A couple of bloggers I follow have recently written about the struggle it is sometimes to cope with their toddlers. The subject definitely rings home, with Bibu being 20 months and fast approaching the "terrible two's" as they call them.
Actually, today is a very appropiate day to touch this topic as a few minutes ago I put Bibu on the corner for hitting poor mama on purpose after head-butting mama by accident. The accidental head-butting (more a "teeth-butting" as he left the inprint of his front teeth in my cheekbone) I can take. The taking a plastic fan, the ones they give you everywhere in the Tokyo summertime to fan yourself while enduring 31 degrees and more humidity than the Amazonian Forest, and hitting me deliberately with it, that I could not take, and off we was sent to the "time-out corner". It was the culmination of a difficult morning, him being a bit tired, I guess, and complaining about everything, and me feeling my patience run thinner and thinner by the second. Bibu stayed put in the corner and after a couple of minutes I went to explain how it was always baaad to hit someone and that he had to say sorry mum, pat-pat in the back, big hug and kiss and all forgotten.
By all means, up to now I have to say that Bibu is indeed a very sweet little boy whose tantrums are quite short lived and low on the annoyance factor. He knows when he has done something wrong and usually lets go of a fixed (bad) idea after a couple of minutes. I've experience first hand some very horrible tantrums by some fellow little friends of Bibu and it definitely makes me appreciate his good temper even more. Of course, that may all change in a few months, even a few weeks, but for now, all is good most of the time.
We all know that bad behaviour is normal part and parcel of growing up and that toddlers are learning their boundaries constantly and that they need us to teach them what's wrong and what's right and why. It's part of parenthood and a fact of life. But indeed at times it can get frustrating when you say something calmly for the 646478946513th time and no result, or when you are trying to manage a tantrum in the middle of the supermarket when you have not slept good, you are dressed in baby stained clothes, your grey hair roots are showing and you have not make up on and look like Morticia Adams. You know it's a small thing in THE BIG SCOPE OF THINGS and that THIS TOO SHALL PASS, but it's not nice and can seem at times like an unsurmontable mountain.
Personally, in these few months since we moved to Tokyo and I started my two-year full time mum status thing, I've realised that being the whole day with your kids is much harder work than going to the office every day. I am not saying it's not nice, not at all. I love the fact I get to spend these couple of years so close to Bibu and being there for him to see him grow and help him grow. But it is much, much harder than I thought.
In an office job, you know when your working day begins and when it ends. You know that every now and then during the day you can take a break and have a cup of coffee and a chat with your colleagues and have lunch in peace. With Bibu, I know I usually have a couple of hours in the afternoon when he's having his nap and another couple of hours at night once he's gonne to bed. The rest of the day is arranged around him. Eating is something you do at the speed of lightning, almost choking on your food while trying to avoid pumpking puree to become a permanent fixture of the carpet.
There is also the endless cooking -and planning of cooking and making sure you have the ingredients you need for all the cooking-, and a bit of house cleaning on the side and your days go very, very fast indeed.
On the other hand, I dont' need to rush from the office to the nursery every afternoon on time to pick Bibu up, as was the case in Brussels. I dont' feel guilty of leaving him the whole day at daycare and only enjoying him for a meagre couple of hours every day. Now I am there myself to educate him, without having a nanny do it for me....etc.
I think what it all boils down to is that there is no perfect situation and it's a case of "the grass is greener on the neighbours' garden". If you work, you daydream of not working anymore and be the whole day at home with your kid, if you do, there are days when office life seems like heaven.
I think there are no 'perfect' mums and 'perfect' kids, as there are no "perfect" jobs, and that there are periods when things are a bit more challenging than others.
I can be quite a control freak and feel bad when I feel things are out of control, the house is a mess, Bibu is behaving badly and I am super tired. On those moments I try to stay "zen", get on with it and try to remember that, in the big picture, these challenging moments are just peanuts.