You guys, I did it again. I successfully made it to my toddler’s bedtime and lived to tell about it! It was touch and go there for a moment. You wouldn’t believe the exorbitant amount of poop I had to clean up today.
Well, actually you would. That is, if you’ve ever had a one year old that was stopped up a few days before exploding the entire contents of their digestive system into a diaper incapable of holding such magnitude. I don’t even understand how a teeny body can do so much damage. But, alas, that was my day.
Parenting is so glamorous, isn’t it? No wonder it pays so well.
Having a bonus baby has allowed me to relive stages of life I thought I was past…but with some perspective and experience. It’s actually quite fun, and I highly recommend it. I am absolutely clueless what to do with my teenager (OH MY GOSH, YOU GUYS, I HAVE A TEENAGER. I have not managed to accept this reality, so let’s move on…).
Like I was saying, I haven’t a clue about teenagers. But toddlers? I am basically a professional by now.
And some things never change. I still do a little celebration dance every night when my daughter is successfully asleep. Like most toddlers, she spends the day testing out how many different ways she can destroy the house and injure herself in the process. It’s hard work keeping a one year old alive.
And then like an hour after she’s asleep, my husband and I can’t stop talking about how she’s the cutest child on the planet. Because when they’re not busy planning their demise, toddlers are literally the cutest humans on earth. The sweet giggles. The pure joy of experiencing everything that is new and amazing. I cannot get enough.
However, some things have changed this time around, as I raise my 5th and final child. I like to believe I enjoyed all of my children at this age, but the fact is I was so terrified of screwing them up that it overshadowed my enjoyment the first couple of go rounds.
But you know what? I do screw up a lot of days. I am not doing it all perfectly. Or anywhere close to perfect. And it turns out that that’s okay.
Miraculously, the toddlers I worried so much about are becoming pretty awesome people, despite my glaring inadequacies as a mom.
So with Ellie, I am not so hard on myself. On days where I blow it, I know tomorrow is new day. On days where I rock it, I pray those are the memories she keeps. On the days that are just pretty average, I am thankful for the gift of getting to raise children.
I think I am most grateful for those ordinary days.
I know kids don’t want to be rocked forever, so I rock my baby a little longer.
I know toddlers become capable teenagers, so I don’t worry about teaching her everything right this moment. There is time.
I know things like sleeping and potty training and annoying behaviors eventually work themselves out. I am sure I will hate potty training just as much as before, but I have proof every kid eventually learns. (I promise.)
I know I won’t always spend my time cleaning abhorrent amounts of poop like I did today.
But even today, when my one year old whined all day and pooped when she wasn’t whining, I am thankful for the opportunity for one more chance to experience it all again.
Because with the perspective life has afforded me, I know this is the greatest gift in life. To love a child well and raise little people who eventually become big people…that are more incredible than you could ever dream possible.
Moms and Dads, what you are doing matters. Matters so much more than it seems when you’re in the weeds of it all. But those sweet toddlers and preschoolers who are impossibly hard and giving you a run for your money every single day…I promise they will grow up into amazing people who bring you so much joy. These nights where you have rightfully earned the right to celebrate another day of keeping them alive will eventually turn into nights where they ask you important life questions and really care about what you have to say.
I know the days can feel so long. I know how easy it is to beat yourself up about all of the things you’re not. But as you celebrate making it through another day, be kind to yourself. You are doing a great job with those little people. A really, really great job.