Parenting toddlers is an experience. They’re navigating the big world as brand-new people with their own thoughts and feelings, which they can’t wait to share with you every minute of the day.
They have big preferences and big emotions.
As a parent, it can be difficult to guide someone who is innocent enough to believe in talking trains, but independent enough to defy directions.
Thankfully, there are some simple rules you can follow to ensure you survive your child’s toddlerhood relatively unscathed. So without further ado, I give you the Ten Commandments of Parenting Toddlers.
The Ten Commandments of Parenting Toddlers
1. Thou shall repeat thyself. Loudly and often. Practice talking to some of the walls in your home. Have a conversation with a blaring television set. This will be good practice for trying to converse with a stubborn toddler.
2. Thou shall adorn thine home with shrieking plastic battery-operated toys. The louder, the better–in color and in sound. It does not matter what your previous decorating styles were. Your home is no longer Transitional Contemporary. You’re a Marvel/Disney family now.
3. Thou shall throw all home cooked meals directly into the trash. No one’s going to eat that.
4. Thou shall line thy pockets with M&M’s lest you find yourself without a bargaining chip while trying to leave the park with your offspring. M&M’s are no longer just a sugar-laden treat you find loose at the bottom of your purse. They are your ticket to a quiet car ride home. They are your negotiation strategy. They are the only currency that matters.
5. Thou shall never watch a television program thou enjoy. In fact, cut the cable and subscribe only to YouTube channels that specialize in unboxing Kinder Surprise Eggs. Had a long day? Good. Flip on a YouTube video and watch an irritating family build a trainset in their living room. Do you feel relaxed now?
6. Thou shall never get a full night sleep. A toddler is like a newborn that can walk, talk, switch on the lights, and hop into your bed at 3 AM.
7. Thou shall have a filthy car. Get a head start on the mess by vigorously shaking a soda can and then cracking it open. Pour a gallon of milk in the backseat. Crumble a bran muffin and crush the crumbs into the floor.
8. Thou shall never arrive on time. Even if you managed to survive your child’s new babyhood as a perpetually punctual person, toddlers are a different animal. You’ll be on time until your toddler spends twenty minutes running away from you while you try to put his shoes on, or hops into the rear of the SUV instead of climbing into his car seat.
9. Thou shall never finish a sentence. Or a thought, or a conversation, or a meal without being interrupted 746 times so they can tell you all about Thomas the Train or Batman or Dory.
10. Thou shall be patient and loving. For all their challenges, those little people are a wonder. For while they can be salty, they are still generally sweet, and usually still cute enough that their antics will make you laugh instead of cry.