Being a mommy is sugar and spice and everything nice! It’s the most rewarding job I’ve ever had. The most challenging, the most stressful, the most tear-jerking, and most definitely the most rollercoaster’ish. I know that’s not a word, but it was the most fitting adjective I could think of. Anybody with small (or not so small) children can totally understand the craziness of a tantrum, meltdown, or completely overwhelming wave of emotion. Ah, yes. The overwhelming (and often hard-to-anticipate) waves that we experience in mommy world.
I’ll never forget the first tantrum I ever experienced with one of my own children. My first born. The sweet, beautiful little bundle of happiness that I carried for more than nine months, delivered, and completely changed my world around in order to accommodate. Yes, that tiny little package of a blessing grew into a strong-willed toddler and gave me a run for my money! I remember that first time she had a total meltdown over something so tiny that I literally do not have a clue what brought it on at this point. I remember thinking “What do I do?? Do I give her what she wants? Do I wait it out? Do I cry? Do I turn on the firm-mommy voice? Is she hurt? Is there something seriously wrong?? Ahhhh! What do I do?”
Because I had been in the early child development field for years and years prior to having my own children, I could at least remind myself not to give in just because she was crying. So I did it, I made sure she was in a safe space, and waited it out. She calmed down and guess what. A few minutes later she was playing happily with her toys on the living room floor. One down. An undetermined, army-sized, super crazy number more to go.
This is a great example of many things we experience with our amazing kiddos. Things that come in waves. Every child is so intricately designed, and so unique in their personality and demeanor. It’s hard to peg down just a thing or two where this applies. My husband (who hasn’t had quite as much experience with kiddos as me) was always asking me what to do when our kids do things like this. Of course we don’t always have the answer to that question, because well… who knows? Right? Most of the time we’re just guess-and-checking and hoping we’re getting it right at least most of the time!
But there is one thing we can remember, and that is this. Waves. Things come in waves. Emotions come in waves. Tantrums come in waves. The developmental level in which a child is overly eager to please – comes in waves! In our adult lives, we call them seasons. Seasons of life that come and go. The excitement of a new job. The proud feeling of completing high school or beyond. The newlywed stage. The oh-my-goodness-what-is-this-thing-called-life-and-how-am-I-going-to-get-through-it season.
We can understand these waves that our children go through, by equating the same understanding where they are concerned. For me, as a new parent, things caught me off-guard. It seemed like different things would just randomly pop up to throw me off of my mommy game. Once I’d finally get that thing figured out, it wasn’t long before something else completely unexpected would pop up.
Finally, I recognized this cycle, and began to embrace all the little waves that came along. It all goes back to taking a deep breath, being present, trying to be calm, and hitting the reset button so that you can keep on going. Parenting is not at all about being perfect! Boy oh boy did I have to learn that the hard way, and STILL have to remind myself of that!
But by giving it our all, loving our children relentlessly, and embracing all the little (or ginormous) waves that go along with it, we can learn to enjoy the journey. The good, the bad, and the oh-my-goodness-what-do-I-do. It takes some practice, mama. Don’t expect to have it all together every moment of every day. Because...life. But ride those waves, embrace them, and learn from them. Each one will pass, and you’ll be glad you got through it without going crazy. At least not completely crazy.
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