She'll be 3 in 2 months and I don't like being with her. Even when she's happy and playing I am tensing for a tantrum. I might walk into a room when she wanted to walk in first or I might pick up a raisin that fell on the floor when she wanted to do it. I'm past "I know you're sad/mad/upset but that it is not okay to yell". She is so mercurial now. She is completely unreasonable and I know...she's almost 3. I get it. But is it natural to think..hmm...maybe a divorce would be good as I'd only have to have her half the time or wanted to work full time just to get away from her. I know I sound awful. I love her and my husband and we have a pretty good life aside from a lot of typical stress. I hate saying these things. I told my DH I missed what it was like before her. I hate myself for saying that. I know this is a stage but I am sucked into it and can't get my head above water. I would never hit her but I feel like I'm sounding more firm more often and turning into a total shrew of a mom. I give choices and I validate her feelings and I admit when I'm wrong for getting mad and say I'm sorry. I model feelings of her and how to take my own time and and to breathe....but I'm hitting my limit several times a day now. I think DH feels the same as I do though I don't think he would be so low as to say he missed life before her.
I need help.
I think you have alot of courage and you are a good mom. Even good moms need a break. Even good kids have hard stages. Everything you posted is incredibly difficult and normal. Do you have any mom friends you can hang with IRL and commiserate? My dh and I take a shift on Friday nights. I get about 3 hours to myself as soon as he gets home then he takes a turn. It is our "free" time. Makes a world of difference for me. Three is hard but it does get better.
For me, when things got that hard with ds1, I realized it was time to adjust myself. The way I parented, disciplined, and even just interacted with him. It probably was about age 3 too, now that I think of it.
What I did was read some parenting books and articles online, and really did some thinking about which direction would be best for me. I think part of it was that I was trying to be CL, and it really wasn't my style. I was trying to never say no to ds1, but I was getting frustrated when he did X anyways. So I changed to a more "in control" (though still no punishing or rewarding) parenting style, and things settled again.
Same thing with ds2, though he's younger. When things got rough, what ended up helping (besides taking out some foods he's sensitive to) was adjusting myself and my actions.
I always think of these article when GD parents say they are having a rough time with their older toddler/preschoolers:
I think what happens is that one parenting style can work wonderfully with littler toddlers, then all of a sudden (it seems like) it stops working for everyone. But it's hard to see when it's not working when every day with a toddler is full of ups and downs!
Oh, and a few weeks ago, I was saying the same thing about wanting to get a job just to get away from ds2. I'm pretty sure that his tantrums were food related. Either that, or his sleep was food related and his lack of sleep was causing the tantrums. Either way, we removed some foods that we suspected, gave him some supps to help with his sleep, and within a week he was back to his normal (though very active and into everything) self.
Becky, partner to Teague, SAHM to Keagan (7yo), Jonah (2yo)
My DS is the same age. There are many days I'm like this... and I DO work full-time and I AM (almost) divorced. Right now, I'm reading Your Three Year Old (part of a series...there is also Your Two Year Old, etc.) and it is very helpful in understanding what makes a child of that age tick. Even though I know X behavior is normal, is a stage, and so on, it has been really enlightening to read this book and have the "behind the scenes" (for lack of a better phrase) thoroughly explained.
For example, children (in general) hit a state of disequilibrium around 2.5 and 3.5 because of developmental changes. Then, usually around their birthday, they reach a state of equilibrium and are once again pleasant to be around. Fast forward six months and it's back to disequilibrium, and the cycle continues. Anyway, so far I've found that knowing what to expect has helped me to remain calm and not take tantrums/whining/bossy behavior personally.
Mama to DS (7)
Thank you so much for your responses. There's something else I've realized..my monthlies are hitting me more emotionally than they used to as I get older. I become despairing. So, one thing I am good at is reaching out. My DH and I talked about giving each other respite when needed and just continuing to talk to each other rather than let our confusion and frustration create a wedge. I will read the books and articles suggested as I think I may now need to turn to other resources. I really haven't read any parenting books since I was pregnant.
I really appreaciate the support here!