As we near the "Terrific Twos" with my son, yes we are calling them terrific and will tell you why at a later date, I find myself finding comfort in fellow moms who are honest and real about their parenting struggles, frustrations, and victories. Toddlers have the world at their fingertips. They want to know everything, do everything, and be as grown up as possible. They are learning minute by minute and have so much they need to absorb. With that curiosity, often comes frustration and tantrums, mostly because they are exercising their boundaries, displaying their independence, and can't communicate their needs perfectly. Yesterday, a dear friend of mine posted this message on Facebook about her little, firecracker, 17 month old daughter. Today didn't start out all that great. It began at 4:30 with a tantrum from the little one because she wanted daddy instead of mommy. Very frustrating when daddy needs to get up and go to work soon. It progressed to a full fit when he had to get ready for work and leave...welcome Monday.
We've been working through the tantrums. They've just started within the last week, but boy are they intense. Not that she's never had little fits here and there. She hates the word "no" with the best of them, but they have intensified in frequency as she gains more independence. I always told my husband to make sure that I practice what I preach as an early educator and I am proud to say that for the most part, I follow through with that even when it's really difficult. We all make mistakes or take the easy way out at times, right?! She is strong-willed, independent, and fearless. All of the things I have wanted to instill in her. All of the things I wanted her to discover in herself. She's 17 months old and ready to take on the world...where she goes from here? The possibilities are endless.
I love her more than anything in this entire world and even when Monday mornings start out like today or she screams and throws a fit on the floor after nap or when I say "no", I am reminded of just how much I love her in so many of the good and bad moments. Especially as she falls asleep next to me as I read her a story and then curls up in my arms as I carry her to bed. She is a gift from God and I will treasure her as long as I live. Life's little miracles.
My friend's post was amazing and reading through the comments, I discovered even more. Little Miss Firecracker's grandma, my friend's mom, commented. Here's what she said.
Reading your post honey, I can't help but smile because you are describing a little girl I raised. She had a backbone of steel; could ride a bike without training wheels before she was 4; and growing up on a farm, her curiosity and independent nature thrived. But being her mom, was quite a challenge. My biggest concern was; how do I nurture and guide this strong, independent, challenging personality without causing it to be lost or changed in some way? Parenting is the hardest work you will ever do and you want to do it to the best of your ability, but that aspect of 'being human' and, though of you, separate from you, your child, well, you aren't going to find a 'cookie cutter' blueprint on how to raise your daughter in any book. I knew I couldn't possibly do it alone so I asked God to help me and I thoroughly believed, without question, that He would. I started a prayer journal and often recorded how my prayers were answered. Whether a person believes in God or not, keeping a journal is a good way to post your thoughts, paste articles in that help you with your challenge, notes and words of encouragement and advice from family and friends, etc. You're not in this alone honey. And you're doing a fantastic job! Just caring so much, puts you over half way there. All my love and support! Mom
I wouldn't consider myself a very strong Christian. Struggling Christian is more like it. However, when I became a mom, a whole new world opened and when I became a Godmother (twice!), I felt I needed to kick it in gear even more. I found myself reaching out to my friends with stronger faith when I was down. I started leaning on God when I had a bad day as a parent. I felt compelled to motivate myself and my husband to be better church goers so we can set an example for our son. I belt out Amazing Grace instead of yelling at my son when I'm really frustrated. I dusted the Bible and journals. Why?
Because I remember that was how my mom used to do it. That's how she parented. Her and God were on the same team. I know we drove her to her wits end. I know we frustrated her and hurt her. I know that now. I know that and I can't even tell her I'm sorry. There are so many moments in parenting that I can pinpoint exactly how she felt. And what did she do? She prayed. She rarely yelled at us. She just retreated and prayed. I can appreciate it. I can understand it. I can use that gift of prayer to my advantage today and ask God to be on my team too.