Laughter and hugs, people. Laughter and hugs.
I’m happy to admit I have no idea what I'm doing as a mom.
As a mom I've had days of frustration and annoyance. Some days it can be really hard to be a parent. Since my daughter is 2, any situation at any time can go from joyful to stressful (and sometimes dangerous) in a heartbeat.
Some days it feels like I’m doing everything wrong. With so many different parenting styles happening among my friends and family, it's been an interesting process (to say the least) — learning who I am as a mom and how to discipline my child in a way that feels good for both of us.
I’m happy to admit I have no idea what I'm doing as a mom. There’s so much information available to parents these days, it can be confusing. Applying information I read from books to something I’m doing, naturally, might seem odd. In some cases, it has created more frustration. Through researching a lot of different books I'm lucky to have found a few that are helping m:
No-Drama Discipline: The Whole-Brain Way to Calm the Chaos and Nurture Your Child's Developing Mind by Daniel J. Siegal and Tina Payne Bryson: This book is a reminder that no one is a perfect parent, and offers practical communication tactics to avoid escalation of emotions — that often leads nowhere. While the work involved to “connect and redirect” my child toward helpful, safe, and kind behavior can feel timely, research shows kids who are disciplined in ways that respect them as people grow up better able to communicate with others. So far, I’ve found the methods in this book helpful, particularly on days when I’m exhausted and my toddler is in the middle of a crisis because I won’t let her pull the cat's tail.
Post-Partum Depression and Anxiety: A Self-Help Guide for New Mothers by Pacific Post-Partum Support Society: This book is low on guilt-provoking guidance and takes into account an individual woman's experience. I had no idea I was suffering from post-partum depression until I read the individual stories in this book. One of the stories rang so true for me that I started to cry — something I wanted to do, but since becoming a mom, couldn’t, which is one of the not-so-obvious signs of post-partum depression. I thought the stress I was feeling was normal for the immense life change that parenting is, until I read this book and learned that it’s not just constant crying that can be the a sign of post-partum depression, and it can be triggered by life stuff like living far away from my family, or having minimum support because my partner was working two jobs and was gone all day and night. I recommend this book to any woman who has recently had a baby and feels overwhelmed by the experience.
Toddlers Are A-Holes, It’s Not Your Fault by Bunmi Laditan: In the end, I think laughter is the best medicine. I discovered this book by Laditan on my Kindle one day while trying to look for information on parenting. It covers everything from what you should keep in your emergency night stash for when parenting has got you stressed, and what a sleeping schedule with a toddler is like. It covers middle-of-the-night assholery and how to handle leaving the park. Thanks to this book, I’ve had a good laugh over the normalcy of toddler semantics and the knowledge that I’m not alone — somewhere out in the world, there’s a mom or dad who is standing in the kitchen, shoveling a chocolate bar in their mouth while their 2-year-old runs around the house in circles at 4 a.m.
In the end, it really is all about the love — a love so big it can feel too much to handle at times. Above all, since I became a mom, I’ve come to learn that taking care of myself, listening to my inner voice, and the ability to reach out for help when I need it, are a few of the greatest skills to have as a parent. And remember, there are no perfect parents — and when things get stressful, laughter and hugs are always an option.