Momma with anxiety and a wild toddler,
I understand. I understand that on vacation when a family member mentions “ let’s go out for ice cream. Let’s go out for dinner. Let’s go out ANYWHERE! “
You break out into a sweat and immediately start to panic. I wonder what this place will be like. Will we be outside ( the worst ).
Your body tenses up in panic , but you cannot say no. You have other children. Family members that would enjoy the outing.
You go and you watch your toddler like a momma bird in her nest. Please don’t run off, if you do I’ll be right behind you.
You can’t focus on anything else but your toddlers safety as he tries to run into the parking lot, talk to strangers, and all around stress you out with his every move.
He’s having the time of his life, without knowing you’re dying inside to keep him safe. You want to scoop him up and go home where he is safe.
This isn’t your normal personality, you’re laid back and calm. Go with the flow , but you’ve read too many articles, you know too much. You simply cannot sit down and even enjoy one ice cream cone. Your stomach is in knots trying to keep up with him.
He takes a break from his marathon to hug you and say:
“ I love you momma. So much.”
“ I love you baby boy !”
I’ll tell you something real, even more real than what I’ve shared so far. Or ever.
A baby after loss is one very special, very different from your other children. What you held onto so tightly was pulled away from your arms, and once you get a living blessing you hold tighter than before.
You cling to that first cry for dear life.
Hey, I know I need to let up. I need to relax and let him be a boy and all that.
But I’m here to tell you that if you haven’t raised a wild, spirited , curious toddler…. you will NOT understand why I am on edge and constantly plotting how I will save his life worst case scenario.
If I was not like this, he could get hurt. He could get lost. You get the picture.
I’ve raised four toddlers now, and not one of them is like my Luca. He has my heart in his hands, and he adores momma right back. He has no idea how many times I’ve saved his life by grabbing him from a car, water, you name it. I don’t want him to see the side of me that is his hero, and he doesn’t. He just sees me. A woman that loves him something crazy.
When I am with him in a setting other than our home my anxiety spikes. Everything is suddenly within his reach. Everything is new and foreign, and he gets more curious. He explores and he hides.
There are very few places I can let my lifeguard , body guard disposition down.
That’s why you will rarely find us in places I am not acquainted with. My nerves can not handle it. I love him too much.
You would think this side of him is my least favorite, but it’s actually the opposite. I adore his adventurous side and love watching him jump off the diving board at our local pool. I prayed he would be fearless.
But that doesn’t mean that the gift of being his mother is easy in this season.
Toddlers ( mine ) are like tiny drunk people with big ideas. They are nearly intoxicated , but think every thing they have in mind is genius!
While I want to relax and enjoy vacation ( and when he is sleeping I do ), this is my reality.
I’m writing this to say to other mothers what others may not be saying to you :
You are perfect for your toddler.
Your instinct is perfect.
Your toddler was given to you, not your cousin Shelly.
The toddler season is hard, extremely hard , and it’s okay to say it out loud. We know you love him/her.
Your heart will never be the size it is now, so full of love and chaos, never wanting the squishy cheeks to end, but begging for bedtime to draw near.
You are one of the few that sees through their challenges as a toddler in a big world. You are their advocate. Don’t stop standing up for them.
You are their safe place. This means they can act a fool with you because they know they are unconditionally loved. Do not take this as a burden, but rather an opportunity to guide them to make good choices.
I won’t always have anxiety, one day Jesus will heal me. Either on earth or in heaven.
Until then I want you to know that having a rough go in these toddler years doesn’t make you ungrateful. It doesn’t make you ignorant to their growth. It doesn’t make you impatient or unloving.
It makes you a Mother.
If you have friends that have toddlers, Be kind to them. Bring them coffee and wine and hug them real tight.
They are not ok.
And please do not tell me that one day he will be grown and married. I know this. Right now this is my reality.
That’s like me saying to a mother with a son getting married –
“ oh please don’t cry. One day he will be making you a grandmother.”
It’s useless and stupid.
Every night when I snuggle him to bed I am fully aware that he is growing at a rapid rate in which will pass by before my eyes. I know his baby hands inside mine that I hold so tight will soon engulf mine when I embrace him to attend his Senior prom.
I am not unaware of the reality of his growth into adulthood. I’m simply a mother struggling to keep my crap together until he’s 18 and beyond.
Just hug people where they are.