Moms of toddlers hear me out- I’ve been there. I know you are drowning in diapers. I know you are sleep deprived. Right about now your freedom cravings mimic that of a prisoner serving a life sentence. Your day is dictated by nap times, snack times, poop times, tantrum times, playgroup times, bath times, and bed times. You are the sole choreographer of all of your little one’s entire waking moments. You want a break. You NEEEED a break. And then, at rock bottom, you see me in Target. I am shopping alone. My hair is washed. I am spending an indulgent amount of time looking at nail polish and throw pillows. I am sipping a hot latte. You, however, are chasing your two and three year olds down the candy aisle. One smells like poop, is wearing Batman pajamas covered in maple syrup, and is shoving jelly bellies in his mouth by the handful. The other just stole a Ring Pop. I pass you and say, “You think you are stressed out now, just wait until they are teenagers.”
You see, years ago that was me chasing the screaming kids down the candy aisle. And inevitably, some ‘older’ mom spewed that kind of batshit crazy type hate speech to ME. Hate speech because it would make me cringe. I wanted to yell back, “Are you kidding me lady? Look at me and these three kids under age 6. I would take three self sufficient teenagers any single day over this.”
And then I had my own teenagers. Holy hormones please bring back the Batman pajamas.
5 reasons I will trade my teens for your toddlers.
1. Toddlers actually wake up bright eyed and ready to go in the morning. Teens? Hell. No. I need a bullhorn and a forklift to get my boys out of bed in the morning. They have become the walking dead. Someone should have told me teen sleep routines could be confused for those of a ravishing nocturnal animal, and to not expect any movement before noon on weekends. Sometimes I just go in to check and see if they are still breathing, like I did when they were newborns.
2. My food bill. You are probably spending hours begging your picky little ones to eat. I just want mine to STOP eating. Food is being inhaled by the second here now. Today I bought a five pound bag of cheese. FIVE POUNDS. I bet it lasts two days. I hear them up at night like raccoons in the kitchen inhaling whatever is not nailed down. I have swapped morning playgroups to morning food warehouse club visits.
3. Five showers a day. Say the word bath or shower and your three year old is nowhere to be found. You can’t get your toddler IN the shower, and I can’t get my teenage boys OUT. And trust me, I know it only takes five minutes to get clean so the other 15 minutes are for…..?????? Yep. That’s what I thought too. Bring back bath toys that are not body parts.
4. Educational concepts. What I wouldn’t give to go back and only have to teach and explain shapes, letters, and colors. AP American History, Latin, and Java Script? Does Sesame Street do any Calculus segments? Bless you Khan Academy, for saving mothers of high schoolers everywhere. Moms of toddlers, just go ahead and just start adding the letters X,Y, and Q to numbers NOW. Believe it or not, you will be using algebra again.
5. Three year old ‘problems.' Oh for a chance to go back to the days when I thought real problems were when my two year old didn’t share nicely enough at playgroup. Back when pretty much any daily drama could be solved by a nap and a red lollipop. Adolescent issues trump any toddler tantrum you can throw at me. Academic, athletic, and social pressure and stressors thrown at my sons make having cranky over tired tot ‘problems’ a walk through the park. Lollipops don’t make the SATs any easier.
Someone once told me that grandchildren are payback for getting through the teenage years. I sure hope so, because I will have had to teach four boys how to drive, how to date, how to open doors for young women and close doors of disappointments. How to grow from awkward teenagers to poised young men. And for this, I anticipate like 20 grandchildren. All girls please.