Im a mom with a passion for writing amongst other things!
How I Cracked Tantrums In My House
I've made a discipline breakthrough in my household. My usually well-behaved and calm 2 1/2-year-old has suddenly discovered the terrible twos**. We recently took our first family vacation, and for the first few weeks back, I was convinced I had brought back the wrong toddler. There was no way my kid was screaming and rolling around on the floor because I told him that we didn't have any more bananas. Who is this maniac that yelled at me for asking if he had to go potty? He suddenly decided that sleep is no longer important, and if it wasn't his idea, it wasn't happening. There were a lot of tears for a bit there, many of them mine. I felt extremely unprepared, insecure, and helpless.
Today Was Hard
Today was a hard day. Harder than most. Today I woke up exhausted, more than usual anyway, but my toddler woke up with more energy than ever. My potty-trained two-year-old decided today that he didn't care to make it to the potty. He peed in every pair of pants that I put on him, just minutes after I put them on him. My normally independent child was clingy and emotional, and I was tired, sluggish, and, well, emotional. He wanted snacks. No, not breakfast, snacks! All day long. He was angry he couldn't ride on the cat and angry that his pineapples were touching his blueberries. He was angry that he woke up early from his nap and angry that he fell asleep again. Coffee didn't help me, milk couldn't settle him, TV didn't entertain either of us, and nothing went right. He refused lunch and ate chicken nuggets and fruit for dinner because, apparently, it is barbaric to offer an angry toddler mac and cheese or veggies.
Sometimes the Picture Doesn't Match Reality
When my husband and I started trying for a family, we both went into it with this fantasy of a perfect life, with no fighting, no hurt feelings, tons of sleep, and no frustration or resentment EVER. I think every parent has this idea—or hope—in their minds. We both assumed that we knew what parenthood would bring, and we weren't afraid in the least. Shortly after our son was born, reality hit. He missed the majority of my labor thanks to his brand-new-barely-a-month-old job, and I didn't realize how angry I was at him for it. Sure, it was (mostly) out of his control, along with the fact that he was now working much longer and more erratic hours, with an hour long commute each way, but that didn't stop me from feeling neglected.
The Big Image Divide
I've read tons of articles about how mothers need to be careful about how they refer to themselves and their bodies in front of their children, namely their little girls. The logic behind this is pretty solid; little boys and girls that grow up hearing their mothers constantly saying negative things about themselves can potentially develop these tendencies too! I still struggle to be kind to myself, its difficult to learn to be confident when you have never had that before! Still, I find that there's something missing from this argument: Dads. A few days ago my very own husband made a comment about his weight and feeling "fat." The kind of comment he has made about himself many many times before. "Oh stop, you're fine. I love you no matter what, and I think you look great," is my usual reply. This time, on the other hand, hearing him speak about himself, and his body, in such a way sent chills up my spine. If I can't express all of my negative feelings about myself, for fear of my child ending up just as insecure and damaged as I am, then why is it okay to hear our partners express that they feel this way? Obviously, these feelings shouldn't be hidden or dismissed, but I can definitely recognize the importance of being KIND to ourselves! This particular time, I watched my son look up at his dad, watching his daddy look down at himself in disgust. Something I've done a million times over. I saw my son listening to those words, taking them in, and learning from them, and I realized that we need to do better. We ALL need to do better. My husband does such a great job of making me feel beautiful as often as he can, and I've realized I don't really know how to help him feel better. I don't think I compliment him nearly enough, and I don't think I show my appreciation for all of the things he does and sacrifices he makes for me. We all deserve to feel comfortable in our own skin. My hardworking husband, who is exhausted from working long hours so that I can stay home with our toddler, but still comes home to cook dinner and play and take care of us, is not any less deserving of loving words and a reminder of how amazing I think he is and looks, than I am. Why is he the only one bringing home flowers or a surprise chocolate bar just to remind me he loves me? Why do I find myself telling my son how cute and handsome he is a gazillion times throughout the day, but can't really remember the last time I said that to my husband? These men that we picked to be our partners in this new journey that is parenthood deserve to be validated too! They deserve to feel good about themselves when they leave us, and they deserve to be confident enough to be the role models that our sons need and that our daughters learn love from. Trust me, I understand how hard it is to feel less than and unhappy with the person staring back at me from the mirror, and that's exactly why this topic feels so important to me and to my heart. Men don't seem to focus on self-care as much as I've seen women focus on and care about learning to love ourselves. Why not take the time to show them how much they mean to us? If not for their well being, but for our children's. Let's continue to nurture ourselves, and make sure to nourish them too!
The Working Mom Vs. Stay at Home Mom Debate
If you ask working moms who has it harder, they will probably say working while staying on top of their kids and home is the hardest, and if you ask a stay at home mom, they will probably tell you that nobody appreciates how much time and effort they have to put in and that they never get a break. So who really has is hardest? I was a stay at home mom for 16 wonderful months—it was awful, depressing, exhausting, and absolutely amazing all at the same time. I've now been a working mom for about 5 months. I never anticipated how much I would miss my son and how utterly jealous I would be watching other women step into MY role. Is it harder? In some ways yes. I miss a lot of milestones and quality time, and I have to deal with frustration and trust issues when his teachers don't do as I've asked or do things I didn't even know I was uncomfortable with yet. Sometimes it's also especially easier.