How do you survive the toddler years? At one point or another every mother asks herself this question.
Here are a few things I’ve learned about surviving the toddler years.
Don’t ever be in a hurry – Because they will always be slow – I’ve learned to add a 10-15 minute time cushion for us every time we leave the house. Inevitably we will need to change a quick diaper, or look for a favorite toy just before leaving the house, if I’ve already planned for 10 minutes of excess time, I don’t get as frustrated when we’re delayed.
Take time to explore the world from their point of view – It can be amazing to pause a moment and see things the way they see them. Realizing how awe-inspiring a spider web is, or enjoying the loudness of a motorcycle or box truck. Toddlers are amazed by things we take for granted every day, it’s a beautiful thing when adults can stop and be amazed right along with them.
Don’t take disobedience personally – Because if you do you will constantly be offended. Toddlers will push their boundaries over and over again. I have often found myself getting offended or assuming that my son was doing things specifically to irritate me, but the truth is he’s not that vindictive. Even when he misbehaves to try to get attention, it’s not an attack on me personally, it’s just a stage and it will end.
Get used to drama – I’ve noticed that teenage girls have nothing on toddler rage. The drama that occurs in our living room every day amazes me. Tears, whimpers, yelling, crying and throwing things. I had no idea that even the most well behaved toddlers could be so incredibly dramatic. It may just be part of the territory, but it’s definitely one of the more terrifying parts in my opinion.
Embrace the fact that you will be that mom – At some point you will be the mom with a screaming kid in the middle of a grocery store. Just embrace it. The screams screeches and downright disobedience while the world watches on with mixtures of horror and pity on their faces. Oh yeah, the joys of publicly parenting toddlers.
Choose your battles wisely – Toddlers want to learn, explore and experience new things. I’ve learned to let my son do these things when I can, even if it means letting him wear clothes that are mis-matched or doing something in a different way than I would have chosen. If it’s safe, and not teaching him a bad habit, I try to let him experience new things even when I don’t always want to. This helps diminish tantrums in our home, which is always a win!
Hide all your nice things – Whether intentionally or by accident, toddlers destroy almost everything they come in contact with. Go ahead and put everything that’s not plastic out of reach for the next 3-7 years.
Invest in a good pair of earplugs – okay, okay, I’m kidding. But it is a tempting idea sometimes isn’t it? ;)
Don’t take your parenting methods too seriously – As great as your ideas may be, chances are they will end up changing and growing with your child, and this is a good thing!
Expect to be messy – No explanation needed. Parenting toddlers is a messy job, things are much easier when you are able to accept and embrace the mess!
Toddlerhood. It’s messy, it’s fun, it’s chaotic, its exhausting. But we can survive it!!!
What are your top tips for surviving the toddler years? I’d love to hear them!
Amen on being THAT mom — I’ve been THAT mom too many times!! :) Awesome post. Pinned it.
Stacy @Stacy Makes Cents says
LOL LOL Oh my! I totally cracked up at the “Don’t be in a hurry or they’ll be slow.” LOL Oh man…SO TRUE! :-) Visiting from Far Above Rubies.
A Little R & R says
Great advice….and oh yes, I’ve been THAT mom over and over and over….in so many definitions of “THAT” that I no longer think of any mom as “THAT” mom any more. I see “THAT” mom and I feel for her, because I’ve been in her shoes. :)
Faith @ Artistic31Mama says
Amen & Amen! This is wonderful and I have done all of these (except the earplugs but the thought has definitely crossed my mind!) :-) <3
Hannah @Supermommy!...Or Not says
I think you pretty much covered everything! Great list, especially #8 :)
My kids are well out of the toddler stages, but I remember them well! (especially with my daughter!) I was THAT mom more times than I care to count :)
Haha your earplug comment made me laugh because in actuality cotton in your ears works wonders! It lessens the intensity in pitch, etc when they scream. You can still hear everything, but it is much softer. I deal with headaches and it always helps when I have a bad one. Great post! Love your blog :)
Jen Stults says
My favorites are #1, #3, and #9. When we went from 2 children directly to 4 children, we learned to make many changes, including increasing our “get out the door” time to 30 minutes – yes, 30! :) My mom laughed at me until she babysat one day and wanted to take them for a walk outside; then she realized that I wasn’t exaggerating. I love that you included #3, too, because I find that the times I take disobedience personally are also the times I misbehave the most as a parent, too. Very good list! :)
Jenni Mullinix says
Great tips! Pinning this to our Thrive @ Home Favorites board on Pinterest. Thanks for linking up! :)
Great post. Oh yes, the joys and whoas of the toddler years. I think we’ve all been “that” mom at one time or another.
#10 is my favorite! :-) Learning to relax about the messes that come with having children in my home has made life so much more fun. We can enjoy family moments more when I’m not stressing about cleaning up. :-) I try to just relax and have fun with my family on the weekend and then on Monday get the house back to the state I like it to be in. :-)
We all get our turn to be THAT mom, don’t we?
Melissa Ryan says
I am that mom more often than I care to admit. God has blessed with with a wildly spirited energetic honey badger of a boy. I get looks a lot of the time and have learned to just let it roll right off my back. I am doing the best I can and I know that.
I would love for you to link up this post at the Tuesday Baby link up!
i love this post so much!!!! It’s very positive and affirmative. Beautifully written! This is just the type of thing I’ve been looking for. Other things I’d add: LAUGH. Even when it’s not funny, laugh. Especially when they’re testing your last nerve. Smile even if u don’t mean it. I found myself In an absolutly rotten mood one morning for no real reason, caught myself and decided to smile while cooking my eggs and making my coffee. Within 10 minutes my mood had completely turned around. I’d also add this mantra for the days we don’t really quite get it right: I can’t change what I’ve done, but I can try my damnedest to not do it again. Especially if you’re like me and tend to really beat yourself up on those not so good days. Thanks for this!!
I LOVE THIS! my #5 is a toddler right now, and we were talking about having another one….and she just wears me out, and the last day or two I’ve lost patience with her and had her spend,….a little more time in time out than necessary….but I love reading reminders like this. Especially to slow down. I always think she’ll be right up there with me and the older kids, but her steps are smaller, and she has more to observe along the way…and an extra 5 minutes for shoes….always. haha. I LOVE this…thanks for sharing!
These are great things to keep in mind. It’s hard to draw the line between letting them explore and developing bad habits, but so worth it if you can find a way to let them learn and grow while keeping those good habits in place! :)