There are days where I feel like I am failing miserably as a parent. For days on end, my son will test me at every opportunity, just to see if I will cave on the time outs or relinquish the three more bites rule. I try to remind myself that it's a stage, but it doesn't always work.
That's why I was so relieved when a friend IMed me about her son's tantrums and behavior the other day. Our boys are about six months apart. Hers has always had a stay at home mom, my son had one for but a year and a few months when his sister was born.
Hearing that her son was going through something similar was like an ACE bandage on my legions of mommy guilt. How could I be failing if she was enduring similar struggles? It's times like this that I am so glad to have friends who are in the same stage of development with their children. No matter how much any parent loves their child, there comes a time when the child just pushes and pushes and pushes until you feel that your grasp on sanity -- and reality -- is bound to disappear forever. (Don't worry, it won't.) That's why you need mommy friends.
With any luck, your mommy friends were there with you through the glory days of firsts-- first smile, first coo, first crawl. Sharing these developments with someone in the know is priceless. Only they can understand why you might be giddy over a gas-induced half-grin, or beside yourself when baby coos to wake you.
Those happy calls are like the wedded bliss of the honeymoon period. They're uber-bubbly and happy-overdrive.
Then it happens. You discover that the sweet bundle of joy won't be that eye-batting, perfect child forever.
As any parent knows, a child's life isn't all ups. In fact, there comes a point when it's downs too . . . Like when your son takes permanent marker to the wall (Will hasn't, knock on wood . . . But the couch is another story). Or when your daughter paints her room brown with . . . Well, you know. On those days, there is nothing more comforting than someone who can say, "I understand -- my baby did XYZ too."
Seeing my son revert to his normal, happy-go-lucky self after a good day does help me rebalance and remember that this terrible-twos or terrible-threes behavior is really just a phase. And if it's a phase, then we will survive -- especially with the help of my mommy friends.
Next up? Preschool.
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