Moms are told all the time to relax and pick their battles, and for the most part that’s pretty good (if not occasionally annoying) advice. However, it’s also important to remember that there are certain “minor” things moms really should pay attention to — those often overlooked, small parenting wins and less-celebrated milestones.
Now, this isn’t one of those “cherish every moment” articles that make most of us want to scream until our heads implode. I’m well aware that expecting a mom to cherish every moment of motherhood is about as realistic as expecting your child to eat every bite of a casserole that has broccoli in it.
But while you’re busy putting out the proverbial (and sometimes literal) fires of parenting, don’t forget to savor the subtle moments of motherhood that, while perhaps not as memorable as first steps or as eagerly awaited as first words, remind you what an incredible, rewarding, unexpected, heartwarming and hilariously frustrating ride those little jerks are taking you on:
1. The first time they throw up in the toilet instead of on the floor. Or in your hands.
2. The day when you suddenly realize you can do anything with one arm while holding a baby in the other.
3. The first meal when everyone eats what you made without complaining.
4. Overhearing your kids apologize to each other without you having to yell, “OMG YOU SAY YOU’RE SORRY RIGHT THIS INSTANT!”
5. Seeing your child pour a full jug of milk without spilling it.
6. The first time you get your kids to stop what they’re doing with just The Look.
7. You and your kid laughing at the same joke.
8. Finding the same number of GoGurts in the near-empty box as the number of children asking for GoGurt.
9. The first time the baby wants someone (besides you) to hold them long enough for you to take a shower.
10. When your kid takes a bath and more water stays in the tub than gets on the floor.
11. When your toddler finally stops asking you to cut off the crusts.
12. The day they do their own laundry for the first time…
13. …and manage not to ruin any of their clothes.
14. Successful carseat-to-crib transfers of a sleeping baby.
15. Successful backseat diaper changes.
16. Finding the lost teddy bear before a bedtime tantrum sets in.
17. When they get themselves dressed for the day…
18. …in something that sort of matches…
19. …and is actually appropriate for the weather.
20. Just kidding, numbers 17 through 19 will never all happen at once.
21. Unexpected hugs from your teenager.
22. First curse word used properly in context. (Fine, you might not be thrilled to hear them say it, especially if it was directed at your boss or mother-in-law, but there’s a strange satisfaction in hearing your kid blurt out a well-executed, “Holy shit!”)
23. The first time your child mows the lawn while you sit outside, sipping iced tea and giving the occasional encouraging wave.
24. When they fall asleep during the first few pages of a bedtime story.
25. The proud moment when your toddler counts to 15 without skipping nine or saying eleventeen twice.
26. The first time your kid draws something you can identify.
27. When your kids sleep through at least part of a road trip.
28. Surviving slumber parties.
29. The first time your child notices he interrupted you…
30. … AND ACTUALLY STOPS TALKING.
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