Tips for surviving the toddler years. Can anyone actually survive them? NOPE. Thanks for visiting.
Just kidding. Though there really isn’t much more to say other than if you don’t drink wine before your child reaches this stage, you DEFINITELY will both during and after…
I used to be naive. When Isla was born and up until about 18 months old, she was so sweet I never thought she would turn into the monster everyone says toddlers are. I thought I would somehow be exempt from the attitude I undoubtedly served my mom. But when Isla turned two it came on with a fury. The infamous attitude my mom always reminds me that I had is definitely embodied in my sweet little girl, who can go from zero to crazy quicker than I can tell her to put down the breakables. To get out of the cabinets. To stop grabbing her brother’s face (who she is generally 100% kind to).
Regardless of how crazy these years make me, they are only here for a little while. I wouldn’t say I’m surviving them like a champion, but as a work-from-home mama to two littles with a husband in the military, I’d say hanging in there is a victory in itself.
My top 10 tips for surviving the toddler years are as follows:
- Lean on your village. Your village can include your significant other, your best friends, your neighbor who you met two weeks ago, your family…hell, even your dog. Take comfort from those who are offering it, and if they aren’t offering? Well, ask. Everybody needs a little help now and then.
- Choose your battles wisely. Understand this has taken me a long time and a lot of tantrums. Some days I’m picking every battle, but most days I’m trying hard to ignore the ones that aren’t worth it. Sometimes everyone can benefit from you walking away and ignoring your toddler. Truth.
- Don’t forget to take time for yourself. I always tell this to my friends with younger kids (who ask me how to deal), and they usually look at me like I’m insane. When you have kids, taking time for yourself can seem like some huge joke. Because really, who has the time for that? But our mental health is important, and a little quiet time is vital. Whether this means hiring a babysitter or taking the night off and leaving your significant other with the kids, make it happen now and then. I suggest heading to a coffee shop with headphones and your favorite playlist or a book.
- If you don’t have a guilty pleasure, find one. Hoarding and eating junk food in the bathroom? Check. Getting a monthly massage? Sounds pretty perfect. Sometimes doing something small to make yourself feel better is a bigger pick-me-up than you can imagine.
- Try and lighten up a little bit. I’m really particular about how I like certain things, and I’m hardly recovering. I’m a neat freak, a control freak, and I can be pretty bossy. (At least I’m honest with myself.) But once in awhile it’s good for everyone’s mental health to mess up the living room or throw a ridiculous dance party in the kitchen. You can clean everything up later.
- Nap when they nap–if you can. Someone told me this before I ever had Isla and I’ve continued it even now when she’s almost three. I don’t nap every time she does, but if I’m exhausted and I have some downtime at work, you can bet I’m catching some quick Zs. This is good for everybody’s happiness.
- Don’t compare. Every kid, including yours, does things in their own time. Sometimes that time is faster, and sometimes it’s not. My daughter wanted to get into everything via rolling and crawling pretty quickly, but she didn’t walk until almost 14 months. Eventually they’ll all walk, they’ll all read, and they’ll all grow up. No reason to rush. Another pro tip: Don’t one-up your friends. I once had someone tell me their kid picked out their own clothes at four months old. Not even joking. What’s the point in ridiculous statements to feel like your kid is better than someone else’s?
- Don’t force it. “It” can mean literally anything. Don’t force your daughter to poop on the potty before she is ready. Don’t force your kid to meet milestones before he or she wants to reach them. In my experience, lowering my expectations a bit have always caused my kids to meet them quicker. Or maybe I’m just not as stressed about it so it seems that way.
- Embrace being that mom. You know–the one with the toddler screaming on the floor of the grocery store. The one whose kid is a hot mess and who is a little bit out of control. The one who hugs her friends so hard at preschool that they fall over and hit their head on a bookshelf and her teacher has to pull you aside at pickup to mention that you need to practice “gentle hugs.” (Not speaking from experience or anything…) Once in awhile, even the best of us become “that mom.”
- Wine. Enough said. Boxed wine is everything and it lasts 30 days in the fridge. Or far less if you’re me.
What are your top tips for surviving the toddler years? Tell me in the comments!
Or come drink wine with me when I put my kids to bed at 7pm. That works too.