Just A Few More Minutes, And I Would Have Made It…

Without snapping before naptime. I would have made it a whole half a day without losing my shit.

I woke up purposefully positive today, on a mission to make good things happen, to get serious work done, the house cleaned, and dedicated to focusing positive attention on my attention hungry toddler.

He is so needy lately. He is so demanding. He is so headstrong. He is so sneaky.

It’s a challenge. Every day is a challenge to not loose it, and most days I really, really fail, but I was going to do it today. I was going to work extra hard, employ every trick I’ve ever picked up from Super Nanny.

And I did. I praised the positive, ignored the negative, redirected, had to use a few timeouts, but it was going okay. We made it out to Satan’s Playground where I nearly melted in the 92 degree temps (IT’S SEPTEMBER!!), then I chased him around as he dug in the dirt for rocks. I even held back my urge to wipe his hands every 5 minutes, to tell him to stop getting dirty. I just let him play, dirt and all. After a couple more errands, we came home, had a great lunch and began to get ready for nap.

He does this thing now when I try to put on his diaper. We got rid of his changing pad on top of the dresser a couple weeks ago and now change him on his big, full size bed. He takes advantage of all the extra room and will. not. stay. still. I can’t even express how infuriating it is to struggle with a toddler for 5 minutes to put on a damn diaper. It is the STUPIDEST thing to get worked up over from the outside looking in, I know, but come naptime, I’M EXHAUSTED. I don’t have it in me to redirect, to distract, to coordinate the flailing limbs with the quick motions of my hands. Every single one of my requests, no matter the tone or how I phrase it, is met with laughter and defiance. And it pisses me off.

I lost it today. I ripped the diaper off and screamed at him, the calm demeanor I worked so hard half this day to maintain vanished, and I left the room for a second because I felt I needed to. And I could hear him cry, big sad cries. And when I returned he laid still, and he looked hurt, and I felt like an ass.

I talked to him about why I was upset, we both calmed down and he let me put his diaper on him and put him to bed. I apologized and kissed his head. And now I’m sitting here wondering if it’s just me that can be pushed to the edge so fast by a defiant 2 year old. How is it that he can push my buttons so hard? And why do I let him?

Kendall is 2 1/3 and don’t even get me started on the rage that boils from my belly when he does that limp-jelly-body thing anytime we’re in a hot parking lot.

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  1. Della basically does this EVERY time I go to put a diaper on her these days, and yes, if I’m worn out at the time, I lose it. Last night we had a LONG day, I was so tired and having major pregnancy body aches and it was way past her bedtime and she would NOT sit still for the diaper. I actually hurled it across the room and stomped out. My husband told me to compose myself and he got it (and the PJ’s) on her without a fuss. I think they can SMELL it when we’re frazzled and they push our buttons EXTRA hard.

  2. I can’t imagine it with a 2 yr old because my 15 month old is hard enough! He hates getting his diaper changed – doesn’t matter if he’s on the changing pad, bed, or floor. he flips over, squirms, screams. And the kid is getting super strong! I get so frustrated, and I’ve yelled too. I feel so bad, but why can’t they just sit still for 30 seconds?

    It’s so hard to hold them down AND wipe and change them. And don’t get me started on cleaning his nose…

  3. I had to figure out how to put a diaper on a standing child walking or running away from me. Super infuriating. Now that he is potty trained – it is just chasing him around with clothes in general, while he laughs like it is the funnest game ever. I had a friend point out that my son is always naked when she comes over – and this is why. Don’t feel too bad, sometimes they need to be scared into submission.

  4. Hahahaha!!! I know EXACTLY what you mean and no you are not the last nor the first person who had a toddler drive them crazy. I think the flipped out adult helps teach them boundries. Not that we plan on mental breakdown, its just they are so good at creating it.

  5. My daughter just turned 2 in July and she does the exact same thing during diaper change from time to time. I have lost my temper over it before too (like, hello, just lay still for two seconds!!), so you’re definitely not alone. I can also relate to losing your temper and then feeling really awful about it. Recently, while giving my daughter a bath, I totally lost it on her because she would not sit still long enough for me to rinse out her shampoo. I was tired and not feeling great, and the last thing I wanted to be doing was leaning awkwardly over a huge ass tub while trying to pin down a wet, slippery toddler. I screamed at her, she instantly cowered in the tub and cried terrified little tears, and I wanted to climb in a hole and die for being the meanest.mom.ever. I’m still not proud of myself for that moment, but it does give me comfort to know I’m not the only mom out there who’s ever done something like that.

  6. I JUST did a post like this on our blog–my little girl is only 19 months but. I. swear. she knows how to push EVERY button I have somedays.

