Achy Breaky Heart

—Dana

No one ever sat me down and told me how hard it is to raise a toddler.

Okay…maybe I heard about it once or twice…”terrible twos” sort of rings a bell…but I never really “got” it until recently. The last 3 months have been extremely difficult. Between all the biting, hitting, pulling hair, tantrums and screaming that my daughter so dearly loves…I think I might lose it one of these days. To her defense, the dentist told me that her 2 year molars are coming in on the top. TWO YEAR MOLARS. Are you kidding me? She just turned a year and a half today!!! Some kids don’t get these teeth until they are three. What the heck?

This girl doesn’t do anything late or half-hearted.

If she gets sick, she likes to get three different colds at the same time. Her first baby tooth popped through when she was 4 months old…they continued to come in two and three at a time until Naomi’s last molar came through on her first birthday. Her vocabulary is incredibly advance and she also seems advanced in all her motor skills. She passionately plays and cries with the same intensity. Since Naomi turned one, she has really been interested in going potty in the toilet and I am sure she’ll be potty trained at an early age (and not because I have pushed her or anything). I’m telling you, this girl likes to do things early and with much gusto behind all that she does. As her mom, I can barely keep up with her from day to day. I already know she is going to be bored in school unless I keep her challenged.

Recently I started to pray that, like most things this girl does, the “terrible twos” have just decided to come early and will leave as quickly as it came. The one thing that has left me with an “achy breaky heart” are Naomi’s extreme tantrums. I have read parenting books…watched plenty of parenting videos…talked with numerous parents…and I can’t seem to figure out a way to get her to behave and obey when I tell her to do something. In all honesty, half the time she is the sweetest thing, but the other half I wonder if I have birthed the Anti-Christ. All the mean things she does unfortunately makes me forget all the sweet things she does during the day. I am to the point where I don’t want to leave the house or hang out with anyone anymore…because it is easier to just manage the chaos at home then leave and be frustrated all the time.

Some people look like they are doing a better job than others. I, on the other hand, am not doing all that great and I am here to say that having a toddler is the hardest thing I’ve ever done. I understand we are all trying to do the best that we can here on this earth. Unfortunately, since the beginning of this year I’ve received some bad advice from well meaning friends and family. Here’s a list of my “favorite” nuggets of advice…

– “You think this is bad…just waiting until she’s a teenager.”
– “Bite her back.”
– “Put yourself on time out until she stops crying.”
– “Her bad behavior is obviously a reflection of your bad parenting.”
– “Do you just ignore her all day? She seems like she is crying out for attention.”
– “Just let her do whatever she wants. Then you won’t have to listen to her scream.”

Despite having an “achy breaky heart”, the Lord is always faithful to fill me with comfort at the end of a long day…and He continues to give me the strength to get up and do it all over again the next morning. However, if Naomi is not careful she may solidify her “only child” status here on this earth. Everyday I am on my knees in prayer…begging the Lord to just have mercy on me and give me another child that is less stubborn, strong-willed and forgoes the violent tantrums. I don’t think I could handle another one just like Naomi.

But then again…in His amazing knowledge….the Lord knows exactly what I can handle. I am sure He will give me the strength to face whatever comes my way. Here are a few verses that have encouraged my heart this afternoon…as I sit here and cry while my daughter is faithfully taking her afternoon nap.

• “And be not grieved and depressed, for the joy of the Lord is your strength and stronghold.” Nehemiah 8:10

• “Don’t stay far away, LORD! My strength comes from you, so hurry and help.” Psalm 22:19

• “Praise be to the LORD, for he has heard my cry for mercy. The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and I am helped. My heart leaps for joy and I will give thanks to him in song. The LORD is the strength of his people, a fortress of salvation for his anointed one.” Psalm 28:6-8

• God is a safe place to hide, ready to help when we need him. We stand fearless at the cliff-edge of doom, courageous in seastorm and earthquake, before the rush and roar of oceans, the tremors that shift mountains.” Psalm 46:1-3

