Alright, after a blogless week, it's time for a confession. For a few weeks, I have been an emotional wreck. Yes, I'm pregnant. Yes, I'm sleep deprived. Yes, I expect way too much of myself and definitely don't live up to my own expectations. But I can normally hold it together. A few weeks ago, however, I sobbed on the phone to my mom, telling her what a horrible mom I am. My sister thought I was mad at her, until she finally asked me what was wrong, and I broke down. Today, my good friend came over for a "Do The Potty Dance" house party I hosted and told me that she'd been worried about me, another friend was worried about me, and even my friends' MOM was worried about me. I guess I wear my emotions on my sleeve. I put on a happy face, but apparently to those who know me best, my fake happy face apparently isn't so happy!
Now before you jump to too many conclusions, let me say this...I'm feeling much better! Those of you who have been in my shoes will laugh when I tell you the source of my sorrow, and will say...DUH! when I tell you the new solution.
Here it is: I have a 3-year old little boy "P" who will turn 4 in May. He is still not potty-trained, and there my friends, you have the source of my frustration. He's a brilliant, sweet, loving little boy. And he is Mr. this-is-the-one-thing-in-my-life-I-have-control-over-so-don't-you-dare-force-me-to-pee-in-the potty. We started working on potty training when we was probably 2 1/2. He'd been speaking in full sentences for well over a year, and was my oldest, so of course I thought he was ready. EVERYONE around me was doing it, so I felt a lot of pressure to get him on the pot. And he did great for a while. He pooped before he ever pee'd, so I thought we had it in the bag! Until we didn't.
He got worse and worse, until I was washing 5 pairs of pants every day! My husband and I were constantly frustrated, yet nothing worked. And this wasn't just affecting potty-training. It put a strain on our relationship, caused my sweet little boy to turn into a super defiant 3-going-on-16-year-old, and caused me to feel like a failure as a mother.
Before I continue, you have to know that I feel silly even writing about this, and am praying that those of you who don't know me won't judge me for it! EVERYONE has tips and suggestions for potty training, and TRUST ME...we have tried ALL of them. ALL except one...the one that I haven't been willing to try...until now. And here's what it is...we're not doing ANYTHING.
A few weeks ago, my husband found "P" sitting on the floor in his room peeing on the carpet. That was the last straw. We put him back in diapers, and as silly as this sounds, it has been GREAT. When he came to me that first day to tell me that he pooped in his diaper, I wanted to jump for joy. I know he KNOWS when he needs to go, but he's yet to make that mental decision, and we've never allowed it to be HIS decision. So fine...poop in your diaper, little one. It is way easier to wipe a messy bum than it is to ask if you need to go potty a million times a day. So, he's in diapers, and we're all happier. I'm pretty sure he is constantly shocked when I don't react to the mess. But I can't do it anymore. So my son may be the only child still in diapers when he goes to Kindergarten, but at least he'll know my love for him has nothing to do with where he chooses to eliminate. And maybe I'll win an award for the most children still in diapers with the birth of my third. Just think...maybe he'll even hold off until we're ready for # 4...that would be GREAT!
So what's the point? Why am I posting this on FitMePink instead of the family blog? Well...I'm not sure, really, but mostly because potty training has been a HUGE source of stress in my life. And that's what this blog is supposed to be about...eliminating stress! Everyone says that potty training is easy when THEY'RE ready, but I somehow equated my own success as a parent with my child's success on the pot. So I pushed, and I yelled, and I got mad at my husband for also pushing and yelling, I cried, I did lots of laundry, and finally realized a few things about stress:
- If something in your life is causing bucket-loads of stress, figure out how to ELIMINATE the thing. Putting my child back in diapers was EXACTLY what I needed.
- A little praise goes a long way. I want to be a big source of encouragement for my children. If all my son hears all day is how naughty he is, then he's GOING to be naughty. If instead, I choose to praise him, to say to others how great he is, and to remind myself of how lucky I am to be the mother of this brilliant little boy, then he WILL be what I truly believe he is. And focusing on the GOOD someone else is doing takes the focus off of ME feeling sorry for MYSELF.
- Focus on the important stuff. As hard as it is for me to believe at THIS instant, "P" will be potty-trained. I can either sit back and watch it happen, or I can fight and push and hate every moment until it happens. There are far more important things for me to teach my children, and much more fun things to talk about. Like running, and jumping, and playing, and letting them be little! Stop STRESSING the stuff you can't change!
- Reach out to others. When something big or little is causing stress, you can either isolate yourself, and cause everyone who knows and loves you to think something is terribly wrong, or you can reach out and let them help you. Finally talking about my worries and fears to those I love helped me realize that I'm doing okay, and I will survive!
- Massage. I haven't had a professional one in quite a while, but someday I'm seriously going to get one every week. For now, my husband will suffice! Massage is more than just being pampered. It decreases the level of cortical which creates the "fight or flight" response in the body. It increases serotonin, the chemical that helps with sleep, anxiety and depression and increases dopamine, which provides the body with pleasurable sensations, smoothing stress away before it can build up. As much as I want to sleep during a professional massage, I don't want to sleep, because it is the BEST hour of my day!
- Do something you love...like EXERCISE. I just had to throw it in there. In the past month, I've worked out longer and harder than I have in quite a while. (But I've also eaten worse...I'm a terrible emotional eater!) Working out is one of my true loves in life. I've also found refuge in reading, cooking, singing, cleaning (yes--it's therapeutic), and kid-free nights out with my husband. While we're in the turmoil of parenting young children, we NEED and CRAVE nights without them to reconnect. I adore my husband...especially one on one! We're actually going for a QUICK get-away trip to California this week...I can't wait!
- Stop trying to be perfect. This has probably been the hardest for me. In my mind, I have a picture of the "perfect" mom...the one I will NEVER be. I'm trying, and I'm doing my best, but I cannot be perfect. Time to banish that self-inflicted rule!
I won't ask for tips on potty training, because I've seriously tried them all. And I just can't mentally try anything else. Can anyone relate? And what are your proven stress reducers? Hit me up in the comments!