parenting is HARD.

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*there is a plea for advice, but not till the end of the post — if you can wait it out that long.* 😉

when my almost-one-year-old dropped down to one nap a day, i gave up the dreams and silly notions that he might be one of those children who naps till kindergarten starts.  even so, i never dreamed that at two-and-a-half, he would stop napping completely.  and that it would coincide with me being in my eighth month of pregnancy, tired and big and apparently immune to the effects of caffeine.  and it also being the hottest time of year, making our outside excursions either very few or very exhausting and NOT FUN.  and i love him so much! he is saying the funniest things and using strange voices and charming me with his eyes and cheeks and kisses.  he’s giving hugs and saying “thank you” unprompted.  in the morning, after he hasn’t seen me all night, he says “hi mama!! i yooooouuu, mama” (i love you), and it totally melts me.

but he is also giving me a run for my money — and sometimes winning the race.  (at least it feels like it).  he’s throwing five-star screaming tantrums. and running away from me in parking lots. and needing to be dragged places, kicking and screaming. and jumping on me (and my belly) when i have clearly told him to stop. and throwing anything he finds on the floor (books, toys, cups, food, pillows, anything). and being bored by or having a tantrum for every fun thing i can think of to do.  and kicking the windows and walls surrounding his bed during “naptime”.  and giving me a mischievous grin and flashing those big baby browns while deliberately doing something i just asked him not to.  and using up every ounce of my energy and patience daily.  i cry a number of times each day, just because i’m tired and overwhelmed and simply do not want to address his behavior for one. more. minute.

this is life.  i know this is life with a two-year-old, particularly if you’ve been blessed with one who is physically expressive and loud and strong-willed. and i do see it as a blessing.  i have always been so thankful for the ways in which God shaped and made Jones, knowing with a mother’s perspective, i suppose, that there was purpose and reason in the way he was created.  i feel so privileged to be his mommy and to get to be the one who will help teach him and mold him into who God has planned for him to be.  but this privilege is so very tiring and emotionally exhausting.

some days i fail to remember that although all of my energy is used in being pregnant and being jones’s mom (let’s not even mention daily household stuff and japanese lessons), i still have exactly what i need to finish the day.  no more, no less — just what i need.  a lot of days, i find myself sitting on the little stool in the kitchen, praying desperately for patience to handle his energy and his screaming and his requests for just 20 more minutes.  and i get it.  miraculously, i get it.  i told bryan that i felt i was entering a season of life that might be characterized by begging Jesus for help every five minutes.  he said that if you were going to be somewhere that often, Jesus’s feet was perhaps the best place.

he stays in his room, in his bed, for at least an hour during “naptime”, for which i am grateful.  it’s a noisy hour, but its an hour nonetheless.  i am breaking my self-imposed video-time-limit to ensure a little more mindless rest-time for myself after his hour is up.  i’m a little nervous about feeling this overwhelmed before i even add a newborn to the mix, so here’s the plea:  any ideas for dealing with crazy, loud, rambunctious little boys?  keeping them entertained and stimulated?  (a fair share of his patience-sucking habits come out when he’s bored — screaming, jumping on me, etc.)  any thoughts for the days with a newborn and an almost-three-year-old?  any encouragement or commiseration?  anything??  anyone??

one thing is certain:  i can’t imagine life without Jones, the good and the hard.

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7 thoughts on “parenting is HARD.

  1. For what it’s worth, Jamie, you’re absolutely normal and no one would question that you love Jones completely! As you know I have a lively kiddo, too, and these young years are challenging. I love what Bryan said about Jesus’ feet being the best place possible to be. So true! Just remember that “this too shall pass” and take some comfort in knowing this time won’t last forever.

    My only recommendation about stimulating Jones is to find something he likes and do it regularly. Bath tubs, pools, rock-collecting, rock-throwing(?), playgrounds. Sometimes just getting outside helps calm everyone down. Recently I’ve been noticing a huge difference in Liv’s behavior when she gets to play with other kids. When we have a mommy-and-me-only kind of day, things around here go downhill fast. Granted, she’s five and has different needs than Jones.

