Life with a toddler.

November 16, 2009 at 3:28 pm | Posted in Battles (aka: toddlerhood), motherhood | 10 Comments

There are some days where I REALLY doubt my ability to be a good mother.

Like this morning.

Where my reaction to the whining and tantrums makes me feel like crap.

(Yes. I yelled. And in the moment where I yelled, and he quieted and looked at me all serious, it made me FEEL BETTER. But then it all came crashing down on me – I don’t WANT to yell, and goodness can’t I be better about not reacting to toddler stuff already?)

Where mornings like this seems like every MINUTE is a battle.

Where I wish there was a way to REASON with him.

Where, when I’m on the way to drop him off at daycare, I’m already SPENT.

Despite the fact that it’s only 8am.

But then I come out of his daycare, and he’s outside, and I see him sitting on a tricycle, a bike helmet on…

… and I am overwhelmed. He’s so BIG. And it’s going by so FAST. And I’m so proud to be his mom.

Parenting, hands down, is the hardest thing I’ve ever done.

I literally know NOTHING about being a mom. I am working almost entirely on instinct. Maybe 5% of the things I do in any given day is something I KNOW.

The other 95% is just faking.

(Oh yeah. And talking to my friends Heather and J and D and asking them what they think – using them as lighthouses to make sure I’m not steering us into the rocks.)

But mostly what I’ve found is that motherhood seems to be an exercise in keeping my head above water.

And trying to keep up with my son.

The good news is that the ups are FANTASTIC.

The bad news is that there are downs, too.

It’s another sort of rollercoaster altogether.



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  1. No, you know more than 5% of things. I mean, you know the big stuff – O needs 3 meals a day of various food groups, and he needs diaper changes, and he shouldn’t climb on the table or stick his finger in an electrical socket or walk into the street, and he needs to nap during the day and sleep at night… and I am not being facetious. You really do know the important things. And O knows that you’re his mommy and you love him. I am sure it is hard (believe me, I’m not looking forward to it, must as I love my son). But nobody can be perfect, and it sounds like you’re doing just fine.

  2. I have a 2.5 year old son whose terrible twos started at 15 months. Thankfully, he was verbal early so at least we could communicate through some of the hard stuff, but even so, it is a battle of wills, somedays more than others.
    I finally decided to buy some parenting books and the one that was particularly helpful for us was 1-2-3 Magic. I still use the technique and it still works.
    But, I hear you..there are mornings when he actually doesn’t want to get up but doesn’t want to stay in, doesn’t want to eat anything offered, doesn’t want to have his diaper changed, doesn’t want to get dressed (and certainly not in anything I pick out for him), doesn’t want to go to school (or in/out of the car seat)…it’s more than a challenge.
    And, like you, my heart melts when I pick him up and he runs full speed to greet me with an ear to ear grin and I’m just so thankful that he is MY handful.

  3. Serenity….I have been a mom for 21 years to 3 sons, and I AM STILL LEARNING!

    The trick is to not let them know that we don’t have a freaking clue!

    BTW, there were days I lost it….and the kids turned out great in spite of me 🙂

    Don’t be too hard on yourself….just really appreciate those times when his little arms wrap around your neck for a hug. Drink those moments in…they DO grow up in a flash.

  4. Couldn’t agree with you more! I just said it to a friend the other day “isn’t parenting HARD?!”
    I hate the moments where I lose my patience with Bug. I regret it the rest of the day.
    But, one positive thing–the ONLY positive thing– it’s also an opportunity for me to apologize to her. To pull her up on my lap and say “mommy’s sorry for getting upset” or “all that trouble was no fun for either of us, was it. Let’s both try to do better and have a happy day from now on”. She really responds to that kind of honesty, and although I’d rather NOT be her example of humility, I think I’ve shown her how to say sorry and that it’s okay to admit when you’re wrong.
    Typing the words “happy day” reminds me of something that happened last week. All chaos was breaking loose in the house. I got really frustrated and it was showing. Bug goes “mommy?….I’m really concerned about you not having a happy night”. HA!! Her use of the word “concerned” really threw me–enough to make me laugh, thank goodness, because I really needed to.

  5. You are human, you will lose it. We are not robots, thank goodness. I love what Elle wrote above, about saying your sorry to your children after the fact. It shows them that sometimes, as parents, we don’t react the way we should all the time and it’s ok.

    Also, O has no idea that you have no ides. So, no matter what he’s going to think you know. So, roll with it. Because, eventually, you WILL know, for that specific thing (of course true to form, he will never repeat the behavior again).

    Don’t be hard on yourself. You are an awesome mom. When it’s bad, remember the good will come again soon. I promise it will 😀

  6. You are raising a gracious and caring young man – even if he knows EXACTLY how to push your buttons. Cut yourself some slack, girl, you are doing fabulous.

  7. Anyone who says they have a perfect angel as a toddler is LYING. It’s something we all go through, and eventually you get better at managing the battle of wills. I think there’s a lot to be said for acting confident, even when you’re not feeling it. That’ll get you pretty far. 🙂


  8. Serenity- I found your blog, and read through all the archives- you are one phenomenal person, and I wish you and your wonderful family all the best.
    You ARE a great mom, through the ups and the downs.
    Thank you for being so inspiring.

  9. Life with a toddler is hard, but I’m betting life with a teenager is even harder. My neighbor has one toddler and one 17 year old step son living with her and I would take the ups and downs of a toddler anyday!


  10. I think you have high expectations of yourself. And it’s not that I think you’re not worthy of them! But keep your eye on it, because what you described sounds pretty normal to me – and PB is not even up to the major tantrums yet.

    It’s a phase, it’s a phase, it’s a phase…


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