When Parenting Gets Hard - Count the Small Wins

3 minute read

When Parenting Gets Hard - Count the Small Wins via @stitchesandpress

It’s hard to admit that being a new mom is a struggle and that not everyday is sunshine and rainbows. There are some days when it is impossible to put Max down without him launching into hysteria or days when the everyday minutiae (i.e. laundry, grocery shopping, meal prep) sends my anxiety through the roof. But when things start to get crazy, Aaron and I have started acknowledging the small wins (sometimes extremely small wins) and cutting ourselves some slack. Obviously we want to be good parents, but if we don’t win parents of the year we will also be okay. Here are a few instances where we’ve eased up on ourselves.

  1. When I’m out with Max I try not to be scrolling through instagram or checking email, partly because I want to be engaged with Max but also because that sort of behavior invites harsh looks from passing parents. I wish the latter didn’t bother me, but I’d be lying if I said it didn’t. However, there are plenty of legit reasons to be on your phone. For instance, at the grocery story I have to look at my phone to check our grocery list, or Aaron is texting me about our dinner plans and I need to reply. Whatever the reason, I’ve decided not to care (or at least try my best not to) so much about sideways glances.

  2. I was at a work conference recently and I found myself musing with 2 other moms about the list of kid-free things we wanted to do. The list included sleeping in until 6am, taking a long bath, going to the gym and having a few drinks. We acknowledged how mundane our lists were and even laughed about it, but it highlights the everyday difficulties of being a parent. My barely 1 mile run last week was a win.

  3. We want Max to eat vegetables, but some days that is not going to happen. When he first started solids we pureed a variety of vegetables that he subsequently refused to eat or ate then spat out. It wasn’t until we started infusing pureed apples that he started learning to eat. These days we still try to hide vegetables in his food with the hopes that he will accidently eat them, but mostly that is wishful thinking. However last night, Max picked up a solo green bean and put it in his mouth. Aaron and I let out an audible gasp then proceeded to jump and dance to distract Max until he swallowed the green bean. A small yet major win for us.

  4. For those of you who know Aaron, you know he is rarely riled, extremely patient and good natured. Because of that, Aaron assumed Max would have a similar temperament straight from birth. He even jokes that he assumed any tantrum could be curbed by logical reasoning. Turns out, Max has tantrums just like other toddlers (this news was more shocking to Aaron than me). Although Max is a fairly easy going kid, he still cries when we leave the park, when we take his trains away or when he has to go to bed. Since we haven’t mastered reasoning with a 1.5 year old, we consider it a win when we successfully manage to distract Max so that he loosens his grip on his train and we can take it from him without a full blown fit. This won’t be our long term strategy but it works for now.

  5. As expectant parents we read the articles regarding screen time and kids, but I’m convinced those were written by people without young kids. Some night when Max is tired and cranky, a show is the easiest way to help calm him down. Although we make an effort to limit tv time, some of my favorite moments are curling up with Max on the couch to watch a show. There is something so special when your little one quietly nestles up against you. I know it’s something he won’t do forever so we’re just enjoying it now.

What are some of your small wins as a parent?