    And I yell. And then I feel like the world’s worst mommy and question if I am meant to SAH. But, you know what? Then she does something adorable and I remember exactly why I’m here and I vow, all over again, to have patience.

    It’s a struggle. Everyday will be–they are autonomous beings, pushing their boundaries to see EXACTLY how far we’ll let them go. Just remember, K loves you–even if you yell at him. And, who knows, maybe he needed to hear it just so he could understand what you expect him to do? I mean, yeah, maybe it was not the EXACT way we want them to learn–but shit happens. May as well see the sunny side of it. 🙂

  7. Here’s my theory: We want them to push our buttons in the sweet and snuggly ways with their hugs and kisses and random adorable baby gestures. We want the way they push our buttons so gently that we grow a little bit every day that we know them, stretching to become more than we thought we ever could. We want them to have access to THOSE buttons.

    The problem is that access is access and the buttons are the same. It’s the direction that changes. The problem is that they’re not one way buttons. They’re more like pegs inside of holes and they can be pushed BOTH ways. We won’t give up the good to miss the bad so sometimes we all get pissed off. If they didn’t show us how awesome we could be we wouldn’t feel so shitty when we don’t reach our highest potential.

    Damn brats.

    I am so sorry you feel bad. You’re a great mom and your son adores you.

    • I love this, Mae. I think you hit the nail on the head.

      Jill, I find myself constantly taking deep breaths and remembering that my 2-year-old is not intentionally being an ass. But the struggling during diaper changes…the kicking and the hitting while I’m trying to clean up her poop…REALLY pisses me off. I’m glad to hear I’m not alone. I love my daughter, and she is my life…but sometimes I just don’t like her very much. And I know y’all get that.

      I second that you are a great mom. And it’s okay for kids to see their parents as imperfect people. You talked out your feelings and moved on. Well done.

  8. Girl, we have all been there. I try so hard not to snap, but sometimes I do. And I do the same as you. I walk away, then come back and explain my behavior. I apologize and tell DD I love her. I really used to beat myself up about it. But then I realized that she forgets about it about 5 seconds after it’s all over and goes on with her day. So I need to do the same. We’re not perfect. We’re not even close. It happens. Cut yourself some slack and move on.

  9. Woah.

    Wait, did I write this post?

    I could have sworn this is how my day went. My son does the EXACT same things. Limp-jelly-body drives me SO NUTS, I want to just leave him there and walk away.

    But seriously. It is good for our kids to see us lose it sometimes. Part of teaching them to be good, healthy, normal people is teaching them that sometimes you CAN’T control your emotions.

    But it’s just as important to teach them that you can be sorry, and regain your composure, and make things better. Which you did like a PRO.

    Hugs, mama. Don’t beat yourself up over it. He had a good lesson today… and so did you. Love! <3

  10. No, you are not the only one, not by a long shot. I also get upset with myself when I lose it. I also am so freaking drained by the time nap time rolls around.

    I will throw out two things: I read in “The Mother’s Almanac” that when your kid hits the stage of fighting diaper changes, change him standing on a chair. They have enough sense (usually, I make no promises) not to jump off or flail. You can try changing him in the kitchen or wherever you have a hard-seated chair before going to his room to nap.

    My Ella responds (usually) when I say that I am sad. She doesn’t care when I get irritated, angry, etc. Well, she might care, but it’s to get all upset and cry.

    It FINALLY occurred to me to say something before we get to wig out point, where she’s crying and I’m ready to go running from the room. Now, when she starts to aggravate me – more with getting dressed than nap time – I tell her how sad she is making me. The trick is I do it when I’m just starting to get aggravated, when I still have patience left.

    I only discovered that one last week, so I’m still testing it out.

  11. Add me to the list of those who could have written this post. Except I am not pregnant, I have a newborn.

    Today has been a good day so far.I haven’t raised my voice once. I wonder if it’s at all related to the amount of chocolate I’ve eaten today….hmmm. Sounds like a good reason to buy more choolate.

    And the limp-jelly-body irritates me to no end. I mean seriously, where do their armpits go?!

    Hugs to you mama. We’ve all been there.Just try to remember he’s only 2 and you’re only human. And pregnant.

  12. Oh, and I LOVE that book, “The Mother’s Almanac” by Margeurite Kelly. She has plenty of practical suggestions and is very reassuring.

  13. Thank you for posting this. Sometimes I feel like I’m the only mother in that loses it. Everybody else seems so calm all the time and sometimes I feel myself exploding about things that really aren’t a big deal. Thank you for helping me realize that I’m not alone!

