I’ve raised daughters. Reared them into adulthood. They were a challenge, true. But I’m female; they’re female. We sort of had that thing going for us. So even as they grew and educated me in the care and keeping of them, the learning curve never felt that steep. Plus, I had them one at a time. So that was going for me, too. But twins  — and twin boys at that – I feel like this learning curve needs climbing gear complete with harnesses and carabiners.

And in all honesty, our friends and family kind of need a crash course in emotional support — particularly in terms of emergency management — for when the going gets tough. And believe me, it gets tough. Take today, for instance. Today is Day Four of what has turned into a Twintestinal Distress week. They stayed home again today. And I stayed home again today. And boy, has it been tough.

We’re all bored shitless.

Which is good, I guess, because I’ve had all the shit I can handle in the past half-a-week. I’ve changed more diapers and sheets, swabbed more butts and floors, and used more Lysol wipes than the community hospital did last year.

We are being held hostage in our own home by toddler boys’ digestive tracts. We are in dire need of some fresh air. Ours smells like retch and poo. And the boys are cranky with cabin fever. No. Cranky is an understatement. Godzilla in Tokyo was cranky. My boys are downright angry. And it could even be that they are hangry, since they’ve had nothing more substantial than a toast crust in four days. Every time they try, their gag reflexes kick in and their bowels run amok.

It’s times like these, when the perils of Twindom absolutely overcome me. It’s times like these when the poo hits the fan and I’m ready to rage against the latrine!  So what do I do? I vent to friends and family on Facebook. And what do they do? Well, the ones who get it, they give me support. And the ones who don’t, they give me clichés.

Which is why I’ve decided to pen this crash course in social media emergency management…

I’ve already established the crisis situation for you. Now let me give you a quick cry-for- help demonstration. Let’s say that as you peruse your Facebook news feed that you spy a post from a desperate  twin mom at her absolute wit’s end. Perhaps she has proclaimed her life is a festering cistern of agony and upchuck. IN ALL CAPS.  Or maybe it’s something less dramatic, but just as desperate. Something along the lines of:

I literally have not stepped foot outside my house in five days. I may go off the deep end.

You stop scrolling. You pause for a moment. As a friend, as a family member… what do you do?… what should you do? Should you like the status and end it there? Well, you can… but there is really nothing about that status to like. At all. But if you pity that poor, dispirited twin mom then don’t you think she at least deserves a crying face or a sweetly-placed heart? Give her some emoji love, for crying out loud — which is what she’s doing, believe me.

And if you want to go further, to try to preserve her sanity and your relationship with her, here are some Dos and Don’ts of the comment variety…

Do give her love and support. Tell her she can make it through. Tell her that the giant shit igloo that has formed over and around her diaper pail will soon melt into a memory – a foul-smelling, filthy, recycled memory – but a memory nonetheless. So tell her that.

Don’t tell her she’s paying for her raising. Because as she recalls, there weren’t two of her. Two versions of her squirting vast quantities of digestive detritus and retching saltine crackers simultaneously. All the while begging to be held and struggling to escape. Two. At the same time. So just hush it.

Do send her texts, and love… and groceries. When her family has been eating toast and applesauce for five days – not merely for the fact that it follows the BRAT rules for stomach flu (Bananas, Rice, Apple sauce and Toast) – but also because they have nothing else left in the house. Their cupboard is bare. And so are their bowels. And they could really go for some chicken soup. It’s good for the soul and the shits. So do do that. (But don’t doo doo. They’ve had enough of that…)

Don’t tell her it comes with the territory. It’s not her first rodeo. She knows the territory. It is, however, her first rodeo with twins and she’ll tell you, the rules of engagement are entirely different. Unless you have ever parented twins… especially twins purging their innards for seventy-two hours straight in a snow storm (well, maybe that’s an exaggeration. They live in the South. They had a snow flake), then don’t act like you’re the fucking Lewis & Clark of parenting territory. You’re not. So hush it.

Do tell her she’s doing a good job. Tell her that you know kids are hard because you’ve been there. And then tell her you’ve heard many, many, MANY rumors that twins are harder. Way harder. And that she is way beyond Wonder Woman to you. That she belongs in Marvel comics. Or is it DC? Shit. She has no fucking clue. Boys love super heroes.Just one more thing she has to study up on. That learning curve gets steeper and steeper. It’s never ending. But she can do it, you say. Because she is Way Beyond Wonder Woman. Tell her that.

Don’t try to lighten the mood by cracking jokes. Believe me, she is not amused. That’s not laughing you hear. It’s tears. And choking. She’s crying hysterically while drowning in an endless sea of projectile poo and vomit and sippy cups of ginger ale. So unless you can throw her a life line – or a kind line – Just. Hush. It.