Tell me this gets easier.
I’ve been tackling life with little ones for almost 2 and a half years now, and although it’s been the best 2.5 years of my life – it’s also been the most challenging! Having kids changes your perspective on everything, everywhere you go, things you do, money you spend, your marriage… it makes your true colors shine.
I find that, however, most people don’t talk about the tough days. And it’s not even always an entire day – sometimes, it’s just a half hour before my husband gets home from work and it seems to be the longest half hour of my life. The house is a mess, loud and noisy with kids TV… dishes in the sink and I’m still wondering what I can start for dinner. With little kids, it’s easy to be pushed to your mental breaking point. It’s also easy to feel like you’re failing, and that everyone else seems to have things under control while you’re floundering. But trust me – this couldn’t be further from the truth.
The truth is, we’re all just trying to make it. We’re all in the same boat together. I find this when I finally take the time to vent to my friends about what’s going on.
It’s important to not just survive toddler-hood, but thrive through it. I don’t want to look back and think, wow that was so hard and I’m so glad it’s over! I know one day, I’ll look back and miss these days. So, I’m trying my best to ENJOY them – even though they’re tough.
So here’s my tips for thriving through toddler-hood:
you need to let off steam. Whether it’s a spat with your spouse, or your kids have just pushed you to a breaking point, find a safe person to talk to it about. Share your challenges and struggles, it’s likely they’re going through the same thing and you can commisserate together.
make time for yourself.
When my husband gets home for the day, I try to hand off both kids right away. Even just 20 minutes of sanity by myself can recharge me enough to get through til bedtime. On the weekends, I try to carve out a chunk of the day where I can do something by myself. It’s important to maintain your own identity even as a mom. It’s also crucial to take care of yourself and your needs before you can expect to take care of anyone else’s.
communicate with your partner.
I didn’t realize that I wasn’t really communicating my struggles with my husband. Men tend to see black and white, they’re also natural “fixers” – so unless I clearly communicate that I am stressed/overwhelmed/struggling – he’s assuming I’m fine. Subliminal hints do not work here. You need to be open and honest and give clear communication on what you need help with.
find a hobby.
Luckily, I stumbled upon creating a blog at the perfect time. I feel like this has been the perfect creative outlet to give substance to my free time. Find something you enjoy and pursue it – don’t procrastinate until you have “more” time. The dishes, dust, and laundry will keep coming back – but 5 years from now, you’ll be thankful you took the jump.
divide and conquer.
When both kids are crying, house is a mess, the TV is too loud, and I’m worrying about whether or not I remembered to make my car payment – I find that it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. I try to make a list in my head, and just check the box one at a time. For example, if I’m tackling cleaning, it seems like there’s way too much to do around the house, so I’ll start with one room and get that completely done. It’s amazing how less stressful it is when the TV is OFF. Surprisingly, the quiet is more rewarding than my kid vegging out – and usually he’ll find something else to occupy himself with anyway. Take each small problem and resolve it and eventually things will start to snowball.