I had a moment of realisation the other day whilst pushing my toddler on the swing. Between his gleeful giggles, he told me how he was going so high, he was going to end up on an aeroplane, and go on holiday, and go swimming. The imagination on display was lovely, but what stopped me in my tracks was THOSE giggles. You know, the swing ones. And I realised, as my heart filled with love for this tiny, joyful creature: it doesn’t get better than this.
No, wait. I don’t mean than this lovely mummy/son moment – though that was heartwarming. I mean literally, for him, this is it. Never in my adult life have I been as free in the moment, as abandoned, as… dammit, happy. So suck it up, son. Make the most of these moments. It’s all downhill from here.
But us mums aren’t so defeatist as all that, are we? So I set myself a mission. To find ways to bring that level of joy to my adult existence. I call it: “Be More Toddler”. It’s pretty easy to join in – just ask yourself, in any given situation, “what would a toddler do?”. Here are some of the ways you, too, can live the Be More Toddler ideals.
1) Eat the second doughnut
Toddlers laugh in the face of moderation and balance. Doughnuts make you feel good. And – let’s be honest – they’re pretty small. Make it at least two. Bonus points for ignoring the jam on your face until after you’ve finished.
2) Just say no
Don’t want to cook tonight? Can’t face the in-laws visiting this weekend? Don’t fancy changing yet another dirty nappy? Then don’t! Easy! (NB neglect your children at your own risk.) Really commit to this one by just taking a nap to avoid whatever it is you don’t fancy doing.
3) Throw the tantrum
Particularly useful when the toddler is being a toddler. The look of surprise on their face when you start mirroring their behaviour right back at them is priceless. And you might even shock them out of their bad behaviour. Catharsis AND a parenting win.
4) Wear all your favourite clothes. At once.
Haven’t worn that gorgeous dress for ages on account of the rugrats destroying your social life? No problem. Wear it to the park and get some use out of it. It’s cold? Stick some jeans underneath. And those wellies you bought when you thought you were brave enough to take two under-threes glamping. Stick ‘em all on. Hey, it worked for Lily Allen, right?
5) Don’t mince your words
No need for diplomacy; to truly be more toddler, simply blurt out exactly what you think! It saves time and brainpower. Plus your other half will finally stop complaining about how hard it is to read your mood…!
6) Stroke the stranger’s dog
Usually you let politeness get the better of you. But be more toddler and just stroke the dog! (Okay, for safety reasons I would just suggest you ask first. We’re not savages.)
7) Get on the swing
You know those wide, net-bottomed swings? Lie on one and get someone to give you a shove. It’s a wonderful, brief moment of relaxation – like a spa floatation tank treatment (or at least how I imagine one) but without the time or financial commitment. Bonus points for making it through without feeling a touch queasy when you get that fast-over-a-bridge-in-a-car tummy feeling.
I can’t promise that these tips will improve your life long-term. But I guarantee that looking for your own #BeMoreToddler moments is sure to bring at least some short-term amusement. So enjoy them, and please comment to share yours!
Lisa is mum to two boys. When not wrangling children she works in fundraising. She can be found on Twitter for periodic fundraising / mumming / nonsense chat. Fuelled by tea and the occasional (ahem) gin.
Image credit: Lisa Clavering