20 Everyday Challenges That All Parents of Toddlers FaceSelena Mills
Parents of toddlers, you know what I’m talking about. We knew something wickedly wonderful was coming, and that which we didn’t know about … we at least expected as much. We hopefully expected to not know. Anything.
Hopefully we (you…me), weren’t so naive going into parenting thinking we’d always have it all figured out, and that things would never get crazy in our house. Oh no, not our house. Not my house.
And even after all of the advice and the warnings … nothing quite compares to living and breathing in a daily firestorm and magical maze of parenting toddlers. There are things that we become accustomed to, that we live with, that I never would/could have imagined or thought acceptable in my BC (before children) days.
There’s so many things, some big and some small, that I used to take for granted. As much as one can take the thought of savoring going pee on one’s own for granted. Perhaps it’s just me, in my absurdly tempest life, (that I wouldn’t trade in for all of the uninterrupted sleep in the world ), that feels the need to lay it all out on the line.
For myself and all of you who are in it, about to be there or dream of being there. You should know. You should know every single challenge ahead of you, at least as far as I’ve experienced — and that it’s okay. Even if you walk around in a loved drenched zombie state half the time, all will be fine, and it’s okay to kvetch about it all. It’s okay to make dark jokes about our demanding children; it doesn’t mean we love them any less.
It just means that we’re still human. This is what I’m up against every day, you?
Riding That Wave of Bliss… 1 of 21
... One day at a time. These are the 20 everyday challenges that I face in an average day in parenting/surviving my toddlers.
Leaving The House 2 of 21
Remember what it used to be like to leave the house BC? Remember that far-off hazy memory? For me, winter is the worst with all of the snow gear. But it's always something. That huge checklist that you better make sure is ticked off before leaving the house. Drink, snack, clean diapers, wipes, change of clothes and/or underwear. It's guaranteed there will be an accident of some sort if you leave the house without any of that, or a child wailing about his or her extreme thirst and starvation. Then there is the challenge of actually getting one's toddler to want to leave the house. BRAIN MELTING stuff here, folks.
Going To The Bathroom Alone 3 of 21
I've taken to locking myself in there and hollering at them to find their dad when they try to kick the door down to get at me. If he's not home, I suck it up and leave the door open a crack. A visit to the bathroom for me usually guarantees some kind of blow-out between my toddler siblings and/or a very curious toddler daughter wanting to get right in my face and ask me what I'm doing on repeat about ten times. When potty-training one's toddler, all bets are off - they would/should accompany you to the bathroom whenever possible. Be prepared for lots of talk, songs and books about pee and poo.
Sleeping (At Night) 4 of 21
It just doesn't happen. 'They' say it gets better as they get older, but the jury is still out on that one. Hot damn, sleep is a delicious thing and I MISS IT in its full REM glory. Things one can expect from an average night of living with toddlers when everyone should be sleeping, is to suddenly wake up to find your toddler standing over you, inches from your face, breathing into your nose. Abby in particular is rather fond of waking up in the middle of the night and proclaiming that it's time to wake up now and pway! Eat breffast! Go to sckewel! JUST NO.
Not Getting Peed, Puked or Snotted On 5 of 21
One of these things is guaranteed to happen every single day, the most popular of which is the snot thing. My eldest toddler is in a glorious stage of eating his boogies, and try as I might I can't get him to stop. Someone help? Abby up there is hot on his heels.
Getting Dressed 6 of 21
That right up there would be me, in a bathroom taking a selfie because it felt totally surreal to be wearing clothes I actually felt pretty in only to have sloppily dumped an entire beer on myself. Sometimes I need proof to look back on, now that I'm a mom ... that I'm more than a diaper genie and toddler food chaser.
As for my everyday, less-glam attire, none of that goes incredibly well either. Unless I wake up before the kids (which doesn't work because come morning Abby is in bed with us and her spidey senses are on, I can't creep out of bed anymore without her popping up, fully awake and wanting to join me), to get dressed in something other than what I threw on next to the bed the night before ... it's not happening.
Being On Time For Anything. Ever. 7 of 21
I know we probably shouldn't use this as an excuse, and friends and family who don't have toddlers or who have forgotten what it's like to have toddlers surely get annoyed with us when we are late for everything. But you know what? I DON'T CARE because it's true. It's actually not an excuse. Toddlers can't be forced into rushing into anything they don't want to do and if we want a hope in hell of arriving on time for anything the preparations have to literally start at least 2 hours in advance, give or take the nature of the excursion/road-trip. AIN'T NOBODY GOT TIME FOR THAT.
Finding The Evil Elf Who Steals All The Mittens and Socks 8 of 21
This one is rather fond of that evil elf. I'm sure they are in cahoots. No, but SERIOUSLY! Where the eff do all of the mittens and socks go? Maddening. I'll find that sucker one day.
Eating a Meal While It Is Still Hot 9 of 21
Anything hot on your plate apparently belongs to your toddler, and they won't eat much of anything on their own plate. You become a pro at scarfing down food with one hand or you just give up and wait to eat when they are in bed so that you can actually enjoy it. Sometimes things are less hectic, but only sometimes.
Understanding Toddler Babble 10 of 21
So cute, that toddler babble! I've become an expert at deciphering what they are saying, and I'm their chief resident translator for family and friends who profess not being able to understand what they are saying. Seriously people?! Open your ears! It's not that hard. You spoke gibberesh one day too. In fact ... ah, lets not go there. My kids are brilliant and amazing and everything they say makes sense, always. The end.
