To say this first year has been tough would be an understatement. SH and I have done it all on our own. SH's family is mostly in Colorado and mine is mostly scattered around the greater Southern California area. So, even though I was born and raised in Los Angeles, my family still seems to live just far enough from where I live that it's not really practical for them to help in any real way. Friends who have kids are too busy with their own stuff to help us out and friends without kids are terrified of the idea of taking care of twins. I have an aunt who is already talking about having the girls come spend the weekend with her, but not until they are at least 2 or 3.
For the first 5 months we were both home with the girls and since February SH has been stay-at-home dad extraordinaire. A couple of times when family was visiting, we managed to get out to a movie. We have hired a babysitter twice so we could go out to dinner. We don't do it more often because that adds about $100 to our night out. Not cheap at all. We need to find a nice, responsible teenager to babysit at night when the girls are sleeping because paying "professional" babysitter rates is just too much for someone who is going to sit in our apartment and watch tv. Last weekend our neighbors babysat (for free!) so we could go out for a nice dinner. Basically, I can count on one hand the number of times we have gone out and left the girls in the care of someone else. It's not that we don't trust anyone. We want the help. We just aren't very good at asking for it and apparently, our friends and family aren't very good at offering it.
I have tried to find some new mom friends and I haven't been very successful. Partly because I am pretty terrible at making new friends. I seriously suck at it. I joined an exercise class for moms and babies, but I find that moms of singletons have a hard time getting over the twin factor. There is a constant "I don't know how you do it" that is a part of the conversation and I have a hard time just steering the conversation to general, shared kid stuff. Then when I went back to work I could only go to the class on Saturdays and I was usually the only one at the class. Turns out it's all SAHM who go to the class so they only go during the week. Yet another thing I don't have in common with them. We also joined our local parents of multiples club. We have gone to a few events with members and twins of all ages and early on we went to a few of the play dates for our specific age group. Of course, at that point the kids were too young to play and it was just about the parents talking about their issues. Again, we couldn't relate to any of them. There was all sorts of talk of nannies and night nurses and that just isn't our life. So, we've had a hard time connecting to anybody. Also, our playgroup is not very active at all. I started a Facebook page for us so we could all talk, ask advice, and organize play dates. Again, very little activity. Everyone joined the group, they just aren't using it. I get the impression from talking to parents at the bigger group events that our group's lack of activity is fairly unusual. So, I guess it was just bad luck that we got a dud of a play group. I'm still going to try, though. I think knowing other parents of twins is going to be really important.
The problem with going it alone is that it is exhausting. On Saturdays, I get the feeling all SH wants to do is get away to do something that doesn't involve diapers or bottles for a few hours. He is burnt out. Sometimes he can do that, other times there is too much other crap to do. I also need time on the weekends to recharge, but I feel guilty that I am again leaving SH to take care of the girls alone.We are both so exhausted it's hard to get the motivation to do anything other than survive. I would love for us to actually spend the weekend together. I would love to start doing more fun stuff with the girls now that they are so much more aware of their surroundings and interacting with everything. So, to solve that problem, the girls are going to start daycare a day or two each week. I'm raising the white flag. We need help! SH gets his time to recharge during the week (and perhaps get some errands run while he is kid-free). I can get a pedicure or get my haircut on the weekend without feeling completely selfish. And the girls can play with some other kids and get more comfortable being around new people. My cousin (the one relative who lives really close to me) told me she takes her kids to this in-home daycare once a week. It's run by a Russion orthodox Jewish woman who had 8 kids of her own. It's in a pretty small apartment, but she is great with kids. My cousin's toddler apparently loves going over there. She has only two full time kids and then a few part time. When our girls are there, she will have her daughter come over to help or it would be too much for her. She is really cheap and walking distance to our house and she makes kosher lunch for the kids. It's perfect. The atheists are sending their kids to a super religious daycare provider. What could go wrong?
This is just the beginning of my efforts to expand our village. I'm feeling good about it.