Parenting

Want More Patience With Your Toddler? Here's My Secret Weapon.

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It’s really hard being a mother of a toddler. Trust me, I know this. We had about twenty years of toddlers. Yes, you read that right. For twenty years straight, every two years we had a newborn, and grew a toddler. Ah yes, fun times. No, really. You can enjoy them a lot more than you think.

Now, if you have a sweet little guy who totally understands the word “no” and takes two naps every day, move along– there’s nothing to see here. However, if you’re dropping into bed every night  exhausted, and you’ve worked your tail off and your husband still doesn’t have clean underwear, I have a bit of hope for you.

First, let me say that this stage is pretty short-lived. Yes, it’s work keeping him from jumping into harm’s way every chance he gets, but I promise he won’t eat rocks forever (boogers maybe). 

When moms complain that they are exhausted, overworked and really need a break from their kids, my first question is always this: Are you getting up and going to bed with your children? In other words, are they with you every minute of the day?

Survival for the long haul means getting up at least one hour before your children–two if you can swing it.

I know: You don’t get enough sleep at night, you and your husband stay up late so you can be alone, and the baby will wake up if you get up early. And I’m sure you’re not a morning person. Here’s the good news: you can fix all of the above and have more energy and patience with your children. It’s not easy. It does take practice. But if I can do it, so can you. (I had all those reasons, too, plus some.)

Next page: Find out how.

  • Plan the night before. Getting up in the morning actually is the tail end of going to bed at night. Count backward. How many hours of sleep do you need at night? Eight is always my goal. If the children start rolling out of bed at 6 a.m., you need to be up by 5 a.m. What time do you have to be in bed?
  • Forget setting an alarm. You do need sleep. Adjust your sleep schedule so that you are waking up on your own earlier. I know that seems impossible. It’s really not. You are in control of training your sleep habits. I open the curtains, just slightly. That first stream of sunlight is a really gentle way to wake up naturally.
  • Lay out your clothes. Set up your coffee or tea pot. Make everything go as smoothly as possible first thing in the morning. The less you have to think about, the nicer the morning is.

Now, what do you want to do? Read your Bible? Play on Facebook? Exercise? Enjoy the quiet sounds of morning? This is your time to invest in you.

Then, when your wrecking ball comes rolling into the kitchen, you can say with a loving smile, “Good morning! Are you hungry?”