When you have twins, reality becomes utterly defined by the term "tag-team." They tag-team you, and, if you're lucky to have a partner in this (heaven help you if you're flying solo), you tag-team them right back.
Take bedtime. One washes, the other dries, the first pajamas, the second stories, the first waters, the second herds to bed as the first chaperones to the bathroom, the second chaperones to the bathroom as the first herds from bathroom to bed, then second hugs-and-kisses, turning out lights...wait, why are you crying? Use words, honey--
"It was my turn to turn out light!"
Okay, then you turn out the--
Okay, you don't have to--
"But it's my turn!"
I...(sigh). Hey, where's she--? Where are you going?
"My bear has to poop."
No, come back--can you catch her, please? Wait, why are you crying now?
"Because I'm not tired!"
Forty-five minutes later, team-twins rests. In contrast, team-parents has aged a year and a half.
You tell yourself it's about balance. You play with your schedule, trading sleep for exercise, diet for showers, hedging your present against your future. You apply the self-control and critical thinking that got you through graduate school to watching the squealing piglet riding a zip-line commercial "again, Mommy! Again, again!" with genuine interest and enthusiasm. You resign yourself to never completing a meal or a thought or a sentence unless they're asleep, and even then you do so quietly.
"It's tough right now," you say when asked how you're doing. "We're finding our balance."
No. No, you're not. There is no balance. They win. That's it. You tag, they tag back, but there is no balance. They don't play fair. They cheat. And they don't expend a single resource to keeping you or themselves safe and alive. While you're looking both ways, holding hands, picking up, doling out snacks, wiping and cleaning and band-aiding, finding lost loveys, untangling, re-tying, watering, pottying, righting and wronging, they're siphoning what little energy you've got left to dedicate in total every forming pathway in their shiny new brains to devising their next tag.
"Where's the--take that out of your mouth!" Tag.
"Oh my God, I just said because I said so!" Tag.
"No, you don't! How--? Whaddya mean yes you do want a spanking?" Tag.
It's hard and it's rigged and it's war and they're winning. And it's taking forever and over so fast. And they're so incredibly cute, you feel lucky and grateful to be lost and bleeding on the battlefield, feeling your way, muttering about "balance" with your duly bludgeoned partner. Knowing even as it's happening that you're both gonna miss this the rest of your lives...