In parenting—as in most things—life’s a whole lot easier if you can be just a little bit tough. But parents of toddlers might need to get kevlar vests, because two and three year olds do not throw soft punches. This week, one dad to a “threenager” shared a post on Reddit that he titled “I’m the worst daddy,” and gave a high-level of what went down in his home recently. His post awakened a sleeping nation of “terrible parents” (at least, according to their toddlers), and it’s high comedy.
Many of the replies centered around food, and how our kids can so easily loose their minds (or recover from a major breakdown) because of food. Too hot, too cold, too red, too wet… there are infinite reasons for them to shun that horrible sustenance you’re trying to provide (shame, by the way, on you for feeding your kid). But when the meltdown is winding down, sometimes all it takes is a slice of banana or a sip of juice to clear the skies and return your toddler to a sunny disposition. The trick, it seems, is knowing when, and what, to offer. Good luck with that.
Parents commenting on the original “Bad daddy” post stood at the ready to commiserate with their own stories of epic parental failures, from their toddlers’ viewpoint, and many tapped deep into our collective fight-or-flight impulses. Toddlers, after all, can’t control much, but they sure can decide to put it in high gear when they’re ready to jettison a place that no longer pleases them. They also have opinions about where we’re supposed to be, it seems.
But for real, it must be incredibly frustrating to be working with a limited vocabulary and sense of spatial relation or time—and sense that you have zero to no control in life. Kind of like the early days of the pandemic, but we digress. Obviously, those among us (grandparents) who don’t try to coax additional information and are set on “aim to please” mode rank higher than others. Daring to elicit more information when they don’t have it to give is a fast track to demotion.
Ultimately, the Redditors sharing the occasional insanity of life with a toddler was just the refreshing sip of commiseration that many of us need to get through the very dirty job of raising humans with our dignity intact.