I've been having a challenging time with Penelope lately. Her temper is explosive (like no fuse, just 0 to 89256809327450). She cries very easily. Doesn't like sharing. Says no for no reason. Doesn't eat or do things she previously loved. And just can be all around incredibly impatient, demanding, and crazy. Many parents who read this who have kids well past the toddler stage are probably like 'oh yeah, that's a toddler', but for those of us in the thick of it - feeling pushed to our limits, feeling lost, concerned, tired, frustrated af - what are we to do? Do we wait it out? Do we let it get to us? Do we talk sweetly like it doesn't bother us until they are 18?
I put a story on my instagram today and it just read something like "penelope is really challenging me. does anyone have any tips? it's meltdowns on meltdowns.". I received several messages. Most were other moms in the same boats. No one had any answer. Just empathy and 'I'm right in it too, sister' support (which I appreciate so much. So to anyone who ever reaches out to another mom and just says I hear you. It sucks - this helps too). I am struck by a couple things though. First, that people are experiencing the same things with kids around the same age, but usually do not share this. And secondly, no one knows wtf to do.
Receiving these DMs of other moms sharing their behind the scenes struggles remind me of my first really hard time in my journey of becoming a mom. My first pregnancy ended in miscarriage (very early on, we didn't find out until we were at the 12 week ultrasound). At first I was devastated, and felt so alone and messed up. After talking more about it I couldn't believe all the people who came out to me with similar stories with from their life or someone close to them. All I needed to hear was that they went on to have healthy happy babies. Knowing that the unfortunate loss happened to others, but then growth, overcoming, and then life, and more life and more life, all gave me hope and strength and reassurance.
So now I am in another challenging chapter of motherhood. One that I often feel alone in, completely concerned that I did something really wrong to make Penelope so difficult. I shared that I too, am struggling, I am stumped, I am frustrated, and it opened the gates. The conversation and support.
Yes, hearing that you are not alone is comforting. We are all doing our best. We all maybe went through the exact same thing when we were toddlers, and it was SO BAD that our parents don't remember (legit my dad doesn't remember me EVER BEING BAD/HARD/FUSSY - which is doubt is true...), their brains BLOCKED IT OUT and they also do not have the answers to make our kids nice again. Frig!
You are not alone if you googled "why is my child so mean", "toddler crazy person help" etc. I did.
One of my favourite messages I got today was from a friend who just became a doctor. She lovingly told me it's developmental and she will grow out of it. *balling emoj*.
I do have a story from the other day. Penelope woke up from a nap and was just being crazy. Asking for things, getting them then freaking out, tantrum city etc. My physical being was ready to drop kick her to the neighbours, but I picked her up and cuddled her on the couch while she cried instead. She held me and allowed me to hug her for a few minutes. It was really sweet. I don't think this is the answer all the time. And I do not reward bad behaviour, but sometimes when we have hard days we just need a hug too. And today she was having a meltdown so I left her to have some space in nature to calm tf down. And she did. So I don't know. Sometimes I raise my voice. Sometimes she gets a timeout. A firm talking to, removal from the situation. There is no one answer.
There are so many moments of sweetness, I am not blind to. I cherish them. We are reading about child development, following our hearts and are open to what helps along the way. I know you are, too.
Ending in a quick gratitude
- being up before the kids enjoying a coffee in the post-rain, sitting on our stoop with Mark
- walking in nature
- today's meditation
- making bliss balls with penelope
- messages from other mommas
Good luck out there! Message me. And if you do have advice or stories, I am always open.
Sending love from the mountains,