I just listened to an excellent podcast that discussed narratives and altering negative narratives so that you feel better. First things first. What are narratives? I loved how the podcaster, Michael Melcher (of the Creative Lawyer fame) defined narratives:
A narrative is a story. It’s something that gives meaning to an experience. We need stories to get through life because a lot of stuff is coming at us. In order to make sense of things, we have to create stories or narratives so we decide, what is the main point, what do we listen to, what do we not pay attention to, etc. However, when you include something, you automatically exclude something by definition …. So we create a story, there’s always stuff on the cutting room floor because we are taking a particular point of view.”
I’ve talked a bit about the false multiples narrative. It’s the story we are told incessantly about our impending life with multiples. It is the story we ourselves create to make sense of our new reality of having more than one newborn at the same time. It is the narrative that life with multiples is exponentially harder than life with a singleton.
Don’t get me wrong. I am not saying life with multiples isn’t hard. It is hard. The other day, I felt like I could finally say that I’ve potty trained one triplet. But guess what. I can’t have a victory dance and throw away diapers and move on with life. I have 2 more to go. I have more pee and poop accidents ahead of me, tears, frustration, lots of patience to drum up in my tired being… TIMES TWO. That seems just plain unfair and hard. And it is. But I also refuse to accept the narrative that absolutely everything about multiples is harder or worse or soul-suckingly bad. That is the narrative I’m trying to quash in this blog and in my own life.
It is easier to have three babies in the same developmental stage so that we can do an activity and everyone has fun. As someone who has kids spaced 2, 4 and 6 years apart, I know full well how frustrating it can be to find an activity that is fun for one kid and not fun for the older or younger kid. It is easier to have built in playmates at home. It is exponentially easier to have fun dance parties, laugh together, play tag, or hide and seek with a pack of kids. It’s easier to finish groceries before they go bad. It is easier to justify splurging on a toy that will be played with by multiple kids. It is easier to be extremely efficient with my time because there are so many kids needing my attention. You get the idea. For every hardship, there is a convenience or delight that comes from having multiples.
I recommend listening to the narratives podcast episode I mentioned above, but if you want the gist of what I liked about it, it was the exercise of writing down a narrative and then writing an alternative narrative next to it. For example, your narrative could be: “I’m going to go broke from buying diapers for my twins.” The alternative is: “I won’t go broke from buying diapers because I’m good at finding good deals. This expense will also force me to be better about cutting down on unnecessary spending, and when we are past needing diapers, I get to reconsider what I want to spend that money on and it’ll feel great to have that extra cash coming back in.”
So what narrative can you write down about multiples and what is another way of looking at that story? I’d love to hear from you.
Photo: It is easier to make a party festive when multiple kids are celebrating a birthday!