Sunday, October 23, 2011


This week I've been potty training Hannah. We started bright and early on Tuesday morning when we took her remaining few diapers and ceremoniously tossed them into the trash can, waving goodbye and singing "no more stinky diapers." I read an e-book called "Three Day Potty Training" and followed it pretty perfectly. Basically you just give your child lots and lots and LOTS of fluids, then you wait for them to have an accident. As soon as they start to have an accident you RUN them to the bathroom and try to have them finish on the toilet. This is what you do, confined in your home for three days going nowhere. That's the gist of it. It was a horrible three days. By the end of day 3 I was about ready to pull my hair out, drive to the e-book's authors home, and burn down her house. Miraculously, After Hannah had gone to bed on the third night I heard her get up and knock on her door. I opened the door and Hannah ran past me to get on the toilet and go. It's now been three days AFTER the three day potty training, and while I'm sure we still have a ways to go, Hannah has woken up dry every morning since Wednesday (we don't use pull ups...they are expensive and supposedly lengthen the process...?) , and has only had two accidents since Thursday afternoon. We are progressing a lot.

It has had me thinking a lot though. This is seriously the hardest thing I've done as a parent to date. Even harder than when Hannah went in for surgery, because I know how difficult and frustrating it has been for her. She gets impatient with herself. I have to be kind and patient to her.

Being a parent is difficult. Today it's potty training, and before I know it, we'll be teaching her how to drive. Not only the physical lessons, but the emotional lessons as well. Today in Relief Society we were learning about how to be "Guardians of Virtue." I sat back thinking about our standards and what I'll need to teach my daughters, and felt super overwhelmed.

Recently, a good friend of mine gave me parenting advice. It was unsolicited, and actually stung quite a bit. While I know she was probably TRULY trying to help me with my strong willed two year old because Hannah really is strong willed (she has started to say "ouch, don't hurt me..." while I reprehend her, even if I'm not even touching her) and I know this. I know she disobeys and it is a physical and emotional struggle. There are constant power struggles going on between Hannah and I. The friend actually used the words "You need to discipline her. She has much too much freedom." I wanted to scream and shout "I DO! I have tried everything! I take toys away, I talk, I admonish, I yell, I scream, I spank, I take privileges away, I am consistent!!!" It came on a day that I was already feeling like a bad mother...then low and behold, someone else noticed that I was a bad mother too. I went home and bawled for hours. I know this person didn't mean to make me feel that way. I am not even upset at the things that were said to me. I just think...if you aren't in my home, if you don't know my child, you have no idea what is going on and the struggle I go through.

Hannah is strong willed. She is also very smart. I don't know any other two year old who can recognize not only every letter in the alphabet, but also match their phonetic sounds. She can count up to 30. She knows her birthday is "Juwy twenty seben" and Mommy's birthday is "October ten." She's memorized books and not just Goodnight Moon but also The Cat in the Hat. After watching Pinocchio, she asked "Mommy, you are Hannah's conscience?" She knows that "Gwandma and Gwandpa live in Utah with Sean and Meggie and Lizzy" and "Nana and Papa are in California and have doggies." She knows that "Hannah lives in Las Vegas Nevada." She also knows what she wants, when she wants it, and she rebels against me...and tries to trick me.

Parenting is hard. It is exhausting. Between Hannah, and Paige (mostly Paige) I haven't slept through the night since July and that is hard. I'm tired.

What is the hardest part of parenting for you?


Bea said...

Listening to, and watching your family go thru the same struggles. It turns out well, and some of the challenges are overcome BUT.... there are always challenges. :o) Even for me :o)
BUT....... you can do it :o)
it is worth it. :o)
And besides.....
I love you :o)

Lilian said...

Potty training is hard. It got easier by the time I got to Michael who was... NOT KIDDING... potty trained in 24 hours.

Parenting is hard.
Toddlers are hard....
Teenagers are harder.
Grown children leaving... Hardest part of parenting... so far.

You'll survive.

Stephanie said...

BAH!!! Seriously pretty much everything you wrote is my life too :) Ha! Ethan is just like Hannah. He's very smart and VERY strong willed. He had an "episode" shall we say the other day and a lady in my ward said to me (pointing at Colin) "He's your reward for... that" I could have ripped her hair out! The same lady talked about him... in front of him thinking he was dumb and couldn't understand her. Later he asked me "Mom,am I bad? Carter's mommy said I'm out of control & bad". Potty training was quite the experience he picked up both peeing & pooping in just 3 days but not at the same time so it took about 6 months of scrubbing out poop. Yuck. I say these things to you because you've said to me you think I'm a good mom. Well, I feel just the same way you do a great number of days. I just wanted you to know that YOU are a wonderful mom. You are perfect for Hannah because you are patient and loving. Hannah isn't a normal 2 year old she has normal reactions with a very smart little mind & body. You are wonderful. You are doing awesome. As silly as it sounds you aren't alone in your feelings. I'm routing for you! You can do this.

Lisa said...

You are a great mom and no one can tell you how to parent your child better than you know already! I think the hardest part of parenting for me is me. I know I'm not perfect, I lose my cool when I shouldn't, I have days when my patience is entirely gone, I know I pass up great teaching opportunities all the time, and I get caught up in the day to day too often! But, I love my girls fiercely and I try to enjoy them one day at a time! Potty training was quite a struggle, I realized this month that my oldest has now been "potty trained" for a year. No accidents (well maybe 3 or 4 in the last year) and wears underwear all night, so WHY do I still have to get up 1-3 times a night for her to go to the bathroom??

Melinda said...

I think the hardest part of parenting for me has been living through post-partum depression-now TWICE since the second time around my correct medication was not approved until Natalie was 2 months old. I'm sure there are harder moments ahead, since I had to go back to work when Samantha was 2 1/2 until she was 6, she learned how to read at her daycare that had an excellent pre-school curriculum (with encouragement at home). I told Cory that I'm worried about parenting Natalie because I won't know what to do with her between the ages of 2 1/2 and 6!

Tina said...

I came to your blog through Georgia's blog . . . .

Hang in there, it sounds like you are doing a great job. My kids are 25, 23, 21, and 15 and potty training is so distant I can hardly remember it.

Each stage is so important and each stage brings on its own struggles. This is what causes our souls to change from coal into diamonds, depending on how we deal with it. It can make us angels, or devils . . . literally!

Parenting never ends . . . . I'm still struggling with what my 20 year old children are handing me . . . . just do the best you can . . . which you are . . . and try to be happy with it. The more I parent the less I know about it!!!