As mothers we often feel like we’re failing. We question our choices, we give ourselves grief over a short fused moment with our kids, we see others seemingly judgmental looks or statements, and question if we’re screwing it all up. It’s hard not to feel that way when there are so many conflicting ideas out there as to how we should parent and what’s the best way to go about raising our kids. But the truth is, we can only do what feels right to us. We can’t work so hard to live up to the expectations of others or what we think we should be doing according to how we look to other people.
These last few years have been tough on me in the parenting department. My oldest daughter is a gem – to this day, easiest kid ever.
She was always so lovely and agreeable when she was younger. When she threw a fit, you could almost always talk her off that proverbial ledge.
The twins aren’t like that.
In their three short years of life, it is very obvious that they are so different from our oldest daughter. She set the bar high that girl and I’m so proud of who she is and I’m proud of the role we’ve played in the person she is today.
So imagine my surprise as I am now coping with two very difficult toddlers who are such spitfires that I end most days in pure exhaustion. They are so full of life, laughter and they can be such little stinkers.
They are full of piss and vinegar, they fight and push and don’t give up until they get what they want or until they are placed in timeout.
It’s tough folks. Real tough. It’s tough not to feel like a failure when they are bolting in two different directions after I’ve just told them to stay put. It’s tough to not feel like a failure when I’ve asked them to not throw something on the floor and they do it anyway. It’s tough to repeat the same directions for what feels like the umpteenth-time that day….and all while they give you that mischievous (adorable, I might add) grin.
I have noticed family and friends who act differently towards my youngest girls because of this and it hurts my heart to see it. I feel the rejection for myself and for them deep within my soul. I even find myself angry about it because it feels like their love is conditional and it shouldn’t be like that.
I see beyond the unruly toddlers. I see that tenacity and stubbornness serving them well as they grow into adults provided we can help them channel it properly. I don’t feel squashing it is the answer. It’s not to say we shouldn’t provide boundaries. We are consistently working on this, there is daily work on expectations for behavior. I know how all of this works, I was an Elementary School teacher, so I am very aware that consistency is key and in time, they will get there.
But I want my girls to grow into strong women and these two ridiculously frustrating toddlers will likely grow into tenaciously driven women if given that chance to develop these traits into positives.
I also know we’re doing something right . When I see these three together, I know their individual gifts combined make them unstoppable.
I know that when I am snuggling with Charlotte and she strokes my hair like I have done hers that she is gentle and loving even though she runs around the house like a wild banshee and now refuses to let me help her put on her clothes because SHE can do it all by herself. It doesn’t matter that she’s putting her arm through the head hole or that she has two legs in one pant leg – SHE does not need my help…that is until she’s in full meltdown mode. She can be so stubborn one minute and so gentle the next. Her sweet smiles, pleases and thank you’s without prompting gives me hope that I haven’t messed it all up.
We’re doing something right.
I am encouraged when Madison walks up to Jordan after she’s obviously been upset and wipes her tears away and gives her a hug. I am inspired when she falls (yet again) because her legs have failed her that she picks herself up and will continue to run with the other kids like nothing happened. I can’t help but be enthralled by her infectious belly laughter – she LOVES to laugh that girl.
We’re doing something right.
All three of my girls love to be together, Jordan to this day, she’s half way to 8 years old and she would rather sleep on the floor in between her sisters toddler beds in her sleeping bag then sleep alone in her comfortable bed.
We’re doing something right .
I may be the only one who sees their gifts underneath the frustrations of their toddler antics, but perhaps that’s my role as their mother, to see the things others refuse to see.
Then again, it’s quite obvious their big sister sees it too, no?
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