Motherhood. This is the single most difficult and demanding job any woman could have.
Mothering twins should be twice as hard, right? Wrong.
Since women began flooding the workforce in the 1970’s, the challenges of being a working mother have multiplied. There are issues with day care selection, breastfeeding, whether to work full or part time, and making sure your children are developing properly, to name a few.
As a mother of infant boy/girl twins, I faced many sleepless nights worrying about these things until it hit me. By using some basic business management principles, it is possible to be a success at home and at work.
Borrowing from Henri Fayol, an important figure in the turn-of-the-century Classical School of management theory, there are five key components to a manager’s job. They are:
- Coordinating activities
- Controlling performance
By putting these management skills into place at home in a fun way, it makes being a working parent of multiples that much easier.
Finding out you are pregnant with twins is the shock of a lifetime. Once you get past that initial reaction though, there are many ways you can plan and prepare that will make your life easier once the twins are born. The first thing you need to do is realize that for all the best laid plans, no two children are the same. I have found that as sure as something works for one twin, something completely different will work with the other. That said, some planning is necessary.
- Join a support group. The National Organization of Mothers of Twins, Inc. (www.nomotc.org) is a great place to start. The website has great resources for parents of multiples and you can meet other mothers who will give you practical advice to get you through your pregnancy and tips on being successful once the twins arrive.
- Contact companies that make baby products. Many such as Gerber, Pampers, Huggies, Enfamil, and Johnson & Johnson have special offers for families of multiples. Sign up and you will receive coupons that will save you hundreds of dollars.
- Use online auction sites to purchase many items in bulk. You can find everything from formula to disposable diapers.
Schedule, schedule, schedule. The hardest part of being a new parent is having a baby that is not on a schedule. So, multiply that by additional babies and you can see where the problems begin. You don’t have to schedule out every minute of the day, however, scheduling the critical feeding times is a must when you have more than one baby to contend with. It will make life easier and you will find you have the ability to take the babies out into the world easier because you know when they will have their needs met.
My approach to mothering multiples as it applies to commanding was very soft. I’d say that “nudging” their behavior has been what has worked best over the course of the past seven years. When you have two children, any time one is in trouble, the other twin is watching and waiting to jump in to the defense of their brother or sister (unless they were fighting with each other). So, they learn how mom or dad behaves to the sibling and then they exploit it the next time they are doing something wrong.
The best commander knows when to use a gentle approach, when to bring out the big guns, and how to pick their battles so that they walk away from the small stuff.
Take time out to enjoy the twins together and individually. One of the most surprising things to me has been my twins’ desire to be together most of the time. I assumed that having boy/girl twins that they would not be attached as same sex twins. I was wrong! Still to this day I can’t take one to the mall or out to do something fun without them wanting to call each other and check in throughout the day. So now, my husband and I work with this and make sure to build in talk-time for the twins when we take them out separately.
Like any good manager knows, it is not possible to control performance. You can set up an environment in your home where you teach love, respect, trust, and other key values. You can demonstrate living those values for your kids. Those are the two components that should lead to having the children behave in a manner that will make you proud.
All these principles work whether you are raising twins or kids in general. The best thing I’ve learned by mothering is that it makes me a better manager at work too.
What do you think? Do you mother like you manage and manage like you mother?
Photo credit iStock Photo