That's right, I'm On Team Awesome Mom Now!

I admit, I have a wild child toddler. He is constantly trying to climb the furniture, or push toys that he can climb on over to the counters to reach even higher, or worse climb on. He loves to push EVERY button he encounters (including mine), play in the cat's water, and is obsessed with putting things in the cat's litter box. Sometimes he tries to throw toys at the cat, or yell at me when I yell at him, and sometimes even tries to pinch me. For the longest time, I tried the constant No's! and hand swats, and put him in his room for time outs. I was a tyrant of a mother, and I hated it.  Well, not anymore! I have finally realized that most of this is normal, and the only way I will survive parenting is to relax and have patience. I have turned to a new style of parenting, and it is working great.  I choose my battles, rationally discuss why he should not do something, and for all the rest, I accept the things I cannot change, and change the shit I can.

I am here to tell you, having a toddler like mine is not easy. I say like mine, because I have a few girlfriends with toddlers the same age as Ollie, both boy and girl who are vastly different.  Well, there is this one girl who tries to one up Ollie all of the time in the wild child category, and there is another girl who is not so wild, but she is too smart for her mom's own good, and is giving her a whole different kind of hell. Then there are three boys who are SO different, that I am amazed they are only weeks apart. For each of us, our battles are different, but I don't care who you are, if you have a toddler you have battles.  So, I thought I would share how I have stopped saying NO! four-zillion times a day!

First of all, I no longer say NO! without an explanation, before I redirect him to better behavior.  I say things like, That is not for you, and this is why...  I am sure he probably does not understand all of what I am saying, but he gets it.  I can tell.  Like with my laptop.  He wants to play with the keyboard so bad.  I tell him how the computer is mommy's computer and not for him to touch.  Then I point at it and say, Do not touch. Not for you.  Now when he sees my computer he says, " Mama Coopter, noooooo. no touch."  HELL YES!  That is what makes my freaking day!  He gets it.

The climbing is CRAZY!  He has this little chair he pushes around the house to use as a stepping stool. Honestly, I am proud of him for doing that.  It's a sign of his stellar problem-solving skills, just like his mother. To combat the climbing, I try to find ways to let him climb. Safely. Whether it is going to the park or the indoor playgrounds.  I even let him push his chair up to his crib and watch him climb in and out 20 times. I can tell the climbing is important to him, so I am trying to encourage it.  The climbing in the house is very dangerous.  So we have talks about that too.  It is a little hard to convey him falling down and bumping his head, but I try.  I also try to remove all climbing opportunities. The stepping stool/chair is no longer always out, and all of the furniture he could pull down on himself is secured.  It's a process, and that, like the other processes have, will pass.

In an effort to add to my new ways of not spending my days yelling NO!, I am creating fun indoor activities to keep up from going nuts this winter.  My latest is taking a bag of balls and dumping them in a large storage bin..

He thinks this is grand!  He plays in the balls, then dumps them out, then puts them back in, then gets back in… it's a cycle that actually last 30 minutes! Balls can be dangerous, so I keep a close eye on him, but it is a fun activity that gives him exercise too!

And last, I am no longer holding myself accountable for being the world's best mom.  Some days I suck, some days I am BOSS, others I am momming without really thinking. I have stopped worrying so much about being the best mom, or teaching him his ABC's and colors before turning two.  I have stopped being obsessed with trying to raise the perfect "well-behaved" child. I am raising a little boy to be the best he can be. That does not hinge on him being well behaved today.  As much as I want him to be a little angel when we want to go out to eat, he is not even 2; it is not fair to him or me to set those types of expectations. He is a baby/toddler trying his best in this big crazy world, constantly yelling and trying to make him stop exploring is absurd. I'm letting my kid be a kid!

I feel confident that my more relaxed style of parenting, through talking to my son rather than yelling no all of the time and allowing him to explore and be a two-year-old-boy without lofty expectations is the best for both of us. I will never survive parenting if I am strict with unfair goals and expectations.  I will never be a happy mom, or have a happy child, if I am constantly yelling and reprimanding. I don't care if every mother I come across tells me how her kid is perfect, because she set boundaries and "trained" him to be perfect from the second he popped out.  Well, my kid is not your kid, and my style is mine, so BUGGER OFF!

That's my boy! 

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