Suggestions on books for single mother (father is absent) with twins?
January 27, 2017 1:35 PM   Subscribe

My adult daughter's friend has no mother (she died) and her father's wife does not want her raising twin babies in their house. The father of the twins wants nothing to do with them and I've been sort of her benefactor, but is there some sort of book that will help her? Specifically with twins.

It really is a very sad situation. The poor girl couldn't get work because she was pregnant and now child care is next to impossible since they're so young. She has been forced to move in with her sister. I've bought them some clothes and boppies for both. It's just got to be very exhausting and difficult and I really feel like she needs help. A book may help, if she even has time to read it. Try as I might, I cannot find any books that help single parents with absent fathers in raising twins.

Please help me figure out what else I can do to help her. I am a mother of kids who are at the right age to be having children and I guess I'm thinking of her kids as my grands, even though she lives a long way away now.

Suggestions please? Even if it's outside of books, but she really needs some guidance, I think.
posted by magnoliasouth to Human Relations (19 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
The best thing that you can do is to get this young woman into the system. Is she signed up for WIC? Are there programs for women like her that provide job training, etc.?
She also needs to go through the legal process to get child support from the children's father.

All of this stuff is probably overwhelming, especially with two young babies.

If you want to help, walking her through these things would be great. Figure out how she can sign up for WIC. Figure out what programs may help her in her area. Free legal aid clinics would help too.

The resources are out there, but she needs to get there.
posted by k8t at 1:41 PM on January 27, 2017 [13 favorites]

There are support groups for parents of multiples out there! In my area we have Seattle Families of Multiples and Program for Early Parenthood Support (PEPS) which has a group for new parents of multiples. I know two moms who are parents of twins who swear by these orgs.
posted by Pearl928 at 1:56 PM on January 27, 2017

@K8t: Thank you so much but thankfully she already has done those things. She's a smart girl and very artistic. I'll check into those legal aid clinics but I need to double check to see if she's done that already. It's just very hard on her. I don't know how she's doing it!

@Pearl928: She lives in Chattanooga so I'll look into that. I'm in Mobile so it's a bit far for me. I wish she lived here so I could take care of the babies while she goes to get away. :(
posted by magnoliasouth at 2:02 PM on January 27, 2017

Yes I came in to suggest support groups for moms of multiples. My friends with multiples have all had such wonderful things to say.
posted by freezer cake at 2:03 PM on January 27, 2017 [1 favorite]

As a mother of twins who luckily has a partner but is still often overwhelmed, I will say gently that she has no time or extra brain energy to be reading books, even though your desire to help is admirable.

I agree with k8t that it would be more useful for you to send her resources on how to get $ through WIC, where local food banks are in her area, and what groups she might be able to join to get used items for the kids.
For me, my facebook Moms of Twins local groups were much much more useful than any book. You can use chat groups from your phone at any time instantly and get answers to random questions at all hours of the night. You can also use those groups to ask for hand-me-downs.
If you tell us her location, I/we can help find Facebook or BigTent or other local groups that might be helpful.
posted by rmless at 2:03 PM on January 27, 2017

After seeing your update, The great thing about these groups, in part, is that the other moms understand what it's like and will help you in ways that even singleton moms have no idea about.
posted by freezer cake at 2:04 PM on January 27, 2017 [2 favorites]

You could buy her a $30 membership to this group:

She could also try these FB groups:
posted by rmless at 2:06 PM on January 27, 2017

@Freezer cake: That's fantastic! See also my next comment.

@rmless: Nice! You're right too that I definitely do not mind buying her $30 family membership for her. I just have to check to make sure she'll be able to go or will want to go.

The problem I have with Pattie is her shyness. She's very quiet and doesn't like asking for anything. God bless her! She's so sweet and is trying so hard!

This is really great. I'm definitely open to all kinds of suggestions.
posted by magnoliasouth at 2:12 PM on January 27, 2017 [1 favorite]

If you can spare even a little money, sending a check or a gift card occasionally can make a huge difference. It doesn't have to be much. If it arrives late in her fiscal month, an extra $10-$30 the last couple of days before she gets more money/food stamps/whatever can be a huge relief.

When you have a fixed income, the months with 31 days are harder than the months with 30. Even if you can only do something for her occasionally, try to time it late in a month with 31 days. It will be a huge, huge relief for her. Even if it is just $5. On a day when you have absolutely no money, $5 extra that you did not expect can be a huge deal.

Also, if you can keep sending clothes, even if they are used, do that. It isn't just the money. Shopping for clothes with two small kids can be a nightmare. Having clothes for the kids just magically arrive in the mail is incredibly helpful. If you sew and can sew them cloths for dirt cheap, she can take the measurements and mail them to you and you can makes clothes for the twins using material from the closeout table for next to nothing. Then, she just needs to shop for stuff like shoes and underwear.
posted by Michele in California at 2:45 PM on January 27, 2017 [2 favorites]

Maybe you can buy her an Amazon Prime or Amazn Family membership so she can avoid going to the store when not needed?
posted by hydra77 at 2:52 PM on January 27, 2017 [3 favorites]

One of the things that my friend with twins has really found handy is having the ability to use Amazon Prime for shopping things that are too difficult to take two little ones out to get. If you can get her a subscription to Prime, that might be really helpful. If she doesn't have money to get things on Prime and you have a subscription, you could offer to pick up some things for her like diapers and have them sent to her with 2 day shipping. You could even ask her what the things are that would be the most helpful or difficult for her to go to a brick and mortar store for.

