Being a toddler parent is like being part of a special club: a club of unwashed, tired people who live on broken goldfish crackers, dinner scraps, and coffee.
5 Things Toddler Moms Know To Be True
Being a toddler parent is like being part of a special club: a club of unwashed, tired people who live on broken goldfish crackers, dinner scraps, and coffee.
It wasn’t until I had children of my own that I began to understand what it is you did for me.
Now I know what it feels like to meet your baby for the first time and feel your heart explode in joy.
Now I know what it feels like to sit up all night with a feverish child.
Now I know what it feels like to go to bed knowing you did all you could but wishing you could have done more.
Now I know what exhaustion really means; not just your body being tired but your mind, every fiber of your being so spent, and then seeing that it’s only 4PM.
I know what it’s like to wake up every two hours with a newborn who needs to be fed and changed in the darkness of their room.
I know what it’s like to put a meal together only to have it rejected over and over again.
I know what it feels like to feel like it’s all too much sometimes.
I know what it feels like to wish there were five of you so you can get it all done.
I know, now.
And I want to say thank you. Thank you for being there, for not giving up, for not checking out or running away. Thanks for being there for me when I needed you the most.
You’re an inspiration to me. You rocked me, fed me, clothed me, and loved me even when you felt like closing your eyes and falling into bed.
Your sacrifice is not wasted. I’m who I am because of what you poured into my life.
I’m a mom now and have my own little one. On my hardest days I’ll look at my child and remember five little words that will make all the difference, “She did it for me.” You did it for me, I can do it for them.
Happy Mother’s Day.
Love, your child.
Anyone else notice that there are five specific types of moms on Facebook? Here’s how they’d all respond to a simple question in one of those local Facebook groups.
1. The Perfect Mom
“Oh poor you! My little one has never been sick on account of his amazing immune system. We also eat an organic, local, paleo, sugar-free, cruelty-free, vegan diet and he’s never had dessert. Homeschooling also cuts down on illnesses. I just finished creating his third grade curriculum and can’t believe he’s reading two years ahead of his peers. Did I mention his immune system? He tested three immune systems ahead of his age group. Good luck with your little one!”
2. The Mommy Shaming Mom
“Shouldn’t you be calling a doctor and not on Facebook? What if your child’s fever spreads to their brain? Just please keep your little sickie home so he doesn’t infect the healthy children at the park. I hope you’ve stopped reading this and are taking care of your child. Maybe if you’d paid more attention in the first place your child wouldn’t have contracted the virus causing the fever. Way to go.”
3. The One-Upper Mom
“Fever? My child has ebola right now. It’s awful. And a broken ankle. And she stutters. And don’t forget the eczema. Here’s a link to 40 photos where you can see her skin rashes in full HD Feel free to print them out.”
4. The Natural Mom
“Fevers are a sign that your child’s root chakra is cloudy. Are you breastfeeding? I hope so. Mix two tablespoons of turmeric, 8 ounces of breastmilk, and one teaspoon of raw manuka honey in a marble bowl and that should clear right up. I also recommend a crystal healing session to clear any issues that are still lingering from your child’s birth experience. If you had a c-section that explains a lot.
5. The Relaxed Mom
“Eh. Slap some Tylenol on that and it should go away on it’s own.”
Dear Exhausted Mom,
I’m not here to tell you it’ll all be over soon, because I don’t know that.
But I am here to tell you that you’re not alone.
Because I’m doing it, too. Miles away from you, I’m spreading butter on toast for a pajama-clad little one before sunrise, yet again.
You may feel alone, but you’re not.
Years from now, you’ll look back on these days and see the superwoman that you’re being for your child.
So carry on. And know that you’re a rockstar.
xox another exhausted mom
Every day I go about my life: drive my children to and fro, make breakfast, lunch and dinner, and change my baby’s diapers in my four-walled house while the world buzzes around me busy and fast. My little plays on the floor and I watch him pluck toy after toy out of the large box in the corner of the room and although my life is rich with many things, I think about you because I miss the village.
Maybe we’ll have it again. But for today, I’ll invite you and your little one over for tea. And maybe bread.
Why am I even cooking? They hate everything I make anyway.
I should buy organic meat. I wonder how many chemicals are in this crap. I read somewhere that meat with antibiotics makes kids go through puberty earlier. As if we need more meltdowns around here. I guess it doesn’t really matter since I’ll have to bribe and threaten them to eat more than three bites.
I should serve a vegetable of some kind…do apple slices count? Apples are almost vegetables. I mean, they’re produce. Maybe broccoli. Is broccoli cooked in the microwave even healthy or does the radiation cancel out the vitamins? Peas. They won’t eat them but I least I tried. I think I can have some in the freezer. Microwaved peas counts.
