For as wonderful as being a parent can be, it's often deeply disheartening. The way you move through the world and measure achievement all has to be re-calibrated, and, frankly, sometimes it's impossible to ever really get used to it. So it's easy, at the end of the day, to sort of sink onto your couch and reflect on all the things that went wrong. However, I'm a silver lining kinda gal and firmly believe there are little mom wins to celebrate every day, or at least on the days when those victories are won. (And there's usually one or two if you take a long enough view.)
There would be those, I'm sure, who would deride such a practice as being symptomatic of some millennial "everyone gets a trophy" mentality. It's not. Because you know something millennial moms are saddled with that previous generations saw way less of (at least anecdotally)? The constant pressure to be picture perfect all the time. From social media to pearl clutching news bulletins about common practices and behaviors that indicate your child is doomed, at least according to that obnoxiously judgmental lady in the grocery store who told you your child should be wearing a coat, it seems that our "failures" are trotted in front of us like a never-ending parade of show ponies.
So this silver lining kinda gal says it's about time we were all kinder to ourselves. Look at the big picture (or zoom in on the lovely little details). Celebrate the beauty of simplicity. Give yourself a pat on the back. Hey, you deserve it.
No One Made A Scene In Public
The kids didn't melt into a boneless puddle of stubborn rage when you told them they couldn't get ice cream at the mall. You didn't start screaming in the middle of grocery store because your kids knocked over (yet another) display. Your child didn't hit anyone at the playground. You didn't immediately start crying when your boss gently chastised you in front of a co-worker. Great job, everybody.
Your Child "Tried" A New Food
I put tried in quotation marks because if all your child did was let some rainbow chard touch the tip of their tongue for half a second, I'm going to go ahead and count that as a victory.
No One Started A Fire
"Metaphorical fires?" you ask. Sure, but also, like, actual fires. You'd think this is something that no reasonable person would have to worry about in their daily life, but every day I find myself grateful that nothing burst into flames, either by accident or in an poorly thought out response to just being over it.
No One Went To The Hospital
Life with little kids means that you're never really going to be surprised if you find yourself rushing to the ER because someone did something ridiculous. Children are basically always just half a bad decision away from needing medical attention. It's great when they choose wisely.
Everyone Put On Pants Without Argument Or Hassle
You can't blame anyone: pants suck. I strongly feel that if I could constantly be Donald Ducking my life would be significantly better. Putting on clothes (especially if you're home for the day) feels like a pointless and terrible struggle. Why even bother?
However, deep down you know it's something you really should try, if only for a little while. When everyone can just sigh and accept this inconvenient truth, it's a win.
You Made It Through The Day Without A Stain
Five years into parenthood and I still haven't gotten used to how much more laundry there is to do. Not just because there are more people in your life who require laundering services, but because kids are gross as hell and get their kid schmutz all over you in addition to themselves.
However, every now and then a glorious day arrives where you don't get anything on yourself. No spilled food! No cooking splatters! No tampon leaks! Even better, your children have managed to keep their filth to themselves. Take a minute to celebrate taking off your shirt that night and revel in the fact that there is not one yogurt handprint on it anywhere.
Your Child Made It Through The Day Without A Stain
Celebrate, but be wary, because for something like this to come to pass there may have been witchcraft involved.
You Only Had To Clean Any Given Room Once
Most nights, my partner comes home to a ridiculous messy home. I usually feel the need to let him know how many times that day a room had been immaculate. Seriously, attempting to maintain a tidy home with children in it is sort of like trying to make a bed someone is jumping on. But sometimes, for reasons I can never discern, I clean, say, my living room just once and my children respect the space and take out, like, a single toy and play with it. It's amazing.
Your Pet Only Did Cute Things Today
Pets warm our hearts and fill our lives with joy, but they also chew our belongings to hell, pee on the carpet, randomly vomit in inconvenient places, get their litter all over the place, get too rough with the kids, track mud through the house, and, well, they're basically like children who shed a lot and will never grow out of the toddler phrase.
Some day, however and against all odds, they behave themselves and don't require any negative attention whatsoever. Those days should be appreciated (maybe the positive reinforcement will encourage more such days).
Everyone Ate The Same Dinner
Some people hold fast to the belief that, after a life of difficulty and suffering, they will be granted a divine and eternal reward by their maker. This promise is a source of comfort and hope. This is basically how I feel about the idea of my entire family regularly eating the same meal one day: I believe it will happen, I believe it will be beautiful, but right now I must be patient and have faith. When it does happen, I delight in the miracle and give thanks.
No One At Work Asked You To Do Something Right Before You Were About To Leave
It just never fails, right? It's like, "Really, this email needs to go out right now and I have to wait for the person to respond? Oh, and it needs several rounds of approvals before I can even send it? Great." But sometimes you get out before anyone can stop you and you're free and you can pick up your little one from daycare on time without having to deal with the sort-of judgmental smiles of the one worker who stays there late.
Children Played Quietly For Any Amount Of Time
Five minutes. Ten minutes. Dare we dream, 30 minutes?! Any silence is beautiful and should be properly celebrated.
You Drank A Hot Cup Of Coffee
Congratulations, you! You didn't need to stick it in the microwave after it got to room temperature on the counter! You didn't have to dump it and start from scratch. Well done, mama! Have another cup to celebrate!
Your Child Took A Nap On Their Own
You didn't have to rock them for 45 minutes. You didn't have to bribe them with anything. You didn't have to keep putting them back to bed over and over until you were both sobbing. In fact, no one cried at all. For whatever reason, your child just curled up and fell asleep. At this point you may cry, but they're tears of joy. Relish this moment, maybe with another cup of hot coffee! The world is your oyster, for about an hour or two anyway.
Your Kids Didn't Ask To Watch 'Frozen'
You like Frozen just fine. You relate to at least one of the characters and belt out "Let It Go" in the shower on the regular. However, good God in heaven, there are only so many times you can handle watching even a good movie and your kids have demanded Anna and Elsa's hijinks every day, at least once a day, for about a year now. Commemorate this day by showing them a new movie. Tangled, perhaps?
Because something always spills. You question the balance of the Universe if something doesn't, but not too much, because you don't want to break the spell. Double celebration if nothing spilled on the carpet.
There's Plenty Of Storage Left On Your Phone
So that really adorable moment you want to capture of your kids hugging? You go ahead and snap as many photos as you want! No horrible little box is going to tell you that you're all out of storage for some inexplicable reason because goddamnit you just cleared out all your pictures and messages yesterday. In fact, go ahead and frame whatever picture you take so that you can always remember this blessed event.
You Used The Bathroom Without An Audience
Because while I can appreciate my kid telling me what a good job I'm doing pooping, I much prefer this to be a private experience. Using the restroom on your own is basically the mom equivalent of going to a swanky Alpine health spa.
You Finally Found The Source Of That Smell
It was an Easter Egg, you guys. An Easter Egg from last year. OK, don't settle into shame over the fact that you had a moldering animal product chilling around your house unnoticed for almost a year. Celebrate the fact that you did find it, in your own time, and now it's gone and you can have company over again.
The House Is Still Standing
As with setting fires, you'd think this is something that people just take for granted, but moms know how destructive kids can be and having a roof over everyone's head at the end of the day is impressive and notable.
You Are Still Standing
While you're standing go ahead and take a bow. Well done, my dear. Now let's do it again tomorrow.