Toddler Parent Responsibilities

In the interest of helping myself recognize what things I do as the parent of a toddler, I’m making a list. I’m just thinking through a typical day and every task that occurs on that day, plus every task that has to happen to make sure that task can happen. I don’t do all of these things – W. does a lot of them. But somebody has to do them.

Here goes.

  1. Changing diapers.
  2. Purchasing diapering supplies: diapers, wipes, diaper cream, diaper pail, trash bags.
  3. Researching diapering supplies.
  4. Toilet training.
  5. Purchasing toilet training supplies: toddler potty/toilet seat.
  6. Researching toilet training processes.
  7. Dressing.
  8. Purchasing clothing and shoes.
  9. Researching clothing and shoes: sizes, fabric types, cuts. (Ask a toddler parent about snaps vs. no snaps, overalls or no, and you’ll see what I mean.)
  10. Feeding.
  11. Preparing food.
  12. Purchasing food.
  13. Meal planning.
  14. Researching nutrition.
  15. Playing at home.
  16. Purchasing books and toys.
  17. Researching books and toys.
  18. Playing out in the world.
  19. Identifying potential activities.
  20. Researching potential activities.
  21. Purchasing supplies for activities: sunscreen, bug spray, specialized clothing.
  22. Packing supplies for activities.
  23. Transportation.
  24. Purchasing transportation supplies: primarily a car seat.
  25. Researching car seats.
  26. Entertaining.
  27. Learning new songs.
  28. Vetting media.
  29. Soothing.
  30. Discipline.
  31. Researching soothing and discipline methods.
  32. Bathing.
  33. Purchasing supplies for bathing: soap, shampoo, toys, brushes, combs, cotton pads, cotton swabs.
  34. Researching supplies for bathing.
  35. Getting ready for bed.
  36. Dental care.
  37. Purchasing supplies for dental care: toothbrush, toothpaste.
  38. Researching supplies for dental care.
  39. Taking to the doctor.

All of these have to happen. And in addition to all of these, there’s usually a decision layer associated with each one: which food to eat, which clothes to wear (based on the weather or activity of the day), whether that fever merits a call to the doctor. There are several tasks that could be grouped, obviously: purchasing and researching different types of supplies happens again and again.

And most of these happen every day.

On radically reduced sleep.

Alongside all the normal responsibilities that come with being an adult.

And I wonder why I’m tired all the time.

Kids. They’re a lot of work. But they’re worth it.

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