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Thursday, November 21, 2013

A Letter of Encouragement for Young Moms
The Princess at 18 months.  As recall the tears are because she didn't like the pigtails
Yesterday the Baby and I visited a friend who has a barely 3 year old and 3 month old. At the end of our visit, the 3 year old son had a on the floor, crying, screaming meltdown.  Y’all all know what I’m talking about.  Those meltdowns caused by the perfect storm - a mixture of badly needing a nap, the end of play time and not getting to do what they want.  My friend held her infant in her arm and calmly, with tears in her eyes, tried to talk to and calm her crying, screaming 3 year old.  I lovingly told my friend that she is NOT alone and we have ALL been there.   As I quickly packed our stuff so she could put her son down for a nap, I continued with assurances that it does get better and that she is doing a fabulous job. 

It later occurred to me that I had sort of forgotten how really really REALLY hard that time was as a mom.  I hope this post encourages moms with small children. 

First, you are not alone when you have a child who throws a tantrum or has a meltdown.  They ALL have meltdowns.  Seriously, they ALL have meltdowns.  If a mom tells you that her child, “Never did that!”, she is either lying or the incident was so traumatic that she has forgotten about the meltdown.  Your child will not remember the meltdown or be traumatized for not getting what they want.  They will remember that ‘No’ does mean 'no', and that although Mommy does love you, the world does not revolve around the their wants or wishes.

C-man at age 3 upset about having to take pictures at my brother's wedding. 

Second, ignore ugly looks in the grocery store when your child throws a fit about not getting what they really really want at that very moment.  You have to shop for food sometime and when you have young children, there is really isn’t the perfect time.  If you are one of those people who give dirty looks, shame on you.  Think back to when your children were young and how sleep deprived and weary you were sometimes.  It often seems like a constant cycle of feed and clean up.  Remember that a kind word or smile can make the world of difference to a young mom who usually needs some assurance and encouragement. 

Several years ago when my littles were about 8 months, 2 1/2 and 4 1/2, I needed to get out of the house and took the kids to Chickfila for lunch.  I sat in the play area and my children had a blast.  Yes, they were loud.  No, they weren’t running all over the restaurant, screaming or throwing tantrums.  After I packed up, I lugged the carseat and diaper bag with the Baby and had the other two holding my hand and elbow.  An older lady who had been sitting about 3 tables away from me reading a book stopped me and said, “Ma’am, the next time you think about taking your children out for lunch, you should just stay at home.  They are just too loud and shouldn’t be in a restaurant.” I was stunned and had my eyes on C-man who was breaking for the car.  My response was, “My children love the play area here.  I hate that they bothered you but there is another section of the restaurant away from the children’s area.”  Sadly, I could never forget her comment.  Please think about what you say to young mothers and how your opinions can affect them.

The Baby at her 1st birthday.  I'm not sure why she was crying.  Good Lord - she has a fist full of cake in her hand.  It can't be that bad!

Lastly, I promise, it does get better.  You will be able to sleep again.  Your children will be able to dress themselves and not need your help in the bathroom.  It seems like it will take forever, but it doesn’t.  Do the best you can in the moment, take deep breaths when you feel like you are losing it, and make time to have at least one night away a month with friends.   You NEED grown-up time that does not involve diaper changes and Playdoh.  Moms who are now on ‘the other side’, don’t forget how it felt when you were in the trenches and offer kind words and support to young mothers whenever you see them.  They need the encouragement that they are doing a great job. 

The 'other side' - I promise it will be here before you know it. 

Please pass this along to any young mom that you think might need this today, especially during the holidays that can add even more stress.


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