This is the toughest job I've ever had, that's for sure!

Since I have the world's most OCD toddler, I should know better than to do things like leave my pajamas on the bathroom floor after a shower, or sit in the wrong chair at breakfast, or even wait longer than five minutes to throw away my popsicle stick. "Whassat, Mommy?" I hear every time something is out of place. Or, "No, Mommy! There!" when I've put something somewhere other than where it's supposed to go.

I know kids this age are very routine-driven and that the routines help them have some control over their mostly control-less world, but sometimes I don't want to get up right away because I just settled in and am finally comfortable. Sometimes I am slightly out of breath (because the baby is stealing my air, I swear it) and I want to sit down rather than bend over and pick up something I left on the floor. But if I do things my way instead of hers, I hear about it. Oh, boy, do I hear about it.

It's a hard balance, my wishes against her will. Sometimes she has to do things my way, because my way is the safe way, or the polite way, or we're finally going to get this potty training thing down, damnit (although, I know I can't force that one). Sometimes, I let things slide. I pick my battles. I may not let her play with playdoh on the carpet, but I'll let her have a cookie right before dinner. (The kid is way too skinny, so I let her get away with a lot of things food-wise. Still she picks fruits and vegetables most of the time.) I make her hold my hand when we're walking through parking lots or crossing streets, even though she hates it. If she doesn't hold my hand, we don't move. That one is slowly sinking in. However, if she insists on turning on the hallway light, because that's the one she can reach, or buckling herself into her carseat, I let her.

Two is tough. It's tough (yet kind of cute and funny) when someone is shrieking, "NO THANK YOU!" in your face because they don't want to change their diaper that you can smell from two rooms away. It's tough when she is disagreeing just for the sake of disagreeing because she wants her own way. It's tough not to tell her to shut up when she's being obnoxious. But I don't want to squash her personality, her will to fight for what she wants and speak up for her preferences. I tell her to play nice, but I don't want her to fall into that trap that many women do, where we only do the nice thing and compromise ourselves. I want her to be herself, but sometimes I just want her to do what I want her to do because I'm tired and I can't handle all the noise or run around or play on the floor like I used to. (I guess two and pregnant may be harder than just two by itself.) How do I balance my wants against her will? Raising her to be a good, polite citizen of the world without squashing her individuality?

There are many tough but important jobs out in the world, but in my opinion, being a good parent is the toughest and yet the most important. Because, maybe, if I'm good enough at my job, she'll go out there and change the world.


Cassie said...
August 11, 2010 at 3:09 PM

This post is AWESOME. Just really, really awesome.

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