I’m the first to admit that life with a toddler is a little on the monotonous side.
Day in and day out, it can be the same. Often I felt like I was putting in these crazy days and had nothing to show for it except a messy house, leftover sandwich crusts and the occasional wee in the potty, not on the floor.
It took several years, and countless more pees in the potty, to realise that during those exhausting toddler days, my little ones were actually teaching me a number of useful life skills.
So, to all the mums out there raising toddlers and feeling a little on the deflated side. Take a step back, look beyond the toy tornado and hopefully you’ll discover a whole new world of wisdom.
Here’s 15 amazing and pretty darn useful life skills our toddlers secretly teach us every day. Take it from me – these days with your tot are fleeting. But the life lessons you and your toddler learn during this time together are forever.
What I’ve learned from my toddler (and hopefully you can too)
1. PERSISTENCE – Never give up
Never, ever, give up, especially when you REALLY REALLY want a biscuit and are prepared to tantrum in the middle of the grocery store for 15 minutes to ensure you get it.
2. COMPASSION – See the good in everyone
Even to the stuffed teddy with a missing eye and a chewed ear that my toddler MUST sleep with every night.
3. PASSION – Express your emotions
It’s perfectly acceptable to showcase how you are feeling to the world, especially through screaming. Oh, and crying. Possibly through biting, hitting, throwing toys and banging your head against the wall too.
4. ENDURANCE – Power on, even when you’re running on empty
Chasing a nude toddler around the park can teach you how to keep going, even when you want to quit, cry or hide in the pantry eating chocolate.
5. AGILITY – Act fast, act smart, act nimble
Life lesson #6 – to get what you want, you need to be sneaky. How else do toddlers successfully sneak out of their beds, down the hall, into the bathroom and straight into the nappy cream stash without being detected?
6. CREATIVITY – Think outside the box
Toddlers are awesome at letting their imaginations run wild and coming up with innovative solutions that we probably wouldn’t think of. Especially when coming up with reasons NOT to take a nap.
7. INDEPENDENCE – Be yourself, even if it’s not the norm
So what if it’s winter? Swimmers and a cape are perfectly acceptable going-out attire, even if society (and the weather) suggests otherwise.
8. FLEXIBILITY – Go with the flow
When it comes to living with a toddler, anything goes! Especially when it comes to nappy changes. It takes some serious gymnastics skills to wrangle your tot who prefers to stand up/race around the room/play upside down mid-nappy change.
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9. NEGOTIATION – Use your bargaining powers within
Step one. Be a cute toddler. Step two. That’s it. They win.
10. PATIENCE – Slow down and appreciate the little things
It takes time to stop to smell every single flower, touch every bit of sensitive weed and point to every single tree you see.
11. CONFIDENCE – Stand up, speak up
Toddlers know they want an apple. But they sure as heck don’t want it with even a slight sliver of skin on it. And if you happen to serve said apple with a tiny speck of skin? Prepare to hear all about it.
12. FORGIVENESS – Let things go
Forgive, forget, find something fun to focus on instead – a motto to live by.
13. HONESTY – Say what you mean
Which, 99% of the time, is probably “no”. The other 1% is probably “mine”.
14. STRENGTH – Push your body to do the seemingly impossible
Like attempting to wrangle a stiff toddler into a car seat mid-tantrum. It can be done. But it takes some serious mum strength to do so.
15. PERSPECTIVE – Know what really matters
Love matters. Family matters. Exploring the world together matters.
Toddlers have an amazing way of showing us what is worth focusing on. Not the parenting politics, the material objects or the constant self-criticisms that circle through your mind. They don’t give a stuff about your grey hair, your saggy tummy skin or the bags under your eyes. They see you for the late night cuddles you share, the companionship you give and, mostly, the constant comfort you provide.
Toddlers teach us to accept ourselves and embrace our chaotic world. Through their erratic emotions, cheeky grins and constant energy, they give us a new perspective on life.
And I am more than grateful for my two toddlers for giving me this.
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