Taking care of a toddler is so much harder than a newborn

Do you agree or disagree, mama? 👇

Taking care of a toddler is so much harder than a newborn

While pregnant, I mentally prepared myself for the sleepless nights, brain fog, and zero "me time" that my daughter's arrival would bring. I'd be in survival mode for the first few months of her life, but things would get easier as she grew. Right?

My daughter was born on her due date: 9 pounds, 11 ounces of healthy baby. I experienced post-delivery complications and in the weeks after she was born, I was very weak. Nevertheless, I felt clear-headed and was able to get good chunks of sleep both at night and during the day.

After a month, when I was physically stronger and required less sleep during the day, I had a lot of free time. I had time to read, blog, cook and lightly clean the house while my daughter napped. She grew and the duration of her naps shrunk, making it easier for us to leave the house.


I took her on long walks as she sat in her stroller, to the grocery store when she was able to sit up in the cart unassisted, and to parks with green grass as she was learning to walk. For the first year and a half of her life, I wondered if I was missing something. The whole mom thing felt too easy. Then my husband got a new job. A job with much longer hours.

Around this time, my daughter started exerting her will in new ways: tantrums, hitting, and yelling "MINE!" to anyone who so much glanced at one of her belongings.

We still went on walks, but she wanted to be the one to push the stroller.

We still went to the grocery store, but she didn't understand why we couldn't always buy the checkout aisle candy bar.

We still went to the park, but she got upset when she couldn't reach tall tree branches and when I wouldn't let her trample through flowerbeds.

A few weeks passed and her behavior persisted. I began to suspect that her behavior wasn't simply the result of a sleep regression or teething. I began to suspect that she was exerting her will in new ways because she was about to turn two.

One evening after my daughter was asleep, my husband and I sat down to discuss discipline methods for the first time. I felt sad. I wanted my sweet baby back.

It's been seven months since my husband started his new job, and three months since my daughter's second birthday. My husband is a very involved dad, but because I spend more time with our daughter, this stage has been more difficult for me to navigate. We discuss discipline methods and then I have to enforce them.

I'm the one to try to find ways to distract my daughter from her frustrations. And it's me who pushes forward, trying to express how much I love her—in spite of her tantrums—when what I would really like to do is lock myself in the bathroom with one (or three) of those checkout aisle candy bars.

One of the reasons why I think the early stages of parenting were easy for me is precisely because I experienced post-delivery complications. Because I needed surgery, my daughter and I were separated for the first 24 hours of her life. As I recovered, I felt grateful to be alive, grateful for the nighttime feedings and for every minute that I got to hold her in my arms.

I decided to not waste time complaining or dwelling on the negative aspects of motherhood. I decided to be joyful.

A few weeks ago, my daughter and I were having a particularly hard day. She was in a bad mood, and none of my usual distraction techniques—Play-doh, fun snacks, a trip to the park—seemed to pull her out of it. When I was sure it was getting close to 6:30, the time my husband usually arrived home, I checked my phone: 4:00 P.M.

I collapsed in tears on the bed.

"Mommy, okay?" my daughter asked as she sat down beside me.

"Yes, I'm okay," I said, wiping my eyes. "I'm just having a hard day."

"Aww!" she said, giving me a hug and a big smile.

I smiled back through my tears. Parenting a toddler is hard, yes, much harder than I expected. But I am still grateful to be alive, and I still choose to be joyful.

You might also like:

    Every week, we stock the Motherly Shop with innovative and fresh products from brands we feel good about. We want to be certain you don't miss anything, so to keep you in the loop, we're providing a cheat sheet.

    So, what's new this week?

    Tenth & Pine: Gender-neutral and butter-soft basics for littles + bigs

    In 2016, after a stage four endometriosis diagnosis and a 10 year battle with infertility, Tenth & Pine founder Kerynn got her miracle baby, Ezra Jade. As a SAHM with a Masters in Business, she wanted to create a brand that focused on premium quality, function, comfort, and simplicity.

    She sought out premium, all natural fabrics and factories that shared her core values, practicing environmentally friendly manufacturing methods with fair and safe working conditions for employees. As a result, her made in the USA, gender-neutral designs check all the boxes. The sustainable, organic basics are perfect for everyday wear, family photos and any adventure in between.

    Lucy Lue Organics: Sustainably and ethically-produced modern baby clothes

    This family-owned and operated business was started by a mama who wanted out of corporate America after the birth of her son. Thoughtfully designed to mix-and-match, Lucy Lue's sustainably and ethically produced collection of modern organic baby clothes only uses fabrics that are "environmentally friendly from seed to seam." Their gorgeous, earthy tones and comfy, minimalist styles make the perfect addition to first wardrobes from birth through the first years.

