Have you ever tried to be completely prepared for an adventure out on the town with your toddler and found out that you are so far from it that you can’t believe your own head is still attached?  That is definitely the way I have felt for about a half a dozen year with each of my toddlers.  I have gotten a little bit better with it, but I have to depend on small things always being constant, like my toddler mocks.

Not Thinking is Thinking Ahead

You may be laughing at me now, but my toddlers and the mocks (moccasins) are something I don’t have to think about, match up with outfits, or be embarrassed about.  The less I have to think about what colors go (or don’t go) with others, the less stressed I can start my day out.  I almost always go for the more natural or earth-toned based colors because they blend so well with one another, and they also go great on both baby boys as on baby girls.

You may have heard that some famous people, like Steve Jobs and Mark Zuckerberg, only keep and wear a signature outfit that allows them to not worry about that one aspect in their lives and move on too much more important things.  I haven’t gone that far with my toddlers, even though it would be so much easier, especially when a diaper doesn’t hold its contents, or lunch ends up all down the front of the clothes.

Diaper Bags or Backpacks

I have tried to find the perfect bag to carry even a small portion of the haul that follows me around.  One thing that I can say without equivocation is don’t go cheap!  In the beginning, I was just trying to keep within a budget, get all the bottles and diapers in an easy to access bag and not have my back go out because of it.  The first few I tried promised easy cleanup, lots of compartments and somewhat stylish in faux leather.  Well, that bag lasted all of about 2 weeks before it had seams ripping and creases in the pleather. 

I bumped up to a backpack because I know that they lasted a little longer, especially with heavy loads, and most of them also came with different pockets and places to keep things organized.  I was pleasantly surprised at how well it worked for me, how long it lasted, but it was far from a fashion statement as you can get.  In fact, I would put it more in the category of frazzled mom meets OCD behavior. 

To this day, I find that I grab my backpack that has zippers that open the main compartment all the way over just about anything else out there.  So, if you have a better product or idea, I’m all ears!

Don’t Expect Perfection

If you see a mom out there that has 3 kids in tow, everyone is well dressed and behaved and she has her make-up done perfectly, she’s probably a figment of your imagination.  Okay, not completely, there are just some moms and families that are blessed with a much better set of children than your own.  But this is more the exception than the rule.  If you can just understand that going with the flow of the situation is more important than putting forth a perfected look, you will me miles ahead of most moms that spend every waking second trying to make others believe there are never any bad moments in their lives.

No matter how hard you prepare for something, particularly those special occasions, you will find that you are missing that one item you think you didn’t need or hadn’t ever thought about.  I found that no matter how hard I tried to think of every possible thing that could go wrong, the further off of the actual accident or incident that came up.  Do your best to be prepared with what you know could come up and then go with the flow of the moment.

Just Because They Came Out of You Doesn’t Mean They are the Same

I’ve had the opportunity to know a couple sets of identical twins in my life, and I can tell you that even though they look the same, and some of their personality traits are similar, they are very different people.  This same thought needs to be applied to your children: each one is unique in personality, likes/dislikes, and temperament.  I tried to treat each child the same, and found that I was treated to quite the attitude. 

Don’t go out of your way to make each child special, but don’t expect them to react the same way as another in the same circumstances.  Each will need their own way of going through life, and being treated like a carbon copy probably won’t work throughout their whole lives.

There is Light at the End of the Tunnel

Even though you may not be getting much sleep right now, and even when they are teenagers, you may have other reasons why you’re lying awake at night, it doesn’t go on forever.  Take everything you are doing in stride knowing that these are just phases that your little toddler is going through, and then, they will be calling you for advice on how to handle their own children. 

The terrible twos (or threes) may seem endless and extremely difficult, but they will only be that age for a short while and will grow out of it.  You’ve probably already heard this a thousand times, and probably said it to yourself twice as many times as that, but it is true.  Try not to base your successes and failures off of just one day or just one bad experience.  Children usually recover or never remember the bad times, so if you are trying to make great memories and breathe through all those other moments, you will find that there is much to reflect on that is amazing. 

You are Amazing

If this doesn’t put everything in perspective, you need to take time to find perspective:

My mother was the most beautiful woman I ever saw.  All I am I woe to my mother.  I attribute my success in life to the moral, intellectual and physical education I received from her. George Washington

They may fight you, they may say in the heat of an argument that they hate you, and they may even do everything opposite of what you advise, but one day they will look back and tell you how much they love you, how they wished they had done things better and how wonderful you are.