5-things-parents-of-multiples

5 Things Parents Of Multiples Always End Up Arguing About On Social Media

There is a special community of Parents of Multiples, scattered throughout social media. There are groups, pages, forums, and the equivalent of little societies. Of course, on social media, there is a variety of the traditional parenting arguments that inevitably lead to some type of sailor-language, unfriending, and screen-shot sharing. Parent arguments are no joke.

If you are pregnant with multiples, raising multiples, or just curious, this article is for you! I’m going to cut to the moral of the story though, right now. Let it go. Let it go. Let it go. If you are easily offended, take things on social media personally, or need people to agree with you all the time so you can feel validated, I would not suggest being a part of any parents of multiples crowds. In some ways, I can accredit a variety of parents of multiples groups to preparing me for my career in social media. I learned the hard way about taking things too seriously. I’ve been unfriended and have unfriended others. I’ve cried. I’ve been emotional. I’ve been attacked. I’ve been “consumed” by it all. Those experiences were just another blessing in the grand scheme of things. It completely changed my approach to social media as well as my reaction. If you’re a regular reader, you probably notice I try to stay mostly drama-free. I think I can thank my fellow parents of multiples for that.

Traditional parenting arguments are nothing like the ones within a Parents of Multiples arena. I’ve wondered about why this is, for some time.  When I was pregnant with the triplets, I don’t know how I would have made it through the pregnancy without the support of this little society. Really, they can be an amazing source of support, information, and friendship. On the other hand, you better have some thick skin if you plan of posting every thought that races through your head because you never know when the conversation is going to explode. I think it’s since we are a like-group of people, there is some sentiment that we represent each other as a whole. So, when parents of multiples offend the bond or representation of the group,  people can get pretty aggressive in their responses.

Over time, I mostly stopped posting in groups, forums, etc. because of this unique love-hate relationship in our exclusive parenting circle. Still, I’ve never had the desire to leave the circle. Honestly, many of these parents were such a blessing during my pregnancy and in the triplets first couple of years. Even now, I know I could approach my fellow parents of multiples with questions or concerns that parents of “singletons” just can’t relate to on the same level.

1.  “Natural” Multiples

I know there are many parents of singletons that use some type of “fertility treatments” when trying to start or expand their family. I’ve just never seen so much debate over it as there is between parents of multiples. Again, I think because we share such a unique bond, the expression or sentiment that multiples born without the aid of fertility treatments are somehow more natural than multiples born with the help of medical science ignites an explosion. Shhh… think twice before approaching this subject! Those are fighting words.

2.  Length of Pregnancy

A standard length of pregnancy for a singleton is 40 weeks. Multiples pregnancies often end prematurely. During a multiples pregnancy, the mom or even both parents routinely begin to ask other parents of multiples about when they delivered and the likelihood of delivering full-term. Oy! It’s a reasonable question and scary topic for the parents-to-be. As soon as other parents of multiples start to chime in, the debate about mom’s self-care habits during pregnancy begin. People who had full-term or close to full-term pregnancies often attribute that to their own “good habits” and parenting. Parents who had premature children, especially parents of micro-preemies are understandably offended. Usually, the comments starts innocently enough. The parents of full-term children are just trying to reassure a nervous mom-to-be by sharing their great experience and what they did to support or didn’t do that could jeopardize the pregnancy. Still, it doesn’t take long before this topic turns ugly. For parents of triplets and quads, the likelihood of prematurity is much higher. The truth is, taking good care of yourself during pregnancy, getting regular medical care from qualified doctors (often a perinatologist), plus proper diet, rest, and limiting stress can certainly help a pregnancy to last longer. However, prematurity, especially in multiples pregnancies is very common. Micro-preemies are at increased risk of having lifelong problems. So these conversations, when they go wrong, ultimately amount to parents of premature children feeling blame and accusation by parents of full-term babies. (Note – pregnancies between 36 – 40 weeks are often considered full-term in multiples pregnancies) I can relate to feeling blamed and accused regarding my children’s medical condition(s), as I shared in 7 Things You Should Never Tell A Parent Of A Child With Autism.

