The Right Words at the Right Time

by Ginger on July 26, 2011

in Blogging & Social Media, Mom Thoughts

This weekend, I had the distinct pleasure of meeting up with three of my absolute favorite online ladies: Jennie of She Likes Purple, Jen of OnenJen, and (separately) Megan of Now You’re in the World. They are all as utterly wonderful as their online personas would have you believe, if not better, and I came away from my each of my meetings with them…refreshed, is a good way to put it. Being around smart and fun women who have opinions and thoughts and can share them? Awesome. We talked and laughed and ate (of course!) and had a grand time. They all made me wish they lived right around the corner so we could have regular cookouts and let our kids run around together while we chatted.

Speaking of kids, one of my selfishly favorite moments of the weekend came from Jennie. I was dropping her off at her hotel and on the drive I was telling her my nightmare travel story and talking about how hard I’m finding this age for Jackson. Not that he’s not fun and awesome a major portion of the time, but MY GOD IS HE CHALLENGING. If I’m totally honest with myself (and you guys), I’ve spent more time in the last 2 months questioning my parenting than I ever have before. And I see people who are gearing up for a second kid with toddlers around J’s age (or already have a second!) and it makes me want to weep, because OMG how on earth do you handle TWO of these? And then it makes me wonder if I’m doing something wrong, or if I just can’t deal with my kid, or if…well, if I’m just failing at this mom thing.

So, while I didn’t lay all THAT on Jennie, I did tell her about that godawful flight and how hard I’m finding this age. And then she told me that for her as a mom (to a slightly older kid than mine), the ages of 18-24 months were REALLY challenging. But that two was so much fun.

And guys, it was like the skies opened up and the angels sang down at me. Alright, not really, but those words stuck with me all weekend. Because hearing someone else say that this specific time isn’t all fun and cuddles and awesomeness was exactly, EXACTLY the thing I needed to hear–that I had no idea I needed to hear. I mean, it’s not even that big a deal right? Someone saying this time is challenging isn’t like someone saying they want to give me a million dollars or anything. It was just a statement of fact: “This time period was hard, it gets better.” But it was something that spoke to me, and lifted a weight off my shoulders.

And the thing is, the statement had nothing to do with my parenting abilities, but it made me feel like maybe I’m not so crappy at this as I thought. Maybe it’s just a difficult time to be a parent to my kid. Maybe it’s not that I’m doing things wrong, but that this is part and parcel of what parenting my kid right (right now) ends up meaning.

I think we all go through these times–whether at our jobs, our marriages, our friendships, our lives, our parenting, whatever–where we question what we’re doing. Where we think we’re not doing a good job. Where we feel inadequate. And if you’re lucky, someone comes along and says the exact thing you need to hear at the exact moment you need to hear it, and it allows you to take that little thing you’ve carried around like a worry stone and put it away.

For the time being at least.

Erica July 26, 2011 at 9:47 am

I am having the WORST time with my 23 month old right now. I am also questioning my parenting, I feel like I couldn’t be failing more. This is my only one so I don’t know if it gets better but it’s nice to hear that someone thinks it does.

Michelle July 26, 2011 at 10:42 am

I think that that age really is one of the most difficult to survive for many parets and kids. I used to teach preschool/daycare to that age. They have the most tantrums. They’re struggling with language barriers. They’re grasping HUGE concepts without having HUGE mental capacities. They want to be grown but they just aren’t, and they get so frustrated so easily. I have lots of experience with that age group, and zero experience with babies.

I’m so glad that Jennie was able to calm your soul a little. It’s so great to share perspectives.

Jennie July 26, 2011 at 2:08 pm

I had so much fun with you! So much! I meant what I said, too. This is my experience, similar to your plane one, that made ME feel particularly crappy and, ooooooh, does it get better. It gets so much better.

http://www.shelikespurple.com/shelikespurple/2010/10/reality-always-seeps-in.html

Megan July 26, 2011 at 9:01 pm

I don’t remember if that specific age was hard for us or not. But, I know a TON of them have been.

We talked a lot about parenting on Sunday, and I can guarantee you that you are not failing at this parenting thing. Hearing you talk about him it is clear how much you love him and how accepting you are of him and his needs, however exhausting they may be for you, was very refreshing. So many parents expect their kids to be one way, and can’t deal when those kids turn out to have a mind of their own. You set boundaries for him, but you also encourage his individuality.

You’re a great mom. 🙂

Cloud July 26, 2011 at 9:52 pm

As you know, I’m on my second round through this age… and I’ve been saying lately that it is the peak of cuteness. Because it is. My god, 18-24 month olds are unbelievably cute.

But it is also the peak of the time in which they NEED to be cute, because otherwise, their parents might sell them to the circus or something.

Which is my way of saying… yeah, you aren’t alone. And you certainly aren’t a crappy parent for struggling with this age. It is a hard one, because if they’re doing everything they are supposed to be doing developmentally, they are almost certainly driving their parents batshit crazy.

(BTW, if you’re the type who likes to read the developmental theories/science behind the craziness- I found the book Bedtiming by Isabel Granic and her husband whose name I’ve forgotten to be awesome for that. And as a bonus, it gives you some ideas about what age periods might be easiest to tackle sleep issues.)

Amy, UsingOurWords.com July 26, 2011 at 10:20 pm

I agree. 18-24 months was hard. But now that my son’s 2-1/2, I want to freeze him and stick him in my pocket. Even his tantrums are cute. Parenting goes in cycles and when you’re feeling like you’re at the bottom, you have a great peak to look forward to!

Cheryl July 26, 2011 at 11:18 pm

It is a hard age; kids are starting to nap less but learn more and they fail miserably at balancing the two. There are a million things happening for them and we just have to keep up.
I had many moments after R was born where I questioned my parenting and felt like I was failing one or both kids. But I wasn’t and neither are you. I’m glad you put that worry stone away for now.

Kate July 28, 2011 at 12:50 pm

So happy that you were able to hear just the right words at the right time. Toddlerhood is hard. I think I spend as much time crying as Beckett does and I’ve never felt like a failure so much of the time as I do at with her at this age. And, so happy to hear you got to hang with some cyber pals in real life.

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