Bipolar How I Cope with having Loved Ones With Mental Illness

I am close to three people who have Bipolar. I will not disclose who they are for privacy reasons but, let’s just say I know very well what it means to love someone with bipolar.

Bipolar is like being on a roller coaster ride. Sometimes you can predict drop offs and others you just have to hang on because the next turn sends you into an unexpected spiral. Sometimes you are laughing and throwing your hands in the air and then other times you are clinging, simply holding on for dear life screaming it the top of your lungs.

Bipolar disorder
Image source: pixabay.com

I have:

  •  watched as someone I loved made terrible choices.
  • seen them yell over nothing or laugh uncontrollably at nothing.
  •  watched them ruin their very important relationships.
  •  sadly watched them spend money they never really had to spend.
  • experienced them loving with all that they had.
  • had the pleasure of seeing them so proud of successes.
  • watched rage over the slightest failure.
  • stood by as a mood shifted so extremely they make me feel like I was spinning.
  • heard things I wish I could un-hear.
  • witnessed them create things so beautifully that you know their soul is so pure.
  •  observed them destroy close to everything they owned.
  • been there in the happiest of times at their best.
  • celebrated them dancing like no one is watching even though everyone was.
  • loved them. Because we are all deserving of love.
being alone
Image Source: pixabay.com

According to the source, Brain & Behavior Research Foundation, “More than 5.7 million American adults or 2.6 percent of the population age 18 or older in any given year have bipolar disorder.”

It’s my personal thoughts that that number may be even higher as many do not ever seek help and are not diagnosed. My guess is if you found this you know someone who has bipolar or even may have it yourself.

Over the years living with people who have bipolar and having them in my life I have come up with things I do when it comes to my relationships with these people whom I love so dearly.

You must accept the fact bipolar is a part of their life but it does not completely define who they are.

People who have bipolar have personalities, hopes, dreams, and aspirations just like anyone else. They are not their illness they have an illness.

Bipolar is not an excuse for everything.

While bipolar does affect one’s choices you can not just use it as a way to brush off bad behavior. There was an incident where a bipolar child broke something that did not belong to them on purpose. It was very clear that they did it with mean intent and they were making clear choices. My first reaction was to brush it off as oh this happens a lot the illness causes them to act this way. No, that is not how life works. Life does not care if you have bipolar, people out there still expect basic respect. The law will also not care if you child grows up and blames bad choices on his or her mental health.We must teach them that early. Interestingly when the child was not expected to act that way and received proper loving discipline. They started working towards better behavior.

Know what their triggers are.

In my experience, both children and adults have triggers that can cause a fast shift in their mood.By no means am I saying you should tip toe around them. We all know some things simply can not be avoided. However, it if is something that does not need to be done or said it is often best just to avoid it. This cut down on so many manic episodes for us.

Appointments, medications and seeking help.

One person in particular that I am close with needed to be often reminded that their mental health appointments and their medications were so very important. Yes, everyone case is different but for us, the medications and therapy would start helping some and their response was to stop the medications because they felt” fine”. At the very least I was able to break that cycle sometimes. If a person you love is threatening to harm themselves or someone else please make a phone call to get them help right away. Please, never brush it off. Ever.

Set clear boundaries for yourself.

There are certain things I will not put up with. I won’t bend or break on them. It does not matter if the person suffers from mental health issues or they do not. My lines in the sand are there. If they are crossed there are consequences. For example, should I have a friend with bipolar (or not ) and they were to intentionally physically harm me or a child of mine. The friendship would end. That is one of my boundaries.

Image Source: pixabay.com

Give yourself a break.

Go grab a coffee with friends, go for a walk, find a hobby you love especially when the person you love is having a manic episode. Make sure they are safe and take that time for you. Being around someone who is manic is emotionally and physically exhausting. There is nothing wrong with needing time away, in fact, it is a very healthy habit to form.

Be an advocate

If the person you love is a child or an adult has difficulty expressing themselves to their doctor, schools, family please make sure they get heard. If it is a child and a doctor will not listen perhaps finding a new practice. So many times people with bipolar or parents of children with bipolar get brushed off by the medical profession when they voice their concerns. I have stood up many times as a voice to be heard and it has ended a lot of heartache and frustration.

