Do Not Put that Phone in the Toilet: And Other Truths About Toddler Life

My little angel turned 14 months the other day – and I’d like to pause for a moment and reflect on all that has transpired since we celebrated turning one.

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14 months old. I never thought I’d be one of those people celebrating in months until forever, but, c’est la vie – I promise to stop when she’s 2. Maybe.

Since I was still deep in 1st-birthday-party-recovery-mode last month when this nugget turned 13 months, I forgot to take a pause and reflect on all the changes that have come about since my daughter propelled herself out of infancy and into another stratosphere of growing, learning, loving … and exerting her independence/destroying my house.

It’s true – I have loved motherhood more deeply than I have ever imagined. I have cherished each moment, become infatuated with each milestone and smile and learning experience. But if I had to sum up my feelings about toddler life, a stage I know I have only just recenly entered, the expression would be:

“Holy Shit.”

As in, “Holy sh$%. Bella! Don’t touch that!”

or

“Holy shhhhhhh-OMG Bella, DO NOT put Daddy’s iPhone in the toilet!”

and sometimes

“Holy shhh-aww – these hugs are better than anything in the world.”

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But really – this whole time since someone sent the memo to my daughter that she has passed the innocent, cooperative, infant stage and started wreaking havoc on my home and the rate at which my hair turns gray, has felt like someone hit the target on the dunk tank – and I was the one on the plank.

Sure, I knew that once this princess was on two feet I’d need a bit a more energy.

Of course, I was aware of the rapidly-fluctuating emotions.

No, I had no clue, my home would become Ground Zero for my toddler tornado and I would need to contemplate purchasing a crash helmet for my child. But it has, so here I am, in my unmade bed covered in baby socks and puzzle pieces telling you all about it.

This weekend, instead of posting the typical, “Aw, my daughter is 14-months-old post and loves to give high-fives and say lots of words” post, I decided to keep it real.

So yes, while she’s smart (she already says over 10 words!), engaging (she smiles at, says “Hi!” to, and waves at everyone she sees), and extremely loving (the hugs are strong, intentional, and filled with gratitude) – she is inevitably, a toddler on a mission.

Here is what is really going on in this toddler world of mine, and all of the toddler homes around you – quite possibly with details no one else is sharing:

My Toilets are Now Entertainment

Yes, we put on toilet locks once we discovered our daughter’s penchant for splashing toilet water about, but fear not, she’s figured them out. She not only sticks her hands in there, she’ll throw anything in her sight into the bowl, including, but not limited to, expensive shampoos, makeup brushes, shoes, and an entire trashcan.

My Beautiful Coffee Tables and Couches are Now a Jungle Gym

Hell, so is my bed, my dining chairs, and the dryer. Now that she’s walking more steadily, climbing has become her party trick. I turn my back for 20 seconds only to find she’s made her way to the top of the coffee table, TV remotes in hand, and ready to cause serious harm. She’ll leverage a dining chair and battle her way to the top of the dining room table, knocking over flower vases and stopping my heart. My couches need cleaning, since these are her new trampolines, my bed has led to the need for multiple ice packs, and taking clothes out of the dryer turns into an all-out battle to try and remove chickadee from inside the machine.

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Food is the Enemy

And so is the high chair. I have been kicked in my stomach, a boob, and my lip trying to prevent this little monster from weaseling her way out of the chair – which is so shocking considering how much she loved this damn thing 3 months ago. All food that I try to feed her ends up on the floor or in my hair, since we’re currently on a quest to feed ourselves. I waste countless hours and endless amounts of money on food she’ll eat one day but not the next, and my dog has gained 15 pounds.

Car Rides are also the Enemy

Which sucks considering this used to be a time of peace and quiet, back when each car ride produced the miracle of sleep and a break for me to answer calls, listen to voicemails, or listen to anything other than Elmo. Yea, this is no longer the case. Cue Elmo’s songs and bring along a baggie full of goldfish because this is going to be one hell of a ride.

Independence is her middle name

If she can’t do it herself, she’s not doing it at all. This goes for much more than just meal time. This goes for putting shoes on and taking them off, washing her hair in the tub, pushing elevator buttons, removing diapers, and oh so much more. Who needs a mom when you have a control-freak for a kid and a weak personality.

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I wouldn’t have it any other way

Yes, with all of this, my very-involved job and mamapreneur goals, and a husband and dog to care for, I am exhausted. Yes, I find myself wondering what the hell I did with all my free time when this kid spend 90% of her days on a tummy time mat staring at the ceiling and kicking her feet. But yes, with every “Mama!!!!!,” big strong hug, hilarious kiss on the cheek/mouth/arm, and giggle that touches my soul, it is all so, so worth it. My toddler boss is my best friend, and I too, am learning everyday right along with her – and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

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Where Does Happiness Come From?

