As many times as I say, I am the parent I am in control, I’m not. Not. Even. Close.

I am beginning to realize that being the mother of a crazy ass toddler with the ego and energy of the future Dos Equis beer guy, is WAY more than I ever bargained for. This kid has reached a phase of toddlerhood that people failed to warn me about, The “Piss off mommy, I can do what I want, have what I want, and behave how I want,” phase. In fact, I’m pretty sure it is going to kill me, or at the very least, deem me certifiable when it’s over.

I recently read an incredible blog post that really hit home for me, BIG time, called Being "That" Kid, and Taming Dragonsby the great and wonderful Mrs. Loquacious. One of the issues Mrs. L talks about is the trouble she is having making it to a structured "fixed time slot" play date, (Gymnastics), with her 19-month old daughter, Baby L. After 8 weeks straight of missing class due to one issue or another, she is throwing in the towel on trying to make it to the class, and the fact that baby L is not really interested in the class itself and it’s structure… the class was just not meant to be. Yet. 

OK, this is me ALL DAY! I have not been able to make a “fixed time slot", SINCE I GOT PREGNANT!  Add a baby to that.  HA! HAHAHAHAHAHA!  Sorry grim reaper, but if my time is up, come back in a year or two, because I am running WAY behind. As it is, packing up all of the shit we need to leave the house takes 15 minutes, at best.  In fact, if I need to be somewhere with the man-child at a fixed time, then I have to plan the day ahead, and pack the day ahead, and even then, a diaper blow out, a crappy nap, illness, issues with keeping clothes on, or possibly all of the above at once, can pretty much set us back a day or so.  Seriously.

It does not matter how bad I want to be somewhere or do something, if Oliver is not interested, it is not freaking happening!  Of course I try to make him do things, but it is just not that easy.  If he is not in the mood for said activity, everyone will know, and be sorry we showed up. If he is tired there is no point even trying to go anywhere in the first place. If he wants to walk there is not a chance in hell of carrying him, unless of course I want to look like the worlds worst kidnapper. If Oliver wants something and I don’t hand it over... glass-breaking scream surges from his mouth.  Hell yes I get mad. Hell yes I try to make him do stuff. I even put up with the screaming and kicking, but there is only so much either one of us can take! After all, the little guy is only 20-months old, and I am not a child rearing professional to know what the hell to do in those situations.


Thanks to Mrs. L’s poignant and refreshing statement:

“…But taming the dragon is part of my job as mommy, and finding a good, effective way to do it without crushing her spirit is tough work indeed.  I probably err a bit on the side of leniency, but from what I have read about children her age, force and power-struggles tend to be more harmful than helpful, and entirely unfair because of where she is at in her neurological development."

I too am throwing in the towel on force and structure… for now.  Besides, I am so sick of the constant power struggle and fighting. There has got to be a way to let my child enjoy the insanity that is growing up in a world filled with rules, moral codes and clothes, while not completely losing my shit trying to teach him how to conform to all of it.  As much as I want a perfect little obedient child that everyone ooohs and ahhs about... I just don't think that toddler exists.  Life is hard and scary for someone who can talk, reason and understand.  I cannot imagine how strange it must be for a little guy that cannot!  

I also think I focus too much on our faults and not our triumphs.  I am a great mother, full of love, understanding and patience (most of the time). My son is so happy, and sweet, and smart and athletic, and... and.. and... so much it makes me smile and my heart fill with joy.  So what if I am a little out of control, and so what if my toddler is too? We are both learning and growing everyday. For now, to preserve what sanity I have left,  I will just lower my expectations of both of us. I need to choose my battles even more wisely, and most of all be more forgiving of both of our shortcomings, because it is clear that being a toddler, and the mommy of one, is not easy! 


April is an award-winning writer and blogger. Her work has been published in over ten countries and four languages. From books to newspapers, to print/online magazines and everything in between, you can find her work. For more on April, Visit AprilMcCormick.com


Mrs. Loquacious said...

You gotta pick your battles, babe! And clothes at home - optional, IMHO. Sometimes it takes us 30 minutes to get a pair of pants on DD (although I insist that the diaper gets on her before she pees or poops on something that is hard to clean). Eating? Up to her - she can pick and choose and not eat if she wants, but then I guess she goes hungry until the next meal; I always have a slightly-junky and a fruity option for snack time. And I readily cancel plans when she gets out of hand; no sense inflicting the tantrum on unsuspecting (kid-less) folks!

You are doing a great job April! And at least your boy isn't the potato-head that just sits there and stares and blindly obeys anyone taller than 5'. Strong will, strong mind ;) One day it will serve him well.

April McCormick said...

Thanks Mrs. L. And your right, a potato head would suck! I just have got to remember to find the joy in this time, because it will be gone before I know it, and I know in some strange way I will wish it back.

Anonymous said...

That picture looks awesome. How did you do it?

Capri Honey said...

I know how it feels. My daughter is still a toddler but she does what she wants and only conforms when I scold here for being messy - she has the tendency to spill her drinking water/milk anywhere she wants without me looking. This is scary as it will create accident, slipping over a wet floor. I also have a hard time cooking the food that she should eat because she's a picky eater. Being a mother is hugely challenging and I am already used to that.

April McCormick said...

Two words. Photo. Shop.

Christy Garrett @ Uplifting Families said...

Mom you are not alone. My son was upset this evening because he wasn't ready to get out of the shopping cart (the car type so that he could pretend to drive) and he screamed bloody murder. ;) Hang in there it does get easier when they can communicate their wants and needs better. I have two older kids and a toddler. Of course, the older kids get selective hearing. heheh