Accepting my kids for who they are naturally + parenting is hard

afitmess
January 5, 2017

Before I had children I was really good at imagining what kind of a parent I would be. I was also really good at making assumptions about what I would or would not do. Once I became a mother to twin girls, I threw all of my assumptions out the window. It was survival mode for a long time – trying different things to see what would work and then finding new strategies after the old ones stopped working. Learning to go with the flow and that change is constant are two lessons I am reminded of each day. And even though my kids are no longer babies, I’m finding that these lessons still hold truth. As parents we have to constantly adjust to new routines, behaviors, and circumstances.

 

When I was pregnant, I imagined that the girls would have similar interests, personalities, and needs. Even though they are not identical twins (they’re fraternal) I assumed, as siblings, they would have comparable personalities. This couldn’t have been further from the truth! Right from the beginning they acted differently. Ashlyn napped like a champ and was a dream at night. She was sleeping through the night at four months (it took one night to sleep-train her). Madison, however, was sleep “challenged”, constantly crying unless she was held. I had to rock (or bounce) her to sleep every single night and she woke up numerous times.

 

As the girls grew, their personalities became even more defined. Their actions, how they interpret things, what they need from me, and so on. Ashlyn, my little extrovert, is outgoing and is always ready to try something new. She is quite the daredevil at times (my poor heart!). Madison, an introvert like her mom, is much more cautious and tends to put a lot of thought into things before trying them. She still likes to be held and relies on me a lot. Two very unique girls with separate personalities. I sometimes catch myself wishing Ashlyn would slow down and stop running/jumping/exploring and that Madison would get out there and explore or stop being so hesitant. But I’m realizing that it makes it much easier to be their mom when I accept them for who they are naturally.

A Fit Mess

Parenting is hard. And when you have two children close in age it can be challenging to figure out a good rhythm. Sometimes it can feel like you are going in circles without ever making progress. I often find myself asking questions like: What is happening here? What do you need? Can you please use your words? Help me understand. I know things will change. I know that what we are doing now matters. And yet I still feel the stress and anxiety about it all.

 

Matt and I struggle with being on the same page as parents. I am curious if most couples are in sync with each other. I tend to be more lenient while Matt is the disciplinarian. And sometimes we oppose each other’s parenting in front of the kids. A friend told me how important it was to appear united in front of your children and it makes total sense, yet it’s really hard for me to remember this in the moment. We’re trying to get better about backing each other up – even if we don’t necessarily agree. Do we always agree? No. We disagree quite a bit. But this needs to be discussed away from the kids. Work it out on our own – not when we are trying to parent. Work in progress.

 

For some reason, sharing the parent role is extremely difficult at times. I can’t tell you how often Matt will say to me, “Well the girls were great…until you got home.” Yes, they save their meltdowns for me. I’m told this happens a lot with moms, but I’m sure there are dads that get it, too. When Matt and I are both present, the girls tend to give us more trouble than if only one of us were there. It makes us crazy because sometimes it doesn’t feel like we can be together – all of us – without meltdowns and tantrums. Again, I know that this will pass. And in a blink they won’t be my little girls anymore.

I am learning so much as a parent – how to be the best version of myself for my kids, how to balance my role as a mom with my role as a wife and partner. How to bend and breathe. And on those days that seem like I know nothing about raising kids, I remember how far I have come and I let that crazy thought go.

This post was supposed to be a short essay on why toddlers can be terrible (kidding!), but instead it got a bit more serious. I hope you don’t mind the rambling of my message. I’d love to know if you can relate. I would especially like to hear from seasoned parents or anyone with kids close in age.

 

 

6 Comments

  1. Love this post! I can relate on every level. Embracing the toddler personalities is no easy task.

    My husband showed me your blog and I’m addicted. Thanks for putting it out there. I ordered my first stitch fix after reading your reviews and LOVE it. I even make your homemade almond milk recipe for my cappuccinos each morning (the almond milk froths surprisingly well).

    1. Hi Katie! Thanks so much for your comment. 🙂 It’s nice to know others can relate. I really appreciate that. And so glad you like SF! I haven’t shopped at the mall in ages. Almond milk cap sounds delish right now.

  2. I can totally relate to this post! I have a son who is nearly 2.5 and life with him has been extremely difficult lately. He seems to be cranky a lot of the time and has started misbehaving when he doesn’t get his way. Parenting is definitely different than I thought it would be – but I feel that’s how it is for the majority of us. Thank you for sharing!

    1. I know! There are so many emotions in toddlers. They react to everything in so many ways. I hope things even out with your son. I’m glad to know you can relate. Thanks for commenting!

  3. Great post…I’ve been there and I’m there now! My kids are 8, 6 and 2.5, and all I can say is that your girls will evolve a lot in the next few years. Our 8-year-old was a super easygoing toddler, but over time he’s become more rigid and particular. I’ve definitely had to adjust to (and learn to appreciate) his personality changes. My 6-year-old was VERY (often painfully) shy and timid as a toddler; at times, parenting her was a major struggle for me. But…two years of “baby ballet” helped her self-esteem and confidence to grow in spades. She has relaxed a lot, and I have, too! I marvel daily at how much she’s matured and changed…in good ways! With my 2-year-old, I find myself handling his hot-cold moods and crazy requests with a better attitude than I did with the first two…mostly because I know it will be short-lived in retrospect. I also try to really appreciate and soak up his sweetness, natural kindness and humor. I look forward to seeing who he starts to become in the next few years! Hope this helps a bit! P.S. You might be interested in this book…I read it a few years back: https://www.amazon.com/Conscious-Parent-Transforming-Ourselves-Empowering/dp/1897238452 There were many good themes in it, including how parents can tweak their parenting so that kids become their most authentic selves. Interesting!

    1. Stephanie, thank you so much for your thoughtful response. I really enjoyed reading about your kiddos and their varied personalities. It’s so amazing how different and unique their temperaments can be. And it’s pretty amazing how you parent all three of them. I’ll take a look at that book. Thank you, thank you!!

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