Life With a Four-Year-Old and a Newborn
I’m living the mommy life with two beautiful children and some days are more hectic than others. Sometimes, you just need a warm bath and a glass of Moscato at the end of the day. Regardless of the crazy days, being a mom is my absolute favorite part of my life. My four-year-old is the reason this blog series exists. Greyson inspired me to write about my adventures as a mom and to provide advice for other mamas (and dads). It’s lonely at times being a parent, especially as a stay-at-home mom. It’s always nice to know that you’re not alone and that we all have good and bad days. When I’m up late at night (or early in the morning) with my newborn and the entire world is silent, I like to think about all of the other moms who are up too, all over the world. You’re never alone, even if some days it feels as if you are. Life with a four-year-old and a newborn baby is beautiful, chaotic, and sleepless, but I wouldn’t trade my life for anything. I am incredibly grateful that the universe chose me to be Greyson and Waverly’s mama.
If you scroll through social media you’ll see endless filtered posts/photos from moms claiming to live a perfect life with perfect children. That is not reality. Yes, we all capture beautiful moments, but not every moment is beautiful. Sometimes, you cry for a few minutes in the shower after your toddler screamed at you, you’re exhausted, you have endless errands to run (and not the fun Target/Starbucks errands), and you completely forgot to make something in the crockpot for dinner. It’s fun to look at pretty photos of perfect playrooms and beautiful babies in lace outfits, but it’s okay if your playroom is a mess and your baby just spit up on their new outfit. Take it easy mama and be kind to yourself. We all have good and bad days. We all have days when we can relax and roam the aisles at Target, but we also have days when we have back-to-back commitments and zero energy. Despite the crazy days, I do manage to live a peaceful, happy life, and keep a clean (and organized) home with my two children, who are both at home with me every day. I am homeschooling Greyson right now for Pre-K, which is an adventure.
I understand that we don’t all enjoy cleaning and organizing, but I love being a homemaker and creating beauty out of spaces. I choose to clean and accomplish household tasks instead of napping during the day. Sometimes, you need rest over anything else. But, it’s also less stressful to get your tasks done right away as opposed to letting the tasks pile up. We all have days when we let the laundry hang out in the dryer and the dishes sit in the sink and that’s okay. You’re allowed to take your time and take a moment. I do want all mamas to feel motivated and accomplished, though. You can do whatever you put your mind to and if you want a clean, organized home, it’s up to you to make that happen. I recommend getting all of your tasks done early in the morning if you’re like me and you enjoy waking up early. Or, stay up a little later some nights and tackle your to-do list. It feels so nice to know that by eight o’clock in the morning, my home is in order. I also love falling asleep in a home that’s calm and neat. I try to never leave a mess anywhere before I go to bed. The more you accomplish early on in the day though, the less you’ll have to worry about later on, which allows you to nap, eat, cook, play with your children, and enjoy a hobby (or two) throughout the day. It’s also okay to put yourself first, which mamas constantly need to be reminded of. There are days I forget to eat because I am so busy taking care of my babies, but that’s not healthy. We need to also eat, take a hot bath, get changed, and relax, just like our children. It’s also allowed and okay to have slow, lazy days, where we roll out of bed later, light some candles, cuddle in bed with our kids, watch Netflix, and forget about our daily routine for a bit. Being a mother (and a parent) is exhausting and we deserve a break from the normal hustle.
As a mom, you feel guilty if your kid isn’t dressed and ready by eight am, if you let your kid sleep in your bed, or if you give in and buy your kid yet another toy from Target that they begged you for. Mamas, don’t feel guilty. Don’t feel bad. Don’t apologize. Don’t explain yourself. You’re the mom and you’re allowed to do whatever works best for you and your family, even if it doesn’t work for others, or doesn’t make sense to others. Moms are judged if their child isn’t potty trained early on, but there’s no way to force your child to be ready for the potty. Moms are judged if their child throws a tantrum, but emotions are normal. Greyson is four. Four-year-olds are what I call fournadoes (tornadoes). They’re independent, strong-willed, and stubborn. They have huge personalities packed into tiny bodies and sometimes they can be bratty, challenging, and over the top. Greyson can be insanely sweet to me one minute, and then, he’s yelling at me and not listening. Sound familiar? Four-year-olds love the word “no”. They also like to make their own choices, which is valid, but as a parent, it’s a constant struggle to get your child to do what you want them to do. My advice to the mamas who are dealing with a defiant four-year-old, let a lot of it go and give them a minute. When Greyson isn’t listening or he’s being difficult, no matter how hard it is to just let go, I let him be alone for a little while and I walk away. Then, I come back to him after he’s had some time to calm down and move forward. He usually comes back to me before I come back to him, completely fine and ready to listen. Also, little kids NEED naps and breaks. If Greyson is in one of his moods, he’s usually tired and is in need of a nap. Little kids can get overstimulated just like we do, which is why walking away from the potential argument and just letting them be alone for a moment is always healthy. Have you ever argued with a four-year-old? It’s a losing game. Listen, we all lose our cool from time to time. We all yell, curse, cry, and then feel awful for how we acted. Sometimes, I sit down at the end of the day and feel so proud and accomplished as a mama and a wife. On other days I feel overwhelmed and disappointed in how I handled certain situations. I know I’m not perfect, but I also know that I’m an amazing mom. Greyson tells me at least once a day that I’m the best mom in the world, even if I had to yell at him for something, which shows that he understands his behavior and appreciates the fact that I parent him, even when it’s not easy. Kids need rules, structure, and discipline. They also need understanding, patience, and endless love. We never go to bed angry in our house. It’s a rule we live by. We always go to bed feeling loved, grateful, and calm, regardless of how stressful the day was.
Waverly will be two months old on April 2nd and she’s an absolute angel. She’s a beautiful, bright-eyed baby. My life right now revolves around her feedings (every three hours) and I don’t think I’ve slept more than three hours since before she was born, but she’s worth the sleepless nights and busy days. The universe knew I needed a baby girl and I live for dressing her up, shopping for pretty outfits, and watching Greyson be an amazing big brother to his little sister. He loves her so much which melts my heart. She has a truly special connection with me and she looks at me like I’m her entire world, which is so incredible. When she was born I was reminded of the fact that we as adults are honestly so similar to babies and toddlers. We need a snack, a nap, and attention, or we get upset and cranky. Babies and toddlers express themselves through tears and cries. As adults, we hold in our emotions until we explode. If we only took a page from the baby/toddler manual and just let it out we’d feel less anxious and stressed. It’s healthy to cry, vent, and yell mamas. It’s okay to have honest, open emotions. Sometimes, I’m a brat and I accept that. We can learn so much from our children and they’re constantly teaching me important lessons. I may get upset when Greyson has a tantrum and at the worst possible times, but they get overstimulated and tired just like we do. It’s natural for little kids to explode from time to time. We overload them with information (ABCs, numbers, manners, household tasks, rules, extracurricular activities, and daily schedules). It’s not surprising that they lose it sometimes. I lose it sometimes, too. We all do.
Take a breath, mamas. Take a moment. Remember how amazing and strong you are, even on your worst days. The hard days give us the best lessons about life and ourselves. Make time for your hobbies, passions, and favorite things every day. You’re never alone in this beautiful, crazy chapter.