I’m so sick of making dinner. I can’t believe I have to do this until they’re 18. How do I spend so much money on groceries when they don’t even eat? I wonder what excuse they’ll come up for why my food is inedible tonight. Too spicy even though the only spice I used is literally salt? Too hot? Because blowing on your own food would be too difficult, right? Too much food? Because 1/3 of a cup of meat, vegetables and pasta is quite the feast.
Do toddlers all decide that crying at the feet of their parents is best done during dinner? I’d love to hold you but doing so while draining boiling hot pasta isn’t exactly ideal. I’ve tripped over this child three times in the past half hour, once while holding a chopping knife. Cooking around here feels like an episode of The Amazing Race and the prize is dirty dishes.
Why do they always beg for scraps while I’m cooking but look at the finished meal like it’s a vomit salad with vomit dressing topped with vomit croutons?
One of these days I’m just going to throw white bread, peanut butter, and jelly on the table and tell them to fend for themselves.
There’s the phone again. No, this isn’t a good time. 5PM is never a good time. How do they not know that by now?
Before kids I thought dinner was supposed to be family time. Now I know it’s the final stand before bedtime.
I’m exhausted. Are moms supposed to be this tired? Mothers on paper towel commercials always look so full of energy in their white jeans and 3/4 sleeve tops. Stupid white jeans. What kind of mom would wear white jeans? A mom who is being paid to pretend one paper towel is enough to clean up an entire jug of spilled Kool-Aid, that’s who.
I feel like I’m on an episode of Chopped. I’d like to see the people on Chopped try to make food with kids telling them that it “smells weird” and “I don’t like that” every three seconds. And then have the judges refuse to taste the food because “it looks weird.” And then of course those same judges would proclaim their hunger five minutes before bedtime.
If these kids comes into the kitchen begging for a snack one more time I’m going to lose my mind. Are they really asking me to stop making food so that I can ruin their already barely there appetite? Because that makes sense. Yes, let me put making dinner on pause to give you a bowl of cereal so you can reject the food I’m making even faster. What do they think I’m doing in here? Crossword puzzles? Kitchen yoga?
I wonder when they’ll start asking “what’s for dessert.” This ain’t a damn bakery, dessert is whatever you can find. Do they think I’m Betty Crocker? Look, I pin desserts, I don’t make them.
It would be nice to have one family meal where nobody cried but I know that’s asking a lot. Or maybe a meal where the baby doesn’t chuck his meal across the room like this is some kind of cafeteria food fight.
Well, I guess dinner is ready. Here goes nothing. I should have ordered pizza.
“DINNER TIME, KIDS!”
I know you’ve noticed it. How recently it’s considered lame for little girls to wear pink from head to toe and love princesses.
If you’re quick to cheer on a 5 year-old girl who loves Minecraft Legos but think a kindergartner who rocks Cinderella outfits is self-esteem deficient, you’re an idiot. You’ve completely missed the point of what parents have been fighting for: the right for their kids to use their imaginations the way THEY want to.
If you’re embarrassed because your 6 year-old wants to have a Princess Sofia birthday party instead of some cool, edgy superhero theme so that you can show your friends how progressive you are, you’re not really progressive at all. Being truly open minded means letting your kids be who THEY are not who will make you look cool on Facebook.
If you pat your friends on the back because their let their son wear dresses to first grade but steer your daughter away from Frozen costumes because they’re too mainstream, you’re full of crap. Why is it ok for little boys to be who they want, but not little girls unless it follows the trend of being off-trend?
“Princesses teach girls to be weak and dependent on men.” Says who? I played with Barbies as a child but never wanted to be her. I just loved cutting her hair. Saying that being princess obsessed will make little girls grow up to be anything but strong women is like saying that playing with My Little Ponys will turn them into future horse trainers.
I’m tired of commercials like the Goldiebox one that ran a few years ago where little girls are paid to proclaim they’re so over being princesses as if that makes them smarter than the rest. If a girl isn’t into princesses, that’s fine, but stop acting as if that makes her more intelligent than those who are. I don’t appreciate the message that liking pink, tulle tutus, dollar store tiaras, or fairy wings makes my daughter any less badass than other little girls because I assure you, she is the fierce, opinionated, and 100% herself. And she can get halfway up a tree wearing an ankle length Merida costume.
Dear Perfect Mom I Wanted To Be,
You’re probably really disappointed in me. Look around. The house is a mess. I know you thought I’d be the type of mom who would never have toys covering her living room floor. Right now my family room looks like a cross between Target’s toy aisle and a laundromat but with more crumbs. Sorry.
