Thursday, November 16, 2017

18 months and we are learning so much!

18 months and WE are learning so much!

Being a mom has given me so many new realizations about myself, life, and expectations.  Over the past 18 months (and the time leading up to motherhood), I've learned so much. I've learned that you have to be patient with yourself, life, and your little one. I've learned that life can be so hard, even devastating, but beautiful at the same time. I've learned that no amount of reading or planning can totally prepare you for real-life experiences, and that you have to be flexible. I've learned that communication is imperative for my health and our home. I've learned that joy is finding happiness in the small blessings of everyday life, and being grateful for what we have. 

Emmajean has changed so much so fast that it seems like I literally watch her grow before my eyes! She learns something new all of the time and is constantly amazing us with her spirit. She is talking (even if we can't always understand what she says), letting us know what she does or doesn't want to do, and climbing on everything. She LOVES: prunes, cheese, hugs, her rocking horse(s), shopping, pretending, the library, the piano, and she's totally obsessed with CLOCKS! She absolutely loves when we get her piggies, when we play hide and seek, and watching Peppa the Pig. Emmajean dislikes: time-out, spankings, the doctor's office, green beans, and the word "no!" We are constantly surprised by her new tricks and enjoying every minute... even the grumpy sleepy ones. We're also learning how to discipline this very determined little one! 

I've learned that becoming and being a mom really is all of those cliché sayings you've heard over and over again. It's been the most amazing and challenging series of events, the hardest job I could have imagined. It's been the scariest at times and the most adorable. Most every day I'm beyond exhausted, not only physically from chasing my fierce little firecracker, but also emotionally from weighing all of the many choices a parent makes. From little things to larger decisions, I've caught myself wondering what others might think and what is the best for my kid.  I've even felt guarded at times talking to other parents, but I've found that many have similar thoughts and worries. In the end we are all doing what we think and hope is best for our little ones. 

The past two weeks, being confident in my parenting choices has been especially hard as we began to implement spankings in addition to time-out. Thank you to those of you who've comforted me on this decision. I know what many of you are probably thinking... SPANKINGS? Of course, there are two very different philosophies on the subject: 1) Those who feel it's right, and 2) those who feel it's wrong. No one really talks about spanking anymore unless it's to say, "you don't utter the word." I'm uttering the word. 

Emmajean has been a wonderful loving little girl and continues to be so. She is learning quickly that I am mom and she needs to listen to me (and to her dad) to help keep her safe. She did not learn from listening alone as I had hoped. I prayed about it and I called my mom to ask her what she did to keep me safe when I was a crazy climbing toddler who wouldn't listen. She simply answered, "I spanked you." She always spanked with love and not in anger. I don't remember the spankings, I learned quickly, and I made it through childhood safe and sound. We've had to use both time-out and a few spankings over the past two weeks, but it seems to be working for our family. 

All babies are different and there are a million different ways of parenting. I've learned that the fear of judgement is something that I have to let go and that I need to trust myself and my own parental instincts. I'm finally becoming more confident in my choices as I learn to navigate this next stage of life with a toddler! 

As I wrap up this reflection on parenting and my amazing 18-month-old, I just want to say thank you to my own mom and dad for raising me and my siblings with so much love, a sense of discipline, and respect. I hope that Emmajean will feel confident and comfortable to turn to me one day for advice, and in the meantime, I'll just keep doing my very best to keep her happy, healthy, and safe!

Have you struggled with a parenting choice? Have you ever thought you'd do something differently before you were actually in the situation?  No judgement here! I know we are all different and trying to navigate this life the best way we can!

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