Monday, December 21, 2015

All the Judgmental Looks {My toddler melted down.. again}

Yesterday I took the both boys to see Santa at Bass Pro Shop. I have been wanting to do it since last month and since there is less then a week away from Christmas I knew I needed to do it this weekend. Bass Pro has the cutest set up; with tons to do and free pictures with Santa.
The boys had a nice nap, ate some lunch, and then we went to "Santa's house". 

They did so well with Santa too! No smiles... but no tears so I say it was a win in my book! MyBigBoy was a little confused and didnt know what he was so supposed to do and I have no idea what MyLittleGuy is doing with his hands... but its precious! haha. 

Once we finished with that we walked over to the craft table and MyBigBoy colored and then we looked at the train (his favorite!). 

Then, after a super fun and relaxed afternoon, MyBigBoy peed his pull up. Which really isn't a big deal to anyone.... except to him. He wants to immediately take it off -- right there, by the train, in a crowded room with strangers. There is no negotiating with this boy with big feelings. He tries and tries to take his pants off and I plead with him that we need to go to the car or to the bathroom. 
He falls to the ground in tears. 

I start getting the looks.

You moms know what I am talking about. The judgmental looks from people without kids reminding themselves to never have them. The sympethetic looks from other moms who remember what those days are like. The harsh looks from those moms who maybe parent differently and they think you are doing it all wrong. 
I stood there by the train track, MyLittleGuy in the shopping cart, MyBigBoy flailing himself all over and EVERYONE was staring. 
I scooped up my mess of a son and put him in the cart and started to walk out. 

Here is something I have learned about my boy in this short season -- if I try to repress his feelings - the feelings get bigger. 
Which makes sense. 
Have you ever been so angry and someone tells you to "calm down"?
What is your response? Mine usually isn't that pretty. 

So, MyBigBoy is in the cart basket and we are walking out. I am holding on to his shirt, attempting to keep him sitting down so he doesnt fall out. He is hitting the cart, crying, screaming. 
I am getting sooo many looks. 
Plus, can I just remind you that this place offers free Santa photos the weekend before Christmas. And there is a restaurant in there AND its a huge 2 story store! This place is massive and is packed! My son's ear piercing screams is all anyone can hear. 

We finally get outside and then MyLittleGuy decides to join in on the tears. It was small and off and on but he is very empathetic so he saw big brother crying and figured he needed to too. 

Outside they have a stand for kettle corn with a bench behind it. I take MyBigBoy out of the cart and let him "calm himself down" on the bench. Of course he falls to the ground still kicking and screaming. 
The whole time I am talking to him about how he is angry and I know he is upset because he wanted to take off his pull up. I explain that it is okay to be angry (because it is) but it is not okay to kick and hit. We are right by the exit so everytime someone walks by they hear my son yelling (and me letting him) and they give me the judgemental look.  

I mean before I had a very strong-willed toddler I probably would have done the same thinking, "why can't she control her kid?" Staring and judging and telling myself how that will never be me. My child won't throw fits in public place. 

But here I was.

And I realized something in middle of this meltdown. 
I really don't care what they think. They can stare at me, judge my parenting, talk about me while they walk away. I am not doing this for them. I am doing this for my son. Because I know how he operates (well... I am learning). Because I don't want him to feel like he has to stuff his very big feelings because I cannot handle them. Because I want him to learn how to control his feelings on his own eventually. Because allowing him to "feel the feels" helps him get in touch with his emotions. Because I want him to know that he is safe with me and his feelings are not too much for me.
And mostly because I know that he will get to the other side of this meltdown and the longer I try to control how he responds to his emotions the worse (and bigger) it gets. 

So, judge on, Judgey McJudgerson. 

MyBigBoy did stop crying. He ran into my arms "hold, Mom!". I held him and walked to the car explaining again about being mad and how to handle it. 
I buckled him in the car seat and he asked me "wipe tears, mom."
I wiped his tears, started the car, and we said "bye" to Santa's house. Then MyBigBoy did the sweetest thing ever! 
He said, "thank you mom."
Maybe he was saying thank you for wiping his tears or taking him to see Santa. Or maybe he was thanking me for allowing him to sort through his emotions in a safe place. Whatever the reason I knew that although it was embarrassing, frustrating, and just hard....... it wasnt the end of the world and we got through it.

