Toddler years are the trenches of parenting. There’s just no sugar coating it folks. If you are raising children between the ages of 1 and 3, congratulations! You too are a toddler trencher. And if yours are younger or older, well; congratulations to you too because either it’s coming, you survived, or you’re in your very own trench of whatever age your kids are.
Parenting is a lot like learning to ride a bike, except I’m not so sure we ever totally get the hang of it without the training wheels.
Some days feel like we are just nailing it- parenting like a bunch of bosses. And other days feel like we are the ones being bossed and nailed. It’s a crap shoot really. Just a bunch of trial and error and hoping something works this time.
I have two 3 year olds and an almost 2 year old on my hands and let me tell ya friends, this crap is no joke.
I feel like I live in a minefield and I’m just walking around ever so carefully praying to the sweet Lord above that I don’t step on the wrong hole of toddler-filled torture.
Now don’t get me wrong. I love my kids something fierce. More than I ever have or ever will love anything in my life. But these tiny people I created may actually be the death of me during these years of toddler trenches.
Some days I get almost nothing right in their eyes and our time spent together before and after work feels more like some sort of sick self-inflicted stress test which I am failing miserably than the sweet serenade I used to expect would continue all the years of their lives. Now I know I have no reference for what the trenches ahead look like, but as of right now, I’m quite certain that coffee and alcohol were birthed by parents of toddlers.
This is why mom bloggers spend so much time writing odes to their morning coffee and their nightly glass of wine. It’s why dry shampoo, perfume and deodorant were invented. Truly, it’s why people go insane.
For example, some of the reasons for the most epic meltdowns I’ve ever seen in my life this week have included but are not limited to: I would not allow my son to wear his pee soaked pajama shirt to school that day; I gave my son the macaroni he asked for; I wouldn’t give my son the gum I was chewing; I got my son’s arm wet while giving them a bath; I asked them to stop hitting each other; I told them they had to wear clothes; they took their socks off and then wanted them back on; I put the milk my son wasn’t drinking back in the fridge… I think you’re picking up what I’m putting down.
There are days that I start to really question my abilities as a mother with this crap. Like, who thought this was a good idea anyway?
“I want at least 3 kids,” I said. “This isn’t as hard as people make it seem,” I said.
Oh Lord, forgive me, for I was a freaking idiot.
Again, I love my boys more than life itself and not one day goes by that I don’t feel blessed to be their mother; but for the love of all that is good, why does it have to be so hard some days? Couldn’t these kids have come with some kind of warning label that said, “Cute and sweet and innocent when little but when it starts to grow, good luck and God speed! And sorry, no refunds or instructions. Enjoy!”
It’s a good thing they come out as babies and not 3 year olds because I can promise you the population would die off.
Here’s my approach to these toddler trenches though. I’ve decided that the hard days are actually blessings in disguise.
Go with me on this one.
If it weren’t for all those hellish days of landmine walking and toddler wrath dodging, we wouldn’t have as much appreciation for the good days. And there are good days.
When they come, it’s like the actual heavens open up and the angels sing and God smiles upon us and says, “Well done good and faithful servant. Well done!”
We look up in awe and say, “So this is what heaven feels like huh!?”
Even if it doesn’t last the whole day, those breakthrough moments where we actually did nail parenting are what make it all worth it.
And so we carry on. With coffee in one hand, wine in the other, and our bodies armored up with wipes and all the other sleep deprived parenting essentials, we muscle through these days remembering that “the nights are long but the years are short” and somehow, someday, there may actually be some truth to the fact that we will miss this when it’s over.
Until that day, just know you’re not alone, toddler trenchers. You’re not doing it wrong. These little people are just nuts.
They’ll come back to us someday. And we will survive.
Now, where da coffee at!?