6 Things Never to Say to a Toddler Mom

6 Things Never to Say to a Toddler Mom

Isn’t having a toddler hard enough without “helpful” advice from strangers?

By Wendy Robinson

I was out shopping with my 2-year-old when she started acting very, well, 2.

“I don’t wanna sit in this cart! I want to walk! Let me out, Mama. Let me oooooouuuuuuttttt!”

She was flailing around in the front seat of the shopping cart, trapped by the seatbelt, howling in frustration as I quietly tried to calm her down. Just then, an older lady walked by and said, “Oh, if you think this is bad, just wait until she is a teenager!”

Gee, thanks lady. Let me add that to my growing list of things you should never say to the parent of a toddler. Also on that list:

1. “Cherish every moment”: Look, parenting a toddler can be tough. They are unpredictable and loud and prone to wild bursts of love and raging tantrums in equal measure. We don’t have to like every moment of it. Really. We don’t.

2. “Well, my child never…” Oh, your child never had a meltdown in public or pushed a friend or dumped a bucket of sand over his own head and then cried about it? How lucky for you! But do you really need to share that? Shaming a mom when her kid acts less than perfect is the opposite of helpful.

3. “Isn’t she a little old for that?” Kids hit developmental milestones at different ages, so don’t make a big deal of it when you see an older toddler who still wears diapers or carries a security blanket or rides in a stroller or wants to nurse. Worrying about milestones is for the parents and the pediatrician.

More from P&G everyday: 7 Ways to Handle Temper Tantrums


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4. “What you need to do is…” You know who doesn’t want parenting advice? A parent who is in the midst of dealing with a toddler meltdown. Telling me that my child just needs “a good spanking” when she is whining about getting a green lollipop from the cashier instead of an orange one is just not helpful.

5. “Oh, I bet he is a terror!” While I might sometimes think so, I’m not crazy about strangers calling my kid a “terrible 2.” It may be hypocritical, but it brings out my mama bear side.

I realize this list may sound a little defensive, but consider it instead a plea for kindness, especially if you see a “terrible 2” or “really terrible 3” embracing her toddler side in public. Trust me, nobody wants that kid to pull it together more than her mother does.

What would you add to the “just don’t say it” list?

Wendy Robinson is a writer, working mom, and graduate student. Someday she'd like to sleep in again. She also blogs at www.athleticmonkey.wordpress.com.

Image ©iStock.com/RapidEye

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