“You look SO happy now!”

Really? So what did I look before? Don’t answer that.

I’ve become desensitized to this, “you look so happy,” observation because frankly- I’ve heard it enough times for the word “happy” to sound like white noise at this point. Just another word in my overly verbose life.

But when I really think about it, like, stand-in-the-shower-lost-in-thought think about it, I totally get why this comment is consistently being thrown in my direction.
For me, life was not always as, “figured out*” as it is today. For so long, I was aboard the hot-mess-express to nowhere, always lost in my overly-analytical and anxious brain.

I was painfully indecisive, unsure, and unable to advocate for myself or my opinions. I didn’t know what I wanted, where I was going, or even worse, what even made me happy.

I was, essentially, the quintessential “little girl lost”.

Okay, well, I worked past all that, landed myself a damn good man, an incredible daughter, a home to call my own, and a life that just “works”.

Maybe it’s the shock from people who knew me from “before” feel when they bump into the new and improved version of myself that I’ve unknowingly created. Or maybe, just maybe, this “happiness” I now radiate so strongly is more just the appreciation of learning what life really is all about.

Yes, it’s definitely that.

Acquiring this husband/child/life of mine was NOT the elimination of all things “unhappy”. I didn’t pop out a baby and push out all my anxiety with her. Quite honestly, the stress of this new life is more overwhelming than ever. More bills, more responsibility, more to argue about, blah blah blah.

But that’s because there’s so much realness in my life now. So much at stake. So much to be thankful for. And that’s where you learn that you’ve got so much more than you ever dreamed possible – and you better just SHUT UP and be happy.

It’s the realization that I am somebody’s everything now. There is a little one-year-old life depending on me for literally everything, and my heart is so full at the the thought of that. It’s FINALLY coming to the realization that tomorrow is not promised, and it could all be gone in an instant – and that would really, really suck. It’s having two lives living under this roof with me that make life worth living for. That make putting myself through the stress of everyday life worth every ounce of hard work and sacrifice. It’s finally learning, after 32 years, what makes ME happy, and that I have to make each moment count, forget the bullshit, focus on what really matters and keep things totally in perspective.

And that, my friends, is where happiness comes from.

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Mother Hustler Monday: Emily

I met Emily through a mutual friend about two weeks into my new life in Miami, just a little over three years ago.

We were at an event in this mutual friend’s house, and Emily was baking her gluten-free goodies, and it was pretty much friends-at-first sight. We bonded over our love of healthy eating, relocating from New York, and just our general awesomeness.

It was such an instant connection, that just a few weeks later, I was out celebrating my birthday with her.

Fast-forward three years, and our friendship is, in a word, incomparable. We are now both raising our little girls together as best friends, in hopes that they will be, too.  We both share a deep desire for our girls to be strong, confident and capable young women one day, as those are the values we cherish the most within ourselves, and each other.

So why is this lady-friend of mine such a bad-ass Mother Hustler?

I’m so glad you inquired.

Emily has a strong work history for large powerhouse companies such as Lehman Brothers in NYC. She’s got an MS in Educational Psychology , and she is, for lack of a better term, SELF-MADE.

After leaving her career at Lehman Brothers behind, Emily recognized the need for well-written, well-educated Resume Writers in our economy-shattered nation, post-2008.

In just a few short years, Emily went from this idea of writing resumes, to building what is now a leading, TOP 25 IN THE NATION, full-service resume writing and career coaching business. She is a leading career strategist and I can barely schedule friend-time with her because ever since she’s joined the Forbes Coaches Council, she’s on FIRE.

Luckily, she took a chance on this young writer I call MOI, and has employed me at my own free will. I’m not gonna lie, one of the biggest perks is getting to sit, day in and day out, with this hot mama, as we try really hard to avoid our useless banter about anything and everything, and plug away at our Macbooks in cafes all over South Florida.

Not only am I learning from her, which has proved invaluable in my own quest to be a writer, but I’m now a part of this amazing company. And we’ve got plans – big plans.

But anyway, this Mother Hustler is not bad-ass because she is my best friend (although it helps). She’s not bad-ass because she’s employed me.

She’s bad-ass because she had a dream, followed it, and is continuously exceeding even her own expectations with ReFresh Your Step.

And she is doing all of this, as a phenomenal fricken’ mama.IMG_1632

Care to know more about this Mama or interested in some Career Coaching?

Visit Emily @ http://www.refreshyourstep.com to learn more!

Are YOU a Mother Hustler? Care to nominate someone who is? Email us thetrustedmama@gmail.com