So God Made a Mother is Here! 🎉

I have a three-year-old, a two-year-old and a newborn and the most curious (as in Alice in Wonderland odd, strange) little guy is my three-year-old. Perhaps it’s the age; perhaps it’s that I’ve been through the newborn stage and the twos and know what to expect. Regardless, three-year-olds are the strangest little things! Here’s why:

They Constantly Surprise You By How Smart They Are
Many parents have their kids in school/daycare all along, but a majority of the rest start preschool around three years of age. If this is the case, it is the first time your kids are away from you and learning things you didn’t teach them. They talk about what they learned in school (for my child it’s mostly, “I played. I ate a bar. And grapes!” Food and play is the highlight of any of his days.), but you also start to see them putting together concepts, learning the things you’ve been trying to teach, and playing with kids their own age. It’s amazing to see them soak up information. The question game is trying, but at the same time they are sponges, trying to absorb as much knowledge as their little brains can hold.

They Constantly Surprise You By How Dumb They Can Be
A three-year old’s curious mind can work against his favor, as well. I feel like I am constantly trying to save mine from himself. They get into things, not with a two-year old’s reckless abandon, but with a well (to them) thought out plan. They know how things work (for the most part) and are quick to imitate something they’ve seen their parents do, but sometimes the execution leaves something to be desired. My son knows how plugs work, for example, but I freak when he tries to plug things in. Putting a chair on the bed in order to reach something high, is not the best plan. Nor is bringing your battery-powered car into the bath.

Their Concept of Why is Questionable
I don’t know if this is true for all three-year olds, but it’s definitely true for mine. I ask him, “Why did you snatch that from your brother?” His answer? “Because I did.” “Why are you hungry after all you ate?” “Because I am.” He cannot answer my whys and I don’t know why! Is it that he doesn’t understand the concept or that he just doesn’t have an answer? My thinking is that he knows why he did something and it makes perfect sense to him, he just can’t articulate his thought process.

They Will Make You Laugh Like No Other
Now that communication between you and your child is well-established, his personality and sense of humor shine through. My two-year-old is funny from the way he runs (arms pumping at shoulder height) to his crazy dancing and yoga moves, but my three-year-old surprises me AND makes me laugh with his commentary. He wants a rundown of his day from the time he opens his eyes to the time he goes to sleep and then the following morning as well. He measures time in awake periods and needs to know what’s going to happen the next time he wakes up. He’s serious but unintentionally funny. I told him we were having spaghetti for dinner, wasn’t that a good idea? And he said, “Yep! I like spaghetti! Yep, that’s a good idea!” with his head tilted to one side, lips pursed, nodding sideways. I threw back my head and laughed at the picture he made.

They Have No Shame
I have yet to meet a kid under five who gets embarrassed. Three-year-olds are a dangerous blend of vocabulary, self-awareness and an unfiltered running commentary of anything that comes to mind. A three-year-old will think nothing of telling you what it smells like in a public bathroom, either because you’re dropping a deuce or the person next to you is. They think nothing of piping up to their teacher or their grandmother that mommy let them have cookies for breakfast. The best thing a mother of a three-year-old could have is an underdeveloped sense of shame.

They Are Not Above a Tantrum
I’m sure everyone remembers the tantrums their little bundle (of joy?) had at two. Take those tantrums and make them one hundred times more frustrating and you have the tantrum capability of a threenager. They aren’t necessarily more in sheer number, just in the amount of frustration caused. This is because that little threenager is so much smarter than he or she was at two. You have a (perhaps false) sense that you can reason with him, because it works sometimes! You have a logical discussion with your three-year-old; he or she recognizes the practicality of what you are suggesting and falls in line. Then you can have a perfectly logical reason that said three-year-old can’t let the dog in (i.e. baby brother is on the floor and when said giant dog weighs 100 pounds so it’s better to leave him outside) and the three-year-old loses his mind. You’re completely shocked (though you probably shouldn’t be) at the sounds of screaming, pounding feet, slamming doors and, on more than one occasion in our house, a fist pounding the wall. It’s baffling and maddening and sometimes you feel like you might lose your mind.

Don’t lose hope. Your three-year-old is still the sweet guy he’s always been. You might just have to dig a little into your stores of patience and wait it out. He’ll come back with a sweet smile and want to sit on your lap, maybe give you a kiss or a hug and settle in to watch Paw Patrol.

So God Made a Mother book by Leslie Means

If you liked this, you'll love our new book, SO GOD MADE A MOTHER available now!

Order Now

Jen Mearns

My name is Jen Mearns and I live in NC with my husband, three boys under four, a geriatric cat, an enormous dog, and two chattery parakeets. My work has been featured on Scary Mommy, Pregnant Chicken and Babygaga. I am a former microbiologist turned writer, pet sitter and stay-at-home mom.

7 Strategies for Reducing Your Kids’ Screen Time

In: Kids, Living, Motherhood
Young child smiling using a tablet

Recently, my husband received military orders that moved us and our kids across the country. Of course, this came with a ton of changes—thankfully, the flexibility of my job allowed me to continue working, just with reduced hours, which then meant my full-time daycare kid had to become an (almost) full-time, at-home kid since we couldn’t hack the costs of childcare in our new location anymore. So, I suddenly had to figure out working with both of my kids at home with me. This sent my stress levels through the roof. Trying to juggle my priorities as a parent and...

