Ever since I gave birth to twin girls, people have been asking all sorts of questions about what my life is like now. My answer? My life is hectic — very, very hectic. There’s not a lot of time for sleeping, eating or staying in touch with friends. And since I can’t hold and feed both girls at the same time, it’s inevitable that I’ll be faced with a screaming baby at some point during the average day.

When people find out you’ve had twins, they’ll start asking a lot of questions: Are they identical? Do twins run in your family? How big were they at birth?

And they’ll also start doling out random (and often-unsolicited) advice like: Hire a baby nurse. (We would if we could afford it.) Take turns feeding them overnight. (That only works if they’re formula-fed.) Take frequent naps, or put your feet up and rest. (Ha!)

That last one is particularly unrealistic given that this is a quick rundown of how my time is now spent: I change anywhere from 16 to 24 diapers a day. Of those, approximately one in every five will leak, which leads to my next statistic. I do four to six loads of laundry a week. My girls eat eight to ten times a day, which means I spend four to six hours on feedings alone. I sleep about two to four hours a night, though not in a row. This is actually an improvement from the early weeks, where I averaged 90 minutes on a good night.

Babies Are Expensive

The financial reality of raising twins has also been an adjustment. We knew having two babies would be expensive, but check this out: We’re spending over $300 a month on diapers, wipes and other such basic supplies. Our utility bills are 30 percent higher because we’re constantly doing laundry and cranking up the heat to keep the house warm.

Because our babies are small, as twins tend to be, they need extra monitoring, which means additional trips to the pediatrician and two co-pays at each visit instead of one. We spent an extra $600 up-front buying two cribs, two car seats and two sets of bedding.

On the other hand, we were pleasantly surprised to discover that having twins doesn’t equate to spending double the money all the time. We even found ways to cut corners so that certain line items on our list wound up costing less than anticipated:

Since our twins are the same gender, we bought one set of clothing for them to share. Plus, people have been showering us with gifts since the girls arrived, and when you have twins, you get two outfits instead of one. We only bought one dresser, pack n’ play, and swing–items every new parent needs. By not doubling up on these, we saved several hundred dollars. (Besides, we don’t really have enough room for two of everything.) We are happy to accept hand-me-downs and scored a number of essentials. We skipped the baby announcements. Sure, it was tempting, but we figured we had more important things to spend our money on.

It’s Worth It

Life with twins definitely has its ups and downs, and caring for two babies at once is much harder work than anything I’ve ever done before. Sometimes, in my emotional, sleep-deprived state, I’ll let the challenging moments get the better of me. I’ve burst into tears on more than one occasion, and I’ve been forced to skip my morning shower more times than I’d care to admit. But when things go smoothly, there’s really no better feeling.