So you woke up one morning to realize your adorable, cuddly little bundle of an infant had been replaced by a raging tornado of chaos?

Congratulations.  You now have a toddler.

Don’t panic. I am on my second toddler now, and both he and you have the benefit of what my first toddler taught me.

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When my oldest son started walking, my stress level sky-rocketed. It seemed that no matter what I was trying to accomplish, he was sabotaging me. I’d try to make dinner, and he’d be underfoot emptying all the cabinets and scattering Tupperware everywhere. I’d try to take him to the park down the block; it would take us an hour just to get there. Then there was the frustration of trying to get to work on time when daycare drop off became a daily fiasco of screaming, begging, and mountains of working mom guilt.

Somewhere in the midst of that horror, my summer break started and the pace of our day to day slowed way down.

Almost instantly, we became happier. I realized that when I wasn’t in a rush, I was a better mom.

When I went back to work in that fall, I was determined to keep the good vibes going, and ever since, I have made “Slow Down” a core tenant of my parenting style.  That was two years ago.  Now that I’m on toddler number two, I am up at five every day so that we have an hour and a half to get out the door in the morning.  I switched to a different daycare where my shy guy is a lot more comfortable, and our new routine includes plenty of extra time at drop-off in case we do have a rough morning.  I start putting kids in the car a full fifteen minutes before we actually need to leave for doctor’s appointments, church, swim lessons, or any other time-sensitive events.  I do not worry about what time dinner gets on the table.

All I worry about is whether I’m giving my kids the time they need to be little.

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Okay, maybe it’s not all I worry about… 🙂

If you are struggling with parenting your toddler (or still parenting an infant and dreading the onset of toddlerhood), I recommend Harvey Karp’s The Happiest Toddler on the Block.  Click image for link.

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