I was never a baby person and wasn’t around kids enough to be comfortable with them. So when my husband and I decided to have a child, I was nervous about my lack of knowledge. I had no idea what each stage would be like.
Pregnancy was easy. I did CrossFit until my due date and enjoyed all the comments about how beautiful I was–literally the best part of pregnancy! In the hospital, my husband had to teach me how to change diapers. I learned everything as I went, and most importantly, Z slept A LOT.
So to me, the infant stage was fun.
The next few years are a blur. I remember specifically putting Z in timeout at one for choking me and thinking it seemed really early for this parenting thing! Two was challenging, but so amazing seeing her walk, talk, and make huge changes developmentally to become a little human.
Then three happened.
Everyone told me “they say terrible twos, but it’s really the threes.” I’d laugh and say “Oh great! I have that to look forward too.”
They. Weren’t. Kidding.
At first it was sweet and fun to see her go to preschool, start to count, and tell me how much she loved me every day.
Then winter came and we got cooped up with lots of energy while hitting age 3.5 in full stride. She started testing out swear words, talking back, and screaming to get her way.
She is a ball of energy for 13 hours a day until she has to go to bed when she then complains for 90 minutes about sleeping. There are countless trips up the stairs to listen to her next complaint and ridiculous request. “Mommy, I just need a little lotion on my back.”
I’ve also found that you can’t really reason with them, and they have enough attitude to send them into multiple fits a day for no reason. She has high demands (and a lot of them) and she expects them to be done “Now Mommy!” It’s a lot all the time and it’s exhausting.
Three is not my stage.
Three is hard and challenging and I don’t find a lot of joy in it. Three is constantly managing Z’s attitude, behavior and worrying about if I am being too hard on her. We’re teaching her not to hit, but explaining that she can tell people not to touch her.
Judge me hard for confessing it if you want, but for all those other moms going through a hard time, here is my belief:
Not every single stage of your kid’s life is going to connect with you.
Some of us hate the baby stage. I once heard someone say they referred to the baby as a “lump” for 6 months! ?Others love the baby stage and then are miserable till our kids can drive.
What about the question stage where everything turns into six “whys”? (I’m pretty sure nobody likes that one).
I feel guilty for not fully enjoying this time in her life and if you have a stage that is challenging you, I imagine you do too. There are moments that warm my heart and I love seeing her grow and learn. She’s hilarious and caring, smart and daring. But each of those moments are followed up with something challenging & utterly exhausting. She tests every situation and stalls when it benefits her. I am constantly on my toes trying to decipher the best way to manage the attitude while balancing the ability for her to express herself. I’m trying to make sure I enjoy this time, but it’s so hard.
I’m so tired.
I continually remind myself that these times are temporary. Suit up because you can get through it.
Most importantly, let’s accept that it’s okay to feel challenged by a stage because it doesn’t mean you aren’t an amazing parent. Even if you are annoyed, frustrated or tired, you would still do whatever it takes for your child to be the healthiest and happiest they can be.
What is your most challenging stage?
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