Parenting Triumphs and Fails of a Working Mom of Two

I wrote a post last year about my favorite podcasts and asked you to tell me your favorites. A few of you mentioned Slate’s Mom and Dad Are Fighting, a parenting podcast. I gave it a listen and it’s since become one of my favorites. Every week they have a “Triumphs and Fails” segment, which I always find both entertaining and reassuring.

So in the spirit of the Mom and Dad Are Fighting podcast, I’ll share a few of my own parenting triumphs and fails.

{triumph} “All I do is win.” So my son Jona, who is 3 and a half, is newly potty trained, and we recently had to make our first road trip sans diapers. It had only been about 5 minutes since our last stop, but he announced “I have to go poop on the potty!” My husband and I sighed and drove to the nearest gas station, discussing under our breaths that he probably wouldn’t even go. He still isn’t fully comfortable on a public toilet (because, among other things, it flushes “too loud!”). However, we walked right into the surprisingly clean gas station bathroom, and he got right down to business without any problem at all. I take him to the sink to wash his hands and he starts singing “All I do is win, win, win, no matter what, what, what” at full volume. I had to smile, not only because it’s hilarious to hear him sing that (“everybody hands go up!”) but I did feel like I was winning right then!

{fail} Dinner negotiations. I think I read somewhere that once you begin negotiating with your toddler, you’ve already lost the battle. Those words ring true for me at dinner time, just about every day. Jona definitely inherited my sweet tooth and asks for dessert after every meal (even breakfast!). While I don’t always let him have it, I got into the habit of giving him a small dessert if he eats his dinner. Sounds simple, right? Ha. “Do I have to eat all my strawberries?” [Licks a piece of pasta, green bean, etc.] “See, I tried it. Can I have dessert now?” “I took two bites!” “But I don’t want to try [insert name of unfamiliar food here]!” I know I got myself into this mess, but I don’t know how to dig my way out.

{triumph} Bedtime wins. I’m not going to expect it to last forever, but we’re finally in a place where we can put both kids to bed without a battle. Around the time Jona’s sister Violet was born, bedtime turned into a giant power struggle, and you can guess who won most nights. (Hint: it wasn’t me.) For a while, Violet didn’t make it easy on us either, easily falling asleep in someone’s arms but waking up immediately upon being put in the pack and play or crib. In the last month or so, things have improved significantly. Jona’s bedtime protests haven’t completely subsided, but he’s at least going to bed and staying there (at least until he wakes up in the middle of the night, but that’s a whole other story). Violet seems to understand bedtime too and most nights will sleep from about 9:30 p.m. to 5:45 a.m. Again, I’m not holding my breath that this will last, but I’ll appreciate it while I have it!

{fail} Baby nail fail. Violet isn’t even four months old yet, but my husband and I both have managed to cut one of her little tiny fingers while trying to trim her littler, tinier nails. I’ve never felt more awful than when I heard my sweet baby cry out in pain and knowing I was the one who caused it.

{triumph} Pump it up. After not having any luck with my first child, I stubbornly persisted in trying to breastfeed my second. When it ultimately didn’t work out, I decided to pump and bottle feed instead. While I’m still disappointed that I’m not able to breastfeed, I’m pretty amazed that I’ve been able to feed Violet pumped breast milk without yet having to supplement with formula. That day will likely come, but I can’t help but feel in awe of the fact that my healthy, growing little girl is healthy and growing because of the milk I make for her. It kind of blows my mind. 

{fail} Mommy melt-downs. A lot of people warned me about age 3. Stupidly, I only half-listened. Jona has always been a really easy kid, so I didn’t really expect the “terrible threes” to be all that terrible. OK, you can stop laughing now. Let’s just say it’s been rough. And as much as I know in my mind that staying calm and letting all Jona’s FEELINGS roll off my back is the smart choice, actually doing that isn’t the easiest choice. So, more often than I’d like to admit, I end up yelling, which only exacerbates the situation, which only makes me more angry and less patient, and we both end up in tears. Please tell me that things get better at 4. Please?

OK, your turn. Share your parenting triumphs and fails in the comments below!

Shea lives in Olathe with her husband Aaron, children Jona and Violet, and their spoiled mutt Ellie. She’s a busy working mom who finds her balance in the kitchen, experimenting with new recipes that her picky toddler won’t touch. At the end of a long day, you’ll either find her curled up on the couch with a good book, or busy writing posts for her life and style blog, Shea Lennon, where she hopes to inspire women to look good and live well on a budget. Whether she’s reading or blogging, she’ll likely be accompanied by a bowl of ice cream (the chocolatier, the better) or a glass of wine. And on a good night, both.


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