The trying two’s. The terrible two’s. Whatever you like to call them. I prefer “Trying Twos” as our children are simply trying to learn and find their voice in this crazy world. Either way you frame it, toddler years are so. dang. hard.
My daughter has crashed into two and it’s as if all of a sudden someone swapped my sweet, easy going baby out with a tyrannical dictator. Her desire to use her communication with all her new language while also still having so much to learn about boundaries has given us some emotional days.
On those days where it seems you spend more time dealing with meltdowns in response to “You can’t do that / have that, but you can have…” it can seem like this is all your life will ever be. For all eternity. Will this day ever end!? This is also when you realize your child has inherited your stubbornness. Naturally you blame it on their father’s genes though.
I wish I could say I always respond to my daughter with the calmness that is best to help her learn and understand in these moments. I don’t. Some days I snap over and over again. Days like this can make you feel like a failure at parenting. Spoiler alert: You are not.
Days like this, you will sit back after the storm and wonder how your day went from pleasant to a meltdown over a cheese stick…and then a meltdown over an apple being sliced the wrong way. Did you know, according to toddler logic, you can in fact slice an apple the wrong way? These days are exhausting and can make you feel so isolated and alone. You are not.
Days like this, are not the days mother’s often share about on social media, even though we all have them. We don’t share how we lost our cool. How we felt resentment towards our partners for being able to “get away’ from the chaos. How we doubted our ability to be a good mom. How we secretly wished in that moment we could just go hide in a cave somewhere. Even if just for an hour to get away from the constant pressure of being constantly needed.
There will always be “those days” at every stage. Those days where you check the clock every two minutes to see if it is finally nap time or bedtime. It can feel like you are drowning. On these days, I try really hard, not always successfully, to pause and embrace the unconditional love our children have for us. They love us through all our flaws, just as we see the beauty in them through all the up and down emotions.
Even on your worst day, you are still your child’s favorite person. You are still the one they run to for boo-boo kisses. The one they want to show their newest art piece to. The one they want to dance and sing with. You are witnessing your child grow and mold into their own person. They now come with their own thoughts, ideas, sense of humor and emotions. This amazes me and is the breath of life that fills my tired body up again.
The best advice I can give to make it through the tough days is to relish in your child. Find the little moments and squeeze them so tight! The way they want you to kiss their favorite toys to make sure you love them as much as they do. How it’s natural for them to desire going outside and connecting with nature. How even on the rainy days, they turn their faces toward the sprinkles as if it is the most brilliant sunshine warming their face.
These days can seem long and endless, so look for the little moments of calm. Sometimes we’re given hints of a break to come in the form of a warm breeze on a winter day. Or a brief moment of toddler self entertainment that allows us to read a few chapters (ok pages) of a book that’s been collecting dust. These may be small moments, but they are precious and fleeting so hold on tight and enjoy the ride!