As Michael McIntyre once said in one of his famous parenting sketches- ‘things that you don’t even consider to be things will become impossible’. Never has a truer word been spoken, especially when your child reaches toddler age. Recognise any of these?
People accepting your first answer:
Before having a toddler, when someone asked you a question and you gave them an answer- that is generally where the interaction ended before you moved on to something else.
For example- ‘Can we go to the shops now?’
‘No they’re shut’
A simple exchange that had an end point. Even if you are telling the truth to your toddler, which let’s face it- sometimes you don’t- your answer is never good enough. For instance;
‘Can we go to the shops?’
‘No, they’re shut.’
‘But I want to.’
‘We can’t, they close early on Sundays.’
‘But I need to.’
‘Sorry but we can’t go today, we will go tomorrow.’
‘But I want to go now…’
‘We can’t go now’
‘But I want... something.’
And this back and forth goes on until you can appease them with something similar to what they wanted from the shops like a toy or snack or... you go and scream into a pillow.
People admitting they are tired:
Before you had a toddler, if someone was short with you or a bit moody, they would generally apologise and tell you they were tired. As adults, we all understand that sometimes a lack of sleep can turn us into a poorer version of our selves.
Toddlers do NOT do this- they get tired and instead of telling you and asking to go for a nap- they will have a giant meltdown- usually in a public place- so you have to ask loudly ‘are you tired?’ all so other people will know that you aren’t a bad parent- you're just waiting for your little one to admit defeat, close their eyes and get some rest.
Holding an adult conversation whenever you want:
Before having a small, walking, talking person to look after, you could have a conversation with your partner whenever you wanted. Not anymore. Even if your toddler is playing nicely on their own- they sense when the talk moves onto something more serious and they use this as an opportunity to; need the potty, want to play with you, have a little cry or ask lots of questions. You learn very quickly to hold off any serious stuff until after they have gone to bed, are at nursery or with their grandparents.
Having a lie in:
If you used to enjoy a lie in during your pre-child days because it was the weekend and you could- rest assured this won’t happen again until your child turns into a teenager. All toddlers are morning people and even if you decide to split the weekend so your partner takes one day to sleep in while you grab the other- chances are- neither of you will get any rest because toddlers don’t do quiet mornings. Having a lie in with a toddler is like trying to snooze during an explosion.
Rooms STAYING clean and tidy:
Remember a time when you would clean and tidy a room, leave the space and when you returned to said space it would be exactly as you left it? I bet you never appreciated this until you had a toddler who can undo your good work DURING your efforts- they don't even have the decency to wait until you're finished. Something else you learn as a parent of a toddler is that tidying up throughout the day is a waste- you are better letting them trash the place and put it back together once they have gone to bed. Tidying after they’ve played with each new toy is like swimming through treacle- pointless.
Consistent likes and dislikes:
Your partner might have told you when you first started dating they don’t like tuna and this remains true today- however toddlers are not as reliable. A toddler will think apples are the best thing since sliced bread one day and then chew up an entire Pink Lady and spit it out all over your carpet the next claiming that it’s ‘yucky’. They will never learn to dislike the ‘bad’ foods but everything else is up in the air which is why you have to take ALL the snacks out with you when you leave the house.
Before the days of toddlers, the people in your life would probably have declared they were going to do something and... did it. For example if your partner said they needed the bathroom, they would have got up, gone to the bathroom and come back again- maybe even continued what they were doing beforehand. Toddlers have no such focus- they will eat a bite of a snack, play with a toy, watch some TV, dance and pick their nose before remembering that they need the potty and most likely wet themselves because they have dawdled for so long.
Having a shower alone: Without a little pair of eyes staring up at you from a bouncer- loaded with judgement. Like they are thinking- ‘you’ve let yourself go mum’, or 'how dare you take care of your ablutions while I am awake?!’. You can't wash your hair without wondering what your baby is doing in those few seconds you have to shut your eyes to rinse, or shave your legs because you have to look down for a moment. All of these things may seem small, but it feels like you’ve had a spa day when you shower by yourself and you take a little longer when you know your baby is safe somewhere else with your partner...