Growing Up Spirited: How My Toddler Is Teaching Me About Parenting 

Every parent dreams of those picture-perfect moments with their children — quiet cuddles, giggles, and orderly playtimes. But what happens when your child replaces quiet with exuberance, and order with creativity that knows no bounds?

This is the journey of parenting a spirited toddler, a journey that has completely reshaped my understanding of what it means to be a mom. It’s about learning, adapting, and growing alongside a child who sees the world not just in colors but in a kaleidoscope of possibilities.

Through spills, laughter, and endless energy, my spirited toddler has become my greatest teacher. She’s taught me lessons in patience, joy, and unconditional love — lessons that I want to share with you.

Understanding the ‘Spirited’ Child

My journey through motherhood, influenced by my background as a teacher and my own upbringing, has been a rollercoaster of learning, adapting, and growing. Much like how our teaching often reflects how we were taught, parenting often reflects how we were raised. Yet, my spirited toddler has reshaped my approach, teaching me to be more flexible, patient, and empathetic. In situations where I might have once leaned on the familiar, now I navigate the unpredictable waters of raising a child who is fiercely independent and full of life.

Understanding my child’s spirited nature was another turning point. She’s bold, fearless, and loves life with an intensity I never knew as a child. This difference between us was initially challenging, but I’ve learned to see her spirit not as something to tame, but as a gift to nurture. She teaches me daily to embrace life with open arms and a fearless heart.

Patience: A Virtue Learned

For instance, the day my toddler accidentally made a huge (#2) mess on our brand-new carpet was a pivotal moment. It was a test of patience like no other, but it also highlighted her innocence and our bond. Her attempt to comfort me with a heartwarming “Good job, Mommy,” as I cleaned her up, was a clear reminder of the pure intentions behind these messy moments.

Patience has been my greatest lesson. Whether it’s dealing with marker masterpieces on unconventional canvases or her random declarations of happiness in the midst of her mischief, these moments have taught me to appreciate the beauty in the chaos. Seeing her explore her world with wonder and excitement reminds me that there’s more to life than my preconceived notions of how things “should” be done.

Understanding Through Empathy

In this journey, I’ve realized that being a parent to a spirited child is about more than just managing the energy and the challenges. It’s about celebrating the uniqueness of their spirit, learning to see the world through their eyes, and understanding that patience truly is a virtue. It’s a reminder that love, acceptance, and a bit of laughter are key to not just surviving but thriving in the adventure of parenting.

Learning to see things from my toddler’s perspective has been a game changer. She gets so excited about stuff that just looks like a big mess to me. But when I really watch her, I see she’s proud of what she’s doing, whether it’s drawing all over herself or mixing all her food together and then throwing it on the floor after she’s done. It’s all about discovering new things for her. This has taught me to relax a bit and not sweat the small stuff. Instead of trying to make her fit into a box, I’ve learned to roll with her punches. It’s actually made life a lot more fun.

The Evolution of Parental Wisdom

In the whirlwind of raising a spirited toddler, I’ve discovered the essence of parenting isn’t found in maintaining control but in embracing the chaos as part of our learning curve. My daughter’s fearless approach to life, her unbridled joy in exploration, and her unfiltered love have been the greatest lessons in my journey as a parent. They’ve taught me that patience isn’t just waiting out the storm but learning to dance in the rain, that empathy bridges gaps we didn’t know existed, and that joy can be found in the messiest of moments.

Building a community, both in Jacksonville and online, has highlighted the importance of sharing experiences and wisdom together. In the laughter, the shared tips, and the understanding nods, we find not just support but a mirror reflecting our own growth and the universal truths of parenthood.

As we navigate the vibrant, challenging, and rewarding path of raising spirited children, let’s remember the beauty of this journey. It’s a path that teaches us to see the world anew, to appreciate the wonder in the every day, and to understand that sometimes, the best thing we can do is simply roll with the punches. For those of you with spirited little ones, know that you’re not alone. Together, we can learn to embrace the energy, celebrate the milestones (no matter how messy), and find joy in the chaos.

Let’s cherish these moments, for in the heart of spiritedness lies the essence of life itself — vivid, untamed, and utterly beautiful. Here’s to growing, learning, and thriving, not just as parents but as individuals transformed by the spirited little souls we have the honor of guiding through life.

About the Author

Alexandria Smith is a women’s wellness advocate and educator, and the founder of Mom, Wife, Worship Life. As a Jacksonville native, former public school educator, and a devoted wife and mom to Alia and Mia, she understands the intricate balance of motherhood, marriage, and mental wellness.

Her journey, marked by faith and resilience in the face of chronic mental illness, inspires her to empower other moms. Through her platform, she shares insights, experiences, and resources that help moms and wives embrace self-care and find strength in their roles. Join her in a journey of not just surviving, but thriving, as part of the vibrant Mom, Wife, Worship Life community.


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