3.  Dressing Multiples Alike

Everyone has an opnion about this, not only within the parents of multiples community, but in general! Some parents love to dress their multiples (especially the identical ones) alike. Other parents are adiment and persuasive in their arguments that it destroys the children’s individuality and unique identity. In fact, this debate continues into the school where parents, teacher, and administrators often battle whether or not multiples should be allowed to remain in the same classrooms. I know the school debate happens with siblings as well, but it’s definitely more intense in the case of multiples. It’s just my two-cents, but I certainly believe that a child’s identity is developed and defined by much more than their wardrobe. I don’t see this kind of debate in schools that require children to wear uniforms. That’s becoming a much more common practice. This topic always ends up over-the-top.

4. Birthdays

This becomes another debate about identity. The most common question is often about whether or not to have separate or shared birthday celebrations. Additionally, there is a lot of talk about whether it is appropriate for other parents to invite only one of the multiples to a party or if all should be included in outside invitations. Often, a sub-debate takes place about the cost of both scenarios. This is something I think many parents of singletons don’t relate to as well as they might think they do. You might have already noticed that a lot of debate develops surrounding things that could potentially create identity crisis in multiples. What about the money? Well, we can’t all afford to dress, cloth, and shelter our children in whatever our idealistic way might be, much less spend freely on those “extra” expenses. If all of the multiples are invited to a birthday party, the question of gifting arrises. Should each multiple offer a separate gift to the birthday child? That can get expensive. The same questions arise for multiples having a birthday, whether it’s a shared celebration, separate parties, or no celebration at all. Should friends and family gift each child separately? So regarding birthdays, it’s actually a lot to think about, whether your children are the invitees or the ones inviting others.

5. Finances

I’ve often heard parents of singletons comment on how lucky “we” are that we can buy less. It doesn’t work like that! Multiples have the same aversions to sharing as singletons. Then there are those expenses that multiples simply can’t share, like food, diapers, car seats, and daycare.  Daycare can be so expensive in general, and especially for parents of multiples. Often, one parent has to leave their job to stay home with their multiples. Parents of multiples begin discussions about shared bedrooms, clothes, sports, extracurricular activities, and private school, vs. public school, vs. home-school. Many of these decisions come down to money. It’s not easy to finance raising two or more babies born at the exact same time. Forget about the hand-me-downs, meal leftovers, and a whole list of other things that inconspicuously saved money. Parents of multiples can’t stop spending, because we can’t reduce or overlap many of our expenses. So, here is where the debate begins between parents of multiples. Parenting approaches are often judged on how children are fed, dressed, sheltered, and socialized. As parents of multiples, we are all aware of the financial strains raising multiples can cause. Still, some parents of multiples will have selective memory loss when it comes to judging other parents on issues that aren’t really moral or ethical issues, but rather, necessary financial decisions. Sometimes, a boy and girl have to share a room. Sometimes, they can’t all play a sport or join a club. Sometimes they have to share things that their parents would rather they didn’t have to share. A divide begins between people who can afford more and those who can’t afford as much, disguised as debates over parenting, when the core issue is really finances. Maybe a parent who advocates a single-shared bedroom can’t afford separate rooms. They shouldn’t have to disclose those personal details in order to avoid judgement and social persecution. I won’t even go into all the debates over parents of multiples who create “Go Fund Me” pages searching for financial support, specifically stating their reason for need is because they are parents of multiples. Parents of multiples go to social-war over this one!

We’re all parents. Whether you have a singleton, a bunch of singletons, multiples, or any combination of those, most of us are doing the best we can. That is MORE than good enough! It’s just right. I love my community of parents of multiples and will be forever grateful for their support. Here’s to hoping we remember the reason we share such a special bond. To parents of singletons, I hope you’ll think twice before judging parents of multiples based on things that parents of singletons don’t have to equally consider.

If you enjoyed this, please share and let us know in the comments. What are some things you would add to this list?

By:  Alicia Gonzalez

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