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It was one of those days.
Naps were non-existent. A sleep deprived me was sick and five minutes of rest just wasn’t in the cards. I was behind on..life in general. I sunk down to the floor, held my head in my hands and I wondered, “Where did the joy of parenting go?” One minute I was happily rocking a little one to sleep and now my days were being spent cleaning messes and calming tantrums.
The toddler years are crazy, let’s be honest. You have these adorable little humans who are trying to figure out their world. They’re slowly morphing into the people that God created them to be, but they don’t have the means to fully communicate their hearts. Not to mention the fact that toddlers seem to have the energy of a 13-year old who just chugged a HUGE Redbull. If we take a step back and look at the big picture, the toddler years are some of the most important, because it’s in this season that you start laying a foundation of faith, grace, and compassion.
I don’t want to look back on these years and think, “Man, I was really crabby and I don’t have one single great memory!” I want to be a Mama that is filled with joy, even in the midst of crazy child-rearing seasons. Here’s my game plan and a few truths that have helped me find joy in the little years:
Parenting is a Ministry
Sally Clarkson opened up my eyes to this truth. Motherhood is a ministry. This is a season to reach hearts for Christ and to show love and grace. These little people deserve the same amount of effort as I would put into reaching a foreign nation. It’s easy for my head to get to a place where I tell myself that what I do each day doesn’t really matter. The laundry, the diapers, the endless cooking for goodness sakes seems so mundane. But each chore is an act that can be done in love. When you start viewing your children as an opportunity to reach a heart for God, it’s impossible to feel insignificant.
Find the Fun in Each Day
Toddlers need a lot of activity, particularly fun activity. I’ve found that finding a super fun thing to do each day keeps my little guys happier. Happy babies mean fewer fits, which makes for a calmer day, which means our house is filled with peace. It’s amazing to see little ones discover new things and the look of sheer happiness when they’re doing something they love can fill anyone with joy.
Take Care of You
When I’m well rested and well nourished, I’m able to handle life a lot better than when I’m sleep deprived and full of junk! Taking time each day to take care of yourself, even if it’s just to go to bed early and eat healthily, can make a huge difference in your attitude. Self-care allows you to be the best Mom you can be and it gives you a better mindset. You’ll have the energy you need to keep up with those little feet!
Write it Down
I’ve started keeping a prayer journal and in that journal at the end of each day, my goal is to write 3 things about my little ones. This keeps my heart in the right place and keeps my head sane. It’s a great reminder that there is more to each tot than just their loud screams and mischievous antics. Not to mention the fact that it’s a really great keepsake!
When times are hard, I will be the first to admit that social media is a welcome distraction. Checking out can actually cause more harm than good. Choosing to be fully present not only gives you the opportunity to connect with your child, it also opens up opportunities to make life run smoothly. Make a choice to open your eyes and be present wherever you find yourself.
How do you embrace life with littles?