Why this heartfelt ‘toddler’ poem is getting mixed reactions

“I am 2. I am not terrible… I am frustrated. I am nervous, stressed out, overwhelmed, and confused. I need a hug” ?

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Ah, the massive toddler tantrum. Hands up who’s been there? ☝️☝️☝️ Yep, so have we.

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And so has mum Mary Katherine Backstrom – who took this pic of her little girl Holland and sent it to her husband on a day when she was probably feeling particularly frazzled.

Then, while on Facebook community page for mums (we don’t know which one), Mary came across a poem, titled ‘From the diary of a 2-year-old’, written by

D.T.Roman.

It resonated with her so much, she decided to share it…

From the diary of a 2-year-old

“Today I woke up and wanted to get dressed by myself but was told “No, we don’t have time, let me do it.”

“This made me sad. I wanted to feed myself for breakfast but was told, “No, you’re too messy, let me do it for you.”

“This made me feel frustrated. I wanted to walk to the car and get in on my own but was told, “No, we need to get going, we don’t have time. Let me do it.”

“This made me cry. I wanted to get out of the car on my own but was told “No, we don’t have time, let me do it.”

“This made me want to run away. Later I wanted to play with blocks but was told “no, not like that, like this…”

“I decided I didn’t want to play with blocks anymore. I wanted to play with a doll that someone else had, so I took it. I was told “No, don’t do that! You have to share.”

“I’m not sure what I did, but it made me sad. So I cried. I wanted a hug but was told “No, you’re fine, go play”.

“I’m being told it’s time to pick up. I know this because someone keeps saying, “Go pick up your toys.”

“I am not sure what to do, I am waiting for someone to show me.

“What are you doing? Why are you just standing there? Pick up your toys, now!”

“I was not allowed to dress myself or move my own body to get to where I needed to go, but now I am being asked to pick things up.

“I’m not sure what to do. Is someone supposed to show me how to do this? Where do I start? Where do these things go? I am hearing a lot of words but I do not understand what is being asked of me. I am scared and do not move.

“I lay down on the floor and cry.When it was time to eat I wanted to get my own food but was told “no, you’re too little. Let me do it.”

“This made me feel small. I tried to eat the food in front of me but I did not put it there and someone keeps saying “Here, try this, eat this…” and putting things in my face.

“I didn’t want to eat anymore. This made me want to throw things and cry.

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“I can’t get down from the table because no one will let me…because I’m too small and I can’t. They keep saying I have to take a bite.

“This makes me cry more. I’m hungry and frustrated and sad. I’m tired and I need someone to hold me. I do not feel safe or in control. This makes me scared. I cry even more.

“I am 2. No one will let me dress myself, no one will let me move my own body where it needs to go, no one will let me attend to my own needs.

“However, I am expected to know how to share, “listen”, or “wait a minute”. I am expected to know what to say and how to act or handle my emotions.

“I am expected to sit still or know that if I throw something it might break….But, I do NOT know these things.

“I am not allowed to practice my skills of walking, pushing, pulling, zipping, buttoning, pouring, serving, climbing, running, throwing or doing things that I know I can do.

“Things that interest me and make me curious, these are the things I am NOT allowed to do.

“I am 2. I am not terrible…I am frustrated. I am nervous, stressed out, overwhelmed, and confused. I need a hug.”

❤️ ❤️ ❤️

The response

Lots of parents could really relate to the words here – one mum said:

“This makes me sad ?  I think many adults and parents seem to forget that these children are little people too with an enormous amount of feelings and emotions that they aren’t sure how to regulate.

“We need to give them more grace and love.”

Though, other mums weren’t so sure – some of our team here at MFM said reading this would make us feel incredibly guilty about what can be a difficult situation – dealing with a toddler having a tantrum while you have a million other things to juggle.

One mum, commenting on Facebook, pointed out that even when you try to bear everything in this poem in mind, your little one can still have a meltdown: She wrote:

“My 2 yr old gets to dress himself if he wants, buckle himself, feed himself, play how he wants and I never tell him to do something without showing him and then he gets praise every single time.

“He also gets hugs/kisses a trillion times a day, all day. Yet, he still cries for no reason sometimes. Not everything a child does wrong is a result of shitty parenting. They need to learn “no” and “stop” bc the real world will not coddle them.

“That’s an extremely important lesson. Sometimes parents don’t have the time to sit around and let their kid do it all and run around acting wild and it’s upsetting thinking that a new mom out there might put herself down and give up after telling herself that she’s not good enough from reading this.

“We all have these days! Sometimes your child will just need to get over it.”

What do you think?

Here at MFM, we quite liked what this poem is trying to do, but we can also see how it might make some mums feel a bit guilty.

But how does it make you feel? We’d love to know. Tell us in the comments below or over on Facebook

Images: Mary Katherine Backstrom on Facebook

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