Breastfeeding items or formula
Laundry detergent that is hypoallergenic
Other home things she might run out of like paper towels or trash bags or Ziplocks

the book "The Science of Parenting" by Margot Sunderland (I know others are stating that books might not be easy for her to get to - I have given this one to many friends who are parents of babies and they have enjoyed it. It's very parent-friendly and divided into short sections by age of baby, so a parent can just read the sections that they need at that time.
posted by fairlynearlyready at 2:53 PM on January 27, 2017 [1 favorite]

@MicheleInCalifornia Those are all really good ideas!

@hydra77 and @fairlynearlyready: That actually sparked another idea. Walmart now has 2 day shipping and it's probably more affordable in a lot of things. I could definitely do that for her. Keep in mind she does have a sister than can do shopping for her, when needed. At least she has her.
posted by magnoliasouth at 3:01 PM on January 27, 2017

So many great ideas here!
I am an assistance parent of two wonderful children, and while that would be impossible for you, given the distance, I learnt that just taking the initiative meant that others leaned in. If you can find out who may be ready to help, you can maybe organize a plan. You'd be surprised how many people are ready to take on responsibility if they are asked, and if there are clear boundaries. With "my" kids, we are in all 4 families helping out, and while I coordinated to begin with, my initiative led the kids' gran to take action. Now I just have one of the two every other week, + one or two holidays. I 'm thinking you might be able to have them for a short holiday once a year - it would mean the world for their mother, and you would have a magical relation with the twins forever.
posted by mumimor at 3:18 PM on January 27, 2017

@mumimor: What a sweet thing for you to say! Yes, I definitely would love for them to come here for a visit. Just the twins or even her and the twins! Our home is an open door for family and friends. In fact, I took in my son's best friend in high school when he needed help. I would love to give her a home here, but my mother is on hospice and has dementia so it's just not the right time. Still, I'd love to have her come down and stay with us for any vacation and holiday. What a lovely idea!
posted by magnoliasouth at 3:35 PM on January 27, 2017 [1 favorite]

Walmart now has 2 day shipping

If there is a Walmart conveniently close to her home, you can order it in your name and pay for it online, have it shipped for free to that specific Walmart location and list her as someone allowed to pick up the article. All she needs to do is bring her ID. You can track the shipment online to find out when it arrives. I think you can have them email you. (In fact, if it is available in that store, it may be something she can pick up the same day. But I am not sure on that detail.)

You can also potentially gift her a reloadable gift card where you can add money online and she will have it instantly. (Starbuck's does this. I assume you would want something more practical though. You would need to research your reloadable gift card options.)
posted by Michele in California at 3:38 PM on January 27, 2017

Dear magnoliasouth, you are so brave and loving to care for your friend while your mum is in hospice. You get all my hugs. What you are going through is so hard. Right now, I feel you should focus on your own loss. Maybe I'm wrong. I know how it can be helpful to look out of oneself.
When my (dearly beloved) stepmother died, her last word was mum. I think we need to care a lot about our feelings when our mothers are ill. I have a complicated relationship with my mother, but when she had a heart-attack I regressed into 7-yo me (long story). I have no idea how I will deal when she is dying.
To be honest, I just want to bring you pies the next 12 months, but I can't. Instead, I hope you take care of yourself. And yes, give those kids a holiday, it will be great.
posted by mumimor at 4:22 PM on January 27, 2017 [1 favorite]

Mom-and-pop thrift stores sell baby/younger child clothes for next to nothing, ditto with loads of other baby whatnot. You can find fabulous stuff, but it takes time, gas, digging. I'd go do the digging for her, and wash the stuff and box that up and send it along in preference to buying new.

For one thing, the return she'll get when she takes a gently used newly bought item to sell at a consignment store will about the same as a gently used for the second time item, so long as the style is current and the brand recognizable.

IF she has access to a washer and dryer and the sister does not mind her using it -- 40 or 50 of [these IKEA washcloths]( meant I never bought a box of baby wipes. (On the go I used moistened paper towels. I still don't "get" baby wipes.) When gifting things, try and think along the lines of "can I make this so she never has to purchase it again?" and "can she get some $ for this when she's done with it?"
posted by kmennie at 12:35 AM on January 28, 2017

Join the local freecycle group there, you never know what they have for babies. Sometimes very large local churches (regardless of personal beliefs) (not the "mega-church" but more established churches in nice areas) have similar sales.
posted by Ms. Moonlight at 2:55 AM on January 28, 2017

Reddit also has a group for parents with multiple kids that might be helpful. I've also heard that Craigslist can be helpful, in terms of finding baby stuff, so you should check out the local one.
posted by colfax at 3:23 AM on January 28, 2017

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