So, you’ve got twins and you want to hike?
Great, but before you run out that door, you need a plan. A critical first step for would-be explorers with double babies is knowing your children and their tendencies. For example, if your twinners are walking, make sure you know which one is going to bolt from the car if you let her out first and which one wants to stay close to dad. I’m talking about strategy. Twin parents already appreciate that their lives contain a special brand of chaos that parents of singletons won’t experience. It’s the silent understanding that comes every time another parent looks at you, shaking their head, saying “I don’t know how you do it with twins.” Truth is, I don’t know how I do it sometimes. But, that’s not what this article is about. This is a “how you do it” article.
So, here are some of my best tips to get you and your pair out the door and on a hike.
All kids require patience from mom and dad. It’s standard issue parenting fodder. Still, you have two babies, so you’re going to need it in bunches. Things will go awry. You’ll come to find one baby has covered herself in the dregs of your coffee while you were changing the other’s diaper. It happens. So, take a deep breath, relax, and change that baby out of those coffee stained clothes.
2. Be laid back
This might sound a little like the first one. Actually, it is a little like the first one, but being laid back is about changing your expectations. Sometimes, managing to get two little tykes into the car to even head to the hike location can feel like trying to juggle live chickens. It’s a lot! If you let it get to you, you’ll be nothing more than a frazzled bunch of nerves. It is key to remember your reasons for wanting to hike. You probably want to have fun, relax, and enjoy some social bonding in the great outdoors. So, don’t sweat the small stuff. You’ll feel a lot happier.
3. Allow extra time
Parents are late sometimes. Mostly, because kids don’t have a sense of timing. They’re going to have a blowout poop when it’s time to walk out the door. They’re going to fight about putting their shoes on. They’re going to rub mushed up bananas in their sister’s hair. (That one was one of my favorites.) Time management is tough. Some of us are good at it and some are not. It’s tougher with a pair of toddlers. I’m always late. Don’t be like me. Allow yourself some extra time.
One of the first things I learned about kids is that they require tons of stuff. No more grabbing my car keys and wallet and hitting the road. I feel like I’m going on a weeks vacation every time I head to the car laden with bags of child gear. Extra clothes, jackets, shoes, wipes, diapers; kids need it all. If you’re putting matching kids in the car, you need double of all this stuff. I should have called this tip “Have a big car.”
5. Have a comfy stroller or carrier
You want to make sure your two have a sweet ride. I push a nice, big stroller most of the time. It’s imperative that there be somewhere for your kiddos to relax and hopefully fall asleep, at least some of the time. There’s bound to be some hardcore moms and dads that will want to tandem carry and, if that’s your thing, that’s awesome. However, carrying two babies is hard. They’re heavy. Make sure your method of child conveyance is one that suits you. I’m going to push that huge stroller until the wheels fall off.
Bring snacks. Kids get hungry. You brought two kids. This one doesn’t really require much explanation. Suffice it to say, kids have a harder time yelling or crying with some raisins in their maw.
7. Bring a friend
This is a good tip. Twins are tough because you’re outnumbered. Even the score by bringing a friend. Grandmas work well here. You’ll always be limited by the amount of eyes and hands you have. I have two of each, but if I bring a buddy, I’ve got four. See how this works? Trust me, this makes the being laid back part easier.
Make sure you get some. The eternal parenting complaint is that we rarely get enough sleep. Bah, what’s enough sleep exactly? Still, you’ll want to make sure you get adequate rest before you dare to take on a pair of babies out on the trails.
9. Have fun
Don’t forget why we’re doing this. Hiking is supposed to be fun. Don’t let yourself get so wrapped up with the stresses and logistics that you lose sight of the goal. When you feel like you’re underwater, keep telling yourself that you’re having fun. Only, maybe don’t mutter it aloud. You might come off looking like a crazy person.
I know it might sound like a lot to manage, getting twins on a hike. It is. But, it gets a little easier every time you do it. It won’t take long before you’ll feel like a seasoned veteran at the twin hiking game. So, do it and then do it again. You can handle it because you’re made of tough stuff. Listen, if I can do it, you can too.
I hope you find some value in these tips. I just love seeing another parent pushing around a matching set of littles. I know it makes us happy to spend a little time outside together. I’m sure it will bring you the same type of happiness. See you on the trails!