Whoa, What just happened? Why are we freaking out right now? What day is it? How is it 5:00 and I haven’t completed one task. The questions I ask myself regularly during this season of our lives (you know, during a full on screaming-on-the-top-of-his lungs-crying-melt-down).
Where did my sweet, calm and easy baby go and who is this wild, mischievous, tantrum throwing, patience testing toddler?
Where did the mom go who had everything planned to perfection minute by minute? And who is this unraveled mom who is holding on by the last thin thread?
This is basically life right now for us. And I’m guessing there’s some toddler mamas who feel the same way. Maybe there’s some who are the complete opposite and had the hardest infant months and now you and your little(s) are in a steady groove, smooth sailing.
Everyone’s experience is so different. I just ran into a work friend and briefly talked about both of our first year and they were so different.
For me, the first 9 months were a breeze. The newborn-three months was just so dreamy, bonding and in a routine that was a piece of cake. I never thought I’d love those early months as much as I did. After that, all the milestones and changes were so exciting to witness. My little one was so good all the time, didn’t make a peep, slept great, ate well and was good to go anywhere and everywhere with me.
I’d say at about 10 m/o, it got more challenging. Then at 12 m/o, rip your hair out challenging…Basically when he got super mobile. At a year, right when I thought I was as baby proofed as could be, there would be things left and right that needed to be Pano proofed even more. Never underestimate a toddler on a mission.
15 months is how old my baby is right now. Still a great sleeper, eater and fairly easy to take places with me (but not for as long). BUT now his determination to get where he wants and what he wants… followed by a temper tantrum when that doesn’t happen is insane. He is like a one man circus. He tests me every day; his favorite thing in the house in the toilet. Second up, the trash can. I mean, why wouldn’t it be? It’s not like he has a room full of toys (insert sarcasm here). He thinks no means yes, stop means do it again, and wait for mama means RUN!
It’s more challenging to get things done while he is awake because what gets done by me, gets undone quickly by him. It’s a fun game I like to call, Tornado Toddler Vs. Defeated Mom. He’s undefeated right now, btw. When he finally goes to sleep, there are a good amount of days this mama surrenders and just wants a break!
When talking to a friend, she was complete opposite. Her experience was much more challenging facing post partum depression, something I did not experience so I won’t even touch on. Now, after the first year she is feeling much better and enjoying motherhood more. No two walks of motherhood are the same.
No matter what age you hit this “WHAT THE HECK JUST HAPPENED TO MY LIFE?” phase or feeling, some things that help me:
There’s no way to parent the right way. Do what feels best for the well being, safety and happiness for your child, yourself and marriage. I don’t tell my husband how to “dad” when he’s home with our son and he doesn’t tell me. He prefers to let our son run wild in a diaper and onesie, making messes all day and then cleans at the end of it all. I prefer to clean up after every meal, bottle or the room that we leave. Whatever works for you, do it.
Self Care: Whether it’s meditation, writing, working out, a nap, coffee with a friend-you must take care of yourself to take care of others. Period.
It’s an evolving experience: probably because I am a type A person and a blogger, many people ask me “so, how did that plan go…” “Do you still think you can do this, this or that”…”I thought you’d never do this, this or that”. It’s ok to evolve. Or change your ways for what works in that time of your life. There’s things I am very passionate about that just won’t budge. Theres other things I can let go of because it’s just not worth my own peace.
Be aware: pay attention to when your little one is more fussy and figure out why. In my life, I notice the days we are home all day or don’t do anything, it’s a complete shit show. My child needs stimulation, interaction and change of scenery. Does that mean we are going to have elaborate plans every day? No. But now I know we are a little stir crazy cooped up in the house all day. Take notes what works for you.
Face it: The melt down days are just exhausting. I want to cry and/or scream. I feel sad, mad, tired, confused and defeated. At the end of the day, I look around at a big pile of dirty clothes, a basket of clean clothes that needs to be put away, a messy family room and a list of house work that could be done & I face it. I turn on some music or one of my shows and tackle my projects. 1. They won’t magically go away. 2. They messes just grow the more you put them off so why not do a little each night instead of hours and hours (personally, that’s when I really hit rock bottom and weep).
Or don’t face it: I’m not saying this is me every day. Some days I have to get the voice out of my head that says EVERYTHING has to be done right now and everything must be perfect. There’s a lot of you who are like this too. It feels almost impossible to put your head on your pillow at night and sleep well when you know there’s just a complete disaster waiting for you in the morning. Who wants to start a NEW day like that? With that said, sometime you need to drown out that noise and shut some doors. You have to listen to your body, when it’s telling you that you’re at the end of your rope and need rest; surrender!
Ask for help: Again with the type A crap (my biggest flaw), I want to have control of everything, I want to do everything by myself…I really don’t know why. It’s not like I get a metal for “doing everything by yourself” or a pat on the back by the president of parenthood. So why?! I started asking for help. I noticed if I went without help, it was usually around every 6 weeks, I’d be completely fried, in a funk, totally unhappy in melt down mode. I realized I needed to stop this pattern and start asking for help before I got to that point. Thank God I have a few family members who help me with my son. They love him, he lights up when he sees them and I feel 1000% good about the way they take care of him. They’ve been instrumental in helping me keep my sanity!
You my friend- YOU are not alone feeling like one day you may be a super hero and the next day you’re drowning in your own tears and threatening your spouses life if they don’t help you more.
Pat yourself on the back when you’re killin’ it & forgive yourself quickly on the days you unravel.
You will never feel time more faster in your life than watching your baby grow up.
Do whatcha gotta do to get through the season that you’re in with the happiest heart and soul.
In case no one told you today, you’re awesome.
Find joy in all of your journey