A sweet Mama posted this letter, quoted below, on Facebook.
“Dear friends with small children,
Please share your:
- Tips for getting through the day
- Meals they will actually eat
- How to get the older to stop beating up the younger one every time you turn your back for one second
- How you get them to go to sleep without chasing them back into their room for an hour every night
- How you keep your house from looking like a hurricane swept through it
- How to stop the incessant whining
I feel like motherhood is kicking my butt.
A Weary Mama.”
I’m pretty sure every mother on the planet was waving her hands in the air screaming, “and when you find the answers, post it for all to see! Saveeeeeee me!”. Or was that just me? This letter weighed heavily on my heart. Especially today, when my toddler had a case of what I like to call “the-defiant-eye” and “the-nos”. Lord, help me. I jokingly grouped texted my friends, “Toddler for sale, only 50 cents”. (I hope everyone is singing the Olsen Twin’s song right about now.)
After days of reflection, this is how I’ve preached to my own heart:
I wish I could give you a pat answer, but there’s no such thing. You get to learn, adjust, relearn and readjust. You will probably need lots of: chocolate, wine, coffee, naps and cuddles to get your through this season of life. And the next. And the next. #lifewithkids
Motherhood is tumultuous and slightly ambiguous, but the elements below have certainly brought grace, peace and hope to my day.
1) Time. You’re allowed to not have all the answers. You’re allowed to figure it out. Give yourself time to steep and really see what is going on in your heart and that of your child.
2) Enlist help. If possible, have your husband join you in parenting before you lose your mind. My husband can step in and call a spade “a spade” when I’m in emotional overdrive analyzing and bargaining. By the end of the day, or sometimes lunch time, I feel so emotionally caught up in prior dealings, that I just need him to take charge. “Kid, pull up your pants, take your finger out of your nose, and go to bed. And no, you can’t have more cookies. Or, Paw Patrol. Or, Books. Go to bed.” Done and done!
3) Be consistent and follow through. Once you’ve decided on how you want to address an issue, be as consistent as possible. I know we’re all tired and sometimes you just want to pretend you didn’t see your two-year-old disobey Nana again, but kids thrive on consistency. And so do we Mamas.
4) Hold your kids to the standard. You hold the standard. Raise your kid to it. Normalize the process. It’s much harder on me personally to raise my girls to the standard, than for them to adhere to it. Set the standard for cleaning up, for not throwing food on the floor, for not punching their baby sister in the face, for brushing their teeth before bed, for following bedtime rules, etc. My daughter is two and a half years old and much of these “standards” have become routine. And yes she rebels. But most of the time it’s part of her day. You’re allowed to have expectation of your kids.
(Humbly, I must confess, this is one of THE hardest areas of parenting for me. It’s easier and quicker for me to do some of these things, but it does not benefit my girls in the long run.)
5) Be informed. Read books, listen to podcasts, attend a class. Over the past year and a half, we have been taking an awesome parenting class at church. It’s affirming to know you’re doing something right, even if life feels like it’s falling to pieces. And conversely, gathering suggestions for how to proceed with road blocks.
6) Tone. Keep emotions in check. Watch your tone. Lately, I’ve had to watch how I react as often the situation doesn’t warrant my reaction, but rather a response.
7) Every day has its struggles. Back to step one – you’re allowed to figure it.
Hugs to you sweet, Mama. Hang in there, these years are hard and draining. You.are.not.alone.
A Weary Mama Raising Future Adults
A few of my favourite resources as of late: