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Let’s End the Myth of the “Evil Twin”

by Samantha on January 31, 2015

There is no "good" twin and "bad" twin in the pair - let's end this fallacy

Good twin, evil twin

It was an otherwise mundane Saturday at Costco.

With three kids in tow, I sauntered through the aisles, plying myself and the kids with free samples and piling up my shopping cart with bulk items, many of which I didn’t really need.

We lined up in the checkout aisle and I took a deep breath before the final total was told to me by the cashier (it’s always more than you think it’s going to be when shopping at this particular store).

Making our way to our car, with my boys sitting together in the front of the shopping cart, we were stopped by what looked to be a kind-hearted woman. Smiling, first at me, then at the kids – with a focus on the boys in particular – she stopped me.

“Are they twins?,” she asked.

“Yes. They’re identical,” I responded.

“Awww! They’re so cute!”

“Thank-you!,” I replied.

Looking at both of them with wonderment and curiosity, I thought I knew what she was going to ask next.

She’s going to ask me how I tell them apart, I thought to myself.

I was sure that this question must have been coming because it’s often one of the first things that people ask when they see identical twins – at least it has been in my experience.

Imagine my surprise, then, when she hit me with this doozy:

“Which one is the ‘good’ twin and which one is the ‘evil’ twin?”

She was serious.

My first thought was a mix of confusion and bewilderment as I tried to make sense of her question. “Good” twin? “Evil” twin? Was she for real?

Within a few milliseconds, my confusion simultaneously turned to anger and irritation about her presumptive comment.

How does one answer such a question? Was I to just respond – in front of both of my twins, and my 11-year-old daughter as well – “Oh, THIS one. THIS one is evil, this other one is good.

Was that really her expectation?

The mythology surrounding twins – particularly identical twins – is particularly fraught with the erroneous perspective that there is a “good” twin and, therefore, a “bad” one. Like Yin and Yang, black and white, opposites must co-exist and apparently this truth must be the case with identical twins. Its apparently not enough for some to accept that twins – identical or not – are not necessarily polar opposites. There is no “good” or “bad” twin any more than there is a “good” and “bad” set of siblings that haven’t had the unique experience of being born on the same day (or just a few minutes apart).

Identical twins, by definition, are certainly similar in many ways. From the obvious – how they look; to the not so obvious – their thought processes, they way they relate to each other and others, and other quirks of their personalities. That being said, they are individuals – not “good,” not “bad,” just  – different. Yet there seems to be a desire amongst some to attribute polarities to each twin. This needs to stop.

As the parent of identical twins, it’s hard enough to try to foster feelings of independence within them on a day-to-day basis. Imagine having someone who looks exactly like you? Of course you’d want to be seen as an individual. Kids will misbehave – whether they’re a twin or not – it’s a normal part of being a kid. So why is it when a twin misbehaves, they’re automatically labeled as “bad” or “evil?” Ironically, they are perceived to be the same (particularly in the case of identical twins) yet opposites. How is this logical – or fair?

Surely there are sibling rivalries that exist amongst twins, but the same can be said for any siblings, twin status notwithstanding.

There are no polarities when it comes to twins. No “good” one vs. “bad one;” no angelic child versus evil spawn, no duelling forces, vying for the top spot in their respective categories. There are just kids – warts, scabbed knees and all. Though the mythology and expectation of opposite-minded twin siblings is appealing to some, it is, fortunately, untrue.

To the woman who very rudely asked me which one of my kids was “good” and which one was “evil,” and to the many others who believe in this false dichotomy, so sorry to disappoint.

To read this article on HUFFINGTON POST, click here.

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VIDEO: Coping Tips For New Moms

by Samantha on November 8, 2014

Simple advice on new baby care


baby feet

Having a new baby can be a shock. From diapers to spit-up, not to mention the lack of sleep, there are so many things that to consider.

The good news is that there are some simple things that can be done to make the transition to parenting easier.

I wrote about some of these tips here:

New Baby Care – Top 10 Helpful Tips For New Moms

You can also view the Downright Domestic segment on this topic where I provide advice here:

VIDEO: New Mom Tips

Do you have some advice about how to make the transition to parenting easier? Leave me your thoughts in the comments section below!

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A Note To Restaurant Owners From a Frustrated Parent

kids toilet

Public washroom.”

Do these two words make you cringe? If you’re a parent, they likely do. And you’re not alone. All of us who have had to encounter the phrase “I have to go pee!” – or worse – know how fear-inducing such a pronouncement can be. The cause of this dread?

Germs.

Filth.

Other people’s bodily fluids.

Gross but true. Let’s just say that a trip to a public restroom can be the cause of extreme anxiety for not only the kids but their parents as well.

