I’ve started re-watching old episodes of Grey’s Anatomy lately while I’ve been off work. I’ve been a fan of Grey’s Anatomy since the early days and though I fell away from it for a while, I’m straight back in there now. It’s the perfect mish-mash of funny, serious and damn heartbreaking. I’m invested in these people like they’re real, they’ve been a part of my life for a decade.
While re-watching, I’ve noticed in some bits that they’re referring perfectly to how life with a toddler is. So, here’s 22 times that Grey’s Anatomy perfectly summed up what it is like to be a parent to a small child.
1. The Exhaustion
It is tough to keep up with toddlers at the best of times. They’ve got a ball of energy that you can only dream of, and endless ways to use it that will make your life and your house much messier! So being slightly tired (and very dependent on caffeine) is part of the territory.
2. Needing To Prioritise the Little Free Time You’ve Got
If you’ve got little ones at home, time alone comes at a premium. Peeing, showering, making dinner: all these things come with an audience. So, when you get offered some actual time alone, however short, choosing what to do with it leaves you with some important questions. Is today the day you get to shower alone, or will you use that twenty minutes to grab a power nap? Make the most of it!
3. The minute issues which turn into major meltdowns
We built a family shoe rack. The three of us, and a power drill. It’s removed 90% of shoe-related tantrums, of which there were MANY. When they don’t make it back there, they tend to get seperated, and we tend to run late. Which ups stress on everyone. Cue tantrums. Damn shoes.
4. Efforts for date night are, um, lesser.
This one is directly linked to the lack-of-free-time. Once upon a time you may have been plucked and preened to within an inch of your life. Date night may have needed a new outfit, hair perfectly done. These days, date night might be a little bit scaled back because life gets in the way. The fact that there is a date night, time you make for yourselves, is the important part, everything else is gravy.
5. When they’re singing that one inane song over and over and over and you’re ready to crack.
The Finger Family song. I’ll say no more. Lately, it’s the Flower Gleam and Glow song from Tangled. Over and over.
6. The tantrum of sheer not knowing.
They don’t know what they don’t want, or what they want, and there are SO MANY EMOTIONS. Who’d have thought that someone so small could fit so many emotions in? No wonder they come bubbling out in a rage. These are all par for the course through the toddler years, grab your helmet, you’re in for a bumpy ride.
7. The world is going on without you.
What’s the last film you saw in the cinema, or band you saw playing live? Are you down with the kids, or is your new “down with the kids” straight from CBeebies? Do you know what songs are in the charts? In Toddler world, you can completely blot out the real world and once you raise your head up again, it can look VERY different to how it was. Whether its a good different or not depends on your view of it.
8. Getting through every super long “working late” text day.
Some days are better than others. Then other days, the “Stuck in work late” text arrives when you’re mid-battle with a disagreeable toddler, up to your eyes in nappies and dinner refusals. All you can do is take a deep breath and keep going.
9. The Endless FEAR.
When you’ve got a little person, you turn anxious. About everything. The world is out to kill or maim them, and it’s YOUR job to not let that happen. So much fear. My four year old tries to kill himself every time he leaves the house, jumping off heights, running in front of cars. He has no fear, and much as I hate to teach him fear, it beats the alternative. I worry, all the time. It’s what this love has done to me.
10. When They Don’t Miss You When You’re Gone
When you finally get free time due to creche or grandparents taking them for a sleepover, then they act disappointed when you come to pick them up. Then they tell you Granny is their favourite and your heart breaks a little bit…
11. When you’re sick to death of hearing about Frozen/Paw Patrol/Rescue Bots, but they just keep on talking.
I could write a thesis on Paw Patrol at this stage. We’re getting there with Rescue Bots. Once upon a time I was a person with interests and things to talk about. Now my main conversations revolve around which pup is the best (Team Chase) or which episode he wants to watch or singing “Let It Go” (No, Mammy, just meeeeee – no, you sing) ad finitum. He cares about them, so I pretend along. But really in my mind I just want to say “Stop! Talk about something else, anything else!”.
12. When Your Kid isn’t doing what they should be doing, or listening to you at all, and you feel like you SUCK at this.
Do you know any perfect parents? Any child who is EXACTLY what the textbooks say? No, me neither. It’s new territory and there are so many opinions about what approach you should take. And all the while, you’re terrified of messing this little person up with your mistakes. It’s scary and frustrating. And we’re all just muddling through.
13. At the end of a long, long day filled with tantrums and shouting and feeling like the worst parent in the world
Gentle Parenting is what I aim for. It’s not something I’m very successful at. I try to not shout, gentle discipline, but it’s HARD. I’ve felt like the worst parent in the world, and looking at others in their seemingly perfect families doing it well makes it worse. Comparison is the thief of joy, and all that. There are days when I wonder what I’m doing wrong because it SHOULDN’T be this hard. But thats life with a toddler, you have to take the dark clouds along with the silver linings. It’ll all work out fine in the end.
14. When You Meet Another Parent Deep In The Trenches Who Just GETS IT.
You need to have the sanity keepers, the ones who know exactly what dealing with a tiny tyrant is like, the ones who don’t judge you for your actions in trying to keep the show on the road. And they can be hard to find, especially if your regular friend group hasn’t quite hit the child-rearing stage. So when you find them, it’s instant, you’re my best friend now.
