A Letter To My Friend, The Toddler Mama

To My Friend and Toddler Mama,

I haven't been able to stop thinking about our conversation in the car. 
I wish that I could have found just the right words to say to make you feel better about this current stage of mamahood that you're fighting through.

I hate that I don't know what crappy book to recommend, the strategy that you should attempt next or how to assure you that it will get better. 

What I do know is that, no matter what, your daughter knows that she is loved for all that she is, just as she is. 

For every time out, consequence and Mean Mom Eye she is shot, she is hugged, praised and cherished twice over. 

She is wild, free and stunningly intelligent - all of which combine to create a frustratingly unique toddler creature - but she is also creative, independent and fiercely herself. She can only be those things because you have empowered her to be a confident mini version of a soon-to-be amazing woman. You are teaching her to be kind with each tuck of her curls, strong with every moment of secretly supervised independent play and self assured with the constant fuss you make over her Crayola artwork. 

One day she will aspire to mother her babe just as you mothered her. She will sneak into the nursery and listen for the soft breathing and desperately hope that she is making the choices that you made so that her daughter will feel as cherished as she did when she was snuggled safely in her toddler bed. 

Truthfully, none of us are truly winning at this mom thing, we're all just doing the best we can with what we have. When you lay in bed tonight and grade your Mommy Report Card, grade yourself as I would grade you. Look at yourself through her eyes. Give yourself a little bit of grace and an ass load of compassion. Remember that you chose kind words (even if they were said through gritted teeth), hid in your bathroom to cry tears of frustration instead of taking it out on her and, at the very least, survived another day in the Toddler Trenches. 

While I may not always know just the right thing to say, I am always here when you need me.