It has been some time since I’ve had the energy to sit down and write a blog. With two very young kids it’s hard to do much of anything these days. Nevertheless, my spirit has been calling me to write for the past few days. So here it goes… I’m exhausted on a level deeper than I can ever put into words. And not “tired” exhausted, mentally and spiritually and physically exhausted from carrying around an 18 pound, 3.5-month-old and dealing with older sibling jealousy and temper tantrums, the likes of which we have not yet experienced in this family. There is WAY too much crying and whining and back-talking going on in this house and it will probably be that way for a while until our little big girl decides that she has had enough of this phase.
And through it all, a mama is supposed to maintain equilibrium?? How is that possible?!?! So, after putting Cienna to bed for the third time tonight I found myself contemplating this question. This blog was written more for me than for you… but maybe you’ll find something in it worth holding on to for yourself.
1. Practice Non-attachment
“Non-attachment” is the idea that everything and everyone around us is merely a fleeting moment, experience, item, thought. There is nothing truly tangible so there is nothing to be upset about when one of your items breaks. But, jeez, when your munchkin tosses that brand new iPhone into the toilet… being detached is MUCH easier said than done. Nevertheless, this is the perfect opportunity to remind yourself of the futility of things. Things come and things go. Including brand new iPhones, debit cards, keys, and anything else that makes a satisfying splash into the toilet bowl.
She’s only two, I have to remind myself… constantly. She may be super bright, talk in full sentences, understand complex ideas, but experientially? She’s definitely only two. And she reminds me of this fact every single day. The moment when you are about to lose your temper and raise your voice (or your hand) to a mischievous rascal, stop. B R E A T H E. Take a second. And then, go on to number 3…
3. Respond rather than react
This is a hard one because when you walk in the room and see a naked two year old covered in milk, an over turned cereal bowl, a cup of water that has been systematically spit onto the carpet, and a wide open fridge with a roll of pizza dough that has exploded below it; it’s nearly impossible not to “react”. But again, taking that first breath and pausing before “responding” is key here.
4. Listen more, talk less
I’ve found that if I take more time to listen to what she’s really “saying” then I get her needs met more quickly and completely. If I assume I know what she wants before she’s finished getting it all out, I’m usually wrong… and all of sudden I have a child on the floor screaming about whatever it was that she was trying to say in the first place. And I feel like a d*ck because it all could have been avoided if I had just allowed her the time to talk.
5. Let go and let God
Let it go. Just give it all up. You’re not the boss of her, she’s learning to be the boss of herself now. And yes, you will always be mom (or dad, or grandma, etc.) but watching her become her own person and know what she wants and doesn’t want is a fascinating and beautiful (and frustrating) thing. We have to learn to give up control at times. Give her that few extra minutes to put on her own shoes or take off her own jacket. How else is she going to learn?! I don’t want to be putting on her shoes for her on her first day of high school because she never learned how to do it for herself when she was two! I also find that when I just “let go and let God” (as my mom always says), then it’s much easier to follow numbers 1-4 above.
Do you have any other suggestions for staying mindful during intense toddler moments? Leave your thoughts below!