Know what comforts them.

For some people it is a favorite blanket wrapped snugly around them, maybe for someone else, it is just a change of scenery, a hug or even to just be left alone. Comfort and familiarness are often very needed by someone who is manic, or depressed.

Remember no one chooses to be mentally ill.

Love and compassion go a long way they did not ask for this, cause it or choose it. While someone with bipolar disorder can become extremely frustrating or worrisome try not to be angry with them, don’t beg them to change or demand they stop being this way. This is not a choice, it simply is.

Image source: unsplash.com

 

 

I am by no means an expert

I am simply put a person who loves and is loved by people that have bipolar disorder. For more information, you can check out the following resources. What I have written are things I have done over the years that have worked for me personally.

National Institutes of Health – Bipolar Disorder

WebMD – Bipolar Disorder Health Center

If you or someone you love is threatening to harm them self please do not just brush it off please get help.
Call 1-800-273-8255
Available 24 hours every day 24/7

My personal thoughts.

Bipolar is not all negative. Some of the most creative, smart, energetic, full of life, fun people I know are bipolar. They are wonderful people that have a mental health disorder. The stigma placed on people with mental health is very disheartening. I have been through years of ups and downs with people who I love. I have stood up for them when they could not and you know what… they have done the same for me. At the end of the day, we are all simply human… please embrace one another through the perfection and the imperfections. #Love #Kindness #Compassion

Describing bipolar disorder quote.

 

 

Love Jennifer

 

Parenting When I Just Want A Little More Sleep!

“Giga! Wake up I need to poop on your toilet.”

I crack one eye open and there is her little face right up in mine the sun is up the birds are chirping, it’s morning… dang why do I feel so unrested?

“GIGA! I need to POOP on YOUR toilet.”

My brain is so foggy but I am starting to come to and question her motives since she is still wearing her diaper and not yet really potty trained. So I ask her. “Why?”  (She is not potty trained she is potty learning.)

The howls ensure you just never ask why… and now I am wide awake sitting up. I slide out of bed coming face to face with the alarm clock. 5:30 am?I JUST went to bed. She grabs my hand dragging me through the house to the bathroom. Why are we going here again?

I pull her diaper off and set her on the toilet, excuse me  MY BIG toilet and I sit on the edge of the tub and I suddenly realize that I need to pee. There she is sitting there staring at something on the ceiling little toddler legs dangling. Now I REALLY need to pee. Oh my gosh why do we always get rentals with one bathroom?  So I open my big mouth. “Giga needs to pee are you almost done?” Mind you there has not been a single tinkle or stinky in the BIG toilet since she sat down 15 hours ago (Okay it was really three minutes but it felt like 15 hours.)

Gotta Pee GIF

“Giga it’s my turn. I am pooping in the big toilet”

I consider that maybe it would not be too weird or really too awfully gross to pee in the tub… Yeah, it would be REALLY weird and REALLY gross.  Then I would also have on my hands a peeing in the tub toddler for sure.  Um haha, no thanks. Dang my Bladder, I bet my eyes are turning yellow because my body is surely filling up with urine. Oh lord, she’s on the tenth verse of the Days of The Week song. Yes, kiddo it feels likes it’s been weeks and weeks.

Finally, she jumps down. “I did it!” She really didn’t do a single thing but that toilet was all mine!!! Sweet relief.

She informs me I am a good girl and she is so proud of me and flushes the toilet 6 times for good measure.

5:45 am

I try to lure her back to bed. Not happening. She thinks I am crazy. I am sooo tired. She is clearly not because she could get two minutes of sleep and then do a triathlon. I figure she slept for at least 8 1/2 hours so she should be charged up for the next month.

Why does she not know how wonderful sleep is?

Running down her morning list.

Milk in the purple cup with the pink cover. Check

Eggs quickly scrambled in the microwave because there is no way on Gods green earth I am turning on the stove this early. Check

Tablet. Check

Why do these Youtube kids she is watching sound so cheerful this early….

