Passionate About the Community
and the Moms Who Live Here

I Have No Freaking Idea What I’m Doing

Infants are pretty simple beings. Sure, they think 4 am is a great time to have a party and they produce more poop than the elephants at the zoo, but comparatively speaking, they’re pretty easy. They don’t require a lot of judgement calls. We have a 20 month old, and while I adore the fact that she can now communicate most of her needs to us and uses the potty with about 80% accuracy, I sometimes long for the days when she was an infant and I felt like I knew what I was doing. Now that she’s a toddler, she spends her days figuring out if markers work on walls as well as they do on paper, straight refusing to eat spaghetti {which was her favorite food last week}, and falling on the floor crying because I won’t let her scale the bookshelf to get the cell phone placed out of toddler reach. Like most parents, I try my hardest to turn each challenge into some kind of opportunity for learning, keeping her safety and best interests in mind, but most of the time I’m left wondering if I’m really teaching her anything. 

The truth? I have no freaking idea what I’m doing. 

Last weekend, we were visiting our family and my brother-in-law came and told me that Ellie was in the bathroom pointing at the potty. I ran in to help to get her situated, but quickly discovered that it was a few seconds too late. “Great work telling mommy you had to go potty!” I exclaimed. “Next time, we’ll try to be quicker.” My brother-in-law (who has successfully potty trained three children) replied, “You can’t tell her that! You have to tell her she can’t go in her pants!” I was left wondering Is he right? Am I prolonging the already laborious process of potty training by providing too much positive reinforcement rather than setting clear expectations? Or do we just parent differently? 

The truth is that each and everyday, I’m faced with situations where I have no idea what to do. When she won’t eat her dinner, do I offer her a peanut butter sandwich that I know she will gobble up or do I put her to bed hungry and reinforce that we eat what we are given? When she’s crying in the backseat of the car, do I hand her my phone and let her watch cartoons or am I starting something I’ll have to break her of later? The other day I made her french toast with blueberries for breakfast. She gobbled the French toast, but decided the dog would like her blueberries. After shooing the dog out the door, I told her she was not leaving the table until she ate all of her blueberries. Then I stood at the sink in the kitchen and wondered if I’m the kind of parent who forces her kid to eat blueberries.

If we’re being honest, I have no idea what kind of parent I am. I know that there are moments in each day where I feel like I’m killing it and other moments where I’m completely questioning my judgement or am at a total loss for what to do next. I know I don’t have to have all the answers right now and when I think about the bigger picture, I know that she will turn out okay regardless of whether we force her to stay on the soccer team because she made a commitment or let her quit and move on. I think when it comes down to it, successful parenting has a lot more to do with love and presence than anything else…..

But if you’re the parent of a toddler, and you feel like you know what you’re doing, let me know. I’d love to have coffee. 

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