As a mother, I take whatever victories I can land. Because, more often than not, it feels like I'm being pulled in so many different directions that I can't do any of what I'm asked to do justice. This is particularly true, in my case, when having two children... and trust me when I say there are #momwins only a mom of two will understand. That's not to say moms of one "don't get it." I'm simply saying that having two provides some pretty unique challenges that, when you can overcome them, restore your faith in yourself, your life choices, your children, and, indeed, the balance of the Universe.
Honestly, none of these #momwins are particularly life-altering, at least not in and of themselves. But when it comes to parenthood, a little bit goes a long way in the "victory" department. It doesn't have to be big to make you feel big. Because, really, what is parent but a whole bunch of little things that wind up, as a collective experience, being so much more than the sum of its parts? This does make the little things bigger... and, too often, the little things are sort of, you know, crappy. This imbues the #momwins we can get with more potency and importance.
So feel free, mom of two, to celebrate any of the following:
When You Can Utilize Hand-Me-Downs
Kids clothes don't last long, what with kids constantly growing. Seriously, it's like something out of a sci-fi/horror movie. Like... how have you doubled your size in five months? How?! Hand-me-downs feel like a way to pull one over on the Universe. Like, "Oh, you thought I could only use this onesie for two months. HA! Boom! Second child! In your face!"
And the best part is that you can keep this up for years. My 4-year-old still routinely gets clothes from my 6-year-old and she's super excited about it.
When You Feed Two Kids With One Plate
OK, this usually happens in the mornings and it makes me excited.
So one kid will ask for cereal. OK, fine. That's reasonable... what feels unreasonable is their not being able to finish even the little I give them. So they'll put the bowl up on the counter, declare themselves done, and walk away, leaving a full serving of Cheerios sitting in milk. This is disheartening.
Some mornings, one will eat before the other, and then when the second one comes up and says "I want Cheerios, please!" I just grab their sibling's half-eaten breakfast and recycle it (I'll usually add a sprinkle of fresh cereal on top for show and also to trick them).
Boom. One breakfast has now fed two children. No waste. It feels like victory.
When You Can Enjoy Simultaneous Napping
This hasn't happened in a while for me, since my kids are, generally speaking, beyond the need for naps. But back in the day (especially when my second was an infant) when I could manage to get both of them to sleep in the middle of the day at the same time? It was so beautiful. It was just, like... what good deeds did I do in a past life to deserve this hour of respite? Half the time I would be too elated and giddy to really get anything done. But it didn't matter, because that time was mine.
When They Agree On What Movie They Want To Watch
There is no hell quite like two kids fighting over what to watch during a designated screen time. Because the entire argument consists of them just screaming titles back and forth before breaking down into wordless sobbing. And heaven help you if you dare to suggest they find a third, mutually agreeable option.
This happens... kind of a lot.
So when it doesn't, I'm always tremendously grateful.
When They Entertain Each Other
These words may come back to haunt me (you'll know in a few weeks), but I'm actually really looking forward to my children's summer vacation. They've been playing together beautifully lately. Like... I can sometimes even take some time to sit back and do something for myself! Because they've got each other. They don't need me as much to guide them through their recreational time anymore because they brainstorm and work together. It's adorable.
When You Remember Everything
One kid requires a lot of mental energy and stuff. Two kids? Holy hell. And when you start to throw in after-school activities, doctor's appointments, play dates, etc... it's easy to drop the ball when you've got approximately 47 of them in the air at all times. (Fun fact: apparently the juggling record is 11.) So when you can get through a day where you remember everything you have to do, bring, and set up for the next day? That's a #momwin.
When One Screams & It Doesn't Wake Up The Other
How? How did this child not wake up? The other one is wailing like a banshee. This should not be physically possible. After all, this now-sleeping child sits at attention if I rustle a page too loudly. But now? Wow. I don't know how this is working but I'm going to take it and be thankful.
When They Settle An Argument On Their Own
Pro-tip (and, yeah, I'm going to call myself a pro after six years of parenting and four years of parenting two): the more you let them try the better they will get at this particular skill. This sounds harder than it may seem to the casual observer, because at first you're going to have to deal with a lot of bickering. But, eventually, they're going to get a handle on more productive communication. That's not to say the bickering will go away (or, heaven help you, get less irritating) but it gets better. And one day you'll realize that these little humans are becoming civilized, and you will pat yourself on the back, because #momwin.
When You Only Have To Cook One Dinner
I'll give the "I cook one dinner and if my kids don't like it they don't eat" crowd to get all that out of their system.
OK. Now shush and let the rest of us talk, because a lot of us wind up making several dinners every night to accommodate various picky palates.
Finding a meal everyone will eat feels like what I imagine making a slam dunk would feel like (I'm 5'4" and not athletic, so it'll never happen, and I think this dinner thing is as close as I'm ever going to get).
When They Obviously Love Each Other
Be still my heart.
This, my friends, is the ultimate mom win.