A day in the life of a toddler mom.
Mornings used to be peaceful, quiet, and calm. Sleeping in was normal on weekends and the first thing I would do is grab coffee and slowly adjust to the daylight.
Nowadays… not so much.
Here’s a story, told by me, a mom of a toddler. It’s spelling out what one day looks like chasing around a walking baby, certainly with a mind of her own!
Here’s the true story, no sugar coating.
We woke up at the crack of dawn, 6am lights on. Whoever said sleep training was possible meant the parents need to learn how to function with less sleep.
My toddler girl was teething and was not open to the blissful idea of sleeping in. Instead she was fussing to be lifted out of her crib and to be distracted from her painful mouth. And distraction along with chaos was my next 13 hours.
While changing her heavy diaper full of stale urine, she tried wiggling and twisting until finally those little legs got to run down the hall half naked. And off I was chasing her, no caffeine to boot.
In hand is her ever loved “kitty” named affectionately after our real live cat that she unfortunately cannot carry around like a rag doll. This stuffed kitty reeks with drool and to pry it from that toddlers grip either takes some serious mom negotiating (which requires more than 4 hours of sleep) or some serious distraction.
Food seems to work 40% of the time, but this time I switched out kitty with the TV remote which is super entertaining for a toddler. I felt like this was a parenting win except that she got so excited to have the remote that she flailed it around and whacked me on the forehead so hard leaving a welt and a raging headache for good measure.
Breakfast was not happening due to the teeth bothering her so we skipped it moving onto the next task.
Getting dressed for the third time before 9am.
Between diaper leaks and blowouts this is normal and expected. Let’s just set the record straight: a toddler will teach you the real meaning of doing laundry. You’ve never known the chore of laundry until having a kid.
I’m trying to get myself ready and my daughter ready so we can get out of the door at a reasonable time with things planned for my day. So I change her outfit and run into the bathroom to throw a face on and put the hair in an affectionately named “messy bun”.
When the house goes quiet.
As I’m distracted with this project, I realize the house became very quiet, with no little one in sight. The funny thing about these moments is you know something, somewhere is going down that will soon make you cringe. However being a mom who cherishes a bit of mascara, I decide to allow the silence for two more minutes as I hurriedly finish getting dressed.
Putting my boots on while hopping down the hall I started searching for the mischievous toddler. I finally found her in the pantry snacking on dried cat food out of the cat’s dish. As soon as I told her “No!” She looked at me with worried eyes and in a blink of a moment she picked up the cat’s water dish and dumped it over outfit #3. Not only do I have another outfit change to tend too, but now I have to mop the floor of days old cat drool. Yes, with everything else going on in my life my cats water at times gets “thicker” than we would like.
There’s a moment in your morning when you are running SO late that you are left with a critical choice: be even more late by taking baby to sitters, an extra 15 minutes away, or take baby with you to ‘said’ location. Having only four hours of sleep, I choose the incorrect choice, take her with.
Without disclosing the professional atmosphere of where I was headed, I can promise that neither of us looked the part. There are only so many baby outfits I can find that are dry and clean not to mention the right size and fit after lasts week’s growth spurt. No shoes, though she is definitely a walker, hair un-brushed and wild, teeth and face not washed (true for both of us in which case I’m sorry to those who had to talk to me) and un-fed due to the lack of time and teething issues.
For those of you wondering why I still went to my appointment and didn’t just stay home: sometimes it’s better to around adults part of the day, as it makes you feel somewhat human again. Adult conversations keep me somewhat sane.
A toddler farts in public.
Now imagine yourself in a room with a toddler on your lap. If that toddler, let’s say for instance, has some seriously loud “gas”, who do you think gets blamed? The mom. Every. Single. Time. My red cheeks burn making me seem even more guilty.
Finally time for breakfast.
Feeding children in public is mandatory for it keeps them occupied and quiet. This was my next task. Breakfast. Continue to offer puffs and cheese to keep her content. That is, of course, until she threw up. She was just not feeling well due to teething, fussing over food, fussing over everything.
I think we’ve moved on to Outfit #5.
At this point, I hand in the towel, canceling my plans and head home.
My toddler was exhausted from the run around of the morning and now was fighting a nap. So all the way home, she cries and wails while I do a lot of crying myself. It sometimes feels like the only response you have left to give.
Nap time = Mom’s quiet time.
I get her home and she actually zonks out in her crib. I head to the fridge for a snack and find that hairbrush I’d been looking for just hours earlier shoved between the mustard and soy sauce. It was the obvious location, why didn’t I think of that?
Wired from the anxiety, I stayed awake and unable to fall asleep, yet unable to move from my couch divot. And so I sat, wide eyed and waiting for the distant cries to remind me I’m not alone, instead my “alone time” was over.
Bath time means poop time.
Later that night I decide to take a bath with my girl, relax in some warm water and play with toy boats. The 40% won out on the argument of “kitty” as I convinced her the lovey also needed a bath in the soup pot beside the tub.
All was well, and then the day was capped just minutes later with the water turning a shade of merkey brown that filled the tub faster than I could blink. I guess I should have expected something exciting to happen after the gas explosions we smelt and heard earlier that day.
Adrenaline sets in fast and before I could think of her finding floaters to pick up and play with I just grabbed her, both of us dripping with poop water and we ran to the other bathroom shower. This left the perfect poop water trail behind us and caused baby to start screaming by the shock of my sudden actions, not to mention leaving her precious boats behind.
Getting clean is a task not for the faint of heart. Imagine not wanting to wait for the shower to warm up. Imagine your kid angry at life, no kitty, no boats, cold… but I honestly don’t think they mind the poop.
Okay, skip to a clean, somewhat happy baby.
Clean and dry kitty, clean momma, sanitized bath and bath toys (fishing out floaters and using bleach until my lungs could no longer handle it), and yes the cats food and water in tact and hairbrush in a drawer. Life was sort of back together again. Baby goes to sleep.
I pour a glass of wine wondering what the next 10 hours during the night held for me… and then the following 13. But for now, this 1 hour was for me to think deeply or to zone out. Either way, life equals chaos with a toddler. Some days worse than others.
I fantasize about spa days and a massage and then remember the crayon marks on the wall, the cloth diapers need folding and there’s the need to pick up the toys once again. It’s a life chosen, beautiful in its own right. Not every day making me loose locks of hair. However every day my patience grows and my ability to laugh at these crazy moments gets easier and with less effort. I’ve loosened up as a mom. I’ve slowly become that “easy going” type of personality I had always admired. All it took was a toddler.