Look at my kitchen. I know the plan was to be the type of mom who never went to bed with dirty dishes in the sink, but after cooking, convincing the kids to eat, giving them baths, and finally getting them into bed, I’m tired. Anyway, some of those pans need to soak.
Look at me. I always said I’d be the kind of mom who would eat right, take care of herself, and never wear the same stretch pants and t-shirts day in and day out, but what can I say…I don’t have a lot of time to think about fashion. I spend my days chasing a toddler who is surprisingly fast- skinny jeans, skimpy designer tank tops that can’t contain my *cough* ample mom boobs, and heels just aren’t practical. No, I don’t look like those celebrity moms you see picking up their kids at preschool looking perfectly dressed down but dressed up at the same time. I look more like a yoga instructor who doesn’t actually do any yoga. Oh that stain, I think my kid wiped his nose on my pants. Change over a bit of snot, are you kidding?
Look, Perfect Mom I Wanted To Be, we had a lot of plans. My kids were going to be expertly disciplined and would never have meltdowns in public or walk out of the house wearing two different shoes. I was never going to yell. I was going to go grocery shopping several times a week at farmer’s markets and make meals straight from the Food Network. I was going to wash, fold, and put away laundry every day so that it would never get out of control. I was going to be perfect.
We had a lot of ideas, but life got in the way.
My living room is full of toys because happy kids live here. My kitchen sink is full of dishes because fed people live here. I’m wearing head to toe frayed 100% stretch cotton because I found my worth in who I am, not just what I look like. And these clothes are damn comfortable. It’s like walking around in a blanket. You should try it.
Sorry to disappoint you, but things are a lot better than they look. I learned that motherhood isn’t about projecting an image but being with the people who make my messy, crazy, and exhausting life complete. It’s hard to see the love in the mess from so high up on that high horse. Come down and have a look. You might like what you see.
I feel the dread rise up every day at around 3PM. Dinner time is coming. Before I became a mom I thought my family’s evening meal would look like one of those Hamburger Helper commercials.
10 Reasons Why Dinner Time Is Actually The Worst
1. You have to make it. This sounds easy to enough but considering that 5PM is when children are all on the brink of hunger-fueled insanity and exhausted, this is next to impossible. Small children and babies want to be held while you throw lasagna into a 400 degree oven. Older kids beg for snacks and swipe ingredients when you’re not looking. There will always be someone crying at your feet or tripping you with their body while lying like a starfish in the middle of the kitchen.
2. My husband comes back from work tired and needing a moment to himself before jumping into home life. I get it, I truly do, but that “moment” needs to hurry up and be over because I can’t wrangle children and cook at the same time.
3. I never know what to make. How many times can I make spaghetti or cook chicken breasts? I want to try new recipes but straying from the same old meals increases the risk of rejection so no.
4. By the time dinner is actually done my children’s hunger has morphed into anger that they’re being required to eat. They no longer know how to put food into their mouths unless I keep barking orders throughout the meal.
5. Then comes the nitpicking. “This is too hot.” “I don’t like these spices.” “What is this?” What is this? It’s called rice. Remember, those small white grains that you loved last week? Oh and those “spices” are butter and salt. Your food is too hot? Have you considered blowing or waiting? No? Too hard?
6. I can’t sit down and just eat. I have to jump up every 5-6 seconds getting something for someone. A different fork. A smaller spoon for said rice. More water. Who spilled their milk? Another napkin. I’m not sure why I even make a plate for myself. It’d be smarter to just eat over the garbage disposal, shoveling food into my face, when the meal is done.
7. Dinner takes forever. I always find myself sitting alone with the child who is eating the slowest and probably hoping I’ll just say, “Ok, screw it” and throw their food in the trash. I’m not a mom anymore, I’m a probation officer and my job is to supervise you until you stop stalling and take those last five bites.
8. “What’s for dessert?” “How many bites?” “I dropped’ my food!” By dropped do you mean conveniently let your broccoli fall to the floor? No worries, I have more. Dessert? Dessert is the fruit in your lunchbox that you didn’t eat. As for how many bites, I’ll let you know when you’re done.
9. Poop. Why does someone always have to poop during dinner? And why does that someone always need me to help them?
10. The dreaded “I’m hungry” that a child has the nerve to say 5 minutes before bedtime. You can ignore it and send them to bed knowing that they’ll probably wake up at 4:00 begging for sustenance or give in and hand them a string cheese. Neither one will make you feel good about yourself.
Cooking for a family with young kids is a pretty thankless job. I do it because they need to eat and I want them to be somewhat healthy. That said, I’m losing my mind. If you need me, I’ll be drinking wine in the kitchen.