I’m A Terrible Mom
And we’ve never been happier!
A few weeks ago, I was at wits end! I couldn’t take it anymore! I just couldn’t get through to him and he wasn’t listening!!! I gathered up all of my son’s toys; I boxed them up, I threw them into totes and drawers and laundry baskets, and I shoved them all in the closet. I slammed the door and I turned off the lights and I slid down the door in defeat. I left out the big toys; the play kitchen, the train table, his toy organizer. I left out maybe 15 good quality toys and cars, but I took almost every other toy and I put them all away. I just couldn’t see any other answer. I was frustrated and no matter how patient or kind or strict I was, there was no change.
My son has so many toys. So. Many. TOYS! What toddler doesn’t? He has Hot Wheels, and V-Tech talking cars, light up cars and trucks, trains and a train table, all the play kitchen supplies a toddler could EVER ask for, a musical xylophone, foam letters and numbers, shapes, Legos, MegaBlocks, little Sesame Street statues, Little People cars, and more. The list literally goes on and on. My son is almost 2 and a half years, and I haven’t gotten ridden of any toys since he was 6 months old. He has so many toys. We are in that awkward stage where his 2 year old toys aren’t quite entertaining him, but they’re more for constructive play and he may be interested in them again when he gets older; like trains and car tracks, and building blocks.
Lately, my son has been throwing, yes, you read that correctly, THROWING TOYS instead of playing with them. He takes them out of his room and runs into the living room. He throws himself at the floor or acts like he’s going to whip them; at the floor, around the room, at US, AT THE $600+ TV!!! But he doesn’t play with them. He runs around the house causing all sorts of trouble, using them as weapons to express his frustration, taking his anger out on them, and he just makes a mess with his toys. He doesn’t actually sit and play. And while that’s par for the course at this age, I am way beyond over it.
So a few weekends ago, I took every single toy, save for maybe 15 toy trains and cars for his train table and some stuff for his play kitchen, and I packed all the rest up and stowed them in the closet. And maybe that makes me a terrible mom. Maybe that makes me mean, evil even. You can say whatever you would like about it. But guess what? I don’t care.
I have absolutely zero tolerance for throwing toys. None. I won’t stand for it. It makes me so mad because my son isn’t just tossing a toy. He is whipping it across the room or worse, at me or my boyfriend, which is not acceptable. He is pretending he is going to throw them at the TV. He is throwing a fit, an epic temper tantrum and throwing the toys as a way of acting out, expressing frustration, and I have no tolerance for it. I will not accept or condone that behavior. And while I know that my son is a little person and is experiencing big, huge, out-of-control emotions, it’s not okay to whip toys in my house. I will not let that be okay.
My house was a battlefield, and no matter where you stepped there was a land mine; a car, a truck, a Lego, a wooden piece of fruit! (Note; Do NOT buy wooden kitchen food.) My son was using toys as weapons, despite us constantly and gently urging him that toys were not for throwing. “We need to be nice to our toys or they will break. We need to treat our toys kindly. If you can’t be nice, we are going to put that toy on the shelf for awhile.” Of course, that didn’t change anything. We would take one toy away only for him to just go and continue to throw them. He would throw toys from his room, and then slam his door and bang against it. Toys were no longer toys in our house; they were weapons and that’s not what toys are for.
Enough was enough. So I packed them all up and put them away. And for awhile, my son was upset; he would wander around aimlessly. He would kick around the toys he had. He definitely wanted more attention from us, which we were happy to give. But after an entire week with only 10 or 15 toys, my son went in his room when we got home one day and he actually sat and played with the toys he had in his room. He sat down in front of his play kitchen the other day and he actually played, nicely, (Quietly, to my relief,) and he actually had some great imaginative play. It’s been months and weeks and WEEKS since he’s actually played with any toys instead of just throwing them around. You could tell he was just enjoying some good ol’ fashioned creative free play, just moving about his room and actually playing; not throwing toys, not whipping them, not coming and gearing up to throw them at the TV. He just played. And it was beautiful to see. It was heartwarming, and it really took a load of stress off of my shoulders just to see him playing and enjoying himself.
And it took awhile, but after a couple of weeks, my son has actually started sitting for 15, 20 sometimes even 30 minutes by himself in his room, independently playing. And you could hear him, happily playing. Enjoying his toys. Favoring a few toys over others. And of course, after awhile we started re-introducing old toys, and you could just see his face light up! He was so excited to see some of his old toys and to play with them again. It was like they were brand new, again. So we started trading out toys. See, I do toy rotations all the time. And for awhile, it worked. But I was only cutting down by maybe half, and putting the other half away. I was leaving out most of his toys, because I didn’t want him to feel like I was taking away his toys. I felt so guilty about it!
When I thought about it, though, I realized that when things are too cluttered or messy and hectic, I feel so stressed out! I can’t function or focus on any one thing, because there are just too many things! I run around, much like my son was doing, and I grab things and move them and try to put things away and I’m just so frantic! Which was exactly how my son looked; he was frantic, running from place to place, moving
toys all around, throwing them here and there. And he was frantic! He was like a spinning top that couldn’t stop! So I thought maybe my son felt the same way, too. He’s so much like me already, so perhaps he feels stressed out and claustrophobic because of all the toys, all the mess is what it really was! Instead of sitting down and enjoying what was there, maybe he was just too overwhelmed and couldn’t handle all the extra stuff lying around! And I’m so glad I did it, because now we truly have some quality play time that he actually enjoys and he’s able to independently play without getting frustrated or throwing an ultimate tantrum or tripping over all of these toys that litter the floor.
Do you struggle with your toddler throwing toys instead of playing with them? How do you handle this situation with your little one? What worked for you and your little one?
As always moms & dads, keep on loving those little ones like only you know how, and don’t be afraid to make a drastic change. It may make your child happier. Have a great week, everyone!