My toddler is happiest when I take the time to look him in the eyes and listen and react appropriately to something he is saying to me, instead of saying, Uh huh. Uh huh. Okay.
My toddler is happiest when my time is spent focused on him, rather than focused on the computer, or the laundry, or having the living room picked up.
My toddler is happiest when I take the time to explain to him why he can't do something he really wants to do, instead of snapping, Because I said so.
My toddler is happiest when I offer him an alternative instead of telling him to stop whining because he didn't get what he wanted.
My toddler is happiest when I empathize with his frustrations and take a moment to hold him and understand him, instead of getting angry that he is not behaving like an adult. (Because, you know, he's not an adult.)
My toddler is happiest when I let him "help" me with the things I have to get done -- whether that's moving clothes to the dryer or putting groceries in the fridge -- instead of telling him that I'm busy and to please go do something else. Even though takes ten times longer. Even though I have to go back later and do it again correctly.
My toddler is happiest when I am off my phone, off my computer, off my butt, and playing with him in his room. Or exploring outside. Or finding blue things around the house. Or coloring or building or digging.
My toddler is happiest when I am consistent with him even when it is inconvenient to be consistent, because he knows what to expect, and children thrive on routine.
My toddler is happiest when I always, always apologize when I make a mistake and act in a way I know I shouldn't. Because I make mistakes all the time.
My toddler is happiest when I remember I create memories with every moment. Not just the happy moments, or the fun moments. So make them worth it.
These are the things of which I must remind myself constantly. A difficult week led to a good week, and I'm thankful for that. Sometimes there are moments when I think, "This is too difficult... I don't like being a mother today." Usually it's when I am so focused on other things that I don't give myself time to be patient. A child's world should be slow-paced and gentle. It's hard to fall into that as an adult. Sometimes I need to step back, breathe deep, recharge, and offer hugs instead of harsh words whenever I'm feeling like I'm at the end of my rope. I love this boy with all my heart!