The Beehive is all a stir as Queen Bey, Beyonce Carter Knowles announced she is pregnant with twins.
I was delighted, thrilled, and beyond excited for this new chapter in Beyonce’s life. I’m a twin myself, and growing up a twin has been the greatest joy in the world, however it was due to some very key moments in my life.
Dear, Beyonce/manner of Beyonce/Solange/Tina Knowles I hope you find this article, give it a read and consider my…
Top Tips and Life Advice Before Having Twins- from a Twin.
As a twin, I am very grateful that my mother thought long and hard about how her decisions would affect me and my twin sister. From before birth, the names chosen reflect how she began thinking of us as individual human beings. She would often say that nature may have made us almost identical looking, but she saw us as just sisters who only shared a birthday and were not forced to be identical by any nature.
Twin Tip #1
Names that rhyme will not stand the test of time.
I can’t tell you the amount of times I have met other sets of twins that are named something like, Deshon and Dewon or Danielle and Daniel (even if they are fraternal different sex twins). This always seemed to devalue the special nature of a unique birth name. To rhyme your children’s names, even if they are not twins has always felt odd to me; but especially for twins who will be searching for how to carve their own niche in the world in the wake of a very famous person, they will need strong individual names.
Teachers often would comment in elementary school when we were growing up that it was nice to have two distinctively different names, it defined us as separate individuals and we didn’t become the “Carter Twins”, as Beyonce’s twins may run the risk of becoming.
Twin Tip #2
Please do not dress the twins in identical outfits.
Speaking as a twin, I enjoy looking back at the few pictures taken of us in identical outfits that were staged for special holiday photos or seasonal mile markers of our birthdays. However, I did not want to be dressed exactly like my sister every day of my life, imagine if someone made you do that? Thank goodness my mother thought that was unnecessary as well, because both of us enjoyed expressing ourselves by choosing our own daily school and public outfits. Rarely did you see us dressed alike, maybe similarly, but we felt better about ourselves when we were authentically just individually dressed.
Twin Tip #3
Watch your twins for signs of special interests or talents that reflect each one of them.
How grateful I am that I wasn’t placed in every extracurricular school activity that my sister felt was fun or meaningful for her. Certainly we were exposed to many of the same basic social sports or music skill development opportunities, but if we didn’t want to continue with those classes or lessons, we were never pushed as a unit, or as twins. If one of us showed aptitude for tennis or art, while the other one preferred designing costumes and singing, that became our own identities and special skills. I am very glad we both took basic ballet and piano together at a young age because we were more confident under the age of five going to a new environment and having someone you already knew right there beside you, so use that compassion and friendship to your advance, but don’t abuse it! I know my mother felt more comfortable leaving us in classes together at a young age because sometimes we went more willingly and stayed in the whole hour long class and in turn we felt comfortable growing into our own authentic selves.
Twin Tip #4
Sincerely celebrate their differences!
This tip goes hand in hand with all the other previous numbers, but I felt it is a point that can stand on it’s own and if you get this one right, you’re almost there! Growing up looking exactly like another human being is not easy. When you are a twin people frequently ask you the craziest questions. It can be humiliating to be on the receiving end of questions like “So do you ever wake up and think you are your sister?” my mental response was always “do you ever wake up and think you’re an idiot…oh wait”
You see at times i felt like a freak show, trapped in an identical body, and having the uniqueness and small differences celebrated gave me my own sense of freedom.
You often realize others are staring in your direction and in some instances you may even catch yourself intentionally joining clubs, groups or making friends that actually do not know you are a twin.This can be quite liberating, initially fearful but inevitably freeing. We were in different clubs, played different musical instruments and were supported to explore what talents and interests we uniquely possessed. This was validating and felt great!
Life will naturally unfold and present opportunities to show a parent which twin excels at what and to recognize if they have separate friends or similar friends. My mother was great at inviting two sets of friends to our birthday parties later in life. Of course we did have some of the same close friends, but often as we aged our friends didn’t know we were twins, we were not defined by this trait just made better because of it.
Twin Tip #5
Acknowledge as the parents of twins that they will be fiercely competitive.
Twins start out competing even for food in utero; well, it’s not much different afterwards. I can remember numerous times when basically even the food on our plates practically needed weighing to calculate if either of us had more. Sibling rivalry has nothing on being a twin. It is expected that siblings will vie for attention in different ways and be a little competitive or want to step out from behind an older brother or sister’s shadow, but twins that ‘s a whole different level of competition and rivalry.
Luckily my sister and I made a pact early on to never even want to date the same person, but that too can become interesting and competitive.
Twin Tip #6
Create opportunities for your twins to practice sharing with and supporting each other.
I can look back now and see that my mother was a stealth genius at creating situations where one of us was required to either check in on the other, take on an additional responsibility for the other or simply be there for support. When we were three years old she loves to tell the story about how she finally caught us working together to build something out of legos, rather than hitting or screaming or hoarding them to build our own creations.
It warranted an actual picture which she shows off as a badge of motherhood or something, proclaiming that, “look, you two are sharing”.
So I encourage you to foster collaboration among your twins not competition. Now, I’m as competitive as ever, but with only one person-myself and my sister is my biggest ally. I know I can turn to her for any need and that is something I wish everyone could experience. Being a twin opens the door to an amazing relationship of trust and love.
Twin Tip #7
Understand that your twins will always have a unique and unbreakably strong relationship.
I often like to say that I was born married. The bond that my sister and I share is very strong and yet very flexible. Every physical scar I hold dear was given to me by my sister in a fit of frustration and every fantastic moment with irreplaceable memories of love was also given to me and created with my sister. We love and hate in a new dimension at a new volume higher than most married couples, but similar.
It is truly unique and I am blessed.
Twin Tip #8
Let people without twins knock themselves out with advice, then ignore it.
My mother often said that many of her friends and family would give advice about child rearing, but that they didn’t have twins. At an early age I remember her ignoring what others told her to do as a mother with twins. As she explained to me later in life, “what they had was one child and then another, they have no idea what it’s like to be outnumbered just by having one birth.” We were on an eating and sleeping schedule until about junior high school. It simply made everything easier to be on a family or twin schedule of mealtime, bedtime, chores, play and if my mother was lucky, naps! By doing it once and doing it with style, panache’ and passion, just doing whatever activity was required or desired made the effort worth it in the end. Take your twins with you to experience life in general and especially to acclimate them to how society reacts to twins. It is different I can tell you, but we always felt loved, unique and special.
So to anyone bringing twins into this crazy world, congrats you have made two best friends for life. My sister is my soulmate. Someone I love very deeply and whose happiness is in turn my own happiness. I am lucky to be born a twin, I was treated as an individual and therefore grew into my own with love and support from many people. I encourage you to do the same, foster the magician relationship and abundant love between twins while maintaining the individuality.
If you do this, you’ll create a lifetime of love and friendship.