The Toddler Years.
The more that we wade into the waters of toddler years the more I am learning that I am COMPLETELY unprepared for what is to come. Now, I have to preface this with what ALL parents typically preface any type of conversation about their child. I love my children. My first born, Oliver, is a darling 2 year old and a JOY. He has breathed new life into me in a way that I never realized I needed. He is so lovely. I would die for him.
BUT.....OH MY STARS.
I know that everyone has advice and little "tricks" for how to navigate a toddler and their many, many, MANY tantrums...this blog is not that. This is just for moms out there who need to know that someone is there with them. I AM WITH YOU. Solidarity.
It can feel so lonely and SO overwhelming when you are trying to mother little ones. You see, I have my 2 year old AND an 11 month old. And as much as I really loved having them so close together, the reality is that my days are full of a non stop balancing act. I am sure you can relate, whether you have little ones, tweens, teens...it is all just a non stop balancing act. Sometimes our days are really lovely, they go smoothly, and I am able to get a lot done. Those days also usually entail a LOT of movies. However, on days when I venture out of the house with a list of errands, or to do something that I THINK would be "so fun" for us, it is on THOSE days that I see the reality of having a toddler.
We recently had one of those days.
My husband works in IT and once a month, he is on call for a whole week. The Monday following that "on call" week, he does not have to be at work until noon. Those Mondays are my FAVORITE because 1. I love my husband and spending a weekday morning with him is an extra special treat. 2. Because that usually means we go out to breakfast together. We went to one of our favorite places that has amazing English muffins, made in house, and incredible pastries and delicious things on the menu like chicken hash, which sounds weird but is SO CRAZY GOOD. And the coffee...ohhhh the coffee is SO GOOD. This is also a super trendy place, with a lot of hipsters who work remotely and use this place as an office. Any time you go there you will also see a fair amount of cute women in adorable (and expensive) yoga pants enjoying post workout brunch. Sometimes we see families there, but mostly its just a bunch of super cool people with what I perceive to have very glamorous lives. When we arrived, we made our way to a corner table, near the bathroom and an exit, juuuuuust in case we needed to bolt. We got the boys settled down, and my husband went to the front counter to see if our order was ready. In the short time he was gone, our toddler decided that he wanted to walk around the restaurant, to which I firmly said "NO, we need to sit down, daddy will be back with breakfast in a moment." I think my son heard, "scream and cry as loud as you can please," because that is exactly what happened. He began to full on tantrum, screaming, crying, convulsing and squirming so that I could not actually get a good grip on him. Thankfully our baby, Emilio, watched quietly from his stroller. However, mommy was not doing so great because there was no stopping this tantrum train. I tried being patient and talking it out, I tried holding him firmly on my lap and talking quietly into his ear, I tried "the look", I even tried pinching him slightly to try to show him I meant business. NOTHING WORKED. By the time my husband arrived with breakfast I was so tired and frustrated, that we ate in silence and let Ollie make a huge mess with his eggs. I could feel the other patrons looking at us and I was sweating from their disapproving stares. We rushed through breakfast and got out the door as fast as possible. This was not the beautiful family breakfast that I was envisioning when we left the house.
I drove the boys home in silence trying to pray through the experience. I know that Ollie is little, and he is not completely verbal yet, so I recognize that he is not going to be able to calmly tell me why he is upset. I know I am a good mother. I think that taking each day as it comes is my "style" of parenting. Some days are just going to be hard. Some days you're going to feel beads of sweat rolling down your back from anxiety and embarrassment. Some days just won't turn out how you want them to. I am here to tell you, I have no answers, but I am with you. Being a mom is so hard. I did not know how hard it was when I would sit in restaurants and see a child tantrum. I would stare at the parents with judgement and annoyance. Now, I understand. I get that most parents really are trying their best. And dear mom whose child is screaming things like, "NOOOOOOOOOOO!" and "I WANT THIS!!!!!" I want you to know that you are not alone. This season of life is hard. I keep telling myself that when I want to burst into tears at the craft store or at the park because both boys decided it was time to melt down. I am learning that I have to let go of my expectations of motherhood, and be ok with the chaos. Sometimes I am just not going to be able to control the situation. All I can do is try to face it with grace and remind myself that this moment will pass, and we will move on to the next moment. It will be ok. So wherever you are, dear mama, please know I am with you, you are not alone.
Copyright 2018 Diana Cantu. All Rights Reserved.
Image Credit: Copyright 2018 Karen Padilla. All Rights Reserved.