My post last week sharing my favorite tip for calming toddler tantrums really got me reflecting on this past year for our family (and the friends that we consider to be our family). It was filled with some very sweet moments and several hard and sad ones too.
This year I feel incredibly grateful for the simple parenting challenges I have been given and the growth that I have made because of them.
Within our little family, I have had the hardest time over the past year with my two year old. In addition to having typical behaviors that come with being two and emotional and trying to be independent... my little one has also struggled with some sensory and emotional issues that have made it often frustrating and hard to go places and do things that we've usually done. They also significantly impacted our family dynamics. I've been sad (and angry) a lot and have felt isolated. I have also been very critical of myself and my parenting skills.
I have a whole separate post to write about my daughter's sensory issues, but one of the most important things I've learned over the past year is to be more sensitive to the kids that seem to be labeled as the "bad" kid or the "hard" kid by other people. I have also learned to be more sensitive towards their parents.
I am grateful for the kids who are the hardest to love. They teach me the most about who I am.
It is easy to be kind to a little one who is constantly blowing kisses and telling you they love you. It is not as easy to show love to a child (or adult) who is angry, emotional, and yelling mean words.
This year I learned that sometimes I didn't like who I was as a parent as I reacted to my daughter. I was short tempered, impatient, and insensitive. I am trying to work harder to not be that person and become someone better. It requires constant work and a lot of self control.
I am grateful for my small challenges. As I have watched some of my friends deal with much harder parenting and life challenges, I've witnessed their transformations from being ordinary to extraordinary. Even though I hate when hard things happen, I know that challenges make us stronger as people and more compassionate.