The Messy Years: Advice for Surviving with Toddlers

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messyyearsI am knee deep in toddler life. My oldest is at the end of the toddler spectrum, while my younger one is just learning the ropes. My life is loud, messy, and not nearly as punctual as I would prefer it to be. My boys destroy books and walls, climb on top of everything and manage to get poop all over my house. They are also full of energy and life, they laugh hard and cry hard. A friend recently asked if I have any advice for handling two not-so-little-ones, and even though many days just feel like a game of survival, here is my personal advice for surviving the toddler years:

Transitioning from baby to toddler is going to require some new supplies. My dream list would include a hazmat suit, an irobot Roomba vacuum, and a storage unit. You have no idea the kind of mess toddlers can make. The hazmat suit will come in quite handy when you have a toddlers stomach contents all over your car and boogers all over your favorite dress. The robot vacuum will do wonders for your free time when you’re not spending it sweeping the never ending stream of crumbs, dirt and rocks all over your floors. Then save yourself some tears and pack up every piece of furniture or décor that you love, say good-bye for the next 5-10 years and place everything in a storage unit. Trust me, toddlers have a sixth sense for seeking out your favorite belongings and going to extreme lengths to destroy them. Unfortunately, those items are still a dream in my household so I keep my actual toddler supply list simple with the two S’s, snacks and stickers. I keep them in my purse at all times and though they will both make a mess, they will both keep my kids occupied long enough for me to do something normal, like shower.stickerssnacks

My last pieces of advice would be to take advantage of child care when you can and have other mom friends you can rely on. We all love our kids, but an hour of glorious toddler free time is needed on a regular basis. When we are low on food, the Fry’s on Tatum & Bell Rd has free childcare for kids age 2 and up, when I need to restore some balance in my life, spiritual or physical, the women’s group at my church and the barre3 studio where I exercise have wonderful people to watch over my children while I reset my mind and body. Most importantly though are the friends. Sometimes at the end of the day, all you will want to do is tell someone how you feel, it might be to share the good stuff and other times it’s to cry about the bad stuff. I know several wonderful women I can call or text and they will laugh or cry with me and without any mommy judgement. If you don’t have one of these friends, get in touch with me and I will be that friend for you.

No matter how many toddlers you have in your household, it can be one of the most entertaining and overwhelming parts of life. What advice do you give others to survive these crazy years?

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Jessica Becker has been living in the Valley of the Sun for eleven years and very much enjoys missing out on the Iowa winters that she grew up in. She is the mother of three extremely energetic boys (6, 4 and 2) and wife to her wonderful husband of seven years, Mark. She is a former elementary teacher turned stay at home mom and editor for SMB. She loves to spend time reading good books, running outside, barre classes, drinking iced lattes or champagne, trying out new recipes for her family, and coming up with creative activities to keep her boys busy.

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