Having an Adult Conversation 11 of 21
When in the company of toddlers, this is near impossible to do with other adults. Oh we try, only to be interrupted umpteenth times. I either give up or try to tame my mind from exploding over not being able to get ONE. FULL. SENTENCE. OUT. So when mom friends get together, nap time can't come soon enough. Glory be adult conversation.
Talking About Something Else Other Than Our Kids 12 of 21
On the flip-side over the challenge of being able to have an adult conversation lies the challenge of not talking about one's children when given the opportunity. OH, THE HYPOCRISY.
Not Talking About Poop (So Much) 13 of 21
My adult life at home currently revolves around a lot of poop and pee talk. I personally try to keep that talk at a minimum on the Internets and in my (rare), adult conversations for the obvious reason: Pee and poop just ain't that fascinating — it's actually kind of gross. Totally normal, and everyone does it yes. Totally AMAZING when one's child starts doing it on the potty, but still. I'll lay all the kisses and high-fives on my kids at home over the pee and poop successes, and leave it at that. Also? One day they're going to be doing these things without a thought, and might not be so fond of being able to Google a picture of themselves on the potty or a picture of one of their turds on the web. Just my personal prerogative.
Keeping Cool 14 of 21
For me, my biggest challenge in regards to keeping my cool (also see not losing one's shit), revolves around my toddler siblings not driving each other batty and thus me batty. They've (finally), gotten to a pretty magical stage where their interests and developmental stages are pretty close. They're hating/poking/prodding on each other less and playing with each other more. But it's still an uphill battle. There are a bunch of tiny little blowouts between them every day. I'm learning to try and let them work it out on their own, and tune out of the whining melodramatics. You know, unless there's blood.
The Fine Art of Negotiation 15 of 21
No, I don't negotiate with my toddlers. In how one might imagine me letting my toddlers walk all over me, not giving my toddlers consequences for bad behaviour, etc. sort of way. I'm talking about explaining everyday concepts to my kids. Rules their adorable little brains just can't seem to understand unless I explain 5 different ways, 10 different times. Taking the time (with lots of patience), to get down on their level and talk things out with them, whether it's in a disciplinary mode or a teaching mode. Yea, that can get a tiiiiny bit challenging multiple times a day, everyday. Just maybe.
Setting a Proper Example 16 of 21
Me, the shining example of all that is pure, positive and mature. NOT. Except I somehow have to be a strong example of moral guidance, because I have two sets of eyes and two big brainy sponges watching and listening to all that I do. My two biggest challenges of this regard are teaching them how to communicate in and handle conflicts, and how to value and love themselves. I think I'm doing a pretty good job, but I have my fair share of self-doubting moments. What are the best parenting strategies? Am I passing on the right values to my kids? Am I respecting their unique personalities enough? Am I consistent? Always patient? Always kind? CHALLENGED.
Understanding All of The Stages of Child Development 17 of 21
Understanding every developmental aspect of toddlers is HARD. The physical changes alone are like a whirlwind. I want to be sure I'm nurturing the right stages of emotional and spiritual growth and development too. Toddlers need near to constant supervision, even when they don't want it and the tricky thing (for me), is knowing when it's safe to give them space to explore and discover. 18-month-old wanting to go down the huge big kid twirly slide at the park? Someone hold me. 2-year-old wanting to ride a scooter down big hills? Heart-racing stuff.
Taking Care of Their Health / Protecting Them 18 of 21
I'm pretty much constantly concerned about my kids' health, as well as their mental, social and emotional well-being. Keeping on top of all of the check-ups and immunizations alone are a scheduling challenge for someone like me, who was never very well-organized in that way for myself. Then there's the daily stuff, like keeping my kids out of all the dangerous scenarios they seem to be able to find/create. The parent of a toddler needs to be fast on their toes, stealth and quick thinking. Much a like a ninja. Fresh 4 year old being bullied for the first time in the playground? LEMME AT 'EM.
Keeping The Car Clean 19 of 21
It's a long-forgotten luxury — having a clean car. Keeping toddlers happy on road trips is more important to me, and if that means goldfish everywhere, random articles of clothing, sippy cups and other various toddler-induced debris then so be it. It's a constant revolving door of STUFF and JUNK that very quickly piles up in the car when one has toddlers. Admittedly, I don't really care all that much about keeping on top of it. I prefer to concentrate on the house.
Having Nice Furniture 20 of 21
Oh, to have nice things again. Couches get destroyed over the years, as do walls and floors. I try to keep on top of it, but the nics, wear and tear eventually show their battle scars, and no amount of steam cleaning and wall scrubbing will make it better. When I see a home with toddlers who reside in it and light-colored furniture everywhere, I often wonder just what in the HELL is going on in that house. I mean, that can't be real, right? What do the kids do? How does everything stay so white? Are those the parents who forbid arts and crafts, or only allow their kids to have toys in one room of the house? Do they have a magical cleaning device? If they do, I want it.
Not Turning Into Our Parents 21 of 21
How many of us imagined how differently we were going to parent than our own parents did? How many of us finally understand where their parents were coming from and find themselves doing the things and saying the things they swore they'd never do/say? Me. Right here.
More Babbles From Selena…
- Coordinating Holiday Outfits For Toddler Siblings
- 7 Awesome DIY Last Minute Advent Calendars! (They’re too young to know you’re late!)
- Even The Littlest Hands Can Change The World
- 8 Tips For Surviving Road-Trips With Toddlers (This Holiday Season)
- 12 Ways I’m Sharing My Native Heritage With My Kids
- Natural Cold & Flu Busters
Elsewhere on the Internets …
Via her humble beginnings, mastering in general mayhem: le petit rêve