Ok, so let’s be HONEST with ourselves. The cute, curly, bubbly brown, sweet toes and hair bows known as toddlers do not always live up to that description when it comes to being busy. As much as we would like to chalk it up to the terrible two’s phenomena (that often happens before two and long after) and just go with the flow, it is quite a task managing the bitty antics of our tiny tots. Mostly because at this very trying age, for us, while exciting time for them, the world is like an open frontier, ready to be explored. They have no idea that their one man toilet paper racing, potty play time splashing, single-hand man pots and pans band is quite frankly….exhausting. And to top it off, their energy levels seem to go in quite the opposite direction of ours. So, at the very moment, “No” becomes the official word of the year, manage to stub our toes on the same spot on the coffee table chasing them, hold them in the football carry with legs kicking to and fro, plopped down, taken a deep sigh of relief just to jump up 10 seconds later to do it all over again, we are done. And somewhere there is someone hitting the repeat button to ensure we get a full dose of exhaustion. Sounds familiar? As we sit in amazement watching our pint-sized peanut yet again destroy another copy of “O”, the question we keep asking ourselves becomes “Is there any change in sight for this toddler?” At this point, the idea seems as distant as the milk in the back of the grocery store.
As I have shared before, I was told at a very young age that I would probably not be able to have children. So when I discovered I was pregnant, I was shocked, excited, and nervous all in the same thought. I honestly did not know what to expect, particularly because I still didn’t expect to be expecting. The emotional toll of wondering I would be a good mom, or do everything right was weighing heavy on me prior to my daughter’s birth. So when she arrived, I almost found myself in daily amazement that she was even here. But as she grew and became more active, I learned quickly, that “THIS WAS NOT A DRILL”, “SHE REALLY IS HERE AND YOU ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR HER”. So, sixteen months of busy bee later, I discovered the real reason of my nervousness. This little girl never takes a break! She is a constant world –wind of action, jumping, leaping coffee tables and plastic ponies in a single-bound. How would I, a mere mortal of a mom, keep up with her super baby antics? And although I enjoyed those charismatic energy filled moments (of course when I had the energy to match), I found myself often times frustrated, and exhausted, as we all have. And as naps grew fewer and farther between, and the need for just personal, rest and relaxation time grew, I knew I had to find a solution. I had to ensure I was able to have the energy and patience needed to raise my daughter to be as free-spirited, yet balanced as possible. But what health chain was selling that kind of energy? Here’s what I discovered.
The first and most vital step was acknowledging limits. My mom always reminded me that patience comes with children and life. Well either, I needed more children or more life, because my patience garden had very little to harvest. And as new moms, single moms, any type of mom, that’s ok. It’s ok, to admit that we just don’t have all the patience we need to balance motherhood and everything else in our lives sometimes. When we acknowledge our limitations we do two things: 1. we connect with our ability to be self-aware and thus honest with our inner spirit. And 2. We put the challenges in the forefront of our minds which makes it that much easier to find solutions. Acknowledge when you’re tired, frustrated, upset. Take a moment and just release. Take deep breathes, stretch or just sit, particularly in the 20 seconds that your little person takes a break. This gives you an immediate release right then and there. And as this becomes a routine, your tot will begin to mimic those releases with releases of her own. She may lie out on her stuffed animals, plop in her rocker, sit quietly to enjoy a dog walking in the window, or let out a little deep breathing of her own. As this becomes routine and you can share those periods of not only busy times but restful times, it will become easier to keep the balance you need.
And for long term solutions, continue to build your connections to others. Adult connections and supports are vital to keeping the balance of parenthood. Develop your network of support. This may include grandma coming over for a few hours, a spouse taking over for an hour or so after work, an online network, support like TMN, or be creative and be your own support. Create a video or a song that you can use for a release. Turn yourself into a comedian and create your own stand up routine video about the joys and sometimes woes of an over-energized toddler. Whatever that release may be, the importance is having one. Acknowledge that you are not superwoman and you do need some release. And be ok with that. Be ok with being tired, frustrated, needing some self time. IT IS OK. Find ways to immediately release. Breathe, stretch, release. Continue to build long term connections or outlets for support. Whatever that may be, find it and use it often. A healthy relationship and continued growth for you and your child depends on necessary balance. Life becomes easier to manage when you adapt an attitude of positive thinking, and necessary balance. Change will happen for you and your little one. Unfortunately, the guy in line at Target doesn’t keep that kind of change for your toddler. Press on moms!!
Makesha Dixon is a Career Counselor for persons with mental health disabilities and freelance blogger. She is Co-Founder of upcoming project “Free Peeps”, a life-coaching and wellness initiative. For more info, please reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org, or friend her on Facebook @ Makesha S. Dixon, or at TMN blog site.
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