Keep Reading

Dear Tween, I Will Try To Remember You Little

In: Kids, Motherhood, Tween
Tween boy lying on back of couch cushions in front of a window

When I hold you, I will try to remember your tiny arms and tiny legs wrapped securely around me. When I see you crying, I will try to remember your scraped, tanned knees and how I could fix anything with a kiss and a Band-Aid. When you tell me to go away, I will try to remember how you reached for my hand to take your next step. When you answer me with silence, I will try to remember the nights you wouldn’t let me go without one more story. RELATED: I’ll Lay With You As Long As You Need,...

Keep Reading

Look beyond the Labels for What You Don’t See

In: Kids, Motherhood
Three kids sitting on parents' laps smiling

I’ve always said that labeling someone with high- or low-functioning autism, or any disability for that matter, isn’t ever truly accurate. You may see an extremely smart girl who seems “normal” but you don’t see everything. You don’t see how the noises hurt her ears. You don’t see how the bright lights hurt her eyes. You don’t see how hard she struggles to fit in. You don’t see how she struggles to understand the social cues. You don’t see how seriously she takes what you say even if you’re joking. You don’t see the struggles when she’s having an overwhelming...

Keep Reading

When You Look Back on These Pictures, I Hope You Feel My Love

In: Kids, Motherhood
Four kids playing in snow, color photo

I document your life in pictures. I do it for you. I do it for me. I do it because I want you to know I lived every memory. And loved every moment. When you go back through the thousands of moments, I hope it sparks something deep inside of you. Something that perhaps your heart and mind had forgotten until that moment. And I hope that it makes you smile.  I hope the memories flood and you remember how much each moment was cherished.  I hope each giggle and secret that was shared with your sisters at that moment sparks...

Keep Reading

For the Parents of the Kids Who Don’t Fit the Mold

In: Kids, Motherhood
mom hugging her daughter

This one is for the parents of the kids who don’t fit the mold. I see you holding your kid together with nothing but love and a prayer as they cry or feel defeated and you wish the world would see your kid like you do. I see you wiping away their tears after they were yet again passed over for all the awards and accolades. There is no award for showing up for school despite crippling anxiety or remembering to write down assignments for the first year ever. So they had to sit clapping again for friends whose accomplishments...

Keep Reading

Let Your Kids See You Try and Fail

In: Kids, Motherhood
Mother and daughter sitting on floor knitting together

Let your kids see you try and fail at something. That’s what I did today!  My daughter wanted to take a knitting class together. I said sure, naively thinking the skill would come pretty naturally. I’m usually good at things like this.  Guess what? It didn’t. Although she picked it up easily and was basically a knitting pro within five minutes, the teacher kept correcting me, saying, “No, UNDER! You need to go UNDER, not OVER.” She was kind enough, but it just wasn’t clicking. I started to get frustrated with myself. I normally take things like this in stride...

Keep Reading

My Kids Don’t Like to Read, but They Do Love to Learn

In: Kids, Motherhood
Two children reading with each other, color photo

I fell in love with books during a war while my kids lost interest in reading during COVID. Between 1975 and 1990 during the Civil War in Lebanon, my mom, an avid reader, was determined to make me one despite many odds. Once every few weeks, starting when I was about 10, she and I would make the half-hour trek by foot from our apartment in Beirut to a place we called the “book cave.” It was a nondescript space—about 15 by 20 square feet—tucked in the basement of a dilapidated building. Inside, it housed hundreds of books in various...

Keep Reading

Dear Teachers, Thank You Will Never Be Enough

In: Kids, Living
Kids hugging teacher

Growing up a teacher’s daughter has given me a lifetime of appreciation for educators. Of course, it’s true; I may be biased. I’ve been fortunate to have learned and been guided by many outstanding teachers, including my mother and grandmother, who passed those legacy skills onto my daughter, who strongly feels teaching is her calling. But if you’ve had your eyes and ears open in recent years, you, too, probably feel deep gratitude for the angels among us who work in the school system. So, as the school year ends, and on behalf of parents, grandparents, and anyone who loves...

Keep Reading

Before You, Boy, I Never Knew

In: Kids, Motherhood
Three boys playing in creek, color photo

Before you, boy, I never knew that little boys could get so dirty. Play so rough. Climb so high. Assess your risks. Make me hold my breath. Messes everywhere.   Before you, boy, I never knew how much my lap will make room for you. My arms will stretch to swallow you up in endless hugs and just hold you close. And love you to the moon and back. And back again. Snuggling and snuggling.  RELATED: I Met a Boy and He Changed Everything Before you, boy, I never knew that there would be so much wrestling. And superheroes, and far-off...

Keep Reading

It Hurts Seeing My Kid as a B-List Friend

In: Friendship, Kids, Teen
Teen girl sitting alone on a dock

Kids everywhere are celebrating, or will be celebrating soon. They will be playing outside, enjoying warm summer days, bike rides with friends, and maybe even sleepovers. It’s summer—it’s fun, right? Sure, it is. And sometimes it isn’t. Sometimes it isn’t fun for the kids you least expect it from. We have that issue, and I knew it was building for the past few weeks with our teenage daughter. She was moody (moodier than normal). Short tempered. Obviously frustrated, but not ready to talk about it. But it was when she came home on the last day of school, in tears,...

Keep Reading