  14. Y’all are awesome. Lots of great words of advice, and thanks so much for letting me know I’m not alone. I got a bit of a nap for myself finally, and I feel recharged. I like the point about children needing to see that their parents are imperfect. YES. Thank you 🙂

  15. With ya, sister. I have a 2 1/2 year old boy and a 9 month old boy. When I only had the one child I felt like the most patient mother who ever lived. Then about half-way through the pregnancy with dear son #2 I started having these days/moments where I. just. could. not. take. any. more. defiance. 🙂

    In my own experience I can say it gets better, but as I say that I remember the big ole’ screaming rage-attack I had on toddler this morning when he smacked his brother in the head with a hammer…

  16. I do it too. I think we ALL have at some point. I will be strolling along thinking what a great mom I am and how I can’t believe how patient I am with my kids and then something happens and I just snap. We have to know our triggers, I guess. But sometimes it sneaks up on us.

    Being pregnant with a toddler is tough. You are just so tired all the time and you can’t take care of yourself the way you did when you were pregnant with your first. You can try but it doesn’t happen!

    You just had one of those days, hon. It’ll get better and Kendall will never remember it.

  17. My baby already does these things. I can already tell this is EXACTLY what is going to happen to me in 1 year when he is 2. The sad thing is that he has already started at 11 months.

    Someone come on over to my blog in 1 year and remind me that I saw this coming. If we are not all in the looney bin by then.

  18. Just spent a full 9 minutes trying to get a diaper on my 1 year old daughter. I know it was 9 minutes because I bet myself it would take 10 and checked before I started! So, I guess I won?! Ha.

    You are a fantastic mom and guess what? It’s probably going to happen again, so don’t beat yourself up. On these days, I try to remember the whole, “Is someone bleeding?” “Did someone die (not yet! 😉 ) and keep taking deep breaths and walk out of the room just like you did.

    Hang in there…tomorrow’s a new day!

  19. I read somewhere that “if you’re not yelling at your kids, you’re not spending enough time with them” 😛

    It happens. You made up – he won’t be scarred for life. You’re a good mom because you feel bad about it AND because you yelled and finally got your point across!

    We all get yelled at plenty when we were young and I think (hope?) we turned out ok

  20. I’m so sorry! I normally have a VERY short fuse with people, particularly if I have deemed them “incompetent” at their job. However, for some reason, I find it easy to have an infinite well of patience when dealing with my very squirmy, headbutting, biting one year old. I think that I once read (in a Supernanny book, oy) that kids his age are too young to have the rational capacity for discipline– so I take absolutely nothing personally from him. Even when I strongly suspect he is just messing with me! Kendall is a bit older, so I imagine it is harder. I think you did great in setting your mind to positive thinking for the day, reframing things. Keep going, you CAN control your reactions, you are an amazing mom!

  21. So glad that you had the courage to post this and that so many other moms had the courage to admit that we all have days like this even if they are more frequent than we’d like to admit. My son’s birthday was last Friday. Monday through Wednesday were absolutely horrible days, I felt like a horrible mom, and I had no idea how I was ever going to get myself in the mood to celebrate his 2nd birthday. Yeah, it doesn’t get much worse than that. Everyday I wake up and take a deep breath as I think about how the day is going to go with my boundary testing toddler. And at the end of the day I question how I did as a mother today. An ever changing job growing and learning together.

  22. With my first, I didn’t understand why people call it the “terrible twos.” She was a REALLY high-need baby, but by two it was starting to get easier.

    Now I have a BOY (who I guess is about 2 1/3 also, June bday) and he is a challenge on a daily basis. I try to breathe slowly and be positive and think about how all the qualities that are driving me crazy now will be positive attributes when he’s older – “try” being the operative word. I wish I had words of wisdom but at the moment I’m flying by the seat of my pants, desperately awaiting that third bday when he calms down a bit and simultaneously cursing myself for wishing our lives away . . .

  23. It will pass but it feels like forever when you are in it! I have had that moment many times. It sucked esp when both kids were in diapers and they both decided they did not feel like getting them back on after massive messes.

    I found the three and a half to four WAY worse with each kid. Not that it helps- but the twos are just the beginning- (At least just before 3 there is this small amazing time… It is 3 and a half that all hell breaks loose;)

    But when 4 and a half comes- all your work pays off. My eldest is an absolute angel- I can’t believe that demon three year old was her- but it was. It tends to be almost all the children ( with the exception of the very shy temperaments.) The moms that don’t admit it feel it too.

