I usually give this talk to moms at the one year check up. I often have mom’s break down in tears when they find out other moms feel this way. I hope this will give you some encouragement.
Moms and dads have different relationships with kids. Dads usually have a relationship where they are throwing kids in the air and chasing them around the house ( the playful, fun relationship). Moms usually like a cuddly huggy kissy relationship. The first 6 monthsof life ,moms usually get lots of hugs and kisses, but when babies become mobile around a year of age everything changes. Babies turn into mister Destructo and moms have to start saying “No!” all day long. Babies also learn to do temper tantrums at this stage, and most moms start feeling like they are the mean Witch of the West. Moms usually start having some trouble with depression, and so I want to reassure you that if you are feeling depressed, you’re probably doing a good job as a mom!
Your job is to teach kids right and wrong. The way they learn this is by mom saying “NO!” and disciplining them 50 billion times over the first 18 years of their life. The best discipline techniques for toddlers is usually time out (I’ll talk about the secrets of how to do time out in a later blog). So, for example, your toddler plays in the toilet- you say “No!”, and put him in time out. A minute or two later you let him out, and he goes RIGHT STRAIGHT BACK TO THE TOILET!! So, you do it again, and again, and again…and after a MILLION times he finally learns.
Now, this is why this is so important. This does not feel very important, but you must realize what you are doing here. You think you are teaching him not to play in the toilet, but you are REALLY teaching him “you cannot have sex untill you are married!” You’re teaching him you cannot do everything you want to do, because it is wrong, and THIS is how they learn it-by YOU constantly disciplining him over the first 18 years of his life. The good news is the temper tantrum stage only lasts 18 years (yes, the same thing happens when they are 16 years old , except instead of throwing themselves to the ground and kicking and screaming they learn to slam doors and say mean things).
Now here is the pep talk part,the Tantrums ARE FAKE (fake at age 1, fake at age 16)!!! They don’t hate you and they don’t even really think you are mean. They are frustrated because they can’t have their way, and they are trying to manipulate you into getting their way. If you let them manipulate you as toddlers, you will pay for it when they are 13. But if you discipline them consistently, and just ignore your depression, when they turn 18 they will go off to college, call you on the phone, and tell you ” Mom, you are the best mom in the whole world!”
So take heart moms, what you’re doing is critically important, and will pay off. If you’re depressed, you’re probably doing it right!
Image used under Creative Commons License â€“ Flickr user Amy Wilbanks (April 13, 2014)