choosing joy

I actually had a different idea of where this post was going to go before I wrote it. And then as I kept writing and the words came out this is what I ended up with. So... there's that. 

It is no secret to most people that know me, including blog readers, that parenting a toddler like Elijah {and in particular a toddler who is Elijah} comes with its many challenges and difficulties. 
I can honestly say that even though I love my son more than anything in this world and would die if anything ever happened to him, I still have my fair share of days where I think, "I really wish I didn't have to deal with this right now..." 

This last year was probably one of the most difficult. 
Though it has always felt like we have had some difficulties in this parenting process 
[i.e. never sleeping, nursing problems, colic, ridiculous amounts of tantrums...], 
it felt like this last year was a perfect storm of toddler behavior problems. 
With Adam gone most days at school, it was up to me to deal with Elijah's tantrums day in and day out. 

I never wanted to leave the house. 
I called or texted Adam at school in tears swearing up and down that I hated motherhood. 
I was screamed at, kicked, and spat on while at the grocery store. 
(And Elijah only saved these wonderful mood disorders for me, Adam never witnessed such torment.)

So needless to say, the age range between 2 and 3 has not been my favorite. 

I can't pinpoint the exact moment but this last spring/summer something inside me just kind of clicked. 
I was spending so much time feeling miserable and dreading basic motherhood tasks for fear of unleashing the little E giant, that I was not allowing myself to fully obtain the joy of motherhood. 

The joy that I knew I should be feeling but sometimes didn't. 
{so then guilt guilt guilt leading to despair despair despair leading to feelings of worthlessness leading to not want to try anymore leading to more guilt guilt guilt for not trying leading to despair despair despair....} 

One day though something just hit me upside the head and made me see what I was doing to myself
I was allowing myself to feel this way. 
I was the one getting frustrated and feeling sorry. 
I was the one looking for something or someone to blame. 
I was the one choosing not to make changes. 

Of course parenting is hard. Duh! 
But I was making it 100x more difficult when I was choosing to feel so my self-pity. 

Of course toddlers are difficult. 
[And of course my toddler would be even more difficult because he is my son after all.]
But I was making him out to be worse than he really was because I wasn't taking responsibility for my own actions as his mother. 

So I have tried really really hard to change these last couple of months. 
I have tried to be more present and actively participate during playtime. 
I have tried to come up with new activities he can do besides watching Mickey Mouse for 3 hours. 
I have actually tried to take him places {this is a HUGE one for me!} and let him experience things. 
I have tried to use more love instead of anger when dealing with tantrums. [something I'm still working on.] 
And I have tried really hard to give up my image & expectation of a perfect anything and to focus more on the individual needs of my own little boy who does not fit into the perfect little categories of the perfect little parenting books. {cause what kid really does??} 

Let me tell you something:
That is how I have learned to find joy in motherhood.  
toddlerhood and all.

I can control my feelings 
I can control my attitude 
I can control my actions
all this equals 
I can find happiness in the rolling-on-the-floor tantrums.  



bonbon said...

What a brave post! Thank you for writing this. I appreciate when people are honest and vulnerable- makes it so much easier to connect. You are an amazing person Megan!

Kndbbdjk said...

Loved reading this. It really is inspirational that you chose this attitude.

Aubrey said...

Love this post so much! It applies to everything in life. We really can control our attitudes and make huge differences in our lives.

Ashley said...

I definitely need to work on choosing joy more often. That and just my attitude sometimes, in general. Not gonna lie sometimes having kids 16 months apart is really tough and both mine have been going through challenging phases. I feel as though I have spent a good many nights in tears and prayer. It is not always easy but I keep telling myself it is just a season and it soon will be over too.

Kristine@thefoleyfam said...

Yes! I have to remind myself this sometimes multiple times a day!!!! Love you!

Ashley Ziegler said...

What a great post!! I loved this! :) I'm sure you are not alone in the struggle, but seeing you make an effort to overcome a difficult thing is great! You are an example! Thank you for sharing, I think the point of "choosing" our attitude and how we handle things in life can be used not just in motherhood but in everyday life! :)