Pella Chronicle


April 26, 2012

The ‘terrible toos’

Pella — A year after our first child was born our parents warned my wife and I about the “terrible twos”.  It is a time when a two year old child thinks the world revolves around them and they become head-strong, stubborn, and demanding.  

There is another season in an adult’s life called the “terrible toos.”  That is the season of too much, too fast, and too little time. It is a season when the demands of life, family, and work can be overwhelming.  The pressures and responsibilities drain you and leave you feeling empty, frazzled, stressed, and irritable.  Often it is a time when life is lived out of balance.  And like an out-of-balance tire, you can wear out quickly.

So how to you handle the adult version of the terrible toos?  First of all it is recognizing that finding a work/life balance is not easy.  It will be a continual challenge.  Resolve to constantly work at taking care of your job, your family, and yourself. Be flexible. Go easy on yourself and give yourself lots of grace when you fail but try, try again.  

Secondly, it is recognizing that you are human and have your limits.  You can’t do everything or please everyone.  You have to say no to some things.  You have to be honest with yourself and recognize when you need rest, a break, a vacation, and then take it at the first opportunity.  Life will go on and the work will get done.  Killing yourself with stress does not do anyone any good, most of all you.

Third, set your priorities around your core values and then stick to them.  My core values revolve around faith, family, and health.  For me there are certain non-negotiables, such as time with God, my spouse, children, and taking care of my health.  Budgeting an hour here, or an hour there for those most dear to me is something I strive to do every day.  In addition, exercise, eating right, plenty of sleep, prayer/meditation or doing the things that sustain me helps me to be at my best. Far from being selfish, practicing good self care helps me do a better job, be more effective, and have more to offer those around me.

A child going through the “terrible twos’ sees life revolve around themselves.  The adult version of the “terrible toos” is allowing life to revolve around too many external demands without a sense of direction or control.  The healthy response to the terrible toos is seeing life revolve around good core values that begin with following God’s will to help maintain balance and strength.


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