• “But as for me, I will sing about your power. Each morning I will sing with joy about your unfailing love. For you have been my refuge, a place of safety when I am in distress. O my Strength, to you I sing praises, for you, O God, are my refuge, the God who shows me unfailing love.” Psalm 59:16-18

• “My health may fail, and my spirit may grow weak, but God remains the strength of my heart; he is mine forever.” Psalm 73:26

• “You bless all who depend on you for their strength and all who deeply desire to have you as their temple.” Psalm 84:5

• “My life dissolves and weeps itself away for heaviness; raise me up and strengthen me according to [the promises of] Your word.” Psalm 119:28

• “Please, LORD, be kind to us! We depend on you. Make us strong each morning, and come to save us when we are in trouble.” Isaiah 33:2

• “He gives power to the faint and weary, and to him who has no might He increases strength [causing it to multiply and making it to abound]. Even youths shall faint and be weary, and [selected] young men shall feebly stumble and fall exhausted; but those who wait for the Lord [who expect, look for, and hope in Him] shall change and renew their strength and power; they shall lift their wings and mount up [close to God] as eagles [mount up to the sun]; they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint or become tired.” Isaiah 40:29-31 (Amplified Bible)

• “Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand.” Isaiah 41:10

• “I’ve learned by now to be quite content whatever my circumstances. I’m just as happy with little as with much, with much as with little. I’ve found the recipe for being happy whether full or hungry, hands full or hands empty. Whatever I have, wherever I am, I can make it through anything in the One who makes me who I am.” Philippians 4:12-14 (The Message)

• “We pray that you’ll have the strength to stick it out over the long haul—not the grim strength of gritting your teeth but the glory-strength God gives. It is strength that endures the unendurable and spills over into joy, thanking the Father who makes us strong enough to take part in everything bright and beautiful that he has for us.” Colossians 1:11-12

• “I give thanks to Him Who has granted me [the needed] strength and made me able [for this], Christ Jesus our Lord, because He has judged and counted me faithful and trustworthy, appointing me to [this stewardship of] the ministry.” 1 Timothy 1:12 (Amplified Bible)

• “I know what you do. I have put an open door before you, which no one can close. I know you have little strength, but you have obeyed my teaching and were not afraid to speak my name.” Revelation 3:8

And be not grieved and depressed, for the joy of the Lord is your strength and stronghold.And be not grieved and depressed, for the joy of the Lord is your strength and stronghold.And be not grieved and depressed, for the joy of the Lord is your strength and stronghold.
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4 thoughts on “Achy Breaky Heart

  1. Dana, you are an amazing mother! Don’t let it get to you too much……….the tantrums will subside with yours and Aaron’s love and guidance. Hang in there girl………and follow the Lord in all things………you can’t lose. JUST BITE HER BACK!LOL (sorry, I just thought that was funny cause I tried that on my girls that bit. It doesn’t work, it just teaches them that biting is alright). I love you and Aaron and I’ll see you when I get back from Texas. Diana

  2. Dana – you’re a good mom! I don’t have too much advice to give you – just know that this too shall pass. Everyone’s kids have bad days and we as parents all have bad days that we feel guilty about later. But please, don’t hide away alone! It’s way more fun to watch our kids be naughty together!

  3. This post of your rings true in so many ways for me. Being a mom is harder than it looks on tv 😛 and if it came with a booklet i seem to have lost those instructions. Really the way i see it is, that there isn’t a real right or wrong way to raise a child. (Oh wait i digress there are wrong ways like beating, slavery etc. But those are more common sense kind of wrong ways.) doing whats right for me may not be whats right for you. I think parenting is supposed to be more like a fly bythe seat of your pants kind of rollercoaster ride. There will be highs and lows but it’s the best ride. Don’t doubt your ability as a mother. You are wonderful and have a natural talent at it. God never gives us more than what we can handle. I am living proof of that with Jordyn’s Joy she brings to us every day and our trials we’ve gone through. The love of the Lord shines through you into her. This time will pass. If you need to chat/vent/catch up, give me a call. I don’t have all the answers, but i bet i can make you laugh.

    Ps. Tell aaron happy happy birthday! Looked like the mustache party was a blast.

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