Sure, it's undeniably true that motherhood is beautiful, and is most certainly filled with wonderful, awe-inspiring, and downright fantastic moments. Motherhood is also filled with a bunch of shit. Like, literal shit. As you might've guessed, I'm currently attempting to potty train my toddler...and I kind of want to die. I'm equipped to handle many difficult parenthood situations, but I don't think I'm mentally able to make my way through the emotional stages of potty training. Like, I just don't think I can do it, you guys. He's going to be wearing diapers forever, and I'm almost OK with that at this point.
Sometimes I feel like giving up after I ask my son if he needs to go potty, only to get a "no," and then later see (or smell or step in) the poop that he definitely didn't need to take in the potty, but apparently needed to take on my floor. Sometimes I feel like I'm losing all sense of personal space because the books tell me that peeing in front of my kid will help him learn. In one way or another, I'm in a constant state of struggle over the whole situation. The worst part? The average time it takes to successfully potty train a kid is an unbearable three months. Three. Freakin'. Months. I can't even think about how much carpet cleaner I'm going to need to buy.
So, it's safe to say, and I'm sure you've all already assumed: I need help. I don't necessarily need an extra pair of hands to clean up after my toddler, but I do need some positive reinforcement. I do need someone to tell me, "Hey, you're going to make it. Just barely, but you will." While we all like to think that we can do it all on our own, the truth is, we simply cannot.
So if you know someone like me, in the throes of toddler potty training and one more accident away from losing their ever-loving mind, here are seven things you can say to her. Trust me, she'll thank you.
It does. It might not happen in the toilet, where it belongs, but it does. It's OK if that shit happens on the floor or happens in bed. Potty training is a process. A very, very dirty process.
"This Too Shall Pass"
"This" being the kid's poop, and the whole potty-training phase. There is light at the end of the tunnel, even if it's almost impossible to see. Of course, the rational part of any mother's brain is well aware that she won't be potty training her child forever. However, the rational part of a mother's brain, when she's potty training her toddler, is also drowning in pee and feces, so sometimes it can be hard to tap into.
"It's OK To Hate This Part Of Parenting"
In order to look like the "perfect mom" (whatever that means) many women feel pressured to portray motherhood as this always glorious, always wonderful, always easy thing that just comes naturally to them. But, yeah, that's not a real thing. There are plenty of parenting moments that royally suck (and possibly suck the life out of you) and it's OK to admit that. It's actually really brave and important and generous to admit that, lest new moms look at you and your forced effortlessness and feel like they're a failure for struggling in the exact same ways you're pretending not to. It's OK to admit that no, you don't like being a mom sometimes, because that means cleaning your kid's poop off the floor because he or she mistook your kitchen for the bathroom.
"It's Not Supposed To Be Done In A Week"
Potty training takes time. A slow, methodical, painful, evil, seemingly endless amount of time. While some crazy potty training strategies will promise to teach you how to potty train in a week, I'm here to tell you that no. Just, no. That won't happen. It's not real so don't hold yourself and your tinkling toddler to some fictitious timeline that will only push you dangerously close to insanity. (OK, fine. Maybe some peoeple can potty train a toddler in a week, but I certainly can't and if you did, I am jealous and definitely hate you.)
A mother who's going through the fire that is potty training probably needs to vent...at all times. There will be no time in any day when venting about her life won't feel like a welcome release. She needs to talk about how unreasonable her child is being, and she needs to do it using a plethora of expletives. Instead of trying to give her tips and tricks that may have worked for your kid but probably won't for hers (only adding to her sense of total defeat), just listen to her. Let her say all the things she can't say to people who don't have children or people who managed to potty train their kid in a damn day.
"This Is A Judgment-Free Zone"
And whatever you do, don't judge a mom who is potty training her kid. Don't judge her for bribing her kid with delicious chocolates and don't judge her for calling her kid an asshole because, yeah, that's probably how her kid is acting. Mothers can dislike their children, and still love them with every fiber of their being. I promise.
"I'm On My Way With Bottles Of Wine"
Yes, plural. Bottles of wine, people.