When I found out I was pregnant, I admittedly went into total panic mode, crying all day and going to sleep with an emotional migraine (don’t tell my Princess that!). I relaxed though, came around to the idea that I will one day have my own Princess, and began to read many, many books to know exactly What to Expect, because I truly did not know. I didn’t choose a parenting style, I didn’t read books about How to Parent, and looking back, I really think I should have.
Nobody tells you that when you become a Parent you have to turn into a level-headed adult, one that knows all about boundaries and limits, calm voices and deep breaths. And looking back at that suddenly-Pregnant Girl, it may have been pretty obvious that this overly-emotional little lady was not quite ready to become a Parent, teaching another on how to live and survive in this world.
I had naively thought Parenting was all about hugs and cuddles, feedings and diaper changings, and cute little giggles along with a little bit of crying.
Suddenly, you’re pushed into the role of raising a child, who at times seems to be portraying PMS symptoms all the time, and you’re supposed to teach this child how to be emotionally stable, how to deal with her emotions, her crying, her upset, her tantrums – wait! I’m supposed to teach her all of this, when I haven’t figured it out for myself?
Sweet Jesus, what am I to do?
I have also found myself parenting a Spirited Toddler, (yes, they segment toddlers into groups, in order to help us parents deal with them better, and to sell more books, of course). A Spirited Toddler, by definition is:
extremely active physically, often willful, and may be prone to temper tantrums. She is very social and curious and will point to objects and reach out for them and for other kids early on. This child is the consummate adventurer; she will have a go at anything and is very determined. She displays a great sense of achievement when she accomplishes something. read more here…
In other words, she does what she wants, she cries if she doesn’t get it, and she gets really mad and stubborn at YOU, the Parent, if anything bad happens. She will hold a grudge. Serious. She pouts. She whines. Oh my, does she whine. There are pluses though, she is not too shy, she can adapt rather easily to most situations, she usually doesn’t cry if we have to leave her favourite places, but if you try to get her to do something – anything at all! – she won’t do it. Sing a song, say hello to daddy on the phone, clap your hands – no! no! no! (Surprisingly she will clean her room up without pouting at all!)
Anyway, what was my point? Oh yeah, what do you do when you are raising a Spirited Toddler and you, yourself, are a Spirited Parent? Does that make sense?
I mean, I cry and pout when I don’t get my way, I threw a tantrum the other day when J wouldn’t watch a movie with me, and I scream and yell when someone – anyone – doesn’t listen to me, especially Princess. How am I supposed to teach this little one that it’s not okay to scream, cry and pout when I do it myself? How do I teach her to contain her anger and sadness and basic emotions when I have no idea how to keep my own in check sometimes?
Realistically, I’m asking how to change myself, especially around her, to become a better person, and also raise a better daughter? THERE’S NO HANDBOOK FOR THIS.
I’m I really supposed to believe there are people out there who are always level-headed, who never lose their cool or their tantrum on their toddler. I know it’s not right, and the guilt I feel is palpable at times, and I think, How do I do this? How do I raise her right?
And some days it’s fine. Like today, Princess got up great, no accidents in the potty-training department, no tantrums or crying, especially when we left the toy store and the other parents were looking at me like I was Super Mom because there were no tears – and I sure felt a little smug!
But other days I feel like that confused pregnant girl, crying because I have no idea what I’m doing or why Princess is doing what she’s doing.
I’m slowly learning, I take steps back, I take deep breaths, and when I find time for it, I find yoga does actually help. I’m really trying to be a better person for my Princess. But there are some days….
When I just wish for a Nanny.
Please tell me someone else out there feels this way at times – is anyone really Super Mom all the time? If so, how do you manage? What do you do to ensure your sanity? (and please don’t tell me alcohol, we all watched that Oprah episode and I thought it was awful.)