I was attending a small community gathering last week when a mom, who was holding a baby on her lap and watching a 3-year-old shake her sillies out, asked me if those two small people at my feet were my kids.
“Um, yep. All mine,” I said.
“Are they twins?” Her eyes grew big.
“Yes. And that’s my 6-year-old,” I said pointing at the kid who was pacing nearby.
“Wow,” she said. “All boys?”
“You’re amazing,” she said.
“No, no I’m not.”
“Yes, you are! You’re seriously amazing. Look how sweet they all are and how adorable. You’re amazing.”
Blushing, I said thanks and mumbled something about how all moms are amazing.
Why couldn’t I just take the compliment? The boys were showered, dressed in coordinating colors, playing in the grass without anything that required batteries, and no one was fighting or crying. We were in public. We had arrived on time. It was a good day.
Isnt this what we’ve been fighting about? Moms feeling validation from other moms? While I wasn’t seeking it, this woman was kind and generous enough to pay me a compliment that I couldn’t accept.
Because of these three munchkins, I get some bizarre comments from other people. From the playground to the pediatrician’s office, I hear:
You sure do have your hands full. (Literally.)
How do you do it? (One day at a time.)
Better you than me! (Yes. Clearly.)
You’re amazing! (Not really. Wait. Yeah, I might be slightly amazing.)
As a mom of twins I forget that I’m a walking freak show. People actually stare, point, and make comments and I’m supposed to act as if I didn’t notice. Once my twins’ playgroup met at Ikea for lunch and walked around. You should see the reaction of shoppers when they notice not one, not two, not three but four sets of twins coming down the hall. “It’s a Twins Convention!” one woman shouted.
Sometimes even among the twin moms we find each other amazing, even though we all live parallel lives. Last week we got together at the Georgia Aquarium and one mom marveled in the calm nature of another set of twins. Until we’d been there for long enough that they all went haywire, clearly having held some kind of discreet conference on how to drive mothers crazy, and all six of them went in different directions. And as we all strapped crying, screaming toddlers into strollers against their will, we joked about what hour was too early to start drinking wine. (It was noon.)
There are times I feel amazing, like during a solo parenting night in which the three kids are fed, bathed, dressed, and reading together. Or when I take three boys to the park and no one sustains major injuries. A recent biggie was the moment we arrived back in Atlanta after a week away, having safely traveled with a peanut-allergic toddler on an airplane, two summer road trips under my belt, and knowing we not only survived but that we made memories.
Alas, there are many times I don’t feel amazing. For example, I don’t feel amazing when my husband makes it home on time and the house is a disaster, the kids are screaming, no one will eat dinner, and I’m running on fumes. Or when dinner is chicken nuggets. And the night when bedtime takes 100 minutes start to finish and involves too much crying.
Am I amazing? Sometimes. But look around–so is she, and her, and you.