I flick on my computer and scan Facebook and come across this video. Gosh, I love this lady! Be sure to subscribe to her. 🙂

Little Miss hears me on the computer and wants me to read a book at her.

Nope, change of plans in a millisecond you know toddler speed.

Now we need to do the daily calendar (if you don’t know what that it is was part of our Five on Friday post.)

So we do. I change the date, the day and she wants me to change the letter? She has been saying this for the longest time and I am lost so I pick her up and tell her to point to the “letter” and she points to the WEATHER! Oh lord yes the weather magnets ha! I slide cloudy into the weather spot. I am so tired of cloudy days and I am *yawn* so tired. She kisses me and tells me I am a good girl. I feel like I just solved the puzzle to life at this point.

Oh, and I forgot to change the mood where is the sleepy looking smiley face, Hmmm there is none would the sad one work?  She senses my hesitation and is melting down my leg saying “The happy one! The happy one!” Of course right…the happy one.

Melissa and Doug please add sleepy

I am making coffee. Side thought I seriously gotta try making those Coffee Popsicles today I found online. She runs to get the cream. Then she is kissing and hugging me again. She is so happy, bubbly and sweet this morning. Why am I focusing on how tired I am and how I would rather be in bed?

I look down into her little adoring eyes and realize that this morning I GET to be up with this sweet little girl. I get too. That is pretty profound. Yes it is early, yes I am tired but, she loves me and is she is enjoying these moments, treasuring them. I get to have these times. I am pretty much the luckiest person alive. She is my lottery, the big win, my once in a life time my sweet Little Miss.

8:00 am

And now as I write this she is sleeping soundly on the couch making peaceful little snores hugging her tablet. #Blessed #NoSleepForMe

Parenting is about finding the joy, embracing things you didn't ask for and loving the moments that found you. www.simplymoms.net Parenting Quote

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Love Jennifer

 

 

 

5 Fabulous Daily Parenting Tips

What little changes will make your children happier now and even later on in life?

When parenting, we all know life gets busy however these simple tips keep your children feeling happy, loved and most importantly at the top of your list.

Simple tips to happier children. www.simplymoms.net

 

Slather on the love and affection.

Children need to be hugged, kissed, patted on the back and told: “I love you.”  Even in those less than adorable moments when it seems there is just one tantrum after the next those things remind them that no matter what they are loved, cared for a safe. It’s never okay to withhold your love from a child.

Get down with them and play.

Children learn through play. They learn so much more than you can imagine and when you get down there at their level you are showing interest in what is important to them in that moment.  It tells them in a none verbal what you care about them and what they are doing. I play with Little Miss, I play with my big teenage boy.  Let them lead you. You will be glad you did.

Listen to what they are saying.

Children are people. Though they are small or in some cases bigger they have interesting and important things to say. They key as parents are to let them talk, to really listen to what they are telling you without judgment or even fixing issues for them right away. I remember all through raising my children they would often come to me while I was washing dishes and just talk. I took that time to focus solely on what was being said to me and they knew it. Sometimes it was just silly little things and other times it was things that were heavy on their little hearts. So please if you want them to come to you just stop and listen.

Listen to what your children are saying

Show love, kindness, and respect to your spouse and other family members.

Live and model the sort of relationships you hope they will one day themselves have. Children thrive on a solid foundation o the family.  Embrace and love others so they can learn to do so as well. Even if your family is not the model family and Lord knows ours often is not… love respect and kindness go far.

Be kind and loving to your spouse

Teach them to help out.

There is no reason not to expect children to help around the home. It makes them so much more included in all that goes on and gives them wonderful life long skills and good habits to bring into adulthood. Children feel pride in being part of all things great and small. Even in just sweeping a floor or planting a garden.

Please join us over at Simply Moms Group for more mom related chat.

Keeping My Husbands Heart Full

I won’t lie I have no reason to. For the longest time, I sat around pouting about what my husband was not doing to keep my heart full. Then something hit me. How am I keeping his heart full?  How am I showing him daily that I value and love him? 

