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7 Things Your Teen Does That Make You Miss Your Toddler

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Oh, the joys of motherhood — especially if you are lucky enough to have a toddler on your hands. And by “on your hands” I really mean climbing all over your lap with his snot dripping oh-so-close to your chai latte while whining something unintelligible about Caillou and smashing his full-diapered butt up against your chest. Fun times, right?

Well hold on my friends, there’s a new gig just around the corner. Teenagers give toddlers a run for their money — and sometimes I would gladly swap mine out. For these seven reasons alone I would trade you right now.

1.  Food issues.

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Toddlers are some of the most annoying little people on the planet when it comes to food. But once you get down to it, they like the same thing. Every day. Plain noodles and string cheese? No problem. Plain peanut butter sandwich cut into the shape of an octagon? On it. But somewhere between the ages of two and 20 teens decide to radically reinvent their eating habits. Vegan? To a nutty-crunchy 17-year-old, that sounds like a fun way to make mom’s life more difficult. And that teen athlete may eat 17 tacos at one sitting. So you MAKE a ton of tacos the next time and they have “plans.” We could open a soup kitchen with the food that goes in and out of our kitchen on a weekly basis.

2.  Odors and smells and stinks — oh my.

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Toddlers can be quite stinky… especially when they are still sporting a diaper 24/7. But with a toddler, at least you know where the stink is coming from. Open the door of your teen’s bedroom and the chemical combination of body spray, body odor, hair gel, leftover mac and cheese and skunk come wafting out. And because teenagers, you are always sniffing for the faint scent of drugs. I’ll take toddler stink for $50, Bob.

3. Teens ruin your sex life.

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Seriously, who knew? I thought when the baby turned into a toddler it would be an almost immediate libido-booster. And it kinda was, except for that whole oh my god I need more sleep thing we both had going on. Fast forward to the teen years and they are awake. Like, really awake. And aware. While the toddler may have been difficult to get to bed in the first place, once he was asleep he was oblivious. Teenagers know what you are doing. Which kinda makes the whole thing awkward.

4.  Driving in cars.

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Think your toddler hates being in the car? Try taking your teen on a road trip complete with younger siblings and fun sightseeing stops. You’ll learn the fine art of ignoring the stink eye. And you will have to YELL anytime you have something to say, because earbuds.

5. Driving in cars. Part two.

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The whole thing about driving around with toddlers in the car is that you are still in charge of the driving. He may be screaming or throwing things or pooping his pants in the car seat, but you are in control. Your teen walks out the door with a nod in your general direction and she’s gone. Behind the wheel. It takes a pretty strong cocktail or anti-anxiety meds to pass the time while that’s happening.

6. Battle of the brains.

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Yes, I DO remember how mind-numbing it was to sing the same songs, listen to the same DVDs and read the same books all the time when they were toddlers. And to engage in the occasional “No!” battle, of which they always had to have the last word. No. But teenagers are smart. They understand sarcasm and literary references and science and all that crap. So they know when they are smarter than you and they will own it. And is sucks to be outsmarted by your offspring.

7. Public displays of affection.

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When you’re the mother of a toddler, people know it. Toddlers grab your legs, pinch your cheeks, climb up into your lap (and in your face), slobber you with kisses or cover you in tears if they’re hurt. No mom with a toddler goes a day without being “marked” as the territory of a wee one. But I must warn you, mothers of toddlers — these PDAs won’t last. When was the last time you saw a teenager willingly hug his mother in public? You’re lucky if they even leave the house with you, heading for the same destination. The only time I got a true PDA from my oldest was when we were dropping him off in the college dorms. Just before he slammed the door in our faces, he gave the obligatory hug.

So buck up and enjoy the ride, toddler moms… it’s just getting started.

(photo: CREATISTA/ Shutterstock)

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