Aristi: Michele Mildenberg 

If you were to take a safari to the landscape of motherhood, moms of middle schoolers and high schoolers would be the big cats—sleek and sure-footed. Moms of elementary schoolers and preschoolers would be the herd animals—finding strength in numbers and able to pivot directions on a dime. And those of us who are moms of toddlers? We're for sure the monkeys, relying on our silliness and our noise levels to hold our kids' attentions, and also frequently covered in poo. While it may seem that we lose in the hierarchy of mom life, in reality, we're the winners. Keep reading to find out why being the mom of a toddler rules.

1. Zero Inhibitions. Grocery store DJ playing your favorite song on aisle 9? Your toddler's there for you. When older kids run away from potentially embarrassing situations, your toddler is your number 1 wingman.

2. Knee Hugs. Is there anything better than feeling little arms wrap around your knees when you least expect it? No one but a toddler can give a knee hug, and it's hard to beat.

3. Naps. When toddlers are up, we're on, which is why they're not the only ones who need that afternoon nap to get through the rest of the day. Whether you can eek out a nap of your own or just take care of business while your little one is down, we can all agree that a toddler nap is pretty epic.

4. Laugh-Crying. Anyone who's ever watched Steel Magnolias knows that the best emotion is when you start to laugh while you're crying. And your toddler is a pro at it.

5. Snuggles. Toddlers are still small enough to hold, and there's no place they'd rather be at the end of the day than snuggled up in your arms.

6. Five-Point Restraints. For real. When your toddler is losing her mind, it's still perfectly acceptable to plug her into a stroller or car seat that still comes with a five-point restraint. Many a parent of a tween wishes they still had that capability.

7. Gift Euphoria. They don't care if it's an impossible to find electronic device. Toddlers are equally excited to receive a pack of stickers as they are an Amazon Fire.

8. Cabbage Knees. What is it about toddlers' knees that makes them dimple like that? When you're a toddler mom, you can tickle those cabbage knees any time you want.

9. That Top-of-Head Smell. Not to get all weird on you, but a toddler's smell—especially after a bath—could be bottled and sold. When you're a mom to a toddler, you get to sniff the tops of their clean heads as much as you want.

10. Children's Books. When you have a toddler, you get to read happy books about everything interesting in the world.

11. Being a Place. Toddlers don't see their moms as just people, if they recognize us as humans at all. Moms are places for them—safe places—to run to when something is wrong, or scary, or unfair. Just being there is important to them, and it's such an uncomplicated gift to offer.

12. Watching a Sense of Humor Develop. When your baby becomes a toddler, their language and grasp of the world around them explodes. You get to watch as their sense of humor develops out of so much perceived chaos, and giggle along with them.

13. Finding Your Tribe. There's something about the bond of mothers navigating toddlerhood together that lasts. Whether it's navigating new experiences or sharing the burden of carpools and creating incremental spaces of free time for one another, moms of toddlers find their people and stick with their people.

—Shelley Massey

Shelley Massey can be found taking long walks on the beach, sleeping in, or exfoliating. Just kidding. She's a writer, and a mom of 4. Running is literally her only escape. She is the Atlanta City Editor for Red Tricycle. Read more by Shelley here.

10 Things Every Toddler Mom Should Buy for Herself

Spending money on our kids comes easy, but splurging on ourselves is a tough one. We're quick to pass up that new gift we've been eyeing when tiny shoes or educational books for our little ones are on the list. Now is the time to spoil yourself and grab one (or all) of these toddler mom must-haves.


Camping with a Toddler: Good Idea, Great Idea, or Terrible Idea

It had been a few years since our last car camping trip when my partner and I decided to take our toddler and her older brother for a post-Labor Day weekend getaway. While we were far from camping novices, we were definitely toddler camping first-timers. If you’re wondering how it all works with wee ones in the woods, here’s my experience.


Screen-Free Ways to Keep Kids Occupied in a Restaurant

It was Christmas. He was my first child, and barely a year old. My mother-in-law revealed that our Christmas Eve dinner would be held at Ruth's Chris. You know, the fancy steak place—knives, everywhere!—that broils its meat on the dishes they serve it on? White table cloths, crystal stemware? And it was a party of 12 so we were committed to a solid three hours of fine dining. Yep. That one. I still have PTSD.


We want to hear from you. Click here to take a quick survey and give us your feedback.