Finding Solace in the Struggle
As most of you know, we welcomed our second child, Cora, into our family last June. Because she takes after me (warning: sarcasm ahead), she is very advanced. In fact, she just reached her 10-month milestone (is that a milestone?), and she is already showing signs of being a toddler. Just this past Sunday, she squawked her way through church, no longer cooing at the sight of her mother, but rather demanding her freeze-dried yogurt bites in a tone similar to this:
I've joked in the past that when Fisher hit toddler-hood, I basically didn’t like him for a year and a half. I laugh, everyone else laughs, I’m hilarious, but I’m only partially joking. When Fisher hit the 18-month mark, motherhood became, well, a nightmare. Up until that point, Fisher was an easy child in every sense; he slept well, he ate (reasonably) well, and he was crazy cute (Those soft, luscious curls! Those beautiful green eyes! That sweet giggle!). But once he became a toddler, the fun ended for me. That might be a bit dramatic (I’m known for that and for using a lot of parentheses). I’m sure there were a lot of good moments too, but there was a definite contrast between pre-toddler Fisher and post-toddler Fisher and my relative enjoyment of the two stages.
The worst part of it all was because I wasn’t enjoying the “little things,” I thought I was a terrible mother. I was supposed to enjoy the mess, the tantrums, the Sundays spent in the church foyer wrangling a toddler and trying not to embarrass myself, but I wasn’t, and I hated myself for it.
And in true Tiffany fashion, I thought I was the only mother on the planet who felt this way. When I finally confided in my own mother that I didn’t like being a parent all the time, she laughed. Of course I didn’t like being a parent all the time! How could I? I realized that just because I dreaded mealtime, bathtime, and really any-time-other-than-bedtime didn’t make me a bad parent; it made me a normal one.
Now seeing Cora on the road to becoming a toddler, I feel a slight sense of dread as she approaches this next phase. But the difference between Toddler Era with Fisher versus Toddler Era with Cora is that I know I’ll survive it. I can look past the constant mess; I know how to deal with the tantrums; and I can handle the wrangling in the church foyer. And most importantly, this time I know that I’m not the only one out there struggling, and in that I find solace.