The Days of Our Lives

by Jasmine Carlson on August 9, 2010

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I had a chat with another mother which is not remarkable in and of itself but apparently our conversation was. At the end of the conversation we were discussing how other parents we had been around did not talk about these types of things. How sometimes they left you with this feeling of guilt and frustration, a feeling of being the lesser parent.4536426458_1e09cb59fa

So what was our conversation about? The days of our lives. The toddler days.

Toddler days are filled with wonder and agony. Now this may be fairly dramatic but it seems like that is what a toddler day is: chaos, enjoyment, laughing, and tears (sometimes from both mother and child). We discussed how you are told how things are “supposed” to work and how you are “supposed” to feel and act. We especially got a chuckle out of the whole “take a break” rule; how a mom should “take a break” during an especially difficult toddler moment to think through options and get herself under control. However, the exact difficulty is caused because she can’t possibly take a moment for herself because her toddler is in some sort of screaming crisis. A “break” is exactly what is wanted/needed and a break is exactly what we aren’t going to get.

Speaking of breaking, that was another topic of conversation. The breaking point. We all have it. We’ve all crashed headlong into it at some point. Unless, of course you, are one of the Stepford parents or you have reached some sort of higher level than the rest of us my-blood-pressure-is-climbing-with-every-scream parents. The breaking point comes when one last thing is added to your plate of to-dos or one last scream is uttered or…or… There is a moment, a moment you aren’t proud of, words you aren’t proud of, thoughts you aren’t proud of, actions you aren’t proud of, and then come the tears, tears of guilt and/or shame the horrible thought that maybe you aren’t even fit to be a parent.

I am so thankful to my parents for informing me, with a smile, that these would be some of the most difficult years of my life. My parents always laugh when people say “wait until they are teenagers.” You can reason with a teenager they say, or at least talk. There are lines of communication available to you that are impossible with a toddler; plus you have had years of practice by the teenage point.

Now I am sure it is different for everyone but as far as my parents are concerned, they give me a big hug, an encouraging word, or remind me that this is hard, very hard, and for some reason that makes all the difference. Just to know that parenting isn’t easy, that I am doing it anyway, and that today this is the way it is. But, there are lots of tomorrows that will be different. Just because it is difficult doesn’t mean I should wish it away because this is the refining fire of parenthood and these are the days of our lives.

Jasmine is a co-housing, home birthing, missions minded, community living mama with a passion for fierce writing. She blogs.

Picture from: http://www.flickr.com/photos/frenchy/4536426458/

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Jasmine Carlson (50 Posts)

Jasmine is a community living mama with a passion for fierce writing and fitness. She her way on Team USA by fitness coaching. Shaping Her. (www.shapingher.com) Join the conversation at (www.facebook.com/ShapingHer)


{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Debbie August 9, 2010 at 4:08 pm

Plus: at 24 months, he’s nowhere close to sleeping through the night and getting him to eat anything is a battle. But the uninhibited affection will also never be sweeter, nor the simple joys shared in the everyday.

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Kirsten Branch August 9, 2010 at 10:42 pm

Thanks for this…it was *needed* today, and appreciated :)

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Sharron August 10, 2010 at 6:20 am

All so true. I just put my middle daughter on the school bus and it was like the last 5.5 years flashed before my eyes. Each phase is fleeting, and will be replaced with new and different challenges, new and different rewards. I think today will be spent enjoying the chattering ball of energy of my 2 year old. Before I know it, she’ll be heading off to school and I’ll wonder where all the time went. Thanks for this post!

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mamapoekie August 10, 2010 at 9:22 am

Yep, the breaking point… Had one of those yesterday. Certainly not proud of myself. Though I am not sure that it is a lot worse with a toddler then it used to be with a baby.
I think we PERCEIVE it as worse because we expect it to be. But I had an equally hard time sometimes when she was just a couple of weeks.

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Barb August 30, 2010 at 1:48 pm

This is such a great post. So simple and yet something that truly resonates with so many of us. I am so grateful to have friends who have been so open about their mistakes and their not-so-proud moments as mothers. We have all been there and it helps to know that there are others out there who are going through the same thing. I always think that someone else would do it better or that if I were a better person I wouldn’t lost my patience but I have to remind myself that I am doing the best that I can and I love my child and while I am a first-time mother he is a first-time son. We are all new to this :)

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