When I first came across Nikki on Instagram my initial thought was "how on earth does she do it?". I struggle to look after one baby and here she is, completely killing it with TWINS! Along with her Husband Matt, they are raising their girls (Harper & Frankie, 1) in beautiful New Zealand. I was lucky enough to score 5 minutes to have a chat with this mama about all things mama and twin life.
What has motherhood taught you? Patience, not only towards the babies but Matt! Selflessness because what you want to do isn't always what a one year old wants to do. Unconditional love of the two little humans that turned our world upside down but also the other half responsible for the little humans, the love Matt has for them makes me love him even more. A few new nursery rhymes and a stronger stomach - never did i imagine myself googling baby bowel movements making sure they were normal.
What is the one most valuable piece of advice you have been given and what piece of advice would you give to your younger self? That babies work better with a routine, not a schedule. We have learnt this to be very true! I would probably tell myself to stress less, enjoy the moment and to stop waiting for the next big thing. Go exploring while you can, live a little more and stop being so obsessed with social media — rich because now I'm more obsessed but its baby related stuff so its totally acceptable.
What is the biggest lesson you have learnt so far? Its not always going to be smooth sailing. I think I had an expectation in my head of how the first year was going to go. I 100% thought we would fall straight into some routine early on and just continue along that track, switching things up as we went. Every day is different with Frankie & Harper. They're never on the same routine as each other and I’ve had to learn to expect the unexpected with them
How important is “you time” as a mother? So important! I feel like with Matt and his career, its hard to find me time. It sounds awful but when I get half a day to myself to have my hair done or groceries without the babes I will take a couple of hours longer, just to have a look around the shops without the titanic sized pram or have a coffee in a cafe without it being knocked out of my hands form a crazy bebe and generally making a mess whereverwe go.
What is the hardest and easiest thing you have found so far as a mama to twins? The hardest would be the things I used to take for granted, maybe like a good night’s sleep. Taking them anywhere almost always requires a second set of hands. I struggled a lot with postpartum depression and that made everything 10x harder. The easiest would be that I now have two best mates that come with me everywhere I go and that I get to watch them grow to look more and more like their father (so unfair) and now that they’re at a more playful age they keep each other company.
Can you tell us a bit about your pregnancy and birth? Did you enjoy pregnancy?Are the girls similar to one another or different in nature? I didn't enjoy my pregnancy whatsoever apart from the eating habits I adopted because I had that “I’m pregnant excuse” however I haven't managed to kick them yet and unfortunately don't have that same excuse. We found out very early on that I was pregnant then at 12 weeks we found out I was pregnant with twins. It was the best surprise ever. F & H are MCDA twins so they shared the same placenta but separate sacs which made them “complicated” and our chances of twin to twin transfusion were quite high. We were told to expect them from 24 weeks and we would have scans every two weeks. We loved seeing them grow every fortnight but there was a lot of nerves before every scan because we were always told to prepare for the worst. We were told that even if I made it to full term (36 weeks) that we could lose one of the girls and that there was a large risk of us going home with just one baby. It was hard to enjoy the pregnancy just because of the unknown which I suppose is the same for all pregnancies but it was just drilled into us at every catch up with our midwife, who on a side note, was amazing and brutally honest. I was induced at 36 weeks, reacted to anti nausea medication and literally went crazy for a good 30 minutes while that wore off, had two epidurals, haemorrhaged (totally normal for twin births apparently) but my labour was a lot quicker than we expected it was about 8.5 hours and they were born 31 minutes apart. Harper had complications but recovered very quickly! The girls are similar in ways but personality wise, Frankie is very observant yet cheeky, extremely sassy and tends to remind her little sister who is boss. Harper is more intrigued by her surroundings and as a result is louder and more in your face, she aways has a smile on her face, its very cute. They both are.
How do you find it coping with two young bubs when your husband is away playing footy? Do you have a good support system? It's tricky but I’m pretty used to it now. The boys over here are away every second weekend, sometimes every weekend for 2 or 3 nights and a lot of them have children. Us mums are all in the same boat and the club has an incredible family friendly vibe to it so there is a lot of support here. We've always lived down the road from my parents since having F & H and have recently moved in with them for the last year of Matts contract here in NZ so I’m lucky enough to have my parents help when he is away. They've made our life SO much easier.
What are your families plans for this year? This is Matts last year on contract and with so much uncertainty we’re trying to experience everything we can with the babies here in NZ. Im a Kiwi and Matts an Australian and chances are we will end up there at the end of the year which is exciting but will also be a challenge for me. We plan to by a house when we move over so we’re focused on that and just spending as much time as we can with F & H.
What are you most looking forward to? The adventures and seeing the milestones F&H reach this year.
How important is routine in your household? Do the girls have a set routine? I think it keeps us sane! However we do prefer to just kind of roll with it. They have their normal nap routine and bath/dinner routine but its never been a strict schedule just because it would be just our luck that we’d need to be somewhere with them at bath time and we’d have a twin sized meltdown somewhere super inconvenient.
What is your favourite thing about motherhood? I just think its so cool that we created such awesome little individuals. Their little smiles and the words they've learnt coming out of their tiny little mouths are so funny. Everyday is different and its always an adventure. I just love hanging out with them everyday. It can be a crappy day but they always manage to make me smile.
You can follow Nikki on Instagram @nikkiallwood_