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'Your relationship goes on pause.' What no one told me about having two sets of twins.

Having one set of twins is a big surprise. But imagine having two sets, just two years apart. That's exactly what happened to Gabby Radlof and her husband, Ben, who defied the odds by having identical twin sons, Hugo and Spencer, in 2018, followed by fraternal twins, Billy and Aria, in 2021.

Gabby spoke to Mamamia about the many things people don't realise about having twins, starting with the cost.

"Budgeting for the twins' nursery came as a bit of a shock!" Gabby said. "We had to get two of everything and there is no extra financial support. I didn't know that the Australian government does not consider twins as a 'multiple birth', which is crazy!

"Thankfully, when we found out that we were having a second set of twins, we had kept all of Hugo and Spencer's things, so we got to reuse the nursery items."

But knowing what to do with their family car the second time around wasn't quite as straightforward.

Watch: Mamamia's twins Jessie and Clare Stephens on Cancelled. Post continues below.

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"With our second set of twins, car seats and safety harnesses were a real issue. I wasn't working and we couldn't afford a new car so we paid to have additional anchor points fitted in our Kluger. It was still expensive but a lot less than a whole new car!"


The Australian Multiple Birth Association released a report this week that detailed the financial strain felt by families of multiples and called on the government to offer additional financial and practical help.

According to the AMBA’s Multiples Matter report, twins typically cost five times that of singletons. And Gabby and Ben have experienced those increased costs twice over!

It isn't just the cost of having twins, though, Gabby says - it is also the logistical challenges, the mental load and the overwhelm.

"When you have one baby crying, you can cuddle and console them, but when it's two crying at once - that's much harder! A few times, if both babies started crying, I would feel the pressure to just get up and leave the room. If I was with my mother's group, another mum would often offer to help me as you need that second pair of hands," shares Gabby. 

"I have to be super-organised, too, because when you have four kids to strap into the car to pick up some extras from the supermarket, it is honestly not worth the effort. Ben often gets called on the way home from work to stop off and grab some supplies."

She continues, "I also think, with twins, there is always someone wanting something from me. Especially now that Billy and Aria are about to turn two, it's a very challenging stage because I'm dealing with double tantrums!"


Gabby says that daily routines are crucial for keeping everyone as happy as possible - adults included.

"Scheduled naptimes for the twins mean I get a short break in the day and early bedtimes work for us. When Ben gets home between 5pm and 6pm, he is physically exhausted after a full day of work as a tradie, and I am often mentally exhausted after a day with the kids. We try to support each other with the bath, dinner and bedtime routine, which then gives us a couple of hours together at night.

"You kind of have to put your relationship on pause a little just to get through these crazy times! We do the best we can. And we know there's not much time right now, but we're trying not to wish it away."

Understanding her boundaries and what she can and can't do with four little kids is important, Gabby says. Even with 'fun' activities that parents of singletons might take for granted, such as going to the local pool.

"Finding a time that Ben is available to help with swimming lessons for Billy and Aria is very difficult and something we haven’t been able to manage this time around outside of working hours. Now that the boys are five and are more independent, it makes it easier to navigate, but there’s no possible or safe way that I can take all four kids to the pool on my own."


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With two sets of twins, holidays are few and far between and require a lot of organisation, but Gabby says that doesn't mean they can't enjoy some time away.

"We like to take the kids camping as it is low cost and we have a trailer because you need a lot of stuff for four kids - packing takes a whole week! I'm not keen to attempt a plane ride anywhere due to cost and the logistical demands, but we're planning to go away soon, which will be good for all of us."


Gabby says that as much as their lives resemble a chaotic rollercoaster right now, there are definitely some wonderful things about having two sets of twins.

"They always have a buddy! Given that our eldest twins have started school and our youngest have started daycare, it has been such a joy to watch them both be there for each other. We encourage independence as much as we can, especially at their age, but just to help each other through transitioning has been very helpful.

"They enjoy their own company but can always play amongst themselves and they have wonderful imaginations from doing so. 

"Having the twins is also double the love - truly! When they are happy and achieving their milestones and playing so well together, it makes our hearts so full and reminds us of how lucky we truly are." 

Gabby is a mum to two sets of twins, a wife and a blogger on all things motherhood and beyond. Follow her journey @fourlittlewildlings

Laura Jackel is Mamamia's Family Writer. For links to her articles and to see photos of her outfits and kids, follow her on Instagram and TikTok.

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