During the pregnancy with the twins, I had everything planned out in my life. I knew then I would still want to go back to work because I always see myself as a career woman. I was able to find a nanny that we love and feel comfortable leaving our twin babies with when i go back to my current full-time job.
After my twins were born
After I had my twins, the first 3 months felt like I was in survival mode as a new mom, so when my maternity leave ended, I was very eager and ready to go back to work. Everything changed when I realized I was no longer happy at my job and I had missed some of the major twins milestones. Of course the mommy guilt crawled in, so I quit my full time job and started working freelance/ part time elsewhere so I can be with my twins more.
I enjoyed my time with my twins since I started my part time/ freelance; we took babies music classes together, we went to different playgroups, and we also went to few baby/toddler story time at the local library. Unfortunately, because i was only working part time, our family income is not enough to cover our family expenses plus additional emergencies expenses, so our family emergency funds started disappearing little by little. After my freelance work ended and I realized I had to go back to work full time.
Most corporate jobs, especially in the fashion industry in New York City, hours are 9-6pm with a lot of unpaid overtime work. It was difficult to find position that would fit to my family schedule, given that my nanny has the same 9-6pm hours since she started working and she lives 2 hours away, so her hours are not flexible. Luckily, the company I accepted the position from had allowed me to come to work later hours, after my nanny comes in and no overtime. However, I have to work until 6pm and leave the same time as everyone else in the company. Therefore, our family had to make it work with the hours given, which means the twins will have to be in my office by 6pm when I get off from work.
Plan the Trip and Experiment
I had 1 week before starting my new job to try different ways to plan for the daily trip to Manhattan with the twins. My nanny and I tried taking the twins to commute using the train, however, in the summer, the temperature in the subway platform can be 10-20 degree hotter that the outside temperature. Also, one of my twins was extremely scared of the loud noise and how fast the train moving and with so many people during rush hours, we decided we have to find another route of commuting. The best thing about New York City is there are many alternative of transportations to get to Manhattan from the outer borough such as Brooklyn and Queens; so, we tried travelling using the ferry; it was a longer commute and a lot of walking, but it’s a lot more pleasant than the subway.
Prepare Well Before Leaving
We spend a lot of time walking to and from the Ferry Station to my office and home, which takes about 20 minutes and 25 minute each way and spend 30 minutes on the Ferry. Therefore, we have to prepare a lot of things in their diaper bag beside the essentials, that includes baby wipes, diapers, first aid kits, extra clothes, bibs, small blankets, etc. Also, because both my nanny and I will be walking the twins with the double stroller in Manhattan during the rush hours we cannot use our big side by side double stroller and have to use our tandem stroller.
Here are my suggestions on what to prepare for commute with the twins:
- Use a narrow double stroller. In this case, tandem stroller is best for me, because it is easier to get through people during the rush hours and on the narrower sidewalks.
- Prepare a lot of snacks. Sometimes, they get bored of just sitting for hours and they start getting cranky; and with snacks, I’m basically bribing them to calm down.
- Prepare cold water, especially if you will be walking the babies in the stroller a lot. I filled my insulated thermos with water and when their sippy cup ran out of water, i just refilled.
- If you decide to bring milk for the twins, pack the milk in an insulated thermos or in their bottle inside insulated bag with the ice cube in it to keep it cool.
- Pack extra bib and clothes. Just in case if they spilled water / milk, throw up or soiled their clothes in during the commute, you can just change them while waiting for ferry or inside the ferry. I have changed their soiled clothes during the commute many times.
- Pack extra diapers, just in case. Although, I haven’t changed them during my commute, there’s still a possibility of #2 accidents.
- Invest in stroller fans during the summer and attach them where the twins cannot reach them, because they will try to reach and touch when they feel the wind blowing at them.
- Prepare the plastic rain cover (I usually put at the bottom storage area of the stroller) just in case if it rains, we cannot predict the weather lately.
- I also have a carrier stowed at the bottom storage, just in case if one baby extremely fussy, you might have to carry one while pushing the other one in the stroller home.
Incorporate New Routines
Here’s how I scheduled the twins routines during the commute: I adjusted their 3rd meal time of the day to be during the ferry ride to Manhattan (I’m glad they don’t have motion sickness); this will keep them occupied during the 30 min ride. Then, during the walk, the twins have their own sippy cups to drink throughout the walk. They are usually preoccupied by looking at people and their surroundings, and while there are difficult moments when the twins get very fussy and cranky, there are a lot of playgrounds in Manhattan to stop and play with them on the way to my office, then I would just meet them at the playground.
Most of the time, my nanny brought the twins to my office building; in the building, before i leave with them, I usually refill their sippy cup with water before we head out. A lot of time, during walk back to the Ferry Station, they get more cranky because they are probably a little bit tired and been sitting in the stroller for awhile, so I would give them snacks, and different toys to play with to occupy them; so far, it’s been working. Then when we wait for the ferry, I would pour the cold milk from the vacuum insulated thermos to their individual bottle. But I don’t give them until we are on the ferry, so they can drink their last milk during the 30 min ride and be full, and once we get home, I can just change their diapers and they can just go to bed.
Thankfully, the twins are accustomed to commuting to Manhattan now and both my nanny and I are comfortable walking them in the stroller around Manhattan and taking them on a ferry. We ended up travelling with the twins 3 times a week to Manhattan; and other days, my neighbor help to watch before I get home from work. I was surprised on how quickly the twins adapted to their new routines and the new surroundings. So far, it has been a great experience for my family with this new travel routine. I get to spend my quality time with my twins and I really enjoy every moment i spend time with them walking, singing to them and entertaining them throughout the commute. Plus, it’s a great full body exercise of pushing and walking without having to the pay for gym membership.
All in all, it has been a roller coaster ride for my family since we had our twins. As a working mother, i have had many challenges; however, being parents of twins has been a positive change in our life. I hope my experience can help other twins parents to be more positive in life; that whatever challenges that comes along, you will always figured out the best solutions for your family. Also, enjoy every minute of your time with the twins, they grow up so fast.
About the author
Melanie Yasmin is TLC’s NYC associate, a fashion designer and a proud mom to fraternal twin boys. Melanie and her husband don’t have families in NYC and as a first-time parent, they had to learn to raise their babies and work out all their challenges that come along without the help of their families. However, she was lucky to have the supports from a fellow twin mom neighbor, an old-friend from the west coast who always sent supportive messages and advises, and the local twin mom group; especially during the first year. You can contact Melanie at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information on our NYC classes.