been eating the school-provided meals. Every week, we review the menus and circle what we want them to eat. They have learned to eat so well and are being exposed to new foods every day. Thankfully, our school is nut-free because our son is allergic to peanuts.
4. Preparation is key. In the evening, lay out the twins’ clothes, restock the daycare bag, preset the coffee maker, and make sure bottles are washed and ready to go. You will thank yourself in the morning for being organized.
5. Find a routine that works for your family and fluctuate as necessary. Some mornings will be smooth, some haywire. Go with it and know that Saturday is coming. Even the best mornings can feel chaotic and I’m usually sweating by the time we leave the house. You know that scene in Home Alone when everyone is frantically trying to leave the house for their flight to Paris? That’s us.
On most days, our mornings look like this:
5:50 a.m. I get up, shower, blow dry my hair, and apply my make-up, waiting until the very last minute to get dressed to avoid getting spit-up on my work clothes. My husband gets in the shower and I make the breakfast bottles.
6:45 a.m. The twins are up, diapers are changed, and they take their morning bottles in the Table for Two (best purchase EVER!). While they eat, one of us makes the four daycare bottles.
7:00 a.m. Everyone gets dressed, diapers changed again, we load the car and are out the door by 7:30 a.m.
Once I drop them off, I enjoy coffee and the radio during my commute. Who knew traffic could be so relaxing?
6. Meal prep dinner. If you’re not doing it now, you will need to start! Meal prepping on the weekends makes the evenings a lot less crazy. There is about a 30-minute window when we get home for me to get dinner ready. Having meat prepped or vegetables ready to go means less time cooking and more time playing. Some evenings we eat as a family at 5:45 p.m., and some nights the twins eat together and then my husband and I eat after they are in bed.
7. Have a sick plan in place. Yes, they will get sick that first year. Probably a lot! And the challenging part with twins is that the sickness tends to be drawn out – one twin may be home sick on Monday and Tuesday, the other twin on Wednesday and Thursday, and you can’t miss four days of work. So, have a plan in place and a tribe to call on for help. Can a neighbor stay with the sick baby while you attend a meeting? Can you and your spouse alternate morning and afternoon? Somehow, it all works out. Your work will understand, you won’t get (too) behind, and your twins will get well!
8. Infant car seats for the win. It’s the best way to carry them into school and your arms will get a work-out twice a day. You will get lots of comments about having your hands full, but most parents will be kind and hold the doors open for you. At some point we will have to change car seats and we may have to use a stroller until they are big enough to walk on their own, but hopefully that will be a short season.
9. Finally, a few final words of advice:
—Get the minivan. Those sliding doors make life so much easier with daily drop-off and pick-up. You won’t regret it.
—Establish a relationship with the teachers and ask questions about the day. We love our teachers and I’ve come to value their insight and feedback on everything from bottles to food to diaper cream.
—Work from home when you can. Take the children to daycare and enjoy a quiet home with laundry running in the background. It’s glorious!
—And finally, treat yourself to Starbucks, a lunchtime manicure, or a quick stop at Target on your way home. You deserve it, mama!*
*Applies to all mothers. <3