Pregnant While Mothering a Toddler is No Easy Feat - But Learning When to Pick Your Battles Helps

Amanda Clark-Rudolph

Being pregnant while chasing a toddler is no easy feat! But learning when to pick my battles and even surrender benefitted me AND my firstborn.

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Photo by Richard Jaimes / Unsplash

Seven months into my second pregnancy, I learned how to pick battles with my toddler.

It all began when I felt ill, achy, and irritated, and lacked the energy to chase my lovable (yet wobatish) toddler.

FYI: Running after a two-year-old while pregnant is something I still cannot adequately describe, but I will try:

  • A marshmallow man chasing fires
  • A penguin chasing a gazelle
  • Slimer chasing ghosts

You get the idea.

I admit I used to get on my son's case a lot. If he was throwing blocks, I told him to stop; if he was drawing on his hands, I redirected him; if he was emptying his toy box, I was right behind him, telling him to clean up.

I was on it: always.

And then one evening, my son climbed up on his chair to sporadically throw thank you cards on the floor.

For some context, I had just plopped down on the couch, and the mere idea of getting up was a chore. I was seven months pregnant, remember?

Still, I was about to stop him but didn't.

I didn't say one word. I didn't attempt to interject. I just lay there…motionless, and ignored him.

You heard me right. At that moment, I surrendered.

He wasn't in danger, he wasn't hurting anyone, and I didn't think he would turn into an evil being because I didn't stop him from throwing cards on the floor.

In fact, he got bored once he noticed I wasn't paying attention to him and switched gears to build a tower.

And then the next day, when he was playing outside, I let him step into his wet sandbox — shoes on and all (gasp!)

Interestingly, he eventually realized the shoes were uncomfortable and requested to go inside and change them.

Now I chose these moments carefully, and in those two days, there were probably a hundred instances when I did interject.

It wasn't like I was allowing my kid to flail around knives, tip over candles, or eat lightbulbs (all of which I have prevented in the past), but I did let him throw cards and get his shoes wet.

From then on, I chose my battles wisely, and I'm so glad I did.

Now I know that some may disagree. I can hear the comments now, but I imagine, most relate.

I needed a few moments of surrender to preserve my sanity. And I'm not alone.

A quote from popular parenting educator, Michael Grose, sticks:

"If a parent fights with their child over everything, then they are in for an emotionally draining time... It would be better to ignore most of the minor misbehaviors and focus on the more significant behaviors such as how a young person treats others."

Like many pregnant mothers with toddlers, I was exhausted, hormonal, and achy. I lacked the mobility, patience, and energy that I had before.

Because of this, I admit, I stopped sweating the small stuff - a healthy move for both my toddler and me.

It's not like I let my kid run haywire. Not at all. Some common sense non-negotiable behaviors still had consistent consequences.

  • But I let go of the idea of perfection.
  • I let go of being able to correct every little thing.
  • I gave my firstborn the space he needed to thrive.
  • I picked my battles and turned my focus more to teaching my child empathy and kindness.

Being pregnant while chasing after my toddler made me realize that my firstborn would have to figure some stuff out for himself.

For example, when my son was clawing at me and demanding apple juice after I just gave him a full cup of milk, I would tell him, "Sorry, little man, not right now. Mommy needs a little downtime.

Now would be a good time for you to play with your trains. Give mommy fifteen minutes."

It didn't (and still doesn't) always go as planned, like when my son found the superglue. I still don't know where that came from. Still, I pick my battles, and we BOTH are better for it.

Being pregnant while chasing a toddler also made me realize that daddy needed to step up more.

I couldn't swing my toddler around like I used to, I couldn't run after him like I used to, and I knew I needed to get some rest before baby #2 arrived.

This is why my husband took on more responsibilities.

Two months before my due date, my husband became responsible for all of my son's wakeups. My toddler was going through a nightmare stage, and I had always taken care of the wakeups.

There was no way I was going to wake up with two kids, so daddy had to prepare–and he did.

Daddy also exchanged some of his garage time with folding clothes in the laundry room - baby onesies get grungy, you know?

We implemented these changes before the new baby came home, and they made a world of difference.

As you can see from above, these moments of surrender resulted in a few epiphanies and a lot of good.

So the next time you have a moment of surrender, I want you not to beat yourself up. I want you to know that you are amazing! I want you to know that you are human and need a breather every once in a while.

I want you to remember that if your child is safe and doing no harm, now and then, it's okay to sit back and let him throw a few cards on the floor. . .

And it's not the end of the world if you don't get around to making him pick them up later.

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Hi, I'm Amanda - a freelancing mama who writes about family, travel, holidays, and more! In addition to freelancing it up, I'm a Content Coordinator for neighborhood magazines. My favorite pastimes: Writing, slurping lattes, and playing freeze tag with my two sons.

Ocala, FL
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