If at first you don’t succeed

I have been trying to adequately work through my struggles parenting my 3-year-old for the last two months, analyzing and re-analyzing how I could have handled certain situations better. But the truth is, I am having a really hard time.

Since a month before his third birthday my eldest has tested my very upper limits. And I know exactly what went wrong. When my second son was born I completely fell apart when it came to disciplining my first son. I felt guilty that I wasn’t able to spend the same amount of time with him that I did when it was just him and mommy. Couple that guilt with my exhaustion having a baby and going back to work right after, and I just stopped throwing down the “nos.” So basically, for the last year, I have been trying to have any nice quality time I can with him, and if he throws a tantrum or gives me a hard time, well, I usually just give in.

Therein lies the problem. No wait, therein lies the crisis. The issue is that now, fast forward a year, and he knows he can do whatever he wants. He has learned that mommy is usually too tired to really follow through on her “if you do that again I’ll put you to bed threats”, so, he does it… whatever “it” is…again. And again. And again. Until finally, mommy blows. Son number two is left in his high chair while son number one gets thrown over mommy’s shoulder and into bed (and after a few minutes, he comes out of his bedroom – a door is not going to stop this kid).

There have been countless screaming matches. This kid has a voice. And mommy has lost it so many times counting is silly. On the weekend for instance, he yelled “no!” at his little brother when he was trying to play, and little brother wailed because he just wanted to get close to his buddy. I put older brother in his room. He came out. I threatened everything. I took his toys away. Nada. No listening. He is willful, he is stubborn, and he is relentless (just like his mama, uh oh.) Daddy steps in often. But daddy gets listened to and I think daddy probably wants me to get my shit together (understandably).

Result of all of this: Mommy is so, so done.

So what is a tired momma to do? I’m sad. In a full day together we will have at least three meltdowns and I feel like all of sudden I’m going to have lost years. Does it get better? Do 3 year old boys eventually start to be less tough?

I cried to his dad on Sunday (who has been incredibly supportive, reminding me I’m a good mom all the time) because I just felt so heavy. I know other mommas have gone through the tantrum stage, and I also have gotten some great advice. I know I need to be harder on him and quicker – no more “one more chance kid”, because that’s what’s gotten me to this situation in the first place.

But what else is there to try? I am nervous about the toll it takes on him when I yell at him. I don’t like yelling and I don’t want our house to be a place that he associates with raised voices.

You got tips? Bring ‘em on. Thanks mamas.

Xo Sara

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