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With a new baby and a toddler, I’ve lowered my expectations for what is considered “clean” in our house. If the dishes are done and we have clean clothes to wear – I consider it a good day. I have developed some habits that help me keep our house pretty organized even with a new family member around, but still our toddler manages to put his own spin on things.
A few weeks ago, I was picking up toys in our Nugget’s playroom and got kind of frustrated when he was walking behind me tearing out toys and books faster than I could pick them up.
It was then that it hit me – one day, our house is going to be perfectly organized.
Someday, we won’t have sticky floors to clean up after dinner or little finger prints on the windows.
Someday, I won’t be chasing him around when he takes off running with a crayon trying to keep him from writing on our walls.
Someday, our kids will have their own families and won’t be spending every single moment at home with me.
Someday, they’ll stop asking me to pick them up and carry them around.
These are the things I remind myself when I start to get frustrated by little baby messes. I changed my thinking, and you can too.
We co-sleep, so there are four of us in bed every night. My husband used to complain that he didn’t have enough room and felt like he was about to fall out of bed every night. I insisted we switched spots, and soon, our toddler was kicking me out of bed every night too.
I smile at those moments instead of getting annoyed. How lucky am I that my bed is so full of people I love that I barely fit? (We’ve since added another bed to our room and pushed them together so we have more than enough space – problem solved!) Now I’m just thankful that I go to bed being snuggled by tiny people and the beautiful man I made them with.
When I try to clean, Nugget insists on pushing the vacuum. He wants to help mop and clean the toilet too. He loves to unfold the laundry and take it back out of the drawers as quickly as I put it in. You other mamas who have toddlers know exactly what I’m talking about.
I could choose to reject his help or yell at him or redirect his efforts. Instead, I let him help me and congratulate his successes. If you’re easily frustrated by your toddler, just know what a huge accomplishment it is to him to hear that he’s done something right. Too often, the main word they hear is “no.”
Just watch the glee on your little one’s face when you let them feed themselves, even if it means a much longer, messier lunch. Is missing that adorable confidence worth the time you’d save insisting you do it yourself or “help” them do it? Probably not.
That’s not to say I don’t get annoyed. Going out in public with two kids by myself is still a huge feat and doctor’s appointments are one of the hardest things I do. Still, on the way home when my blood pressure is finally dropping, I try to remind myself that these annoyances are only temporary and that these moments are fleeting.
Messes mean my little ones are practicing their independence, gaining confidence, and having fun. That quote “please excuse the mess, our children are making memories” has a whole new meaning now that I’m a mama.
For now, I’ll enjoy the pitter patter of little feet and all the messes that come with it. These moments are going to be gone in the blink of an eye and I don’t want to look back and remember complaining about our kids’ adventures. I want to remember playing with them and making messes. I want to remember saying “yes” way more than “not right now” when they want to play.
What do you do to overcome the frustration of toddler messes? Does your toddler try to “help” you clean too? What tips do you have for other frustrated parents out there? Let me know in the comments!
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