Saturday, April 13, 2013

The Myth of the Terrible Twos

After 10 years of going full tilt in a career, my wife and I decided that I needed to step back and create space for her career to launch. This has been a difficult season for me on many levels, but it is also very rich. I'll blog more about this season later. For now I want to talk about the myth of the terrible twos.

Hang around parents of a toddler for five minutes and I guarantee that you will hear about the terrible twos. I'm not going to lie, sometime around the time my daughter turned 18 months it became much more difficult to parent her. The problem is, most parents want to blame it on "the terrible twos." I just came to a startling realization.

What I'd like to blame on the terrible twos is really my inability to be selfless.

I'm not trying to guilt anybody. Most parents I talk to already feel like they are under pressure. They already feel inadequate. The last thing I want to do is make an overworked people group feel more pressure.

Let's face it, parenting is tough. Even though I love my kids more than I thought I could ever love another human, sometimes I hate this season. What I am pushing against is this idea that pain is bad. Our culture is all about minimizing pain. However, most of life's lessons are learned during painful seasons.

Don't run from pain. Lean into pain. You will become a better father, mother, sister, brother, daughter, son, friend, and worker.

Even as I type this, I feel myself getting tired. On the flip side of learning to be selfless while parenting is the necessity of self-care. Even self-care requires selflessness. You may need to wake up earlier to have a little alone time. You may need to hire a baby sitter so you can spend quality time with your spouse. On occasion, you may need to have a night or two of solitude to heal, recover, and recharge.

But when you come back, dive in. This season won't last forever. Something beautiful is happening. Don't run. You can do this.


More information on "The Terrible Twos":
I found a really good article that explains this season called The Terrible Twos: A Myth? Here is my favorite quote.
“It's an old-fashioned idea and not supported by research,” says Alan Kazdin, Ph.D., director of the Parenting Center at Yale University. The term was coined in the 1950s, perhaps because so much pressure was put on families to be detergent-commercial perfect that the moment a child grew out of compliant infancy, moms were freaked out.