As a parent, you know that there are millions of emotions attached to the baby and toddler years. These moments and emotions run the gauntlet from one end of the spectrum to the other. High highs, low lows and everything in between.
Overjoyed, overstimulated, overdue, overtired, overachieve, overprotective, oversensitive, overstretched, overworked, head-over-heels.
That’s just the beginning.
Finding a balance with these emotions, embracing them, enjoying them and most importantly, learning from them, this is our day-to-day challenge as parents. Is every day sunshine and rainbows and easy? Heck no. There are many days where I feel overstretched and in over my head, but I know I am not alone, and my love for my daughter and family will get me through those tough times. On the flip side, there are also many days where I find myself so overjoyed and full of love, that I could almost burst from it. Look at how lucky I am!
I have mentioned lately how overwhelmed I have been feeling, with the new baby coming and trying to juggle a toddler as well. There are so many different emotions attached to this time in my life, and some of them came to a head this past weekend. I have been trying to cross things off my list of ‘things to do’, relax while my body prepairs for this baby to come, and enjoy my little family in the last few weeks that it is just us. Seems easy, right?
Well. Marley is 3.5 years old, and as lucky as we have been to have her be so easy going and laid back, she still has her moments that completely frustrate me. Take for example, her newest phase: crying. I’m not talking temper-tantrum, screaming “I hate you” kind of crying. I am talking “you have broken my heart and I can never look at you the same way again.” crying. Lately, any time she is told that no, she can not have/do a certain thing, her little lower lip quivers, her eyes slowly fill up with tears and the complete lost puppy look comes across her face. Sometimes she will hide in a corner or behind something, but the message is always clear: you just absolutely broke her heart. She is not mad, oh no, it’s worse than that. It’s like you have DISAPPOINTED her, and she can’t believe it. Do you remember the first time you felt that from your parent’s? YA, not fun!
It’s been horribly heart breaking, because how do you put a stop to that gem? She is not exactly acting out, but it’s not the kind of behavior she should be exhibiting either. We want her to be able to talk to us, deal with her emotions and explain how she feels, not to just cry and feel heartbroken. The cherry on top? When you try to say “Mummy and Daddy said no cookies for breakfast, you know that is not allowed.” and she responds with the hurt-cry and a “But I just LOVE cookies Mummy.”. You may now push me over with a feather, because it’s just too much cuteness at times. How do you even deal with that?!
So we have been trying to talk her through these episodes, and when that is not working, I am giving her a quiet time-out to think about it and come back to me and talk about it. She has to learn that the answer to getting what she wants is not to cry. It’s been a fun process, but one I really want to try and complete before the baby comes. Last thing I want is a crying newborn and a heart-broken-over-everything toddler. NO THANKS.
So this weekend I was folding laundry in my bedroom, while Marley played around me and ‘helped’, I had some music turned on and told Marley that she could watch one of her shows once we were done with the laundry and she had cleaned up her mess. Well. THAT did not go over well and the tears started almost instantly. Again I explained to her that she could absolutely watch a show, she just had to be a good girl and be patient, we were almost done and crying was not going to get her anywhere.
So I scooped her up, brought her to her room and sat her down on he chair with a few books, told her that now she was going to have some quiet time and relax a little.
Even more crying.
Now I was just annoyed, so I left her to it and went back into my room to finish folding clothes. Yes, I felt horrible, because it was such a small thing, but she has to learn the rules! I had to stick to my guns on this, and it was not going to be easy. Then the guilt started creeping in on me: she gives us next to no trouble normally, if this is the worst we deal with, maybe I should relax a little.
Then another little thought creeped into my head; one I had been warned about, but I still wasn’t expecting. This was our last few weeks as just Marley and Mummy, her last few weeks as my only baby, her last few weeks as a only child. Oh my goodness, what am I doing to the poor girl?!
Then I was crying. No, let me rephrase that; I was sobbing. I had to sit on my bed for a few minutes to allow these racking sobs to escape my body. What was going on?! As much as I tried, there would never be these moments between us again, she was going to grow up so much in these next few weeks, and not even realize it.
I could still hear her little crying next door, and it made me feel even worse.
I quickly went into her room, scooped her up and sat on the floor with her, hugging her tightly as I continued to cry and cry. Pretty sure I shocked her a bit, as she leaned back and we looked into each other tear-stained faces, a little startled. “You are crying too, Mummy.” and she wiped my face with her pudgy little toddler hand. I explained to her that I was sorry, and I was not trying to be mean. I love her very much and she is always, always going to be my little girl. Even when she is bigger than I am. I told her I needed her to help me be a good Mummy, and that I am not always right, but I try really hard. She hugged me and told me she loved me and can we please just snuggle a little? Of course, peanut.
So we both got it out of our systems, I gave into the emotions I didnt realize I had been holding onto and allowed myself to feel them and ride them out. It was quite therapeutic in many ways, and reaffirmed this beautiful bond that I have with Marley, and will continue to have, no matter what. Time will not change that, new siblings will not change that, and me trying to discipline her will not change that.
That afternoon, I felt a million different emotions, went through a million different moments, and came out on the other side a little drained, but feeling clearer and even more thankful for my dear, sweet, little girl. As a Mum, we go through so many of these moments, not always willing to admit and talk about the not-so great ones. The ones that bring us to our knees when we least expect it, the ones that force us to grow as a person a little bit more, the ones that make us human.
I am not entirely sure that I would have shared these feelings, had it not been for the Fisher Price Million Moments campaign, and that is the honest truth. We are so very quick to post the beautiful, happy, brag-worthy moments in our lives, which we should be! But why do we shy away so much from publicly saying “this day was hard” or “My toddler is bringing me to my breaking point today” or simply saying “I need some help”? Absolutely celebrate the awesome, beautiful moments in our lives, but don’t be afraid to give in to the not so great, emotional ones.
I encourage you to head over to the Fisher Price Million Moments contest page and check out the submissions, and even enter a few of your own. There are some really great prizes (up to a $200 value!) and a lot of beautiful and honest stories being told.
Disclosure – I am participating in the Million Moments of Joy Blogger Campaign by Mom Central Canada on behalf of Fisher-Price. I received compensation as a thank you for participating and for sharing my honest opinion. The opinions on this blog are my own.