A Different Perspective on “What Not to Say”- 12 Things You CAN Say to a Mom of Twins

12 Twin Comments That Shouldn’t be Offensive, and a Couple That Are

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When it comes to people commenting about my kids, questions/comments about twins seems to take the cake.   Since they were babies, and I was pushing around a double stroller with my 2 year old standing on the back, I felt the stares and got the questions.  After reading what seems like too many articles on “What Not to Say to Twin Moms,” and continuing on from my last post, here are some things that really shouldn’t be considered offensive.   I know that some twin moms hate getting these questions.  I am just not one of them.  Like I’ve said before, I enjoy meaningful conversations that are about more than just the latest NFL game or the snow. If you are one who takes offense to being asked about your kids, please consider just appreciating that you and your family make people curious, and don’t be overly sensitive to the admiring onlookers who want to dig a little bit deeper.

 

“Are they twins?”

While this question doesn’t bother me, I know for a fact that this one bothers some moms.  My oldest son and his cousin look a lot alike, and I wouldn’t be surprised if they were mistaken as fraternal twins someday.  If you see two kids in public you really may not know if they’re just cousins/siblings/friends who are just close in age or size, or if they really are twins. And what does it hurt to ask?

“Are they identical?”

This question is also very understandable (unless it’s obvious- i.e. boy/girl twins) I know fraternal twins who look identical and I can’t tell them apart. I also know identical twins who don’t look so much alike.  You really don’t know unless you’ve had a DNA test. (or you might know they’re identical, if they both have an extra tooth in the exact same spot…I mean really! How does that happen?!)

“Did you deliver them naturally?” “How big were they?” “How long were you pregnant?” “Do twins run in your family?”

I don’t quite understand how any of these questions can be insulting or too personal.  It’s not like people are asking for their birthday or social security numbers.  I personally have the same type questions whenever I run into other twin moms, just out of curiosity.

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“You’ve got your hands full.”

This one I’ve heard most from…wait for it… OLDER MEN.  Yes!  That’s right.  Sweet old men who might be standing next to me in line at the store, or at church, or a ball game or wherever. This comment is normally made as a funny comment. Please don’t be offended by it.  Honestly, with twins, you literally have your hands full (2 kids, 2 hands), so this comment is actually a TRUE one!  This one is also usually said out of admiration and not out of rudeness.

“How can you tell them apart?”

Ahh when I get this, I just laugh.  My answer is this: Sometimes I can’t.  I do think that lots of twin moms have figured out the “little” differences, in case they actually get them mixed up.  EX: one of my twins has a double crown and the other doesn’t.

“Is he the good/bad one?”

This one could be insulting, but just take it with a grain of salt.  People aren’t trying to be mean, they probably really want to know if there is a good or bad one.  Mine seem to switch roles on a monthly basis.  There will be one month where Twin A never gets in trouble and obeys most the time, while Twin B might have an ornery streak.  We can have every combo you can make. Both will be “good,” both “bad,” and everything in between.

“Bless your heart.”

Again, how is this rude? Some people use this saying when they run out of things to say. Just take it lightly and say thank you.

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“I’ve always wanted twins,” or “I think I’m having twins.”

I’ve gotten these A LOT also.  I think this one is when someone looks at you, and applies it to themselves, which is pretty awesome! Twins are fun, and I don’t blame anyone for wanting them.

“I have 2 that are (insert small age gap) months apart, so it’s just like having twins, except it’s harder.”

I’m not sure why, but I have gotten this comment mostly from dads.  Maybe it’s their competitive side coming out. I don’t know.  But I do know, that after my husband experienced his wife’s twin pregnancy, newborn twins who had reflux and colic, crying non-stop every night, and watched his wife also cry every night due to lack of sleep and trying to learn to tandem nurse, he would probably disagree with any dad who mentioned twins being easy.  Honestly though, some twins are easier than others, and some singletons are harder than others. It should not be a competition.  And it really doesn’t matter, because having one or having five, hard or easy kids doesn’t make you more or less of a parent.  So usually when I get this comment, I just go with it because it really doesn’t matter.

 

*These next two are questions I personally wouldn’t ask someone unless they brought it up first.

“Were they conceived naturally?” “Did you do fertility treatments?”

Now these “factual” questions might be too personal or offensive for some, so I wouldn’t recommend asking either of these.  It understandably might bother someone, and I would probably consider this to be a none of your business type question.