  2. Every stay at home mom goes through this phase, maybe just at a different age. Etta’s gone through it and I get to look forward to Chloe’s transition probably within the year too. Getting outside tends to solve a lot of our problems, even if it just going to the store or taking a walk. If you are trying to stay inside, find cheap air conditioned activites or make playdates. We keep telling ourselves things will get better (been saying this for about a year now) and I know they will and the same will go for you too.

  3. Oh, Jamie. I can’t offer advice, but perspective. It seems like this will last FOREVER. It won’t. My oldest just moved out. How quickly time has passed since I was wondering WHAT ON EARTH I was going to do with her! God is sustaining you, and will continue to do so through other trials. Always. He is shaping you into His Son’s likeness through your utter depletion. Even though the process is painful, it is temporary. And the outcome is beautiful.

  4. I’m praying for you, Jamie :). If our little men were still playing together during small group they would be making the sitters earn their money!!

    A couple of things that have really worked for us:
    -In addition to praying for yourself and for Jones, we’ve found that holding our little guy and praying with him about specific issues has really helped.
    -Giving a job (carrying the bags through the parking lot on the way into the store, helping me look for specific groceries, carrying something back to the car, putting all the white clothes in the basket when I’m sorting, putting silverware away while I’m emptying the dishwasher, etc.
    -Having him say, “yes, Mom” or “yes, Dad” while looking at our eyes to acknowledge that he’s heard what we’ve asked him to do (or not do!).
    -When it’s a no nap/short nap day he reads books on his bed, but no toys/TV… books help mellow our guy out.
    -unstructured “use your imagination and entertain yourself” outside time.

  5. Jamie
    As I read this I was thinking of my waiting for the arrival of Jones daddy and what I can recall Donnie was quite alot like Jones pretty active and always busy!!!!!! I remember asking friends to exchange hours with and I would get some me time that way. You are very blessed to have daddy around to take Jones for hikes and run with etc. Whenever he does that take the time for yourself and Ezra and rest or have some quite time. Being at the feet of Jesus is a great place to be and He doesn’t mind how many times you are there, I am sure he loves every minute of it. Jones could b e realizing that his time to have to share everything with Ezra is coming soon so maybe that is why he is being a little pill. As I read this blog I wanted to run across town and rescue all of you but I can’t so know that I will be praying for you and Bryan and Jones and this will soon be a fond memory and you will all be better parents because of it. Being parents is a TOUGH JOB but you are doing a great job. Find a friend who will relieve you occasionally. His friends will be back soon. We love you.
    Mom

  6. I can TOTALLY commiserate!! I feel like I’m finally getting over that exact phase with Caleb. It only took 3 or 4 months, but in the midst of it it felt like forever. I also remember praying constantly for patience. I second guessed every thing I did as a mother, wondering how in the world my son could be so utterly and completely naughty. Where did my sweet, gentle little guy go?

    I told a close group of friends that I caught him banging Isaiah’s head with wooden spoon and I cried for a good half hour after that. When one of them prayed for me, he mentioned that we are still so very sinful and we have a perfect Father in heaven. Not sure if you have any issues with yourself as a mother, but after hearing that, I felt much better that I wasn’t CAUSING this psycho, crazy kid who tell me I couldn’t listen to the radio, I couldn’t sing, I can’t take him out of the car because Daddy is the only one who can.

    But now–it’s like day and night–a 180. I can go places and he won’t push little children the first chance he gets. He’s spoken kindly to me (for the most part) and listens (also for the most part) to me when I tell him to do/not do something.
    It’s a phase. I hugged a lady who said her child was a child that “only his mother loved” when he was 2 1/2. I stared at her and then at her now 4-year old son thinking, “No way. He looks like an angel.”
    It really is a phase and I hope this helps.

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