Heart

When I sat down and looked at that list of me against him it was a very short one and I was not doing much for him these days without some amount of complaining and grumbling even if I didn’t say it out loud I am sure he knew what I was thinking.

So I have decided to make a change and I am still working at it. However, things are better. What is interesting is now he fills my heart more than ever without me saying a word. Interesting how that works huh?

 

1. My husband goes to work each day. I have been blessed to stay at home with my kids. So each morning even though I could stay all cozy in my bed I get up and make him coffee. We sit and talk. I kiss him goodbye and some time before his day is up I text him to say a simple I love you. I miss you. Thank you for giving up family time and working so hard. I appreciate you.

2. I am present when he comes home. I hang up the phone, walk away from the computer. I give him a hug and ask him about his day. I don’t sit and grumble about mine first. I listen. Then when he asks about mine I try to tell him a couple good thing and then the bad.

3. We all have little things that annoy us. I know I sure do there is a big list of them for me in fact. I have been trying harder to acknowledge things I find silly. I am sure there are things I insist upon silly I wonder how many things he does for me that he considers silly or pointless? So, when he asked me not to leave 15 different bottles of shower gels, shampoos and conditioners in the shower I started putting them away. Guess what… The shower is easier to clean, he is much happier and it takes me 30 seconds to do.

4. I think of him in quiet ways. Like when I am out buying treats for the kids I also think of things he has said he wanted to try or has been wanting to get for himself but won’t spend the money on because he puts us before him always.

5. I have stopped complaining about him all the time and tell people the wonderful things he does. Even if he never heard a word I spoke it was still showing up in my mood later that day. Instead, I find time to talk to him about what bothers me so he and I can work on it together. It has strengthened us both.

I still have bad days that I fall away from these things as does he. However, we are both working harder these days to show more love to one another even when we find ourselves busy and distracted.

I am participating in Mama Kat’s Writers Workshop using the writing prompt “Full”

 

 

Mama’s Losin’ It

These are Just Five of My Favorite Things

This week I have once again linked up with Mama Kat’s Writers Workshop. I picked the prompt  ” List your five most recent favorite things.”

Number 1.

Alone Time

Yes, I love my family but I do, however, cherish my alone time to decompress and just be. Sometimes that means taking a walk, or perhaps time on the computer to browse or write, then there are the times that I like to just sit in a sunny spot and just be.  I am by nature a loner.

Alone Time For Moms is Important

Number 2.

Food

I won’t even lie food is very high on my list. Even better food I do not have to cook or wash dishes after consuming. I love going out to eat To bad it is so costly to dine out because I would do it every single day. I know horrible.

Food

Number 3.

Coffee

The smell of coffee is the smell of home. No matter where I am that smell makes me think of my husband and all we have built together. Sitting down for morning coffee is something we have done together for twenty-six years.

Coffee

Number 4.

Fall

Sorry winter you are too cold and nasty, Summer you are just too hot and Spring well you’re okay but I really do not like the mud. What I do like is fall. The nice cool crisp air, changing colors, pumpkin flavored everything. It is the start to the holiday season which brings family together…speaking of the family….

Fall

Number 5.

My All Time Favorite My Family.

Not that this is even close to all of them but, I adore them all. These people make each and every single day better. I may not have tons of money but the people I call family, they are my true treasures. I am blessed.

Family

Mama’s Losin’ It
Photo credits minus the family photo k go to the artists at www.pexels.com who choose to share their art with the rest of us.

Breaking The Ice

There was a lot of melting happening today and with the melting, icicles were falling off the roof. I have to tell you I was a bit afraid one of our Miniature Poodles would be hit or even killed by all this falling ice.

Maine Ice hanging from roof

So I went out and did what any loving dog Mama would do. I went right on out there and started throwing snowballs at them. This, of course, intrigued my 15-year-old son who wanted to know what his crazy Mom was up to. I am sure I looked rather funny out there in my pajamas throwing snowballs at the house. So he did what any good son would do.  He joined in.

