"Wow, what an exhausting day." Those were the first words out of my mouth when I saw my husband after he got home from work. I know he feels bad for me and he wishes he could have made my day better, but I can't imagine that he truly, TRULY gets it. I couldn't even think of what to say when he asked what happened to make my day so bad. It sounds so silly to say "Eli threw his shoes while we were in the car" or "He whined and threw fits all day long". Those words do not do justice for the annoyances that have occurred all throughout the day. My energy is completely zapped. I feel like I could crawl under the covers and pass out for the night and it's only 8pm.
I don't think anyone could understand how incredibly physically and mentally exhausting parenting a toddler can be. Unless of course you have a toddler yourself. But seriously, I constantly try to put myself in my son's shoes to figure out WHAT is going on with him.
I would think I'd be living the high life if someone cooked me all my meals, I could eat three fulls meals and two large snacks and barely gain any weight, my clothes were picked out for me and I was dressed each day. I would thoroughly enjoy relaxing in some comfy stroller, being pushed around like a queen. And don't even get me started on how much I would LOVE a 2-hour daily nap! Laundry's done, dishes are done, cleaning is done. That's freaking royal treatment right there. Yet even if my son were able to fully comprehend to sheer awesomeness of this luxury he is provided, he would still probably throw a fit, just to mess with me.
So after battle after battle after battle, I've come to only one conclusion. He is not unappreciative, nor is he selfish. And deep down (although this may be VERY deep down) I think he really loves those naps. There is only one logical reason to his behavior- he loves to piss me off. Plain and simple. He thrives off my reaction. At this point, I don't know if I should be proud or upset. After all, he could only learn how to get under people's skin from the best- his very own mother. My mom will vouch for me there! He's even mastered the don't-cause-trouble-until-you-look-back-and-make-sure-she's-watching tactic. And so far, he wins every time. I get upset, I feel frustrated, and he can see this in me each time. By the end of the day, it leaves me exhausted. And of course, so we're clear, he does get in trouble and he has consequences, every single time. But I think my reaction is satisfying enough to him that the consequences are seemingly meaningless and ineffective.
So, my new goal. I am going zen. I will, as often as I can, be calm, collected, and not let him phase me. I will give consequences with sternness but without annoyance. He will not get away with it, but he will not continue to wear me down. Because in the end, that is all he is doing at this point. He is obviously getting something about of these rebellions because he continues them. I need to keep consistency and keep my cool. And thus, I will come out feeling victorious in these never ending toddler battles.
Or so it seems, right? It might seem like a lost cause, to say he will not bother me. Because he will. I will still feel like crying at certain points and I might want to show him that he is really bugging me. Maybe in the end this may not work. But if I can come out saying that I kept on my game face and didn't let him know he was getting to me, I think I might just feel better at the end of the day. And that in and of itself is a victory to me.
Oh and by the way, I think I jinxed myself today. I know that all the crap I gave my sister about "being pregnant with twins, hahaha, you would lose your mind" and so on, is totally going to bite me in the butt. Keep track of this people...if I show up with two babies in a year or two, there is your proof that God hates me. Or at least likes to play incredibly cruel jokes on me. And I can promise that at that point, all thoughts of Zen will leave my body right as the twins do!