We loved every single thing about this interview. Bri has twin four year old boys and a husband who is away at work for long periods of time. That sentence alone would make anyone weak in the knees, but Bri handles it like a pro and with humor. For those that know her, seeing her Facebook posts brings a smile to your face. She finds the humor in parenting and it’s something to look up to.
Bringing these two wonderful boys into the world was a bit of a struggle for her and her husband as they underwent failed fertility treatments, but in the end, they got these two.
Bri is open and honest with her answers and we couldn’t appreciate that more. It is hard to tell the world your insecurities, struggles and triumphs (people don’t like to brag), but it is so refreshing when someone does. Thank you, Bri. You deserve the title of Mom of Fame!
What is the best piece of advice you were given about motherhood? Did you take it? would you give that piece of advice to someone else?
When you’re a mom of multiples, you are always a mom who has to split her time. I never got to be the mom that ooh’d and ahhh’d at every little thing my baby did because I simply couldn’t always be with both of them at the same time. The best advice I got from other moms of multiples is to make sure you still give your kids their special one on one time, even when they’re infants. I definitely made the effort to follow that advice.
For me, our special time was middle of the night feedings. I never tandem fed because I wanted that special time with just the two of us when I knew the other was asleep and wouldn’t interrupt. Even 4 years later, I still try to make sure I do something special with each twin every day. It doesn’t have to be a grand gesture. We might read a book together, color a picture, or play on the swing set while their brother is off doing his own thing.
I would absolutely give this advice to other moms. You can learn so much about your kids when they don’t have a sibling trying to steal your attention away.
Is motherhood different than you imagined it would be?
To begin with, I never imagined having boys, let alone twin boys. When we found out we were having twins, I was convinced at least one would be a girl. When I found out there were no girls in my future, I readily admit that I was devastated. It was almost 3 weeks before I got excited about my impending boys. And this is coming from someone who spent 3 years dealing with failed fertility treatments. Every month I would cry thinking I would never have kids and now here I was crying because I was having them, but they were going to be boys. I imagined these wild and crazy kids that would be constantly wrestling and destroying my house. And don’t get me wrong….that is exactly what my kids are, but I wasn’t prepared for how cuddly, funny, and, caring they would be. Now I can’t imagine motherhood without these two crazy boys.
What are your three strengths when it comes to motherhood?
I would say my three strengths are:
Having a lot of patience. Twin life is extremely chaotic at times so I try my best to stay calm to keep peace with everyone.
Knowing when its time to walk away. Sometimes panic outweighs the patience. I know my limit. I know when I need a break and have no shame in taking it. It can be anything from hiding in a closet and crying while my kids scream my name on the other side of the door wondering where I went, to actually getting a babysitter for a couple hours so I can go do something, anything, alone.
Teaching my kids how to “act properly” (as we call it in my house). I have taught my kids to be respectful and that their actions have consequences. They must say “please” and “thank you”, say “excuse me” to get someone’s attention, and they do their best to share and take turns with each other and playmates. At times it’s easier to just give in to your child (especially mid-meltdown in a public place), but I want my kids to be as successful in life as they possibly can be so I’ve tried to teach them from the beginning that there’s way to go about getting what you want and it involves “acting properly”.
Describe a time where you were completely overwhelmed as a mother?
It was about a month after the boys were born. We lived in Japan and had no family around for support, my kids had just spent three weeks in the NICU, I had pretty extensive post-c-section complications which landed me in the ER three separate times, and my husband left on a work trip 10 days after the I delivered and wouldn’t be home for six weeks.
Even with all of that, I was still holding it together pretty well. When the boys finally came home, I was excited to have that mother/baby bonding time that I felt was not really given to me while they were in the NICU due to how sick they were (I didn’t even get to hold my youngest until he was a week old).
One thing I really wanted to do was breast feed. Not only does everyone harp on new moms about how important it is for baby’s health, but everyone talks about how it really bonds mother and baby in a special way. The first night home, I tried to breast feed and one baby refused to do it and the other was so small that he kept choking and spiting the milk up everywhere. This continued to happen throughout the next day and I was completely stressed out, fearing the boys would end up back in the hospital. I even went and had an appointment with the lactation consultant, but nothing changed. I called my husband crying because I felt like a total failure as a mom – I couldn’t even feed my babies!
It took a lot of mental pep talks with myself and with calls crying to my husband to come to terms with the fact that I wouldn’t be able to have this special “thing” with my kids.
Mom guilt is a real thing and I had it bad with this, but we quickly found new ways to have our mother/baby bonding and the stress of not being able to breastfeed my kids finally passed.
Is there anything you feel you have lost about yourself since becoming a mother? What have you gained?
For quite awhile, I felt like I lost myself completely. My life was consumed with keeping these two tiny humans alive and (sometimes unsuccessfully) out of the hospital. We lived in Japan until they were 2 1/2 so having any kind of outside help was minimal during that time. My husband is constantly gone for work so it was just me and the boys. Before kids, I had a job and friends and a life that allowed me to just jump in the car on a Saturday afternoon to do whatever I wanted. It was – and still is at times – hard to accept how much life has changed. I never thought I would miss working, but now I’m counting the days until my kids start kindergarten so I can go back to work and have some time for me, before being “mom” again.
Something I gained would definitely be my understanding of other moms dealing with their kids in public. Pre-kids, my initial thought of a kids screaming through a store while the mom grocery shopped seemingly without a care in the world, would be “please make the screaming stop!! Why are you letting that happen?!” Now I just laugh and give the mom the all-knowing “we’ve all been there” look.
What do you want your children to learn from you?
I hope they learn to be good people. I want them to have their own thoughts and opinions and know it’s okay for them to be different from someone else’s, but not to be disrespectful toward someone who doesn’t agree. I want them to be giving, but not taken advantage of. I want them to have compassion, drive to be successful, and most importantly to always have each other’s back. I try my hardest to teach them these things and also show them through example every day.
What are the challenges and amazing moments that come with being a military wife with twin boys? Any advice or comments you would give to someone in your situation?
An obvious challenge of being a military wife with kids is that I do a lot of the child rearing on my own. It’s hard when my husband is gone and I kind of start running the house as if I was a single mom, but then he comes home and all of a sudden I need to co-parent again.
It sounds weird, but sometimes having someone come in that doesn’t necessarily know how you’ve been running things can really throw a wrench in things. There is always an adjustment for us, but my best advice would be to just be very open with your partner if you start to get frustrated with how things are (or aren’t) working. Also, my husband and I have always had the mindset that we should never contradict each other in front of the children when it comes to discipline. When we don’t agree with how one or the other is handling a situation with the kids, we will speak privately about it so that we always appear as a united front to our children.
As numerous as the challenges are, there are also so many amazing moments. Seeing the looks on my kids’ faces when my husband comes home from a deployment or extended temporary duty is enough to make all this worth it.