If I were asked, "What is something that helps you stay sane as a mom of twins?", my answer would be, "attempting to be scheduled and organized".
My life certainly isn't perfectly organized. I have a junk drawer or two.
I may even have a catch-all- closet that I plan to get to "some day". If you've been a guest at our house and opened the guestroom closet door, I apologize for the mess you saw.
My husband often claims that I am a "Monica"....you'll get that if you've seen every episode of Friends a hundred times like we have. Much like her, I like things that I can see to be clean and tidy....but much like her, I don't mind so much if I can't see it....cue the episode in your mind where Chandler breaks open her secret closet.
It's easy to be overwhelmed when trying to sooth two fussy babies while being surrounded with piles of diapers, bottles and bibs. And the first few weeks....ok, so maybe the first few months....you will feel overwhelmed OFTEN! Sleep deprivation will be taking a toll on your body, and you'll find yourself covered in poop and puke more often than you like, knowing that a five minute shower is likely not in your near future.
In the early stages of twin parenthood, you are living in survival mode. You just do what you gotta do! For us, that meant that Saturdays were chore and nap days. We were each responsible for one baby and a list of chores while the babies were a wake. When they napped, we put them in the bed with us and we napped too! If your baby woke up...well, sorry about ya, so did you! That was our survival mode to catch up on sleep and housework.
Eventually we got past survival mode, and life became a little easier. The babies finally used their equipment around the third month (yay!), and I was able to have a few moments of my day where I wasn't attached to an infant. We adapted to our new life, and I found a schedule. And well, life just felt better when it didn't feel so chaotic. Here is how I manage to keep my sanity by keeping a somewhat organized life.
Keep to a "flexible" Schedule!
I say "flexible" schedule, because I'm not going to stop something at exactly 9:30, if my kids aren't tired but it's time for morning naps. But for the most part, we live by a schedule. We put our kids to bed at 8:00 every night....they wake up around the same time every morning....eat breakfast at the same time....take naps at the same time....and so on. Our days are pretty predictable, and that works really well for us. Even when the boys were tiny, I still kept to a schedule. Schedules can keep mommies sane, while bringing the comfort of predictability to children.
Tackle one chore a day.
Don't worry about cleaning your entire house in one day. You won't be able to take care of your little ones and clean your entire house in one day without completely stressing yourself out. For me, I keep toys picked up every day....I run the dishwasher every night....and I tidy up the kitchen after every meal.....but I only "clean" (vacuum, mop dust etc) a small amount each day. Sometimes our loft needs cleaned more than once a week, as that is our primary baby zone that gets filled with sticky hand prints and cracker crumbs. But for the most part, I break up my cleaning into these categories each week: kitchen, downstairs, loft, upstairs bedrooms, bathrooms.
Do one load of laundry a day.
I do a load of cloth diapers every night and put them away the next morning. As far as regular laundry goes, I'm content to get one load washed, dried and folded every day. I usually do baby clothes twice a week. Bathroom towels get done once a week. Kitchen towels, cleaning towels and mop heads get done once a week. I fill in the other days with mine and my husbands laundry.
Use a check list.
I confess, I'm a list maker. Dork alert! I like post-its and daily check lists! For years, I've kept a daily planner, and I write down every little thing that I plan to get done in a day. Everything from laundry, to errands, to appointments, to blog posts....it all gets put on my daily to-do list. I find great delight in making a big to-do list and checking things off of the list as I accomplish a task. Make fun of me if you want, but as they saying goes, "if you don't plan to do something, it won't get done."
Pick up before naps and bedtime.
I find that I am in a much better mood when I'm not surrounded with messes and clutter. I make a habit to pick up before naps and bedtime and to pick up a room before moving to another room and making a mess.
Don't get me wrong. I let my kids make messes. Here is proof. This is their bedroom before lunch today.
My preference to keep things tidy, shouldn't prevent them from being kids and having fun. But before afternoon naps, their bedroom looked like this.
Utilize bins, baskets and shelves!
I know bins and baskets can be pricey, but to me it's totally worth the investment! It's where I keep diapers....pacifiers...teething toys.....diaper changing supplies....and more! Shelving helps with books, puzzles and bigger toys that don't fit in bins. It's how I keep toys organized, especially since our kids have a lot of stuff. Plus, bins and baskets just make things look more visually attractive!
Babies won't take naps forever, so take advantage of them while you can. For me, nap time is when I get things done....when I make a little time for myself....and when I even occasionally take a nap myself if I feel my body really needs it! While I can't make both of my babies take a 90 minute nap at the exact same time, I can try to keep their naps scheduled. When their sleeping overlaps, even if that's only for 45 minutes, I am free to get stuff done!