When Mason my oldest was two I was desperate to keep up with the milestones...DESPERATE. I suppose it was my way of showing the world I was keeping up and coping. In hindsight I would do things so differently now and realise that back along I was my own worst enemy.
I agonised with keeping up with other parents and worried about us being left behind...STUPID I know...
But I so wanted to appear to be doing the right thing, to be coping great and doing everything by the book. This was totally my pride.
The same thing happened when Ezekiel was born...I had heaps of books on weaning, home, made baby foods, potty training, breastfeeding, child development and anything else I could get my hands on! I was so concerned about what my children should have been doing at that time, that I forgot to enjoy the ride I suppose!
Parenting is such a big hot potato topic and can be so incredibility overwhelming, driving some of us to depression and anxiety and some very long lonely days and nights.
This is exactly where I found myself after the birth of my third son, Caleb. I was amazing at hiding it. In fact, I became quite an expert at it! I guess I felt ashamed of how I really felt under my dream of motherhood....this only got worse until I began to let people in and realise it wasn't normal to be feeling like this! One of the best things I ever did was get prayer and seek help with how I was really feeling in these dark months.
In the first few years I let parenting get the better of me. The expectations, the to do lists, the milestones.... the JOY just wasn't there anymore.
Now Ariella (number five) is here...and although I'm a very different and a happier mama now I FINALLY don't particularly care whether my daughter is in pants, or will go to sleep without her dummy or how many words she can say or is meant to say.....and I can honestly say I'm enjoying the 'terrible twos' more than I ever have. I'm not saying these are bad things to keep track of and I don't completely ignore these milestones....but I am saying I've let go of the worrying, let go of the pressure, the expectations, and it feels so liberating!
Mummys are so good at giving ourselves a hard time at meeting these milestones...or not meeting them. I can honestly say I'm a
happier mother now I'm choosing not to stress over these minors....(they really are minors) that I am so guilty of turning into majors and over castrophising! I am still learning that the happier I am and the less expectations I have of myself and my children, the happier our family is. I'm not on this journey to be a perfect mother as I know I would be striving for the impossible. There's definitely a happy medium here. I've come to realise that perfect parenting just doesn't exist, and parenting is so far from being perfect! A blessing- YES but also messy, snotty and generally untidy messes!
WE are the perfect ones for our kiddoes but we do not have to do things perfectly to be seen in the worlds eyes as succeeding! The older I get the more I admire those people who just don't care what others think. It's something I have to really fight for! To have freedom in our mind from! Often the world of parenting can become a bit of a hostile environment! Throwing so much at you that you often just end up feeling like a failure before you have even got up in the morning! Parenting can make you feel like falling into a huge heap at the end of the day and throwing your towel in!! Don't quit...get back up....take your time and set your own pace.
The (terrible) twos are HARD work... It's exhausting work.... and my best advice would be to get a decent, strong cup of coffee... just kidding...
To not take it to heart. Be kind to yourself ask for help when you need it. Don't forget to breathe...tell people when your feeling overwhelmed and prioritise prayer..your doing a fab job....your parenting is just right....keep loving, keep giving. Just do your best.
PS: The good, strong coffee IS important. It's very important!