    Sontakey: Simple bracelets that speak your mind

    Sontakey has been such a hit in the Motherly Shop that we knew it was time to expand the line. And since these beautiful mantra bands look so stunning stacked, more options = more fun.

    Not sure where to start? Here's what we're adding to our cart:

    Keep reading Show less

    Motherly editors’ 7 favorite hacks for organizing their diaper bags

    Make frantically fishing around for a diaper a thing of the past!

    As any parent knows, the term "diaper bag" only scratches the surface. In reality, this catchall holds so much more: a change of clothes, bottles, snacks, wipes and probably about a dozen more essential items.

    Which makes finding the exact item you need, when you need it (read: A diaper when you're in public with a blowout on your hands) kind of tricky.

    That's why organization is the name of the game when it comes to outings with your littles. We pooled the Motherly team of editors to learn some favorite hacks for organizing diaper bags. Here are our top tips.

    1. Divide and conquer with small bags

    Here's a tip we heard more than a few times: Use smaller storage bags to organize your stuff. Not only is this helpful for keeping related items together, but it can also help keep things from floating around in the expanse of the larger diaper bag. These bags don't have to be anything particularly fancy: an unused toiletry bag, pencil case or even plastic baggies will work.

    2. Have an emergency changing kit

    When you're dealing with a diaper blowout situation, it's not the time to go searching for a pack of wipes. Instead, assemble an emergency changing kit ahead of time by bundling a change of baby clothes, a fresh diaper, plenty of wipes and hand sanitizer in a bag you can quickly grab. We're partial to pop-top wipes that don't dry out or get dirty inside the diaper bag.

    3. Simplify bottle prep

    Organization isn't just being able to find what you need, but also having what you need. For formula-feeding on the go, keep an extra bottle with the formula you need measured out along with water to mix it up. You never know when your outing will take longer than expected—especially with a baby in the mix!

    4. Get resealable snacks

    When getting out with toddlers and older kids, snacks are the key to success. Still, it isn't fun to constantly dig crumbs out of the bottom of your diaper bag. Our editors love pouches with resealable caps and snacks that come in their own sealable containers. Travel-sized snacks like freeze-dried fruit crisps or meal-ready pouches can get an unfair reputation for being more expensive, but that isn't the case with the budget-friendly Comforts line.

    5. Keep a carabiner on your keychain

    You'll think a lot about what your child needs for an outing, but you can't forget this must-have: your keys. Add a carabiner to your keychain so you can hook them onto a loop inside your diaper bag. Trust us when we say it's a much better option than dumping out the bag's contents on your front step to find your house key!

    6. Bundle your essentials

    If your diaper bag doubles as your purse (and we bet it does) you're going to want easy access to your essentials, too. Dedicate a smaller storage bag of your diaper bag to items like your phone, wallet and lip balm. Then, when you're ready to transfer your items to a real purse, you don't have to look for them individually.

    7. Keep wipes in an outer compartment

    Baby wipes aren't just for diaper changes: They're also great for cleaning up messy faces, wiping off smudges, touching up your makeup and more. Since you'll be reaching for them time and time again, keep a container of sensitive baby wipes in an easily accessible outer compartment of your bag.

    Another great tip? Shop the Comforts line on to find premium baby products for a fraction of competitors' prices. Or, follow @comfortsforbaby for more information!

    This article was sponsored by The Kroger Co. Thank you for supporting the brands that supporting Motherly and mamas.

    Our Partners
    Chrissy Teigen/Instagram

    When Chrissy Teigen announced her third pregnancy earlier this year we were so happy for her and now our hearts are with her as she is going through a pain that is unimaginable for many, but one that so many other mothers know.

    Halfway through a high-risk pregnancy complicated by placenta issues, Teigen announced late Wednesday that she has suffered a pregnancy loss.

    Our deepest condolences go out to Chrissy and her husband, John Legend (who has been by her side in the hospital for several days now).

    In a social media post, Teigen explained she named this baby Jack.


    "We are shocked and in the kind of deep pain you only hear about, the kind of pain we've never felt before. We were never able to stop the bleeding and give our baby the fluids he needed, despite bags and bags of blood transfusions. It just wasn't enough," she wrote.

    She continued: "We never decide on our babies' names until the last possible moment after they're born, just before we leave the hospital. But we, for some reason, had started to call this little guy in my belly Jack. So he will always be Jack to us. Jack worked so hard to be a part of our little family, and he will be, forever."

    Keep reading Show less