Yes, in spite of your “best laid plans” – taking your kids to the washroom before you leave the house, limiting the amount of fluids that they drink before venturing out of their warm cocoon of home, double-checking that your child actually “went pee” – the dreaded declaration is uttered nonetheless. Here you are, in a nice family restaurant, just about to bite into your hamburger when your kid drops the bomb. “I have to go NOW!” they scream and you’re immediately filled with fear. What awaits you in the washroom is more than you ever want to imagine, and not in a good way.

The scenario above is not atypical and parents deal with similar situations every day. What stresses them out the most is the potentially gross situation that awaits them in the washroom stall. How many of us have made arrangements to dine out with kids, but then waylaid these plans altogether just because the thought of dealing with your child in a public restroom was more than you could bear?

From a parent’s perspective, it would be great if there were some standards and “must-haves” that could be agreed-upon and expected for all public washrooms. After all, it’s pretty basic, isn’t it? When nature calls, we all have to answer; why not make it less unpleasant?

With fingers crossed and the hope that more eating establishments and other public destinations will get on board with parents’ ideal lavatory wants, here are five must-haves for public washrooms.

Restaurant Owners: 5 Things You Need in Your Washrooms

1) Cleanliness – This is first and foremost for parents. No one wants to walk into a restroom that looks or smells like it hasn’t been recently cleaned. Considering the fact that most kids touch everything in their immediate vicinity, make the effort to assure that the bathroom is spic and span.

2) Space to Move – What’s with the cramped quarters? Ideally, one should be able to move around reasonably in the stall, even more so when there’s a young child in tow. As any parent can tell you, there’s nothing worse than trying to help a child “do their business” in a place where the door can barely close with the two (sometimes three) of you in there.

3) A Change Table – As noted in #2, parents need room to move and when there are babies in the mix, this becomes even more of a priority. Why? Well try changing a baby on the floor of a bathroom stall. Not nice. Parents need a clean surface, large enough to hold a wriggling baby. We’ve all seen variations on these items in public washrooms but not all of them are up to par. Ideally they should include the following: a way of securing the baby to the table, a material surface that is easily cleaned and sanitized and a configuration that allows it to be opened and closed in a bathroom stall without much effort. And while I’m on the topic, a change table is not only required in the women’s washroom! So many fathers have their babies in tow and yet are left by the wayside when it comes to accommodations. C’mon, restaurants – give them a change table in your restrooms as well. Equal rights for all parents, okay?

4) Child-Height Sinks and Soap Dispensers – This sounds so obvious but you’d be surprised at how many public washrooms don’t accommodate kids. It’s almost as if they don’t want the children to wash their hands 😉 Don’t discourage kids from this important step by making it difficult for them (and their parents). Sinks and hand soap should be at child level so that parents can teach their kids good hygiene as they finish “doing their business.” Same goes for hand dryers and paper towel dispensers.

5) “Hands-Free” Capability – It’s not only for driving, you know. Think airport washrooms: you walk in, there’s no door handle to touch, no having to flush the toilet with your foot (!) and the water starts flowing the minute you or your young charge puts their hands under the faucet. Less contact, less germs. All public washrooms should be like this.

What have I missed? What else would you add to this restaurant wish-list? Leave me your thoughts in the comments section below!

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child on father's shouldersMy Favorite Pet Shop

**You can get the full podcast audio of this blog post at the end of this page**

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Parenting advice is a dime a dozen. Everyone has their opinions on what you should and shouldn’t be doing in order to be a great mom or dad. Do this, don’t do that. Is it any wonder that new parents often feel confused and overwhelmed by the information that they receive?

While some nuggets of wisdom are tried and true, there are other truths that are not as well known. In spite of this fact, these lesser-known truths are as equally, if not more important than some of our stand-by rules for parenting well.

Following are the Top 5 Things About Parenting That You Were Never Told:

1) Be nice to those who take care of your kids– Perhaps one of the most important lessons in parenting is the fact that those who watch our children while we’re away deserve exemplary treatment. Think about it: we have relinquished our responsibility of our most precious assets into their hands as we go about our business, whether it’s for work or pleasure (Date Night anyone?). Yet you’d be surprised at how many people ignore this fact and are, if not dismissive, downright rude to their child’s caregivers. Bad idea, folks. These people will be alone with your children. Do you really want someone who’s irritated, mad at you or someone who dislikes you making decisions for your kid? I don’t.

2) Remember the Big 5 – What are The Big 5, you ask? They’re the must-have items that all parents should have on their person at all times, when traveling outside the home with their kids. Always make sure to carry the following: wipes (regardless of whether your child is in diapers or not), scissors, Kleenex, hand sanitizer and children’s medicine with you whenever you go out with your child. You won’t regret it.

