My little boy is almost two and I’ve found myself fall into the mindset of the terrible twos.
I’ve been reflecting over the last couple of weeks when things have been feeling hard for me to hold, the emotional outbursts, the need from him for total independence without physically being able to do something, the strong will without the full understanding of reality, the frustration when he can’t communicate exactly what he wants.
So I want to remind myself and maybe you if you are in the thick of toddler mum life that this time holds some incredibly magical opportunities and experiences as well. I want to remind us because it’s easy to forget when our nervous system is wired and we are taking that breathe in a moment to meet your babies needs for the 20th time that day without losing our shit (and sometimes even losing it for a moment).
So let’s start there… losing it.
It’s happened to ALL of us (remember the magic is in the repair). When our babies are moving through this time in their development there is so much info out there about how to support them BUT what about how to support ourselves?
Something I’ve found is that in this time it takes tuning into my own needs MORE. It takes acknowledging and being aware of my bodies responses when I am on the verge of losing my cool and planning or creating space for me to feel connected, loved and nurtured myself MORE. It’s taking a regular day or time frame scheduled in (if an option) not filled with errands, chores or work but to slow down and be with ourself. It’s also taking intentional moments to connect with ourself and our body throughout the day.
Our capacity to hold our babies through big emotions and growth and development also requires us to hold and nurture ourself AND call on others to hold us as well. No one can do all the holding themselves, it becomes too heavy and eventually drops without taking space for ourselves.
The next thing I want to remind us of is “choosing what we notice”.
Choosing to believe that there is a “terrible twos”, that this time is going to be “hard” the whole time and we just have to do what we can to survive! That feels like a pretty dismal reality and one we can often choose when things are feeling hard, our cup feels empty and we are at capacity. So I really encourage you to get into the practice of my first point and then take some action with this one.
Put yourself in your child’s shoes, it’s hard wanting to feel heard and understood while working out how to. It’s difficult when you want to do something but you physically can’t especially when you see everyone around you making their own choices with independence.
They are learning so much and this is all part of their development and although the moments can feel difficult, how many special moments are between them? When they say a new word in the right context or in the total wrong context and it just melts your heart. When they are so proud of them self for helping, when they master doing that thing on their own and are over the moon, when they move through a big emotional moment and then come to you; their safe space and nuzzle in and cuddle, When they show their caring and loving nature.
To me I feel like this isn’t about good and bad behaviour but about teaching them how to be with their emotions without shame. Teaching them in a healthy and supportive nature. Sometimes we are going to stuff up because we are often reparenting ourselves as we parent them. Often realising conditioned beliefs and ways of being that don’t now align in the moment.
So not only are we navigating how to parent with connection, love and boundaries but we are also working with our own inner child. We are learning to understand to a new depth how to meet our own needs whilst holding theirs and being intentional about what we choose to focus on in this time.
It’s a lot and it’s powerful stuff for our personal development and theirs, we are invited to grow as they do.
The most important point of all is – ask for help!
Be creative and committed in choosing to meet your needs so that you can meet theirs. Let go of the need to do it all yourself because you are “the mother”. The world has created an unrealistic expectation of the mother. By choosing to be supported in this gig, however that looks for you is important for us to change these expectations as a collective of mothers. Step away from being the “super mum” and instead be the “human mum” that needs support and shares the load and isn’t perfect because none of us are. We get to redefine motherhood on our own terms to feel supported, empowered and thriving. That’s a birthright!
Id love to hear your comments and thoughts! Comment below or get in touch over on instagram https://www.instagram.com/estelle.spano/