I know… duh, right? Most people have an idea that being a parent isn’t all sunshine and rainbows, even if they don’t have kids of their own. But man, being right in the middle of a terrible two toddler phase really makes you think… how am I supposed to do this and not go insane/cry/give up on life?
Before I had my daughter, Rose, I’d never really been around kids. I never even knew if I wanted them. I actually didn’t think I could even have them without some kind of intervention. Rose was a surprise… a scary one, but one that I grew to be excited about. But then I went into labor. I wanted a completely natural water birth, but Rose had other ideas. She literally didn’t want to come out. After three hours of pushing with no meds, my doctor intervened and she finally entered this world. Then she cried… for what seemed like 10 hours. I was lying there, crying because I was so tired and I just wanted to sleep and I just wanted her to shut up so I could have some peace. This was my introduction to parenting.
Overall, Rose is actually a good kid. She was an easy baby, pretty content and sleeping through the night from two or three months. Now, as a two-and-a-quarter-year-old, she has her moments (like when she threw a 30-minute tantrum because we gave her cheerios in a green bowl and not a blue one, and when she threw her sippy cup of milk at me because I told her it was time to brush her teeth), but overall she is still a good kid.
Bedtime, however, has become not so fun. She’s in a toddler bed, which means she can get out if she wants to… and she wants to. This week has been especially bad, with her still awake at almost 10pm (we start the bedtime routine at 7). A couple of nights, we actually just shut the door and went to bed, turning the fan on in our room to drown out the noise of her whining. (Disclaimer: she was winding down, but we knew that if we went back in we’d be back to square one. Please, no judging.)
A few times, I have had thoughts that made me feel like the most awful person in the world. Thoughts like, “I actually hate being a parent.” “I wish she would go to sleep so I can get up at 5am and run.” “This is too hard and I want to quit this.” But somehow, I made it through, and we finally had a successful and calm bedtime last night. It still took an hour and a half to get her to sleep, but there was no crying and she only got out of bed once, so I call that a victory.
Since becoming a parent, I’ve constantly had thoughts that I’m doing it wrong, I’m not doing a good job, I shouldn’t be allowed to parent a child. But after talking to my friends (who have helped me through this week by sending encouragement, suggestions, and horror stories of when their own kids were toddlers), I realize that this is normal. At some point, all parents have thought that they can’t cope, or they suck at parenting, or they just plain hate it. And it’s okay to say that. In fact, it helps to say that, because it makes us realize we’re not alone.
Now, I have to wrap up because my toddler is awake and yelling for me. I have no idea how today will go, but I know one thing… I’m doing the best I can, and I will survive.