Breaking The Ice

I cherish these moments with him. I know they are quickly slipping by. He is a sweet boy, with a laugh and a smile that bring joy into a somber room with ease. He reminds me in many ways of my “Dad”. He goes at life with this curiosity and excitement that makes you want to sit there with him and figure things out too.

So we hit all the dangerous crazy huge icicles. The dogs can now safely wander out and do their business.  I guess that sorta makes us heroes LOL.

 

As a side note, mid afternoon it was hardly cold out hence the t-shirt for in the moment play.

 

Giving Him My Heart

So I told how myself and hubby met in my post about The Proposal I am sure you wonder what the rest of that looks like and why he now has my heart for always.

2 weeks before we married
Two weeks before we married out in front of Jordan Marsh South Portland, Maine

 

Just Married
Just Married. We were smiling. Young and foolish there was so much hard work in front of us.

 

The First Month

Imagine talking to someone on a phone for two months. While you may “get to know them” what you do not get to know is their everyday habits, mannerisms, issues, shortfalls, what makes them really angry, happy,  or sad. In basic you do not know how to live with this person on a moment to moment basis. The first month was figuring out neither of us know how to cook. That he was a messy person and I suddenly was not. That he had an ex who for years to come would make it her mission to now not only see him miserable but, to try it with me as well. We had very little money, we lived in a room, and walked everywhere. It was a messy struggle and made for very hard lessons.

The First Year

We eventually, within months moved to a large rooming house in Lewiston, Maine. The building owner left my husband and me in charge of running it. The building was in disrepair and condemned. Three floors, twenty-one rooms that needed fixing. Together him, myself and three other people brought it from unlivable to inspected and approved by the city code enforcement. It was a challenge but, it to this day is what I believe it started to pulled us, two strangers, closer. It was here that I helped raise his daughter who was 18 months old almost full time and would continue to do so for the next 13 years. It was here I became pregnant with our first child together. A tiny baby girl. We bought our first car together and ate many meals at Denny’s. It was also here that I made him chase me across the united states when I left him. not once but twice. Look, I didn’t say this was a fairy tale. Things were rocky at the times but, they were also good as well. We would move many times over the course of the next ten years and I left many times over the course of these years.

Welcome our first baby together
I love this photo. The way he was looking at her … the way he looked at all eight of them everytime they were born. He so loves being a father. We were welcoming our first child from our marriage.

 

Newborn
Our sweet newborn Chelsea. All 5 pounds six ounces of her.

 

Children
Just under two years, two children. I won’t lie it was hard. and there would be seven more children almost yearly. It was hard but, I would not change it. They were and will always be blessings.

 

Ten Years

When I turned 26 ten years in and many children later I packed up and left for what I deemed at the time for good. So many children and other stressors put wear on both of us. I loved him but, we were often bitter towards one another. I like to look back at those times and really think about them. They were true learning and growing years. We were both young and foolish. Our priorities were often lost. My answer was too often leave. So we never fully worked through anything.  So after three months, I came back to him with a promise that I have kept for 16 years. No more leaving, we will work on things together as husband and wife through good and bad just as we had vowed to do on the day we married that from this time forward he fully had my heart and wanted his as well.

26 Years

Our Anniversary came and went this year without anything more than us exchanging the words “Happy Anniversary” to each other. The difference these days is that stuff is not needed. We are happy and secure together. There is no card or gift that could express how we feel for each other. We have walked through hell together and came out on the other side holding hands walking side by side; and will continue to do so. We have discovered the secret to marriage. You become a unit. This is not just about what makes me happy or him happy.  It is about what is best for us as a unit. That day 16 years ago is when we truly became married. He still has my heart and I have his. That is the way it was meant to be.
My blog is part of Mama Kat’s Linkup. Come join us!

Mama’s Losin’ It

Valentine’s Day Cake Overload and Stuff

It’s Valentine’s day so we had to read a book about it. So Little Miss Toddler and I  dug through her Uncles stash of books and found this. It’s a bit old and worn from years of love but Little Miss Toddler enjoyed it.

