Time for some real talk.
Our son (& oldest child) Giovanni just turned 2 at the end of February. In two short months, this age has already proven to be challenging… Add a new baby sister in the mix (born the day after his birthday) & we’ve got some real excitement going on around here, folks.
What once used to be my easy going, somewhat quiet (lol) & curious boy has turned into what I like to call “a wild animal” at times, what seems like overnight. Gone are the days when he could sit & play with his cars or sensory table for long periods of time. He has seemingly endless energy & I can’t always keep up. I keep telling Tom we need to get him an indoor trampoline, haha.
These days it seems like everything is a big ordeal– changing his clothes usually involves me chasing him down, then trying to keep his legs still to avoid getting kicked while he tries to wiggle away… (a friend of mine equated changing her daughter to wrestling an alligator. I strongly agree with her analogy. Haha!) I find myself explaining things– which inevitably triggers a massive meltdown– like:
“Ice cream isn’t for breakfast”
“We can’t push Gabi’s swing that fast when she’s inside it”
“We should use our words” instead of screaming at the top of our lungs– in public, or ever… but especially in public. Or if Gabi juuuuust fell asleep. Face palm.
I’m sure anyone with kids over 2 knows the list goes, onnnnn & on. All day long. Day after day.
I feel like I spend so much of our day redirecting his attention & trying to be patient/keep my cool when sometimes all I want to do is yell. Or hide in my closet with a bag of chocolate & cry. Haha. I find that I have so many “no’s” in my day when all I want to do is say yes & go back to the days before he could throw a fit because “we can’t use our paint set to color the dog.” *siiiiiiiiigh* It’s daunting. It’s relentless. It’s exhausting. But it’s motherhood, & it’s still beautiful. Always.
I know part of this behavior change is his age– it’s hard being 2. He’s trying to figure out this world. Trying to learn his boundaries & test them. Figuring out the difference between right & wrong, what’s appropriate in what setting, & seeing what he can get away with. He’s learning how to assert himself & show his independence.
The other part of it is that now we have a younger sibling in the picture. It’s hard to share mommy & daddy when you’re used to having them to yourself. Especially when you want mom to play Legos with you but little sissy’s diaper needs to be changed. It’s hard to be patient at 2 years old, & it’s definitely hard to understand why mommy can’t give you 100% of her attention, 100% of the time.
Then mom guilt kicks in. I probably don’t even need to explain because I’m sure you know what I’m talking about. I start second-guessing how I handle things, how I discipline, I start wondering if I’m creating enough meaningful experiences for him, wondering if I’m balancing my attention between Gabi & Gio, if I’m spending enough time fostering his creativity & imagination. The reality is, I’m doing the best I can, the best that I know how. I think the sole fact that I worry & consider these things makes me a decent mom who’s trying. & sometimes, that’s all that matters.
Gio, although he’s at a challenging age for me at this point, is still the sweet, caring, intelligent child he’s always been, & everything about him is amazing. He’s a fireball at times, but he loves us something fierce. So much that he’ll give me his last fruit snack (which, to a 2 year old, is a big deal) or run to kiss me when I stub my toe.. “Ok, mama? Kisses! All better?” He loves to make us laugh & he has a huge heart. & we of course love every fiber of his being. Obviously.
Some days (mostly when he’s having a tantrum) I want to break down & cry out of fear & sadness that in those moments I’m failing him as a parent. That I’m not setting him up for success. That I’m doing something wrong. Then I realize he’s 2. It’s normal for him to express his emotions in ways that aren’t socially acceptable to do as an adult, haha. He’s not trying to make me crazy (idk though… that one might be debatable ;) he’s just being a two-year-old.
I am in no way complaining, asking for sympathy or pity, saying Gio is a “bad kid” or that I regret being a mom. I’m just sharing my journey & challenging moments in hopes that if you’re going through the same thing or having the same thoughts, I’m right there with you. I constantly remind myself that motherhood is tough, & full of challenges but it’s always beautiful. I’m so thankful for Gio & sometimes I’m certain that I learn more from him than he learns from me.
I just want to remind you as you navigate this new parenting territory that motherhood is full of ups and downs. There’s no right way to parent & we all have different styles. It might be trial & error. You might feel like you’re in survival mode. But you’re always going to make it through, even if it means hiding in the closet with a bag of chocolate & giving yourself a pep talk. Ask for help. Ask for forgiveness. Give yourself a break. You got this.