The following story is very personal and extremely honest. I wrote it in hopes that other moms (and dads) out there who may be feeling the same way will know that they are not alone. We’re all in this parenting thing together!
I’ll never forget the day I lost my cool. Now, on any given day, I can get upset with my toddler over a lot of different things; creating a yogurt masterpiece all over the table (and herself), throwing the contents of my purse all around the house like confetti, or that mystery stain on the new couch- could it be chocolate? (Oh please, let it be chocolate!) What makes this time different, though, is that I was having a pretty crummy day and was already on-edge. It wasn’t going to take much to set me off.
For one thing, I just completely woke up on the wrong side of the bed. We all have those days, right? We had just sprung forward with Daylight Savings, and that lost hour of sleep was just not boding well with me. Mind you, I was six months pregnant. Sleep was extremely important to me! Aside from that, I had been attempting to make some cute Easter egg cake pops and it just. wasn’t. working. I don’t know if you’ve ever attempted to make cake pops before, but it takes some serious skill, creativity and above all, an enormous amount of patience. (And if you have a toddler at home, you probably know very well that patience isn’t always easy to come by.)
Of course, Hadley was totally interested. I informed her that it was a mommy only project and that she could help me decorate the pops in a little while. Although this bought me some time, she proceeded to come into the kitchen at 5 minute intervals for the better part of two hours.
Two hours of cursing (quietly, of course), slamming things around, and overall misery later, I managed to make one decent pop. It wasn’t by any means, good -and far from Pinterest perfect- but it was… okay. I set it out to dry and stepped out of the room to use the bathroom. Again, pregnant! I came back to Hadley holding the cake pop, which was about to fall off the stick and onto the floor. I’m not 100% sure what it was (a combination of sleep deprivation mixed with surviving the depths of cake pop Hell most likely) but right then and there, I lost my cool. I snatched the pop from her, took her by the shoulders and said, “Why can’t you just let Mommy have some time to herself? All I ask for is just ten minutes. Go watch your videos!”
To this, she quickly scurried away as I was immediately overcome with the horrible feeling of *gulp* mommy guilt. I collapsed to the floor, put my head into my hands and just starting sobbing. Pregnant or not, it had been a good long while since I had just let it all out. After a couple minutes, I noticed some teeny tiny toes appear on the ground in front of me. I looked up to see Hadley standing there staring at me. “Mommy cry,” she said. I could tell she was slightly confused- Mom doesn’t normally lose her cool like this! After a moment, she trotted away again and I was alone. Feeling a bit light-headed, I decided to take a quick lie down in my room to relax and calm down.
After about 20 minutes, I had simmered down and was ready to give my Goober a great big hug and tell her I was sorry. I came out of my room to find her completely passed out on the couch. Not wanting to wake her, I scooped her up and brought her back to my bed. As I laid there next to my beautiful baby girl, I just felt so awful about the way that I had acted. She didn’t know what she was doing. She’s just your typical curious two year old. What was I thinking? After a nice long nap, we both woke up refreshed and I told her I was sorry and that I loved her so so much. Seeming to have forgotten about the whole thing, she responded with “cake?” and I gave her the lone cake pop I had promised to her earlier.
The moral to this story is simple; bad days happen, but just know that your toddler is only this age for so long, so just stop to think: is it really worth getting mad over? None of us are perfect. We’re all in this parenting thing together, and I’m sure there will be many more moments like this, but we just have to move forward and remember what’s important. ♥
10 Tips for Staying Calm With Your Toddler
We often forget that our little ones are learning -very rapidly- and absorb everything that we say and do like a sponge. Losing your temper is only going to encourage bad behavior and promote similar reactions from them in the future. When your toddler disobeys, be sure to explain – calmly, and in words that they can comprehend- what they did wrong and how they can fix it.
2. Be consistent.
Telling your child one thing one minute, then something completely different the next can be confusing. If you don’t approve of them doing certain things, be sure to enforce the same rules every single time and don’t give in!
This way, there won’t be any “surprises” for your toddler and help to avoid melt-downs. If you allow them to stay up late two nights in a row, and then suddenly strictly enforce bedtime the third night, it’s not gonna be too fun.
3. Take time for yourself.
This is extremely crucial. Toddler parents know quite well that their kid can go from “playing quietly in their room” to “rollerblading naked in the basement with scissors in both hands” in a matter of seconds. When you’re dealing with a wild, and often times uncontrollable child, any sanity you happen to have left (lucky you if you have any left at all!) is hanging by a thread.
Talk to your significant other about setting up some time for yourself on the weekends or something. Take a drive, get your nails done, go to the gym, whatever! Just get out for an hour or two and have some well-deserved personal time. 🙂
True story: My mom loves telling the story of when my sister and I were kids and she ran up to my mom yelling, “Emma’s rollerblading naked in the basement with scissors in both hands!” She still cracks up every time she mentions it.
4. Have together time.
In having a wild, incredibly strong-willed toddler of my own, I’ve come to find that one way to encourage better behavior is by setting time aside in the day for some real one-on-one bonding time with her. I mean, peeling myself away from all the social media, putting my phone in the other room, forgetting my impossibly long to-do list (temporarily) and just hanging out with my kid.
The difference this causes is phenomenal. I’ve noticed a pattern; on days where we have some good quality playtime, her mood is exponentially better than those that we don’t. This helps to minimize tantrums and keep your relationship strong.
5. Get them involved.
Although it’s important to set time aside in the day for you to bond with your little one, sometimes there are things you need to get done that distract you from this. If possible, find a way to get them involved rather than trying to occupy them with some other activity while you try to bust it out as fast as you can.
If you’re doing the dishes, get the step stool out and let them “help” you (aka play in the water). Or if you’re paying bills or working on the computer, give them a weekly ad to look at tell them to find the deals and circle them or list certain products for them to search for.
6. Step away if you need to.
Toddlers can be very stubborn (believe me, I know!) and trying to handle a temper tantrum can be overwhelmingly frustrating at times. If you feel yourself starting to slip, don’t hesitate to step away for a moment to calm down. This may also give your toddler a chance to do the same! After a minute or two, you can try again and you’ll find that it’s a lot easier to communicate with a clear head.
7. Remember that it doesn’t last forever.
The toddler years are some of the hardest times you will encounter as a parent. (Besides maybe the teenage years? I’m not 100% sure on that one- I’ll let you know when we get there ;).) But just know that you only have them this young for so long and then it’s gone. What irritates you now, you may end up missing the most later.
8. Ask for help.
If you’re like me, and you prefer to solve problems on your own so as not to “burden” others with your troubles, then this one might be a little difficult for you. One thing you have to realize, though, is that your family and friends want to help you! If you’re uncomfortable with asking for help, just call up a friend- a fellow mom or maybe even your sibling- and invite them over for a play date.
9. Reverse the roles.
Put yourself in your toddler’s shoes for a minute. The world is big and strange and they look to up to you for comfort and reassurance. New experiences are overwhelming and can sometimes be scary to them. For example, say it’s your first day at a new job and you’re running on two hours of sleep. You’re irritated, in an unfamiliar place, and have absolutely no idea what to do. This is similar to how your toddler feels when you take them out and about without a nap.
Instead of becoming frustrated and potentially upsetting them further, take a step back and try to see things from their point of view. Sometimes all they need is a nice mommy hug and a “it’s okay” to feel alright again.
If all else fails, just breathe. In and out. You’re doing great. At times you may feel like you’re failing, but like I said before- we’re all in this together! Just take it one day at a time and the rest will fall into place. 🙂
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