When Terrible Twos Come Early


when terrible two's come early (1)

We’ve all heard it. “Oh, just you wait until the hit the terrible twos!” Terrible twos? How about the terrible, “I decided to lose my mind the second I blew out my candle on my first birthday”?!?!

I have very strong willed children.

They are active, full of energy, and like to constantly be entertained. They also have a very strong opinion about most everything. For the most part, my son (now four and a half) was a good baby. He was generally happy and although he always wanted to be on the move, you could please him.

And then his first birthday came.

I seriously remember it like it was yesterday. At his first birthday party he just started throwing these tantrums. Tantrums I didn’t think babies should throw. Like, what in the world just happened to my sweet baby boy? And so it began. Starting at age one year and one day my son entered the terrible twos. I dove into books about how to raise a “spirited child” and prayed every night that my child would not grow up to be a serial killer. I mean if my child was like this at age one, what will he be like by the time he really does turn two?

Going out to eat, over to a friend’s house, birthday parties, oh you know, ANYTHING, was hard. Disciplining at that age is so difficult. They aren’t old enough to understand consequences and although repetition is key, sometimes our patience runs out before we can get there! When my son was 18 months old we were at the beach and by the end of the week I just burst into tears thinking that I was totally alone and if things were going to get worse from here, I simply could not do it.

But, I kid you not, right about that time I saw a glimmer of hope. And I do mean glimmer.

Things did not change overnight but they STARTED to get better. By his second birthday we could see light at the end of the tunnel. We powered through that year with LOTS of tears (from both of us) and LOTS and LOTS of time outs. By the time we had our daughter, right before his third birthday, I started seeing this boy in a whole new light. I felt like our months and months of hard work were finally paying off and that we may actually survive!

Then came my daughter’s first birthday.

Let me just say that there is a reason that I had my son first. He is what gives me hope on a daily basis that my daughter is not going to grow up to be a total psychopath. My daughter is a force to be reckoned with. She is 21 months old and is a total spitfire. The temper tantrums are constant and her strong will cannot be compromised. I end my days with deep breathes and wine (don’t we all), and I look at my son who, while is still strong willed, has the absolute sweetest spirit and honestly is a true joy.

When your child enters the terrible twos at one year of age it can be kind of scary. You feel like if this is only the beginning, and some people say that three is even worse, that you really might not survive! It can feel isolating and the thought of things getting even more difficult feels unmanageable. But I am here to tell you this, all while in the absolute thick of it, you WILL SURVIVE.

You are NOT ALONE. And last but not least, YOUR CHILD IS NOT CRAZY. It is really difficult when your sweet little baby is having outbursts that you just weren’t quite prepared for yet, but let’s be honest, are we ever REALLY prepared for that? Whether it starts happening at 14 months or three years of age, you feel like there is no way that anyone else’s child actually acted like THIS. Well guess, what? They did! And chances are you did too and look how wonderful you turned out!

IMG_3936 (1)When did your child enter the terrible twos? When did it end? And what did you do to survive?


  1. I get it, my first one was so sweet and (in hindsight) had very few tantrums and the ones he had were easy to manage. Despite being strong-willed, it was easy to make him laugh or to distract him with something he loved. My second son won’t crack a smile when he’s pissed, and holds a grudge, and has been that way since 15 months old.

    On another note, I implore you to leave the wine out of it. It’s a joke I see in about 80% of any blog that is talking about the difficulties of motherhood and it needs to stop. Any mother who struggles with alcoholism, or an adult child who had a mother who drank, isn’t laughing. An estimated 5.3 million women in the United States drink in a way that threatens their health, safety, and general well-being.

    I get that a glass of wine can be relaxing. But so can a bubble bath, a shoulder massage from your husband, meditating or going for a walk – all of which don’t carry a potential risk with them. Sorry to nitpick, I’m just SO tired of hearing this worn-out trope. As a recovering alcoholic who got sober when I first found out I was pregnant, I’m glad I’ve never drank as a mother. I’ve heard the stories from my friends in recovery about falling asleep while reading books to their young children. About passing out when their kids were in the bath tub. About missing important school events. It’s just not funny any more, and it enables those who might already have a problem to think that it’s “normal” to drink away the stress of motherhood.

    • I am very sorry that comment struck a chord with you and I truly did mean it in a light-hearted and joking way. I understand how that could have seemed insensitive to those struggling with alcohol or have parents who do or did in the past. I did not in any way mean to make light of that. I will take that into consideration in the future and I really do appreciate you pointing out to me how that comment, although I was completely joking, might enable others. My goal in every single post I write is ALWAYS to encourage mothers so I do apologize for ever coming across as insensitive.

      • Ashley – thanks for your kind response. And as I said, it’s not because you alone did it, but because I’m seeing it everywhere now and it’s become a cultural meme. I feel like if I don’t start saying something, I’m part of the issue. Perhaps those who have never been touched with alcoholism will think about it from that perspective if someone speaks up. Again, thank you for your response and consideration, I don’t take it lightly because I know a lot of folks would just be offended and move on.

  2. Thanks for sharing your story Ashley—and I certainly took it as light-hearted so no worries! 😉 For me it’s so crazy how each of my kids can be so different, and I have to learn new ways to parent every time! Just when I think I’ve got this gig figured out!

    • Thanks for the encouragement Natalie ? I appreciate that. going through this mama journey is an ever evolving thing that’s for sure!!


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