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. 

photo by Danielle Brady Photography