Friday, February 7, 2014

Dear Toddler Mommy

I've had this post in my head for weeks now; but after having one girlfriend describe a poop-painting episode in her home a couple days ago and another post the aftermath images of Valentine roses meet two-year-old son on Instagram this morning, it seemed like a good time to get this into a post.

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Dear Toddler Mommy,

I'm no author or expert. But with my baby soon to be four, I'm past that time of my life but not so far past that my brain has clouded it into nostalgia. That's why I'm writing to you.

At Christmas, I spent time I spent with my sister who is living in the throes of toddler mothering. I have heard her remark on how unproductive she feels when she sees what I've done in a day. After a few days together I realized how much my life has changed, and the memories of what she was dealing with came flooding back.

So, Toddler Mommy, here's some things you need to remember:

1) Don't buy into the lie that this is supposed to be "fun" and that you must cherish every moment.
There are some precious-beyond-words, my-heart-is-going-explode-from-love, and giggle-filled moments in being a Toddler Mommy. Grab those moments and press them hard into your memory. They are a life-long treasure. But guess what? Those are moments, not overarching themes in the toddler years. Let's be honest, the overarching themes of those years are usual fits, colossal messes, and poop...lots of poop. Do you know where some of the beauty is in all of this? That we get to imitate Christ who saw us dirty and messy and loved us with a selfless, off-the-charts love. But no one said this was supposed to be fun.

2) No. It doesn't "fly by".
No matter how many sweet old ladies stop you in the grocery store and tell you that "it goes so quickly", don't buy it. My boys (only 14 months apart) were 2 and 3 for a decade. Well, that's how it felt. And I'm not yet senile enough not to remember it. When you're sitting at their high school graduation, it may seem like it went fast; but when you're in the middle of toddlerhood, each day feels so long and tedious. We all felt like that. Be free to know that's normal.

3) Don't compare your life to those of mothers ahead of you. 
When you see a mom with more kids than you who seems to get so much done, and you wonder why you're still in your pjs making lunch while she's gotten her kids ready for the day, carted them to where they need to be, and looks like she actually put on make-up. Remember that her kids are old enough to dress themselves and pour cereal with milk (think of the glories!). Remember that she can actually shut the bathroom door when nature calls or even to put on some Maybelline. Remember that no one is dumping valuables or defecating in their pants...or in other places, Lord help us.

4) Don't compare yourself to other Toddler Mommies
Sure enough you have that one Toddler Mommy in your life. Your kids are the same age, and yet when you manage to make it to a play-date, you watch her child play like a calm little angel while you're peeling your kid off the ceiling. Her child forms words you didn't even know a two-year-old could put together: "yes" and "mommy". And you leave feeling like a failure. Listen to me. I was there. Oh was I there! But hear me: each mother has her own struggles. No one can fully understand your exact struggles. Except God. He knows exactly how you feel and your exact weakness. And He promises to "help you and...uphold you with His righteous right hand" He is the one steadying you.

5) This. Is. A. Season.
When I was in labor with my first child, I had to be on pitocin during part of it; and I staunchly refused to have epidural (stupid but true). The pain was so great that at one point I started hallucinating. I thought I was in a place of pain that I could never leave. I totally lost touch with the reality that labor would end.
This is a picture of the toddler years. At times, it seems so long and overwhelming that we forgot that it will end. Don't lose touch with the fact that your days do matter. You are sowing seeds right now; and while you might not see so much as a tiny little sprout, it's coming. Keep watering, sister.

6) Sit at Jesus' feet.
Remember those wonderful quiet times in God's Word that you had? Okay, so maybe it was two years ago, but remember it? Well, it probably won't look the same again for a long time. And that's okay. Did you hear me...that's okay! What's not okay is for you to be self-sufficient. Sit at Jesus' feet. It's not something on your to-do; it's your life source. Hear me carefully, I didn't say finish a Bible-in-a-Year plan. I said sit at Jesus' feet. Right now that means being resourceful. For a while my time with Jesus was when I sat outside my toddler's room trying to train him to stay in his big-boy bed (and this took so many flippin' weeks, people). I drank in a couple of verses...and popped the little stinker back in his bed...and drank in another verse...and...well you get the picture. Come to Him with your tears, your little victories, your frustrations. The Bible promises us that He cares. Can you even imagine!? The God of the universe cares for your personal mommy soul.

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1 comment:

  1. Thank you for writing this. what a sweet reminder. loving the chunky babes- Kelsey


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