Someone secretly loves Arthur but he has no idea who keep sending him little love notes. Can you figure it out?

Arthur's Valentine

Why eat the sandwich when there is cake to be had?  Little Miss Toddler was pretty excited about the cake. Mostly because as you will see it was covered in candy. That was the hubby’s doing. He is big on cakes for every occasion simply because he loves cake.

We had sandwiches and cake

Have you ever cut one of these candy covered cakes? Do you have any idea what might happen? LOL

M&Ms cake Kit-Kat cake

I thought it was just a thin layer of M&Ms. I was wrong. As I cut into this cake the candies started pouring off the cake, onto the counter and down on the floor where Little Miss Toddler was running around eating them as the bounced onto the floor.

Valentines Cake

I am pretty sure there was over a pound of M&M’s on this cake.  All pink, white and red. So pretty <3

Be Mine Cake

Apparently, one cake was not enough for hubby he also purchased a smaller one. Unfortunately, I really do not like cake LOL.  Not really sure what the need for cake two was…maybe because it said Be Mine? Maybe he was worried he would never get another cake LOL. Maybe he felt the need to express himself better with a cake with writing along with a candy avalanche cake? Or perhaps he wanted to eat himself into a cake induced coma? Whatever the reason both cakes were beautiful. It is sweet (literally) of him to think of us.

Love letters

Our whiteboard has been decorated for a while now. Each heart telling a family member why they are loved. <3

Lastly my sweet mushy card from the hubby to me. Of course, Little Miss Toddler insisted she open it for me because mail is her thing. Thankfully she didn’t shred it in her over-zealous opening attempts. She marveled at how pretty it was and then handed it over to me.

 

His card sums it up… Real love. 26 years of working things out,  Forever. I love you hubby. Happy Valentine’s Day.

 

Tell us how you spent your Valentine’s day.

 

Review of My Pets Friend Pet Stain and Odor Remover

If you have pets that pee on the floor you are going to want to read about this pet stain and odor remover from the Dollar Tree.

We have these Poodles. Two of them and they are demon spawns naughty, crazy and sweet all in one. Lucky and Levi. They are from the same litter and have the same issue and they have had this little issue for all the eight years we have owned them.

Poodle wall of shame

Yes, they like to pee inside. On my chair, on the floor, on my trash can. We have scolded, attempted to retrain, ignored, taken them out more and more piled on praise for outside potty time and just cleaned and cleaned and cleaned. Still, they continue to do their business as they please inside.

 

I was talking to my someday daughter in law about the issue. We both just thought that even though I scrub, steam clean and scrub some more their little poodle noses can still smell their pee. I mentioned that I saw a cheap version of enzyme cleaner at the Dollar Tree. Well, her sweet Zoey had an accident the other night so she stopped at the Dollar Tree and grabbed two bottles. One for her and one for little  me. Bless her heart! Little did I know this stuff was going to instantly change my life! Well, not really but, at the very least stop me from asking company if they can smell dog pee odors. LOL

Pet Stain Remover From The Dollar Tree

No, of course I didn’t spray the doggie. 😉

I went right to his favorite spot that had been steam cleaned but, still had faint traces of dog urine and I let that chair have it. Then I went around and sprayed every other favorite pee spot. I let it sit and dry. This morning, I got down and smelled that chair and the smell is gone! Not even a trace of the nasty dog urine smell. Get this… it smells pleasant now!

Something else I noticed the dog has stopped sniffing around it like he did before.  So far today no accidents. I am not holding my breath on being so Lucky it cured the issue but personally I think it is helping.

My Pets Friend Pet Stain and Oder Remover

This product is sold at the Dollar Tree. I am not affiliated with the Dollar Tree nor this product. I am simply reviewing it because it works.

 

The Directions on the bottle are simple.

  1. You need to soak up all the pee.
  2. Then you must spray the cleaner very generously on the stain insuring if it is on a carpet it gets well into the pad.
  3. You need to rub the product into any stains on your carpet or upholstery.
  4. Then let everything  air dry.

