I am speechless as I try putting down words to explain the complexity of toddler life. It is safe to say that the honeymoon phase of that sweet newborn laying in your arms blowing bubbles is over. 13 months exactly is when my sweet little baby became a toddler terror and I am not alone.
It’s at this point that many ask themselves how to love being a mom again when the toddler years hit. (PS. I love being a mother, and I am going to share how I am able to enjoy my three-nager during these challenging years).
The simplest suggestion I give anyone who asks is this: lower your expectations. There is definitely more to unpack on this topic but unrealistic parent expectations is by far the number one enemy of building connect with your toddler. If you want to love being a mom, you need to reset your mindset to prioritize connection over correction.
–>This is why your child is not listening (and what to do)<–
Being A Mom Is Hard
OK, so parenthood is such a precarious thing. Most of us don’t have a degree in child development, yet we are doing our best learning how to raise well-rounded and happy children. (thank goodness for the internet am I right?!).
The hardest part of being a mom today is that our generation wants to do things differently. Our society has such a better understanding of child development now and we know that mainstream parenting comes with a lot of flaws. (Think spanking, gas lighting and punishments).
Being a mom is hard because there is no guidebook. I have learned so much these past 3 years but I am always second guessing my actions and researching our struggles to ensure I am being a good mom to him.
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Toddler Parenting Books That Changed My Life
I am sharing the 5 books that made me see my toddler’s behavior in a whole new light.
What Makes You Happy As A Mom?
My husband has this saying that I think is really good. He asks: “what are you looking forward to?”. Life as a parent becomes mundane very quickly as we continue doing the impossible, often with disregard for self care. Looking forward to big vacations or family reunions is great, but the secret to daily happiness is finding those moments of joy at a micro scale.
A few examples of things that make me happy as mother:
(this will be different for everyone)
- Figuring out something your child will eat for breakfast that is healthy.
- Meeting up with a mom friend at the playground.
- When your child suddenly leans their head against your shoulder.
- When you both sing a song together.
- Laying in bed together at night and listening to your toddler share what on his mind.
- Drawing together
- Racing down the sidewalk.
- Your toddler smiling.
What makes me happy as a mother is when I have moments of genuine connect with my toddler. We often get hung up on the should’s that we miss the beautiful moments between the tantrums.
Why Is My Child So Horrible?
Toddlerhood is a time of self discovery and part of that is learning about the world around them. The best place to test out these boundaries is in the safety of their home. That is why our toddlers can sometimes be pure angels for others while wreaking havoc at home.
Your mindset here is the game changer. Instead of thinking about your toddler being horrible, you need to think about your toddler struggling. That vocabulary shift will completely change your demeanor which in turn will contribute to helping your child, versus scolding them.
You might also be interested in:
- How To Deal With Toddler Temper Tantrums – Gentle Parenting Guide
- 5 Ways Gentle Parenting Discipline Varies From Mainstream
- Why Do Children Not Listen? The Unconventional Truth
In order to love being a mom during the years in which your child is “horrible” you need to lower your expectations and not take their emotions personally. The best advice I have received in this area is to think of our boundaries as the walls of a pool.
You feel safe leaning against that edge because no matter how hard you push it will stay in place. If those walls start to bend when under your weight, you will no longer feel secure leaning there.
The parallel here is if your toddler pushes on a boundary of yours with their big emotions and you budge or get upset, they will not feel safe leaning on you because you appear not strong enough to take their “weight”.
What Is Self Care As A Mom
Whenever I get easily frustrated with my toddler I know that it’s a signal for me to take a break. My tolerance for boundary pushing is very low when I have not been properly caring for myself.
This usually involves not enough sleep, trying to schedule too many things in one day, not practicing yoga regularly or taking time to be by myself. When I actively make decision that are based on my well-being, I immediately feel happier and that translates to my mothering as well.
You might also be interested in:
- Working Mom Guilt Quotes to Make you Smile
- Mom Burnout Symptoms to Look our for + Checklist
- 9 Parenting Tips for New Moms -1st year
- 3 Steps To Overcome Mom Burnout
Sometimes I close myself in the bedroom to practice yoga despite my toddler crying for me on the other side of the door (my husband is with him). As a gentle parent that is hard to hear, but I believe that my actions will reflect positively on him in the long run.
First, practicing self care will make me a happier mother, but most importantly, I believe that I am setting an example for him. One day he’ll prioritize exercising and self care too, because he remembers that it was a normal thing to do at home.
Gentle Parenting Can Help You Love Being A Mom
Being a mom is hard and I have often felt pushed to the edge with no escape from the hurricane that is toddlerhood. But these feelings of overwhelm are temporary and so are our toddler’s emotions. Asking yourself how to enjoy being a mom when parenting a toddler, is a valid concern but absolutely doable.
Lower your expectations and make sure your partner does so too. Research your heart out about Gentle Parenting, because it follows the science behind child development. Gentle Parenting will set your family up for happiness.
–> You can read more about Gentle Parenting Here<–
Remember to be present and enjoy the small moments during the day. Don’t constantly worrying about all those things that you have no control over. (yes I am totally guilty here).
Last night my toddler fell asleep with his hand nestled inside of mine. It was peaceful and heart-warming. I was emotionally and physically exhausted by the end of the day, but at that moment I enjoyed being a mom and it made all of those big emotions worth it.
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