Interview by Sarah Turner
Anna is mum to three-year-old twins Poppy and Tabitha, and baby Matilda. Her blog, ‘Popitha, Life and Adventures with Twins’, documents their family adventures with a focus on their passion for travel. We wanted to hear more about what it’s like living (and travelling!) with twins.
Anna, when trying to plan what I could ask about your life with twins I realised there must be ‘twin questions’ you get asked all the time. With that in mind, what’s the most annoying question people always seem to throw your way?
Oh there are quite a few! I’m sure some people just don’t think about what they have asked you about your personal life. A common one is ‘did you conceive the twins naturally?’ I mean, you wouldn’t ask a random person on the street with one child this, so why twins? I often want to reply with, ‘do you want to know the sex position we were in too?!’
Another annoying one is, ‘did you know you were having twins?’. Did I know if I was having twins… no, I went into labour and two popped out. We’re not in 1950, of course I did!!
I’m going to be honest, I’ve made excuses to get out of long-distance family gatherings because the thought of a lengthy car journey with one baby made me want to peel my own skin off. A quick read of your blog made me think, if she can do it with twins, I really should just go for it. What would be your top tip or tips for anyone who has a long car journey with a baby ahead of them?
You know the cans of gin you can get, buy them and buy lots. It is surprising what you don’t hear when you are passed out travelling at 70mph down the motorway! (My husband does the driving!)
No, on a serious note my husband and I said very early on that we wanted to continue our adventures when we have children, and yes things have had to change but the twins haven’t put us off at all. One of our first trips was to Oxford when the twins were 8 weeks old. The girls had been cast to play a role in Bridget Jones’ Baby which was amazing and I of course wasn’t going to turn that down! The key is being prepared, so…
Tip number 1 – buy a roof box.
Tip number 2 – plan your stops. We look at our route and find cafes, parks and service stations every 30-45 mins apart. We don’t stop at them all but at each point we do a twin check to see if they need a run about. If they are quiet and happy we keep going, if I have tried to climb out of the window several times, then we stop!
Tip number 3 – Take snacks! I make the girls up a lunch box each with some healthy, and some ‘keep them quiet’ food in it so when they get whingy and hungry, I just pass them their bag and they choose. I also have a secret stash of lollies for real emergencies – that gives at least 20 minutes’ peace.
Tip number 4 – travel during nap times. Again – more peace!
Tip number 5 – DVD player on the back of the headrest. Although listening to 3 hours of ‘Bing’ can start to challenge your sanity, if it keeps the twins entertained I’ll go with it!
When you had Matilda, did everything seem like a breeze compared to having the twins or were you too busy with the twins to enjoy the breeze?!
Oh having one is so lovely. I actually get to enjoy some cuddles. When you have twins, everything is so regimented and by the time you have been through the routine of feeding and changing one, and then the other, you are back to the beginning cycle again. It is relentless. I wouldn’t change it for the world, but it is hard work. I still like to have routine with Matilda but she does have to be a bit more flexible. When the twins are in nursey, I can actually go out for a coffee with just Matilda and enjoy it!
Do you have any upcoming family travel plans and if not, where would you like to go next?
We have just returned from a lovely week in Dorset with Baby Friendly Boltholes and have a relaxing (if that is possible) weekend in one of the Luxury Family Hotels for my birthday in December, but as far as big plans go… nothing is booked as yet but I have high hopes for Kenya and maybe a cruise next year. I am just starting to look into it!
One of the reasons I started my blog was to give parents of multiples the confidence to go on holiday with their family and to help and support families in a similar situation to ourselves.
One thing I like to do is to choose holidays people may be slightly more apprehensive about going on then share with my readers how we got on, and how we coped. So earlier this year we went glamping! I wanted to glamp before the girls were sleeping in beds (which is the hardest time to go) to again encourage others to try it – we had a fabulous time.
At Mummy Social, we know our mums often gravitate towards other mums who are in a similar position to them (children of similar ages, similar work patterns etc.) How important has it been for you to connect with other twin families?
This has to be my top top tip if you are expecting twins or multiples, join your local twins club, search out twin pages on Facebook it really has saved me and made me realise that I am not the only one hidden in a cupboard with a glass of wine at 6 o’clock EVERY night!
To find out more about Anna’s life with twins, check out the Popitha blog or follow their adventures on social media @thepopithatwins. Anna also has a holiday page on Facebook for twins and multiples packed with useful advice. Just search ‘Holidays for Twins and Multiples.’