I would also like to add that it may be unwise to ask a pregnant woman if she’s having twins based on the size of her belly, if she’s not, then you just set yourself up for an awkward situation and probably hurt her feelings.  It’s very much like it wouldn’t be too wise to ask a larger woman if she’s pregnant without knowing.  Same concept.

 

 

 

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29 thoughts on “A Different Perspective on “What Not to Say”- 12 Things You CAN Say to a Mom of Twins

  1. Michelle says:

    Most comments aren’t offensive.. the only once I find offensive are “Double Trouble”.. that one offends me, because I happy with my twins and they don’t always give me trouble. — And the times it gets annoying is when I’m shopping and have an agenda/plans. I want to finish what I’m doing before my kids get antsy or hungry or poop.

    • Kathleen says:

      “Double Trouble” grates on my nerves too! Especially when they were tiny newborns. They were anything BUT trouble. Now as 4 year old they really are Double Trouble most days, but I don’t go around announcing that. My response to the unsolicited “Double Trouble” comment is always, “No, double blessings.”

  2. Leticia says:

    I really don’t mind the questions and don’t get offended easily. There are some that make me uncomfortable like how long were you pregnant? How long were you pregnant? Not that I would mind saying but my twins are adopted. The minute I say this though they suddenly act as though I must not know anything about them. In my case we adopted from a relative. We saw them in the hospital, we know how long they were and what they weighed. I think some times people who have done fertility treatments get treated like they cheated somehow.

    • Danae says:

      Double trouble also frustrates me. And the good/bad one is my most annoying question that is directed my way!

  3. Sandra says:

    These don’t bug me. I think they’re natural curiosity. Though I did snap at a creeper who opened a conversation by asking if I was going to deliver naturally but that was just cause he was a creeper and I didn’t want my vagina to be the center of our conversation. Plus who opens with that? Lol creepers. Lol. The fertility treatment question does nerve me but mostly cause my younger sister is having trouble getting pregnant and here I am at 40 pregnant with twins :-/ I always think man this would hurt if she had to divulge her struggles to strangers cause they’re curious. They only time I got nerves at this question was when a woman kept insisting she only knows people who have twins as a result of treatments and then knowingly looking at me. Lol. I laugh now but I was like lady. Let’s just say I did…why in the actual frig would I tell you when you’re already standing there like Judgy McJudgster. Anyway rant over lol

  4. Tiffany says:

    The only comment/ question that bothers me is when someone say “better you then me”. It’s hard work some days but more of a blessing then anything.

    • Ashley says:

      It is so much a blessing! Maybe they’re saying that as a compliment. They probably realize how much work it is and you are probably doing a fantastic job!

  5. Andrea says:

    You have worded perfectly my thoughts and feelings on these questions. What people choose to say is their responsibility, how I choose to take that is mine. I think most people are just trying to engage in conversation and/or learn more about something they are curious about. Thanks so much!

  6. amanda says:

    I love the questions. My 1st and only pregnancy was with my fraternal twin boys, even when they say do uncle trouble. I just smile. People are curious, interested in how a mom takes care of 2 the same age. Especially when you’re a single mother of twins. My boys just turned a year old so now all I hear is “now the fun begins” lol

  7. alisse says:

    It’s not people’s questions that get on my nerves, it’s the lack of respect they have for my time. I get that twins are an anomaly and extra cute, but sometimes I need to get in and out of a store before that magic clock runs out and get stopped by people with questions.

  8. Samantha says:

    Typically I have no problem with the twin questions and statements but I was out the other night and heard what I took as a snide remark and tore into this stranger. My girls are very blonde and I usually put one in pigtails arena one with a ponytail to help tell the difference when out in large crowds and rarely dress them the same but they were dressed the same this time. A man walks by and says loudly “Oh look at Mary Kate and Ashley in training!” With that tone and delivery that has the subtitles “hey I’m an @$$hole” yeah well proceeded to give him a lecture about how they may look alike but they are each their own person and he received a smack from his girlfriend.

  9. kay says:

    I actually just barely tolerate the stupidity most days. My twins are boys but they don’t even look like twins. I get a LARGE amount of people who want to talk to me for long periods of time about my boys. I’ve been raised to not ask strangers personal questions. I realize I’m the exception to the rule but people just need to do some twin research to quench their curiosity. While I enjoy meaningful conversations, I’m not an encyclopedia and I don’t like people making my boys uncomfortable while interrogating me about them. Most days I can take it all with a grain of salt but I’m not one who likes to point out the obvious to people who could answer most of their own questions through observation. “Are they twins?” Is about the only question I want to hear. A simple yes or no answer should suffice and we can move on.