3) Swimming is a life skill, not a recreation– Make sure your kids get lessons and are not fearful of the water.I learned this the hard way when my daughter, then aged three,  went under while right beside me and her father. Thankfully she was okay, but very scared. We signed her up for swimming lessons immediately after this close call. Things can happen in an instant, especially when it comes to water. The bottom line is to make sure your children are comfortable with water and can swim.

4) ALWAYS have the following in your home: eggs, milk, cheese, bread, flour, butter and sugar – These are the staples that need to be in the homes of anyone who has kids. Out of these few items you can make so many meals including: Omelets, scrambled, fried, over-easy eggs,  french toast, pancakes, grilled cheese and more. These meals are perfectly healthy for your kids and will tide them over until you’re able to get to the grocery store again. If you’re vegan, make sure to have the plant-based equivalents on hand.

5) Parenting doesn’t really get easier but it does become more rewarding – People will tell you “it gets better” when you’re in the midst of 4am feedings, spit-up and dirty diapers. When your kids are toddlers, you’ll be dealing with potty training, meltdowns and picky eating. Each age and stage of childhood brings its own set of challenges, a truth that doesn’t abate even when your “baby” is in her teens. Yes, parenting is hard and yes – it’s challenging. It doesn’t get easier, it gets different. As your child grows up, you’ll start to find that the lessons that you’ve tried so hard to instill in her are actually setting in, and that your hard work is being recognized. Sure – you may have to deal with waiting up for your teenager while he’s driving home from a late-night party; a task that isn’t particularly fun, particularly for a mother or father who needs their requisite eight hours of shut-eye. No, parenting doesn’t get easier, but the reward and pride that you’ll feel when your child makes the right choices when confronted with a difficult situation makes all of your efforts worth it.

What do you think? Have I missed any lesser-known parenting-related advice topics here? Leave me a comment below and let me know what other ones you’d add.

Want more of my parenting advice and tips? Click on the image below to get your copy of my eBook today!

Image courtesy of www.savvymom.ca


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RADIO INTERVIEW: How to Travel With Kids

by Samantha on March 4, 2013

The Karaoke Channel Channel Membership Community 480 x 60

airport child

Travel with kids is a hot topic. We all want to know how to get to our desired destination with the family intact, without too much stress along the way. After writing a post on this topic, entitled How to Travel With Kids – Top 5 Tips For Parents, I was asked to provide the advice via a radio interview with CJAD 800 in Montreal.Whether it’s travel for spring break, a holiday trip to see the grandparents across the country or a good old fashioned road trip with the kids, the dog and the kitchen sink in tow, the tips are the same. Stay calm and carry on.

Below is a link to the full audio of the interview.

AUDIO: How to Travel With Kids

Want more of my parenting advice and tips? Click on the image below to get your copy of my eBook today!

Image courtesy of www.savvymom.ca

Image courtesy of www.cbtravel.com

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Monday Musings – Is Work-Life Balance Possible in The Digital Age?

March 4, 2013

Is a work-life balance even possible these days? One has to wonder. If you’re a parent, you likely struggle with balancing work and family life. Whether you go off to an office or another place of employment in the morning, or you’re a stay-at-home mom or dad, it’s still a fine balance. Trying to keep […]

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Monday Musings – What’s the Hardest Part of Being a Parent?

February 11, 2013

What’s the hardest part of being a parent? If you ask this question to anyone who has had the experience of being called “Mom” or “Dad,” you will get a variety of different answers. While many of us revel in the amazing and precious moments that parenting provides to us, we can’t deny that it’s […]

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Monday Musings – What Style of Parent Are You?

February 5, 2013

What style of parent are you and why? We hear it all the time – the different styles of parenting and their relative merits and flaws. Some of us embrace Attachment Parenting, others are self-admitted Helicopter Parents and still others profess to followers of Maria Montessori, allowing their kids to learn at their own pace, […]

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Monday Musings: Parents, Teachers and Authority

December 3, 2012

  Welcome to Monday Musings here at the Multiple Mayhem Mamma blog. Each Monday, I create a vlog (video log) where I discuss a topic of interest related to parenting and welcome your feedback and thoughts.Today, the topic of discussion revolves around parents, teachers and authority. We’ve all been in situations where we’ve both agreed […]

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Of Superheroes and Stereotypes

October 3, 2012

My sons think that they’re Batman and Superman, respectively. I beg to differ. That being said, the fact that they identify with superheroes in general gives me pause. Is it because of me and my not-so-subtle direction towards the more “manly” toys that have made my boys want them so desperately? Or should I blame […]

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