I like to joke around with my birth class students and say, "The pain of childbirth is nothing compared to the pain of having a two-year-old in the house." While that is often good for a laugh and a tension breaker, those of us who have crossed the line into the land of motherhood often struggle with dealing with toddlers, teenagers and all ages in between. The battle of the wills that ensues between parent and child can be epic. Yet, if we can yield to the storms of our young ones, letting that sometimes-ferocious energy pass over us, both mother and child end up happier. Instead of trying to contain the temper tantrum or yell back at the child, if we step back and hold the space so the child can cry, yell or stomp those feet without judgment, miraculously, the child often calms down quicker. From the frazzled parent point of view, quieting the screaming may seem like the most important mission. I have been there many times and I am not one to argue! Simply saying these moments are "unpleasant" is quite the euphemism. Yet what I also realize is that my desire to quiet down my kids is no more justified then their desire to express themselves. Who is the toddler, after all, in this situation? I want my way; they want theirs' ; it's a conundrum. When I can tune in to the lesson of childbirth, that this is just a difficult pain that is occurring here and now, and avoid getting ahead of myself, I am able to cope with the situation that much better.
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