Things Parents of Twins Hear When They Go Out in Public

Things People Say About Twins

Having twins or multiples is a little bit like being a celebrity. Wherever you go, you attract attention and create a bit of a stir. Strangers feel perfectly comfortable stopping you to talk, even taking pictures of your twins. While it's flattering that people find your children interesting, the interactions can be uncomfortable or annoying. Sometimes people say the strangest things! Every parent of twins or multiples has probably heard some variation of all of these comments and questions when they're out in public. 

"Double Trouble"

Mom with Baby Twins. Apelöga / Maskot / Getty Images

Ohhhhhh, those two words are really irksome when you have twins. People throw them out thoughtlessly in reference to twins, but what are they really saying? That they find our precious children troubling? Troublesome? Look up synonyms for trouble and they include: difficulty, disturbance, nuisance, bother, inconvenience, distress, strife, unpleasantness, misfortune, woe, failure, flaw. Wow, that's a harsh way to describe someone's offspring. I sure wouldn't look at your singleton baby and say "Oh look at your little singleton bundle of joy. What a bothersome burden." 

"Are They Twins?"

Identical twin baby girls
Rebecca Emery/Photodisc/Getty Images

You have two babies that are the same size and clearly the same age.  They are dressed in the same -- or similar -- outfits. You're pushing a monstrous double stroller. You have a harried look on your face because you know you have exactly nine minutes to run twelve errands before one or the other baby has a meltdown. And five people in the supermarket stop to ask, "Are they twins?"

How do you respond?

  • Efficiently:  Shake your head "No" and keep on moving.
  • Politely: "Yes, they are." (Beware, now you've done it! Because this question always leads to others!)
  • Humorously: "They're triplets, but I left one at home."
  • Disturbingly:  "They're triplets, but the dog ate one."

"My Mother's Brother's Nephew's Neighbor Had Twins..."

The Cost of Raising Twins. altrendo images / getty images

Once it's discovered that you have twins, everyone you meet wants to share their twin connection. It's likely that everyone has known twins at some point; they're uncommon, but not terribly rare. Out of 100 people, about 3 will be a twin. But, for someone reason, people like to join in the experience, and will try to bond with you and your babies by sharing their experience with other twin families. 

"You've Got Your Hands Full!"

Dad playing with twin boys. altrendo images/Stockbyte / Getty Images

What an astute observation. Yes, parents of multiples do indeed have their hands full. This comment is usually made at some inopportune moment, like when you're trying to hold open a heavy door while simultaneously maneuvering a double stroller through it, and the wind is whipping and the rain is pouring down, and your twins are throwing their toys/pacifiers/sippy cups on the ground. I always bristled at this comment. Maybe because it's a cliche, or because it insinuates that I have more than I can handle. But my usual response is, "And my heart is full, as well." With a smile.

"Better You Than Me..."

Five Things No One Tells You About Having Twins. Getty Images / Graham Monro/gm

Hmmmm... my instinctive response to this statement is, "I wholeheartedly agree." Isn't this a passive aggressive way of expressing your disapproval? Well, I'm happy with my family situation and wouldn't trade it for the world. And, with a judgmental, self-righteous attitude like that, you don't deserve the blessings and joys of having twins!

"Are They Natural?"


Would you ask a parent of a singleton how they conceived their baby? Probably not. Some things are just private. Yet, perfect strangers will pose this question to parents of multiples when they meet them on the street. This odd question is really a thinly veiled attempt to delve deeper into this origin of your multiples. It's true that the multiple birth rate has escalated due to advances in reproductive technology, and there is an association between multiples and fertility treatments. But, this inquiry is inappropriate on so many levels. 

"I Don't Know How You Do It"

Breastfeeding Mom with Twins. Jade and Bertrand Maitre / Getty Images

 This is another one of those statements that makes me vaguely defensive, as if the person is implying that I am not coping effectively, or that I am in over my head. Some days, I don't know how I do it either. Having twins, especially the young babies that elicit this comment, is challenging. Yet, parents of multiples deserve encouragement, not skepticism. Perhaps this proclamation is issued with admiration and we're being too sensitive. That's what surviving on ninety minutes of sleep will do to you!

"I Have Two Kids 18 Months Apart and It's Just Like Having Twins"

Really?. Nicholas McComber / E+ / Getty Images

Yeah, no. It's not. It's. Just. Not. The. Same. Thing. It's not that having twins is so much harder than parenting close-in-age siblings, nor is it necessarily easier, but it is simply not the same. So keep your stories of Irish twins and stairstep singletons to yourself.  

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