15. When You’re Trying To Keep On Top Of The Endless Mess
Or, as I like to call it, the every evening sigh of “Jesus, how much singing plastic, pointy plastic, jigsaw pieces does one child need?”. I can’t imagine how anyone keeps on top of it with multiple kids. Do they hire a whole cleaning crew for the toys alone? That’s not even thinking about things like raisins. Pre-kids, raisins weren’t particularly on my radar. Nowadays, they’re everywhere. He loves them. Eats them. Hides them. Finds them weeks later (after the house has been cleaned and no raisins found). Keeping on top of the mess is one of the toughest parts of this parenting game!
16. When They Get Sick, They Really Go For It
Perhaps it’s because as an adult you’re trained to run for the bathroom when you feel the urge to be sick, but you know no sick mess like a small child sick mess. They manage to puke EVERYWHERE. You think it’s bad with the spit up. Which it is. Sour milky smell is nasty when it’s entrenched in your nasal cavities. But then they start eating ACTUAL food and it gets so much worse. You hear the words “My tummy hurts” or “I don’t feel well” and start feeling a cold sweat coming out yourself. We had a week long tummy bug when Eliott was less than a year old that I’m sure will make up a lot of a future therapy session (not to mention the fact that our GP prescribed a medication given to puking chemotherapy babies to stop them getting sick to keep him out of A&E that cost €70 and made him stop after ONE SPOON – and the bottle only lasts a month!). Traumatised. Again a case for “I don’t know how people with multiple kids do it”.
17. When Your Four Year Old Just Keeps. On. Talking and You’ve Reached Your Limit…
I’ve been the Bad in the BadMammy of late, with being tired and sick and in pain, so my patience threshold is lower than it should be. That, unfortunately, has combined with the coming of the questions. I’m starting to wonder if a PhD in Dinosaurs is a worthwhile choice over the next few years, although I’m not entirely sure that would answer all the questions he’s got about them. It’s resulted in my once telling him to stop following me and leave me alone… because when hiding in the bathroom doesn’t work in a small apartment, you’re left with few other options. I can probably Mastermind about Pokemon. He’s learning letters and numbers by himself by asking all the questions, which means every car journey is about the numbers on signs and the letters in names. SO MANY QUESTIONS.
18. The “Why Didn’t You Get Up With The Child In The Middle Of the Night” argument
This one goes both ways in our house. I have trouble getting to sleep some nights, and then other nights I am in need of half-hourly checks to make sure I’m not dead. When Eliott was smaller, when I was off work but oh so tired from the having a tiny baby, I was the mandatory getter-upper-at-night because I didn’t have a job to keep on the road in the daytime. Then I went back to work, and it was meant to get a bit more equalized, but the child only demanded Mammy at nighttime. Or, if he wasn’t selective, someone would snore that bit louder to say that it was my turn.
These days, we’re a lot more the other way around. The child still demands Mammy but Mammy sleeps through it, meaning that Daddy has more than once been given out to for “sleeping the wrong way”. Or I find myself in his bed, at 5 am, not knowing how I got there. Not so much a wait it out these days – or at least not so much that I’m aware of, as I snore my head off.
19. When They Say They’re Not Your Friend Anymore When They’re Really Wrecking Your Head
Some days are long when you’re at home with kids. It’s all well and good when you’re able to play with them, able to get into it, but being Mammy means that most of the time you have other stuff to do to keep the show on the road. So sometimes, them saying they don’t want to play with you anymore because they’re not your friend, or you’re not cool, means you have to stifle a grin and just walk away…
(Unless they tell you they don’t love you with their heart anymore. Gut punch, kid, gut punch).
20. Getting Used To The Idea That Birth May Not Be The Calm, Loving Picture You’ve Dreamed Of…
Oh childbirth, the glory of childbirth. There are many reasons why people don’t give the whole truth to those who haven’t been through it. Keeping the human race going is the main one. It would be great to think we’d all look as incredible as Kate Middleton leaving the hospital hours after birthing her babies. The truth isn’t as Instagram perfect. Body fluids. Pain. Inappropriate screaming at midwives. It doesn’t mean you’re any less WonderWoman. It’s probable that WonderWoman too would scream her head off and involuntarily poop while giving birth. Doesn’t make birth any less of an incredible feat.
21. When You Start To Wonder Why You’re Obsessed With Things That Are Functional Instead of Fun Since Becoming A Parent
For some people, it’s vacuum cleaners. Or finding out that baby vests have those tops that mean you can take it off over their head or down their body in case of a poonami. Five years ago, my party trick would not have been the ability to “call” my keys from my phone. Practicality has taken over and things like that are now fascinating to me. Next stop sensible shoes (actually, I’m already there) and
22. When you get those cuddles, the “I love you Mama/Dada”, and all the hard bits just melt away.
Despite all the hard days, the tears, the scolding, the feeling not good enough, there is nothing like that rush of love. I’m cherishing the cuddles because I know it won’t be long before my little boy is too old and cool to cuddle with his Mammy. It doesn’t get rid of the feelings of inadequacy and hatred of the threenager phase, but those moments make everything alright, even just for those moments.
So, there we have it, 22 times that Grey’s Anatomy has summed up parenting a toddler perfectly. Can you think of any other examples? Do you agree or disagree with anything here? Let me know in the comments, or over on Facebook. I’d love to hear from you.