This is just what I did on an OLD stain and it worked. I will tell you on the chairs I had steam cleaned before hand but those smells were well set in. The smell of urine is now completely gone..

 

If you have pets this is a must buy at the Dollar Tree.

 

And Lucky Ole boy we still love you even with all your imperfections you are still family.

 

 

The One Thing I learned This Month (Yes, Toddlers Throw Tantrums)

 

As part of  Mama Kat’s Weekly Writers Workshop  I picked the writing prompt “The One Thing I Learned This Month” There is still time to join the fun.

As a seasoned mom, you would think I would have this under my belt. I have raised almost all of my eight children into adulthood. However, when my sweet Little Miss Toddler (Grandchild of whom I have custody) started throwing tantrums this month I was in shock. I was horrified. I was mortified. So sad and left wondering what on earth did I do here? She went from smiles and tea parties to something that resembled a cat being thrown into a pool and add in tail biting piranha.

Tantrums are normal

Then comes the phone call with my own mother. Here is little Miss Toddler building up to what I can see is a tantrum bubbling up and boiling over. She, of course, wanted to “wash her hands” Well there was no real need and she simply wanted to splash in the sink and turn my kitchen into a pool so I said those dreaded words. Not Right Now…

BAM !

There it was a full-blown tantrum. Including Ear piercing, earth shattering, mind crippling screams of what surely sounded like a child who was being harmed in some hideous way. Then there was the rolling about on the floor like the Tasmanian Devil.

My mother, simply being my mother was baffled. When did this start? Why is she doing that? YOU never did this… Mind you the poor woman has forgotten most of my childhood but, she remembers me being a calm little angel. A young outstanding citizen of toddlerhood. Yes, I set the bar very high as a two-year-old. How I curse my toddler days of good manners and calmness. How wonderful that I was so well-behaved. I was most defiantly the prodigy of two-year-old good etiquette. “She is two Ma, a toddler. They have tantrums. She is fine Ma, she is normal.” Those are all the things I said to her. Then I quickly hung up. One, because I was feeling rather defensive, hurt, and my ego took a pretty good hit. Two because whatever she was saying on the other end of the phone I could no longer hear over Little Miss Toddlers howls about hand washing.


 

So as I set the phone down I ran to Dr. Google of course. What were other moms saying? Am I messing something up… Yep, yep, yep Dr. Google says this is normal. I felt better for a moment. Then I wondered what if all those moms are just messing up too? What if they are just justifying their horrible mistakes so other screw ups like me can feel better. Ugg!
Little Miss Toddler was still screaming, still rolling about still throwing this horrible tantrum. Then… It stopped.

Silence…

She crawled up into my lap and looked into my tired eyes and hugged me tightly. She said she was sorry. She meant it and then she fell fast to sleep. As I sat holding her and watching her sweet angelic face fall deeper into slumber.
I had a revelation. I wasn’t messing up. She was simply tired. Just like all the other children I had raised at that age she had thoughts, ideas, feelings and needs they maybe just can not put into words. Just like myself when I have grumpy moments or days because I am no longer that sweet little harmonious toddler *Insert sarcasm*. I was not messing up and she certainly is not flawed. She is simply growing, learning and testing boundaries. She and I are…get this… You ready? Normal.
What I learned was. It is okay. I am not messing up. A tantrum is simply a small child’s way of handling overload, of letting off steam. I ignore tantrums and keep her safe. I speak to her calmly when she is done. I give hugs, and love and second chances, even fifth and tenth if need be. I keep loving her even when her moment is not good. I set boundaries and she keeps testing them. We are both doing a wonderful job. and You know what… So are you. We are doing a wonderful job raising these little humans.
I learned that other people’s well-intended comments even if they are your own mothers really do not add up to much. I am sure we all like to think we did a bang-up job and our little would never have dared to create such a performance but, I assure you as a child I did as did you. I guess it is sort of like labor we all know it was not easy but, we quickly forget how it really was. We forget details and want to remember the best parts. So forget all the comments, let go of well-meaning but, not so great advice. Because like it or not…

Tantrums are normal. 

 

 

Mama’s Losin’ It