Raising a toddler is much tougher than I expected. Parenting as a whole is a lot more difficult than I ever anticipated – and I only have one child! I went to bed tired last night and woke up this morning even MORE tired. It doesn’t matter if I got to bed at 9pm or 3am, I am always tired. Because…parenting.
When I was working a full-time job, I just assumed that being a stay-at-home mom would still hard would be a little more interesting. But honestly, that’s not always the case. I find myself balancing tons of activities, play dates, and classes with monotonous days.
So what is it? For me at least, I find the lack of control as a parent is both maddening and exhausting. Right when I think I have my toddler figured out and a routine is FINALLY in place, her preferences change. My daughter used to wake up at 7:30am but has now decided that she prefers a 5:00am wakeup time. She loved eggs for breakfast last week and now she literally throws them in my face.
At which point I have to channel all of my energy, take a deep breathe, and choose to see the little twinkle in her eye that she gets when exerting her newly found will. And that’s really all I can do.
I don’t have all of the answers and if you are looking for ways to be less tired, I’m not the mom for you. However, I can share what is working for me at this moment because who knows what tomorrow will bring:
Less is More:
I have stopped trying to entertain my toddler throughout the day. For example, after reading the same book about 7 times in a row one day, I finally said, “mommy needs to take a break”. She cried for a minute but then walked away and started playing with her other toys in the corner.
It seems so simple now but at the time I was afraid that I wasn’t being a “good” mom if I didn’t do what she wanted. It’s easy to say no more fries but who what kind of mom says no to reading? Well as it turns out, this one does.
As I begin to use this approach more, I’m finding that the result is always the same: frustration, not knowing what to do, and then this period of discovering a new activity. As a new mom, I had forgotten the value of being bored as a child but I am relearning that boredom breeds creativity.
Focus on The Good & Understanding Why:
With Kray K (as my husband and I call her) testing us more and more every day, I have to proactively make a choice to focus on the good or the light-hearted moments behind every meltdown. And that is really REALLY hard for me. Especially when I grew up in an African household where a mere look from my mother stopped any thought of a meltdown from happening.
My daughter, on the other hand, has actually laughed at me and then continued to proceed with her meltdown. Go figure.
I do find that the weekly development growth emails from BabyCenter and articles like this from Janet Lansbury are extremely helpful in understanding why my Kray K is acting kray kray. It doesn’t mean the frustration goes away by any means, but it does help me to know how to respond better each time it happens.
Be Kind To Yourself:
If all else fails and I feel like I am the worst mother in the world because I don’t want to parent that day, I try to be kind to myself. I think the pressure to be a perfect mom is so great that it’s difficult to complain or vent about anything without seeming ungrateful.
On some days, that means eating chocolate at 9am. On other days, it means going for a walk ALONE outside while I blast music in my ear phones, even if it’s just for 15 minutes. Whatever it is, find it and do it unapologetically.
Because I’ve heard it doesn’t get any easier for a while…
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