Where I am (mentally) right now as a toddler mom.

Am I allowed to say that I don’t think being a toddler mom is for me?

Because I’m not sure it is.

I’m more of a newborn/baby person. I freakin’ love newborns. I could cuddle a baby all day and night. I can even handle a lot of the sleep deprivation. I loved the breastfeeding and the holding and the snuggling and the constant naps she used to take… Granted, Clara was an ‘easy’ newborn (so other moms told me), but I always knew I would love those first few months, and I did.

Then Clara became mobile (starting at 7 months when she began crawling) and life changed. Gradually, motherhood got a lot harder for me. Now that this girl is running all over the place and has opinions, motherhood is even harder. (And we aren’t even close to the ‘terrible twos’ or threes or whatever the ‘hard’ ages are supposed to be!)

For instance, today Clara threw a tantrum cried because…

  • She asked for milk and I gave her milk (but probably not in the cup she wanted).
  • I put her down so I could clean up the house.
  • I told her it was nap time.
  • I wouldn’t pick her back up after I picked her up and put her down 5 times in a row.
  • I started to read her the book she handed me.
  • Her crayons rolled on the floor.
  • I put her in the stroller.
  • I put her in the car seat.
  • I gave her dinner.
  • I wouldn’t give her a sixth snack.
  • I picked her up when she asked.
  • I sternly told her ‘no’ when she tried to pull all of the hair out of my head.
  • … and also when she pulled my necklace.
  • … and also when she kept hitting Ozzie, yelling “no bite!” when he was napping on his bed.
  • I zipped up the diaper bag.
  • I hid the remote control after she kept turning on the TV.

Thoughts on being a toddler mom

Can you believe I had the audacity to order (and drink!) a chai tea latte in front of her without letting her drink any?! The nerve.

… And that was just in the afternoon/evening. I blocked out everything that happened before her nap.

Don’t get me wrong, there are some wonderful things about this stage of life. Clara just started saying “mommy” (FINALLY. She’s been saying ‘Ozzie’ for months) and it is the sweetest sound I’ve ever heard. She’s starting to understand a lot of words and if we ask her to do something she can (sometimes) understand it. She loves to read and point out what objects are in her books. She knows what sounds dogs make and spontaneously starts ‘woof’ing. She loves to walk around our neighborhood and is getting more and more independent with things she wants to do herself. She points at photos of Tim and I and says ‘mommy’ and ‘dada’ and thinks it’s the most fun thing in the world. She is so busy with her toys and constantly moves from one thing to another. She is fascinated with pointing out body parts – especially her belly button.

Basically, her brain is working overtime and it’s both fascinating and exhausting. I’m so proud of what she can do and how fast she is learning, but at the same time I can only handle so many hours of a clingy toddler who wants me to entertain her every second of the day and goes from elated to miserable in .5 seconds for no discernible reason. Thank goodnesss for play dates! 

The point is, I’m really, really trying to savor every moment of this time in her life, because I know it’s fleeting. And some days it’s easier than others. I’ve tried to keep the TV off during the day and I’ve also tried to minimize the time I spend on my phone. It’s useless for me to even take out the computer, because once the laptop comes out she is all over it. I’m attempting to be 100% focused on Clara when I’m with her, and I’m rewarded with a lot of sweet moments. But I also think this whole (stay at home) mom thing is harder right now than it was even a few months ago.

I’ve told Tim that I would gladly continue procreating if I could raise the child(ren) for the first year and he could take it from there… but he hasn’t quite gotten back to me with a final verdict on that. I’m crossing my fingers he goes for it.

I guess what I’m trying to say is that I feel guilty that this phase of motherhood is not my favorite thus far. I love Clara and I love seeing her change and transition and I love being her mom, but this stage does not come naturally to me. I’m trying to offer myself more-than-a-little grace for right now when I lose my patience or fail to see the joy in an especially frustrating moment.

I know that one day I will look back on these months and wish I could experience them all over.

And then again, maybe not.

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13 Responses to Where I am (mentally) right now as a toddler mom.

  1. Bev F. says:

    I think it’s pretty typical to not love every stage of motherhood. My daughter just turned two, and it’s downright exhausting (mentally) some days. I do actually prefer this age to the newborn/infant age *because* of the fact that she’s so active. We can talk (sorta) and do things. I think I was actually kind of bored when she was younger! Granted, there are days I want to scream from all the crying over every little thing, being asked the same question 50 times in a row, and defiance, but I love doing art projects with her, going for walks (where she actually walks!) watching her play, and now having her say I love me! Ask me in 10 years, though, how I feel about being a parent, and I’m sure I’ll have a very different opinion 😉

    • Lisa says:

      Awwww those moments with your daughter sound so special! I do love certain aspects of this stage, but overall I’m just feeling mentally and physically drained each and every day! Although, I will say that every day she communicates more and more effectively and that makes it much easier!

  2. erinhzauner says:

    see. i had the hard newborn, so i much prefer the toddler stage. longer naps, more coherent communication, etc. but i totally can see the terrible twos coming and i’m not sure i’ll feel the same way about that stage of toddlerhood haha.

  3. LeighannM says:

    My four kids range in age from 11 to 2 and each stage has its highs and lows. I’m not a baby person so I love when they start interacting. Motherhood is exhausting, especially when your child is unhappy. One thing I’ve noticed is my kids are more clingy and emotional when they’re tired, frustrated or not feeling well. Is the clinginess relatively new? If so, you might try to find out if she’s having something like headaches or feeling the stress of your upcoming move. Whatever the issue, time outs for you and her will be beneficial to keeping your sanity! Hang in there. You’re doing a great job.

    • Lisa says:

      You know, I think the clinginess is a developmental thing right now because it’s relatively new… and also I’ve been sitting down a lot more lately and she just does not like when I’m sitting down and not paying complete attention to her! I’m hoping as she gets a few months older she’ll be more interested in playing by herself, especially if I can start setting up little crafts for her that she’ll be able to do soon! But maybe you’re right, maybe the move impacted her more than I realized. Plus, Tim’s been in the office every single day and he used to work from home, so we aren’t used to this new routine. Gosh, I guess there are lots of reasons she could be extra-cranky lately! Thanks for making me think a little more about it and for your encouragement! 🙂

  4. Hahaha, I like your deal with Tim 😉

  5. no need to feel guilty!

    I have to say, I really love the aunt life. I get to play with my nephews and niece and then when they start crying over ridiculous things (like when we gave one of my nephews grape juice and not wine like the adults) I give them back to mama. 🙂

    • Lisa says:

      YES! Aunt-hood does sound like the best strategy. Although, when well-meaning relatives fill your child with candy and give them back to you…. from a parent’s perspective that’s not-so-fun!

  6. You do NOT need to feel guilty! You’re a GREAT mom, even in the hard times… that’s something to be PROUD of yourself for! 🙂
    Although I do think you’re an evil b word for not picking her up a 6th time. THE NERVE! ;P

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