How to Potty Train a 3 Year Old…

Ready to potty train?

HAHAHAHAHAHAH. Hilarious. 

Here we go:

-Buy a poster board and sharpies and make sure to carefully draw the lines between each day of the week…. Your toddler will get pissed if your lines aren’t straight.

-Buy about 3,000 stickers because they come in packs of 500 and your toddler requires Star Wars, Peppa Pig, Paw Patrol AND Justice League. Obviously.

-Go pick out your toddler’s favorite underwear…. Just like the stickers, you’ll likely have to buy about 17 times as many pairs of underwear as you need… thanks, Target, for providing so many different types of Licensed underwear.

-Drive home and GET READY FOR FUN!

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-Now: throw all that shit into the garbage because this weekend will be hell. Maybe make a quick stop at the liquor store though.

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-Get out all 75 pairs of underwear because your toddler is going to pee JUST A LITTLE BIT IN EACH PAIR

-Your will and determination will be tested. It will make quitting smoking cigarettes seem like just a typical Tuesday with how many times you have to say, “This is worth it, this is worth it, this is worth it.”

-Your toddler will grow little horns on his head.

-And probably pee ON you at some point. Or 20 times. Either/Or.

-Your amazing partner who woke up Saturday morning with the same determination as you will either sink or swim, it’s every man for himself. He/She will either try and keep you in line reminding you that this is worth it or they’ll back out and go upstairs for some quiet time and leave you picking up the broken pieces of your family.

-Your two older kids will do literally everything possible to “try and help” but, in reality, will get in the way. They’ll complain that they aren’t getting M & M’s, that they don’t get stickers, that they aren’t getting attention….

-At some point, your toddler will go into a full on monologue (one that makes NO sense because, let’s face it, he’s 3) about how HE LOVES DIAPERS AND WANTS TO BE IN DIAPERS FOREVER. How on earth could you be so mean as to take diapers away from him??

And then…

-Finally… FINALLY: your toddler will pee for literally one second in the potty and you get so excited that he cuts the stream off and then pees on the floor 10 minutes later. And then you start over.

And then… he actually starts peeing in the potty. Consistently.

-After what seems like 19 straight days of full on potty training (when it’s actually been 3-4 full days), you’ll emerge from your house in victory. Sure…. He still wears pull ups for naps, bedtime, and some Sundays JUST BECAUSE HE ALWAYS WINS AND BABY GETS WHAT BABY WANTS…..

But: you’re free of diapers. Mostly. Until he starts wetting the bed because your oldest child shows him the movie IT when he’s only 5 and they hide a clown in his closet every night.

And they all lived Happily Ever After.

The End. You’re Welcome.

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The 7 Letter Word….

Anxiety. I have anxiety.

WHEW. I said it. I already feel better.

Oh wait—- I don’t feel better? It isn’t something we’re supposed to talk about? It’s something I’m supposed to deal with on my own or with my doctor, but not in a public setting. Oh wait, not my doctor, I shouldn’t get medicated for it. I should see a therapist…. But wait…. If I see a therapist, is there something wrong with me? But my life is so perfect? What on earth could I be anxious about?

WTF!?

In the last year, my family has been incredibly lucky in many ways (my oldest is getting good grades, my husband and I both received promotions, and my middle child stopped being THE WORST all the time)….. but there’ve been plenty of shit moments. The shittiest of shit moments is when we found out that my mom isn’t getting better. This has been the hardest year of my entire life.

My anxiety has gone THROUGH THE ROOF in the last few months. And, ladies, I have to talk about it. Why? Because I can’t get better on my own! How many times have you shared something that’s happening to you/around you/because of you with someone who can relate? Sharing our problems doesn’t weaken us… it makes us stronger. Asking for help doesn’t make us incapable…. It makes us human.

In Daring Greatly, Brené Brown says: “Because true belonging only happens when we present our authentic, imperfect selves to the world, our sense of belonging can never be greater than our level of self-acceptance.” I am not perfect… oh no. I bite my nails, I raise my voice at my kids, I even (GASP!) drink too much wine! However, I know that through it all, I am a good mom. My anxiety has made me a better mom. Some people might read that statement and think I’m crazy. Let me say it again: my anxiety has made me a better mom.

My oldest, Alexis, has started showing signs of anxiety: she gets physically ill after finding out she failed a test, she threw up when her dad and I were too hard on her, and she will completely shut down if she feels attacked. My anxiety makes it easier for me to identify and help her through her episodes. I will rub her back for 2 hours after others would give up, I will sit next to her without touching her just to be there. I don’t get it right every single time but I am patient enough to figure it out because I go through it as well.

My middle, Fiona, has started getting so worked up when she doesn’t feel listened to that she literally can’t stop taking loud, shallow breaths. She doesn’t feel better until we make full eye contact and breathe deeply 5 times together. I HOPE that my 4 year old doesn’t have/develop anxiety but I am here for her if she does.

Everytime I have an anxiety episode or a panic attack, I have learned to let the people surrounding me know. It allows me to excuse myself and retreat into silence where I can focus on my breathing and not worry about what people think.

Since I started sharing with family, friends & coworkers about my anxiety, I have never felt more supported. I truly feel liberated after opening up and becoming vulnerable about anxiety….. so much better than when I used to say, “excuse me” and run into the bathroom to cry.

I wish every work environment was as mindful of mental health as the one I’ve worked in for 6 years. I know that others aren’t as tolerant because I recently spoke with someone about anxiety who said, “you just have to train your mind to work through it.” When I mentioned the chemical imbalances in your brain which create anxiety, this person said, “well… I worked through mine without medication so I know others can too.”

Instead of telling others what to do, I think our job as humans, as women and as moms is to say, “What can I do? How can I help?” or better yet, “Let me take this off your plate. Let me pick up your kids from school today.” Sheryl Sandberg has shared that after her husband died the best thing a friend did was to NOT ask what she can do to help…. That places the burden on the person grieving or hurting. Instead, tell the friend WHAT you’re going to do for them- “I’m coming over with coffee in hand…. What kind of cream cheese do you want on your bagel?” During a panic attack, I can choose jalapeno cream cheese. I can’t, however, come up with a list of things that you can do to help me. I would never suggest that a friend asking what they can do to help isn’t incredibly kind, but my point is that there’s a better way of offering help.

Since I spoke up about my anxiety, I’ve felt an overwhelming sense of support. People are stepping up to help me when I’m weak and cutting me slack when I say “no” to events that I would’ve previously said yes to.

Struggling with mental health isn’t a weakness… being strong and talking about it is the best way I’ve found to deal with it. I just hope that anyone who suffers from anxiety has the support they need. If you suffer from anxiety and don’t feel supported, please talk to someone about it– even me! Sharing about my experience has become one of the best decisions I’ve made…. I hope you’ll do the same if that’s what is best for you.

Thank you to all of my friends and family for the support you’ve given me. I love you all.