Sunday, April 15, 2012

Back to the books

A few weeks ago, I started checking out parenting books from the library again.

I know. Don't say anything. I know.

Toddler momming is hard, yo.

Since Baby Girl was born, everyone's been telling me to trust my instincts. It's supposed to be comforting, but it isn't. I always end up thinking "wait, am I supposed to have instincts about this?"

I don't know what I'm doing. At all.

My sweet, adorable, brilliant, willful, manipulative little girl is running the show around here. I don't have any instincts that tell me what to do about that. Even when I taught high school, discipline wasn't exactly my thing. I had a pretty good raised eyebrow, and I worked the guilt a little more than I should have. But those were pretty much my only moves.

And BG's not buying it.

So this week I read a book called Parent Talk, by Chick Moorman. I like it, I think? It's not what I was hoping for. It focuses on encouraging choice and responsibility, which I think is fantastic. A lot of it I already do.

And then I got to the list of things to never say to your kid, and one of them was "My patience is running thin."

Hold. the. freaking. show.

I read that section. It said that patience means putting up with things. That you shouldn't lose your patience because you shouldn't need patience. That if you understand your child, you should recognize her behavior as age appropriate and therefore it should be easy for you.

Have you ever wanted to punch a book? Wait, is that not a normal reaction?

I cried a little.

I know that her behavior is age appropriate. I know that toddlers test boundaries. I know that all she's doing is what is her job to do.

But I lose my patience.

A lot.

And you know what? How could I not? I can fully understand why she does what she does and still be totally thrown over the edge when she does it.

And when I am losing my patience? I think I'm going to go ahead and tell her. Because I'm a human being, and she deserves to know.


  1. I want to punch the book, and I haven't even read it. I agree that you can understand behavior is age appropriate, but that doesn't make the manipulation and boundary-pushing any less frustrating.

  2. I read this book too. I had a really hard time with that as well. I tell both girls when they are trying my last nerve.
    I still don't know what I am doing 4.5 years in. My husband & I are making up the rules as we go along. You are doing a great job. So am I. We don't always have all the answers, so we look to different books to help us out. I take everything I read with a grain of salt. Each child is unique. Sadly what works or our oldest doesn't always work with our youngest.

  3. As far as instincts go, I can remember sobbing that I didn't have any when dd1 was not yet even 2 weeks old and was already hospitalized for the first time since coming home. Staph infection in her face... Scary stuff, but in the ensuing 4.5 years, I have discovered I was wrong, I do have them. It is just a matter of learning to listen to them.

  4. As far as patience goes, I am with you 100%. I think that we are all human and we all have both bad days and limits. I think that I am a better parent for recognizing my limits. Seeing me struggle and how I cope with patience and stress sets an example for my kids to learn from. Being able to say, "hey, I am having a rough day, I am about at the end of my ability to be calm, please go play quietly in your playroom while I make dinner.

    I am an introvert and I need to be alone sometimes. Being stressed and touched out between an older infant and an independent preschooler with no concept of personal space is challenging on a good day. Showing my girls how to take care of themselves is as important as showing them to care for others.

  5. Oh I don't like that book at all then. Because even though I know that this age is trying and is about independence, but not too much and learning to communicate and melting down, oh my word, do I try and try and try to give her grace but sometimes it's just.too.much. It really is. And we're human, like you said.

  6. Sweetie I love you enough to say, with all of my heart, stop reading the parenting books because all they do is confuse the situation and make you question your own abilities. You are the mom the BG needs and you are doing an amazing job at it . . . not matter what the books say.

    I see nothing wrong with telling my children when I am just about out of patience. Much like myself, sometimes they need to stop and think about how their actions affect others.

    Huge hugs to you and BG!

  7. We all don't know what we're doing. For real. It's a learning curve every single day. No parenting book will prepare you for the tantrums and so on...none.
    Things that ring true for motherhood is this: You will lose your patience...a lot.
    But they know that you love them with all of your heart.