  10. Danae says:

    Thank you for publishing and sharing this! It was like a breath of fresh air to hear similarities with other mothers of twins. Depending on the day, the moment, my twins’ moods, and especially my mood, I try to take all with a grain of salt. Catch me at the wrong time, and frustrated sarcasm surfaces.

    When people ask me if my OBVIOUSLY identical twin boys are twins, I sometimes say, “No, they just look exactly alike and have the same birthday.” Am I too rude, or is it my right to exert boundaries in the specifics of my life?

    People rarely interrogate mothers of singletons…how about giving us some space?? 🙂

    • Lili McCall says:

      In January we had to fly with our 4 months old girls and after the flight back (which didn’t go very smoothly ) my husband went to get the car from parking and I sat down with them. There was a lady next to me who didn’t even say Hi, but asked “Are they twins “. I was so over it… I said “No, they are triplets. We left the ugly one home ” (I stole this from another MOM). She didn’t say a word after that. I know I was rude, but I also felt good that I didn’t put myself in a position where I had to entertain a complete stranger.

      • Sabrina says:

        I think you hit the nail on the head- entertain a complete stranger- that is exactly how it feels. They approach us with these questions (1 after another) and I feel like I am reading a script (never ending). I just ignore a lot of people. I have a very active 4 year old and 16 month old twin boys- we try to do a lot and don’t have time entertaining strangers. Why waste at least 5-10 mins of my time explaining that yes they do look a lot alike but no they are not identical and yes they have totally different personalities. And yes i have mixed them up numerous times.

  11. Fiona says:

    It’s not so much the questions or comments, it is the tone of the voice of the questioner. “You’ve got your hands full” from a smiling elderly gentleman is taken as intended and the smile returned but a surly version from a middle aged woman scowling at you and your perfectly behaved duo may garner a different response from me.

  12. Judy Wright says:

    I usually just smile at them and say, “Buy one, get one free?” I’ve always gotten smiles in return, and nobody seems offended.

  13. Heather says:

    Loved reading all the comments, all so true.. I actually prepare myself before going into a store…and my twins also (boy/girl) clean their face wipe all the stickys off (theyre 18 mos.) Bc I know we will be stopped and adored..the questions dont bother me, it is a hassle when trying to get out before they get antsy. .but I love to hear their comments, and see their faces..my favorite “How do u do it?” Makes me feel herioc! Although I know im just like every other parent with children…We do bc theyre ours!

  14. Alanna Taylor says:

    I don’t ever find the questions to be rude or annoying but simply it can be inconvenience when in rush at store. I have fraternal twin girls and everytime we are in stores there are constant questions. Sometimes its hard enough just trying to be out in public with twins.

  15. Gina C. says:

    I am not a mom of twins. My two oldest are close in age. I completely disagree with anyone who says that it is harder. Having two close together gives me nothing but respect for mom’s of twins.

  16. Alissa says:

    I have lost a twin at a rodeo event because I was answering such questions. Luckily, the police were in the parking lot, and an announcement was instantly made over the loudspeaker, and we found him 3 minutes later, BUT that’s what is hard to me, not the type of questions, but the distraction. I agree with other commenters; going out in public has been the adventure I wasn’t expecting 🙂

  17. Ali says:

    I’m not a mom yet (but I hope to be in the near future) and I’ve always wondered about these kinds of questions. “Is it rude to ask how long she was pregnant for? Will I accidentally insult someone if I ask if they’re twins?” I’m glad I took the time to read through these. The only twins I knew were two sets (hope that doesn’t offend) during high school and EVERYONE had all these questions for them. I just sat back and listened without asking. We didn’t really know each other for me to get so personal with them. There’s a very minute possibility that when I do get pregnant, I could have twins (I would really like twins, but I’ll be blessed either way). My husband and I discuss the “what if’s” if we did. I didn’t realize that having twins out in public, like to the store, could actually become a chore as you get bombarded with twin-questions. Thank you all for sharing and enlightening me. I hope this does the same for other people out there who just don’t know. 🙂

  18. Amy says:

    I never mind any of these questions or comments except for, do twins run in the family, because it hits too close to home with, did you have fertility treatments? Most twin moms who have been through the INfertility process have experienced the anguish of trying to conceive. It’s painful, and no one (overgeneralization I know), gets it unless they’ve been there.

    On the flip side, my twins, and their older sister are my badges of honor, so I LOVE when people talk to me about them 🙂 Same genre as driving a minivan. I EARNED that minivan, so I’m proud to rock it.

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