As my toddler daughter continues to develop, change, and learn about the world I, too, am growing as a parent. One thing I’ve come to realize over the past few months is that being a parent is really a big balancing act and the future of your child is what’s at stake. One of the toughest things about being a mom is finding that perfect balance between letting your child express their creative individuality and ensuring that they learn the proper boundaries which will help them later on in life. How strict is too strict? How lenient is too lenient?
At two years old, C is constantly on the go. She likes to explore, try new things, and test her limits. I try to give her just enough room to be herself but not enough that she might accidentally get hurt or break the rules we have in the house. But it’s hard, parenting. Sometimes I get frustrated and I raise my voice. Sometimes I lose patience and stick my child in time out when I probably should just sit down and talk to her calmly. Sometimes, okay a lot of times, I feel like a complete jackass. Those are the moments when I realize that we need more balance.
As a mom, I need to understand that my daughter is not perfect. I need to recognize that I’m not perfect.
I need to be okay with that.
I have to learn to take the extra time to help my daughter through a rough moment when we’re out in public instead of offering (sometimes) empty threats of timeout at the store (I have actually had to sit her in time out at Target). I have to recognize that just as I’m learning what it means to parent a toddler my child is learning what it means to be a toddler. I can’t even imagine how difficult that must be for her (it’s probably a good thing that we don’t remember those years) to have this great big world full of challenges and things to explore and to lack the ability to fully express her wants and needs with the people who are responsible for her safety and well-being.
Finding that balance requires me to take a step back, a deep breath, and to look at situations more objectively. To remind myself that my daughter is young and that the moments of frustration she has are only temporary and that it’s my job to help her through them. Being a parent is one of the hardest jobs in the world but it’s definitely one of the most important and it is so, so worth it.