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What It's Like to Have a Toddler

A Complete Rundown of What Life With a Toddler Looks Like

Parenting a toddler is a full-time job. One where you have to be endlessly devoted to your boss, who is prone to violent mood swings and throwing epic tantrums if things aren't done just so. Needless to say, it's exhausting — but when you try to explain this to your toddler-free friends, they just don't understand the magnitude of your struggle.

Never fear! We've come up with some accurate ways to describe it so that they too can experience what it's like to live with a tiny tyrant — with no actual toddler required.

Just suggest that they do one (or, preferably, all) of the following 15 things:

  1. Become a personal stylist. Present your client with an array of cute, trendy outfit choices. Have them all unreasonably vetoed in favor of things that are too small, too big, seasonally-inappropriate, or a dinosaur costume.
  2. Find a willing participant and bind their wrists together, then tell them to put on their shoes and button their pants. Offer to help them while they scream, "NO! I DO IT ALL BY MYSELF!" into your ear. For maximum effect, do this when you're expected at an appointment in 10 minutes.
  3. Get your grumpy, argumentative great-uncle Art very drunk at the next family gathering. Then attempt to dress him and put his coat on, while he either a) fights your every move or b) sleeps through the whole thing.
  4. Cook only white, orange, or artificially-shaped foods. ALL THE TIME. Then throw most of it away, but not before scattering the rest on the floor. For added fun, buckle an especially feisty sheep into a car seat (be sure to pay attention the proper strap placement).
  5. Take a job as a personal assistant to a celebrity known for making ridiculous demands. Be expected to comply with increasingly irrational requests, such as repairing a cut-up waffle and going pantsless to the grocery store, and then prepare yourself for the inevitable backlash if you somehow can't accommodate.
  6. Find someone who barely speaks English. Make them really mad, then try to reason with them . . . in English.
  7. Bathe and put pajamas on an octopus. Or a jackrabbit. Your choice.
  8. Hire someone to sit in the bathroom with you while you're trying to shower or use the toilet. Try to do your business under their scrutinizing gaze. For the most accurate experience, have them ask uncomfortable questions about your anatomy.
  9. Unleash a crazed squirrel in your living room, then tell it not to make a mess. Follow it around for a while with a roll of paper towels until you realize how futile that is, then sob inconsolably because you "can't have nice things."
  10. Potty-train a new puppy, but in addition to keeping an eye on its toilet habits, you must have it wear training pants. Oh, and you should wipe its butt every time it poops.
  11. Have a friend set an alarm to go off directly beside your bed at a random time in the middle of the night, unexpectedly startling you out of an otherwise-decent slumber.
  12. Do your regular daily chores, but with interruptions every four minutes and with the annoying theme song of a kids' show on loop in the background.
  13. Put on a crisp, clean white shirt or pair of pants. Make sure it's promptly smeared with snot or jelly.
  14. Buy the biggest purse you can find. Fill it with clothes, toys, and snacks that don't belong to you, and make sure you lug it around every single time you leave the house.
  15. Have a friend over for every meal. Have them specifically request a certain cup, then make sure they get angry when you serve their beverage in the cup they specifically requested because they wanted a "diiiifferent ooooone." Ditto for plates and utensils. Additionally, cut up their food into safe bite-sized pieces while your own dinner gets cold and unappetizing, then listen to them wail and complain because you cut up their food.

Experiencing what it's like to live with a toddler may provide your friends with valuable insight as to why you're always tired, rumpled, stained, and walking on eggshells. Or it may drive them crazy. Either way, they'll finally understand your life — the only difference is, at least actual toddlers are cute.

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