I’m on my third toddler right now, and let me tell you, it’s been hell. I often read lists of tips to make the toddler years easier, and they are always fluffy and full of little tricks that don’t work and make me feel like a failure. Or they make me feel like there is something wrong with my toddler, which isn’t true. Well…other than that I think there is something wrong with all toddlers because, you know…toddlers. Sometimes I wonder if people without kids write these lists. Anyway, I’d like to bring it down a level, so I put together a little list of my own. I won’t bullshit you. Here are the real toddler pro-tips.
1. When on the sofa, be sure to protect your eyes, crotch, face, hair, and breasts. Toddlers have surprising grips.
2. The best time to play peekaboo is when changing a particularly messy diaper. It keeps a toddler from eating it.
3. If a toddler eats dirt, technically you don’t have to feed them the next meal.
4. To hell with keeping shoes on them. Keeping shoes on a toddler is about as easy as keeping shoes on a cat. Put them on in the morning so you feel good about yourself. The rest of the day is in God’s hands.
5. One popsicle will keep a toddler content for three minutes. With enough popsicles, you can load the entire dishwasher without your toddler trying to climb inside it.
6. The toddler is the boss of you now. You can redirect them some, but ultimately you are their bitch. Keeping that in mind will help you not feel like such a failure next time you bring the little bugger to Target.
7. You don’t have to give your toddler a bath every day. Just wipe them down sometimes. Parents who bathe their kids every single day obviously hate themselves.
8. There are no laws against calling a toddler an asshole. Trust me.
9. If you find a long-lost sippy cup, don’t open it. Just throw it away. Opening it is like opening the seventh seal.
10. Poop doesn’t go easily down a tub drain. A spatula can help remove it. Throw away the spatula.
11. Sometimes it feels really good to flip your toddler off when their back is turned.
12. Don’t worry about making sure your toddler looks cute all the time. Sometimes it’s all you can do to keep their pants on.
13. The shame you feel for using a crayon instead of a pen is not nearly as painful as searching for a pen while holding a toddler.
14. A great way to relax is to lie on the floor and let the toddler climb on you. But remember tip No. 1.
15. Don’t buy a toddler any clothing with buttons. People who design toddler clothing with buttons either don’t have children or are UFC fighters.
16. If you buy a toddler a really extravagant birthday gift, they will play with the box. Save money and just buy a box.
17. Arguing with a toddler is the first step in failure.
18. Swimming counts as a bath.
19. Once your toddler learns how to lock a door, have keys at all times. Toddlers don’t give a shit.
20. If they drop candy on the floor, let them eat it. This will save you a fit. Just tell yourself the dirt makes it organic.
21. If a toddler wants liquid in a cup without a lid, make sure it’s water and that all electronics are above 3 feet. A toddler holding a cup without a lid is basically a scene from Titanic.
22. Don’t waste time cleaning the toddler’s car seat. It’s a battle you can’t win. Just wait until they grow out of it and light the damn thing on fire.
23. They will never wear themselves out. That’s a lie. Toddlers are the reality of perpetual motion. Toddlers are your cardio.
24. If you put a toddler to bed two hours late, they will get up two hours earlier. Just a heads up.
25. Spray ‘n Wash (by the case)
Sure, there are more pro-tips; there always are. But this should get you started. And if you are reading this and you have something to add, please do so in the comments section. Because you know what they say: It takes a village.
This article was originally published on