I am going to say the quiet part out loud right now, and I am well aware that I may get judged harshly for it. I, sometimes, fantasize about running away from my children – specifically my toddler. There, I said it. It is out there in the universe now, and I can’t take it back, but I don’t want to. There is power in sharing our words. We can help reach other moms who may be feeling the same thing to let them know that they are not alone.
There is power in talking about things we are ashamed to admit, and most of that power is helping other moms. However, there is also a part of us that feels better. We feel relieved when we let it out into the universe, and that we can stop hiding the thoughts that can be very normal. I knew motherhood would be challenging, and I knew that a newborn would lead me to little sleep, and a lot of tears. I even knew that toddlerhood would test me, and push me to the very brink of patience and sanity.
However, I am on my third toddler, and he is a challenge. Every toddler is different, and boy can I attest to that. Even though all three of my children came out of my body, they are all so drastically different.
- My first was calm and independent from the very start, and I could count on one hand the number of tantrums she had.
- My second was a “screamer,” and he was very vocal, and as a toddler, he had no problem letting us know that he was not happy.
- Then came my third.
My third child is my wild child in every way. He is headstrong, vocal, tough and independent. He thinks he can climb the tallest buildings, and he also thinks he knows best and would likely move out now if I gave him the chance.
While these are traits that I know are going to serve him well when he is older, they are impossible to manage now. On my worst days, I do think about running away. I want to make it very clear to everyone who is reading this, I have zero intention of ever running away from my family. I just think it.
Do you remember that movie Bad Moms? In that movie, there was a scene that I will never forget, and it is probably because I relate to it too much. The three moms are sitting at the bar, and Kristen Bell’s character states that sometimes she wishes she would get into a car accident. Not a serious one, but one that would put her in the hospital for a couple of days. This way she could relax, and have some time to herself.
Is it sad that I related to that scene so much? Maybe, but I would bet money that I am not the only mom who felt this way and related so much to that scene.
Toddlers are supposed to push our buttons because they are learning about the world around them, and this means that they are testing boundaries. They are seeing what the world has to offer, and they don’t really care about the needs or thoughts of others, much less the “rules” their mom has for them. This means that they don’t care that you feel like a servant most days, a battling ram, or a personal jungle gym. They have no consideration for personal space, but this is developmentally normal.
Since I have two older children, I know that this is normal, but I also know that this phase passes. They grow out of it, and they gain some semblance of normalcy. This doesn’t mean they still don’t ask for a million things every single second, but they understand “sure, in just one minute” a lot better.
For any mom out there, who is struggling with her first toddler, please know that this stage passes.
It is also worth listening to that voice in your head. That voice that is telling you to run away is your body trying to tell you that it is time for a self-care break.
When I have those thoughts, I know that it means I am at my limit, and since I am human, I need moments when I can escape and have that time. I call on my husband and support systems in my life to take over for a bit so that I can escape.
If that doesn’t work, I take that time when he is napping / sleeping to do some self-care instead of cleaning the kitchen. It really does help.