Listen, I know birth is a miracle. Kids are a blessing. Life is precious. I know this. I know!!! I just think that all the unsuspecting parents out there who are dreaming of starting a family need a little slap in the face, because when their kid turns into a toddler they’re gonna get slapped in the face anyway. And, I mean bitch slapped by their toddler in the checkout line.
No book on psychology, HOW TO parenting blog, blah, blah, blah prepares you for what it’s like to basically watch an angry, selfish, naked, illiterate, maniac all day. Toddlers suck and that’s been proven in churches, checkout lines, cars, Target, banks, bathrooms, forests- it’s been proven everywhere-every single corner of the globe.
Listen, your toddler needs a few essentials like water, goldfish crackers and diapers, but you’re gonna need more. You need a truck full of Xanax, a bottomless wine glass from Jesus, and a private closet with a locking door and emergency evacuation chute.
Here’s a list of advice based on the phrases you’ll be screaming at the top of your lungs. This list is from my own failures and struggles. My children are now 8 and 10 and we have an entirely new set of struggles. I'm working through that draft. For now, here's some advice in hindsight. As you are yelling these things at your child, remember they are also things you should do...
“PUT THAT DOWN!”
Not another book on parenting- “PUT THAT DOWN!” How many sites, blogs and books have you scoured? Knock it off. Nothing your kid needs is inside a book- it’s inside of you. You know your kid and you know this stuff like the back of your hand. The problem is, it’s all good in theory but when you’re staring down at a two foot monster who just smeared poo all over the kitchen, nothing is applicable in the Happy Toddler; nothing can be transferred from Unconditional Parenting. You need to read up on pink eye and strep throat and then buy bulk bleach from Costco. And, honestly, if you have time to read, make it something smutty and self-serving. Why waste good reading time on trying to figure out why your toddler is an asshole? Your parents, in-laws and the judgmental people on the plane can tell you that.
You tired her out at the zoo. You fed the favorite food. You sang the favorite song. She’s dry. You put all the cozy lovely things she likes in her little toddler bed. You put on the noisemaker with the special light. You crept out on your hands and knees and shut the door with no sound. Annnnnd-She’s screaming. You’re standing by the door staring at the monitor wondering if you should go in. Wondering what you did wrong. What’s wrong with her? Is she sick? “TIME OUT!” Get ahold of yourself. She’s screaming because she’s a damn toddler. Didn’t you read the directions that came with her? CAUTION: DO NOT GO BACK IN A ROOM ONCE I AM PUT DOWN FOR A NAP OR YOU WILL BE SCREWED! Get into the kitchen, pour yourself an adult beverage and then sink into the back of your closet where all your cute clothes are stashed from before you had a kid. Toast to yourself. Toast to your old jeans. Toast to toddlers. Toast to stretch marks. Toast to your former sex life. Toast to Xanax. Keep toasting until naptime is over, then you can leave time out. (If you mixed up my instructions, toasted, and actually took a Xanax, you’ll need to call in reinforcements and then go take a nap, which is actually a fine strategy).
“USE YOUR WORDS!”
You’re at the end of your rope. You’re exhausted. You haven’t showered in days and a zit is developing on your forehead that has its own zip code. Your toddler is out of control. You need to go to the grocery store, but the thought of dragging a raging psycho through the aisles makes a hunger strike more plausible. The house looks like a bomb went off. Well, “USE YOUR WORDS!” Listen, stop trying to be a hero. So what-the mom down the street made robot juice boxes. So what-the mail carrier saw your nipple through your worn-out t-shirt. So what-you haven’t shaved in a week and you might have a female mustache developing because of your untamed hormones. It’s ok that you’re not perfect. Do you expect your kid to be? Share the nightmares. Spread the disasters. Ask for help. Stop looking at Instagram. Talk to friends that are authentic. Find a group of people that make you feel like you can share failures; because that’s what parenting is. We’re all making it up as we go. Talk about the poo smearings, because the more you do, the more normal you’ll feel. Use your words, speak up and shatter the perfection façade. You’re perfect in your kids eyes and that’s all that matters-well, that and robot juice boxes and a flawless Instagram account.
“DID YOU PEE?”
We all know that after you have a kid, you can no longer trust a sneeze, jog, or breathe heavy. So just check yourself once in a while before you go out in public- "DID YOU PEE?"
"I LOVE YOU!"
Whatever you’re doing, didn’t do, or you’re trying to do; it all comes from a place of love. "I LOVE YOU" is the best phrase a parent can hear from their child and the only big take away we all need to keep with us when it's time to leave the nest. Don't we all just want to know we're loved unconditionally-even if we spread our own poo on the family dog? We want our kids to be healthy. To be happy. We hope we’re not screwing them up too much- and that they might take a six-hour nap so we can read Fifty Shades of Grey and sip moscato out of robot juice boxes while we snap selfies on Instagram from the back of our closets in our worn out t-shirt with our nipples poking through. Cause that's how we ball out. Cheers!