So, to the moms of the screaming toddlers in public places. You're doing a good work! Keep it up. Its a hard and sometimes lonely road but remember you are a great mom and this too shall pass.
To the bystanders witnessing the melt down - try not to judge. Try to remember that we are all navigating through parenting differently and what works for you and your children might not work for me and mine. 

tantrums, big emotions, and love. - Monica

Friday, December 18, 2015

It was such a Holy Night - Arrows and Warriors

Happy happy friday!!! And happy one week before Christmas!

who still needs to do Christmas shopping?
*raises hand*

The boys are taken care of but I still have a few family members I need to get some stuff for. 

Today I wrote a post at Arrows and Warriors talking about one of my favorite Christmas songs - O Holy Night. 

You can click right here to read. Also make sure to check it out daily. 
A group of amazing mommas, including myself, post uplifting and encouraging messages for moms. Our heart is to inspire other moms that you dont only need to survive but you can THRIVE in motherhood with Christ at the center. 

Have a wonderfully blessed last weekend before Christmas! 

Christmas carols, blogging, and love. - Monica

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Meltdowns and Santa attempts

I cannot even believe that Christmas is only a little over a week away! I mean... really??? 

I probably say this every year but it went by so so fast! 

Our Christmas tree is decorated, the stockings are hung, Christmas movies are on everyday and I am a little sad that i will be coming to an end soon. I want to do all the Christmas stuff I can since I dont have much time left of the season.

The other day Husby and I took the boys to go see Santa. Well, we tried. 

We were going to go to the Bass Pro Shop since they have free activities and a free photo with Santa. We got there at about 3:40pm and they told us that the closest time was 7:30pm. We have to drive about 20 minutes to get there and since we had to eat and run errands we decided to take the ticket and comeback later. 

We went out to eat as a family and it was so wonderful! We havent done that in so long because Husby has been working so much. Both boys were in high chairs and it was so so cute! After that we went to Target to pick up a few things and walk around. We were just trying to waste time so that we could go back to see Santa. 
After about 30 minutes of navigating through a sea of people trying to get to deals at Target, MyStrongBoy went potty in his pull up. Which meant he needed to take it off. In the middle of the toy aisle. 
When we told him that he needed to go to the bathroom to do that he got so upset. Tears streaming down his face and frustration in his cries. Husby had to pick him up and take him to the car (since I left the diaper bag in there). At the car MyBigBoy was not wanting daddy to change him and continued yelling and kicking. I took MyLittleGuy (who was happy in the Ergo) out to find the car so that I could convince our 2 year old to get dressed. 
At that point it was 6pm and we knew we couldnt last another hour and decided to drive home. 

We thought the boys would like to go see Christmas lights. So we went home, put on comfy pjs, made mexican hot chocolate and made a quick stop at my in laws. 
But when it was time to leave MyBigBoy wasn't happy and another meltdown happened. Again he refused to put on a pull up for both my husband and I and my mother-in-law had to do it. 
We did eventually go and look at lights and it was fun. Then we got home, put MyBigBoy to bed..... which he got up just after I layed MyLittleGuy down in the crib, cried, and woke him up. 

I felt so angry.

Why?? I already have so many problems with MyLittleGuy sleeping in his crib! 

I yelled.

Then I went to bed, crying. I was so so ashamed of how I reacted all day. I just wanted to have a fun family day and it was nothing like I envisioned. 

- . - . - 

Sometimes I have those days. Sometimes I do cry before bed because of frustration or shame. Sometimes I do feel like I am a failing as a mom. Or that I could BE or DO better. Sometimes I am just so happy that tomorrow is a new day and I can start over. 

So, I am learning to give myself a little more grace. I am learning to take an extra second to breathe before I react. I am learning that my 2 year old has some pretty big emotions and he is learning to express them and I WANT him to have a safe place to do so. 

Motherhood is learning. its adapting. its changing. 

some tears, some hot cocoa, and love. - Monica 

Friday, December 4, 2015

5 things I would have told my first time mom self

I wrote a blog post today over at Arrows and Warriors about 5 things I would tell my first time mom self.

I have learned so much since having both of my boys and I wanted to share some things I wish I had known the first time or at least believed.

Let me know what is something you would go back and tell yourself as a first time mom (or any other first time mom.)

Advice and love, Monica