    Taking a time out for yourself was good- I had PPD and needed many of those and I still regret my many moments of shouted loss. THAT being said- I do not feel that guilty- I did my best- so far they turned out pretty sweet, they dont remember much, and I spent many moments doing it right too. Besides they learned through my apologies that mommy isn’t perfect but I will try to love imperfectly and I will try to -persevere. They are still safe and snug with full bellies and kissed foreheads every night. Perspective is everything:)

  24. I have those days. I regret those moments. I always apologize and tell my toddler I am sorry and Mommy was wrong to act like that and then all is right in her world. She needs to know I am human, I make mistakes, and she is okay to feel hurt. My apologies model what she needs to do as well. It is not perfect. I am not perfect, but saying you are sorry and meaning it can heal a lot.

  25. You are not alone on this one. I have a 5yo, 4yo, and a 10mo and my patience if i had any in the first place is gone by noon if that. My older 2 are 13 months apart so i had 2 in diapers for about a year and the wiggle, squirmy, fit throwing during the diaper changes was enough to drive me over the edge. Not to mention any other false more or act of defience that came on a “bad day”.

  26. Oh hon, we’ve ALL been there. There’s just a moment when the rage boils over and it’s always over something that seems so insignificant after it’s over.
    Cut yourself some slack. You’re tired. He’s two. These things happen. Just keep reminding him that you love him even when you’re cranky and mad.

    How about putting the situation into his hands? Ask him how the two of you can find a solution to the diaper problem? Put the both of you on the same side and the diaper problem on the other, so it doesn’t feel like you’re fighting against each other, just against the problem. He’s little, but it could work… you never know. The limp noodle thing I have nothing for… if you figure it out, let me know!

  27. 7 weeks in with two kiddos and let me tell you, it is so much easier to have two then be pregnant and have a toddler. SOOOO much easier. I still lose it but it’s less…less over the top emotional.

    My 18 month old is just coming out of a diaper change fighting stage. Some things that have helped: giving her a wipe so that she can help us with the clean up. Also, for some odd reason changing her on the floor is the only place she won’t fight us.

    Here’s my theory on parenting: it’s good for our kids to see that we aren’t perfect so they learn that they don’t have to be (or can’t be) either.

  28. I do the same exact thing is you some days. I wake up with a goal to be a super wife, super mom, super worker, super blogger, super me. But its always those days that I fail at it. And when I yell at Phoenix and he REALLY cries I want to throw a rock at MYSELF. I feel like the worst mom on the planet and I can’t believe that I just yelled at my Bub because he kept calling my name 50 gazzilion times. 🙁

  29. Talk about feeling bad…try have your 10 year old yell “WHAT?!?” after the 110th time your 2 year old said something with an extra whiiiiine. My immediate response was to snap “don’t yell at her like that”. Then I realized those words bounced right back at me. Not only did I yell at my 2 year old like that before, but my 10 year old modeled my response. Bad Mommy 🙁

  30. Ugh. I know this story well. I’ve been thinking about it a lot too, after just losing my SHIT and yelling at my kid. Even as I saw her face look at me in bewilderment and hurt, I just . . . screamed. I was soooooo tired and needed a nap sooooo badly and she just would not. Go. To. Sleep. I lost it.

    And you know what? This is a conversation that doesn’t happen enough. Mothers are so wrought with competition (not as individuals, but through the institution)–I mean, you can’t find any mothering ‘friendly’ outlet that doesn’t present this perfect vision of this role–so all women feel inferior to the others or at least compared to the others, that nobody wants to talk about/admit how hard it is. Worse, we think that motherhood is supposed to transform us into some kind of supernatural being that is better than human, who takes everything in stride and handles everything perfectly–while also baking amazing cupcakes and throwing craftily-themed parties. For shit’s sake, we train little girls for motherhood from the time they can hold a baby doll. . . we think it’s our destiny to do it right after a lifetime of training. And we think our value lies in this perfection.

    And you know what? We are not perfect. We are just people, pretending to be adults most of the time. And really, I’ve also decided that we do our children a disservice by making them think we ARE perfect. I don’t want my daughter to hold herself to those standards and expect perfection from herself either.

    And all that said, I’ve been much better at patience since the nap outburst. I don’t want to feel like that again. And I was getting too comfortable snapping at her. The regret wasn’t worth it and I am working on it, but I will not judge myself for it either. 😉

    Sorry for the length–I’m a women’s history professor. It’s what I do, study motherhood’s affects on women–and it’s not pretty! lol

  31. It’s SO not just you. I feel the same way with my daughter, now 20 months. They are manipulative and you can only take but so much. It’s really hard trying to be so patient all day long and I feel really guilty when I end up losing it too. I guess it’s just part of the “terrible two’s?” Fun!

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