I’ve started re-watching old episodes of Grey’s Anatomy lately to fill the void of shows that aren’t on over the Summer. 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 14 times that Grey’s Anatomy perfectly summed up what it is like to parent a toddler.
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.
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 three year old tries to kill himself every time he leaves the house, jumping off heights, running infront 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 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, 14 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.