My 2-year old kid loves tractors.
He likes to run into his bedroom and open his giant encyclopaedia of tractors and tell me what kind of tractor brand he’s looking at. Each night before bed, I read passages to him from the encyclopaedia and his little face is full of delight and curiosity and focus as I tell him about all the different types of tractors from all over the world and what they do and what they are used for.
He’s a total tractor nerd and I love him for it.
He’s also a total pain in the arse at times.
He wants to watch tractor videos all day long on YouTube, you see.
And I’m the terrible parent who says no.
He loses his shit when I say no.
He cries and shouts and throws himself on the floor and is pretty much inconsolable.
His little brain just wants tractors now, now, now and all he can hear from me is no, no, no.
I don’t like saying no to him.
There’s a big part of me that wants to give him everything he wants, to say yes to every request of his.
But I know best. (At least I think I do). I don’t believe it’s helpful or healthy for him to sit on the sofa all day long staring at a screen. It’s surely better for him to be outside flying his kite and running around and climbing things and exploring the exciting world around him.
And so I’m the asshole who spoils the fun for him. I put my foot down. I don’t give in. No matter how loud he screams and protests. I say to him, “I can see you’re mad right now, and that’s ok. When you’ve finished shouting, come and find me, I’ll be in the living room.”
And then I leave him to it.
After 5 minutes, he waddles in all sniffly and shaky shoulders and climbs into my arms. I kiss him on the top of his head and then we decide what we’re going to do for the rest of the afternoon (other than watching tractor videos on YouTube).
I’m gentle with him but firm.
I have to be like this with myself too. I have an inner 2-year old you see. And my inner 2-year old also wants to sit on the sofa watching YouTube videos all day long every day. She also wants to eat junk food and never do any exercise and to go to bed super late and do whatever she wants, whenever she wants.
And I have to put my foot down with myself too.
I do not like this. My inner 2-year old cries and shouts and throws herself on the floor and is pretty much inconsolable.
My inner 2-year old wants everything now, now, now and all she can hear from the rational, adult part of my brain is no, no, no.
I don’t like saying no to myself.
There’s a big part of me that wants to give my inner 2-year old everything she wants, to say yes to every request. Yes to ALL the junk food! Yes to ZERO exercise! Yes to watching EVERY SINGLE Casey Neistat video on YouTube EVER! Yes to slobbing around and procrastinating and doing nothing!
But I also know what’s best for me. I know that I feel so much more alive and energised and awake when I eat healthy food and move my body and write and get outside and meditate and all the other shit that’s good for me that my inner 2-year old hate and resists.
And so I put my foot down. I don’t give in. I have to parent myself as well as my kid.
How’s your inner 2-year old doing?