When I go through struggles, often times it is too difficult to talk about them before I have worked through them with my tight-knit tribe. My coach often warns us of sharing things beyond our close tribe before we have healed. The vulnerability that comes with being honest combined with the open wound is just not always a smart decision in the healing process. I typically get a bit of paranoia if I share things before I have healed and fully embraced that struggle as a part of who I am. When I share prematurely, I’ll keep thinking about what I shared + wonder what judgment that person could have about me. However, if I am back to a healthy place I can typically share almost every bit of my insides & hope, but not care if someone wants to love me as me with my unique experiences. I have a pretty healthy love for myself & how I’ve handled what life has given me. One of the main reasons I have this blog, is to share my story & help others in their journey. For me, it’s a place of camaraderie.
All this to say, I think it is time to share a bit about my emotional state when Sir Lennon was 18 months-24 months. It was one of the lowest times in my life. Which is mind-blowing + extremely confusing to come so soon after the most blissful time in my life, Lennon’s first 12 months of life. Lennon & I were inseparable through that first year, it was honestly the most beautiful, symbiotic relationship I’ve ever experienced. All of a sudden, at 18 months, he had strong opinions & had little flexibility. This escalated as time went on, until it was at it’s peak at 24 months. Some days, I was at a loss in how to respond to these changes + this strong will. I would get so sad to see him changing, missing his sweet, compliant demeanor. But it was also excitung to watch him develop into his unique self. There were times when I felt like I was meeting a whole new little person. He definitely desired more stimulation than I could offer at times; getting bored, even annoyed with me. This was when he really fell in love with school! & was thriving from the socialization/exposure to other little people that were talking + developing all those fun skills. The hardest months were 20-24 months when he wanted to talk so badly. The frustration was at it’s highest & there was nothing I could seem to do to calm him or teach him to chill his bones. [a glimpse of that time: welcoming 24 months with a vengeance].
These months, I had quite a few dark days. I thought about death, daily. Not suicidal, but I constantly played terrible accidents in my head. It was weird! So weird! Like I feared I would die before I defeated this challenge as Lennon’s mom & successfully taught him how to behave like a gentleman. I think these thoughts of death were a reflection of the lack of control I felt in my life. For the first time, I felt overwhelmed as a mother & didn’t know how to make my child’s life easier. I was plagued with guilt during this time, wondering if this was all happening because of something I did wrong in my parenting. I also felt embarrassed because I knew there were other kids out there that didn’t have this strong defiance. That guilt & embarrassment was paired with shame. Shame always keeps our mouths shut, which hinders healing tremendously because we don’t have that sweet camaraderie that always heals our bones.
I just stayed persistent in what I believed to be right though. I would remove him from ANY situation quick-like. Threatening did nothing, he didn’t change his behavior when I would warn him. So, I didn’t think twice about leaving any setting, to reiterate how inappropriate behavior will keep him from experiencing fun activities. I am sure there are parents out there that think this is me letting him rule my world. But I have been exposed to too many wild, defiant children to know my child was on the verge of being one of those children! Those kids that no one wants to invite over. He pushed his boundaries beyond my wildest dreams, thinking he could get away with behaving/communicating however he felt at any given moment. We took many trips to his room, where he pitched some royal-ass fits! I shed a lot of tears! But it finally passed. It took a lot of persistence on my part. I received a lot of support from my tribe, mainly my amazing mom! I insisted he know what good communication + behavior was, whether he chose to subscribe to it or not. Eventually, he did, and it was paired with his speech development.
Once he started talking & got his last [worst] month of tantrums out, we have been pretty golden since. The hangover has finally subsided. He becomes more fun every day. I spent so many months wondering what his thoughts were like! I LOVE finally hearing all the things rambling through his head. He is so curious & affectionate in his words. And I am so glad to see the defiance at a bearable level. He is still very strong-willed, but communicates with me & compromises & works through things nicely.
My hope in sharing this with others, is to let any other moms out there that feeling this way- It passes. Hang in there. Be persistent. It all pays off. AND remember, a strong willed child is a good thing. It means their smart. When they are not a crazy two-year-old emotional basket case, it will look much different.
Mamas, we often forget to take care of ourselves! If you are not feelin’ okay, reach out to your support & beg for 30 minutes to paint your nails or soak in the bath with some yummy bath salts. Most of us mamas keep our entire ship afloat. You’ve gotta be feelin’ good in order to take care of your family. I often think, “If I go down, the whole ship’s goin down.” So, remember to spoil yourselves often. You deserve it!
Sir Lennon, you are my own little personal Buddha! Thankful for you, beyond measure. You bring more joy to my life than I ever could have imagined. Eternally grateful to you.