What I Really Want My Toddler to Give Me for Mother’s Day

Mother’s Day is right around the corner, which means dads everywhere are starting to ask what we want. You know the drill: We smile, shrug, and say, “Oh, you don’t need to get me anything!” But what we really mean is, you can’t get me what I really want.

Because what I really want, only my toddler can give. It’s really unfortunate that at the stage of life when our children demand the most from us, they’re also the least able to show appreciation and gratitude for all our sacrifices. Of course we don’t need the gratitude, but, man, it would be nice if, just once, my 3-year-old looked me in the eye and said, “I’m so grateful that you let me berate you all day, every day over inane things like brushing my hair the wrong way and cutting my toast into squares instead of triangles. What would I do without you, mama?”

I know better than to expect such luxuries from a raging toddler at the peak of his threenager sass, but while we’re fantasizing here, let’s talk.

What I Really Want From My Toddler for Mother’s Day

1. A full meal eaten without complaint.

Just one – one – meal. Eaten at the table, in its entirety, without bargaining, or whining, or claiming his corn dog is “too spicy.” I don’t even care if it’s a healthy meal, as long as I don’t have to chase him around the house, sneaking bites into his mouth like a ninja while he begs for Goldfish and tears my living room to pieces.

2. A bath without a tidal wave flooding the bathroom.

Toddlers have a unique ability to somehow end a bath with more water outside the tub than in. Sometimes, I swear there’s more water on the bathroom floor than I put in the tub to begin with; I’m not sure what kind of black magic he’s using to conjure it up, but I’m pretty sure I don’t want to know. (Spoiler alert: it’s pee.)

3. Bedtime without negotiation.

When I was pregnant with my son, no one told me to study books on the art of negotiation instead of that parenting nonsense. Just once, I’d like a bedtime routine that doesn’t involve six rounds of bartering over the number of books we’ll read, or how much water he can drink, or whether we need long-sleeved or short-sleeved PJs. Just Go. To. Sleep.

the best gifts a toddler can give for mothers day

4. A full night’s sleep.

And after our glorious fuss-free bedtime, I’d appreciate just one full night of sleep. I’m talking no wake ups for potty breaks, no coughing fits or tummy aches or hurt fingers (?!) in the middle of the night, no jumping on my bed at 6 am. Just blissful, deep sleep for 10-12 luxurious hours.

5. Fifteen minutes of a clean house.

I’ve resigned myself to the fact that my house will look like a Toys ‘R Us (RIP) for the next decade or so, but what I can’t get on board with is the constant state of chaos. No matter how much time I spend picking up and organizing, or God forbid, actually disinfecting the house, it is back to utter destruction in mere minutes. I would give anything for just 15 minutes of a clean, organized house.

6. An hour of silence.

While I’m basking in my orderly, clean house, I request complete silence. Pure, sweet silence. No “why’s”, no screaming, no fighting, no banging. No shrill chiming of toys, no Paw Patrol theme song, no clickety-clack of plastic blocks. Silence.

7. One month without some form of the plague.

In the past three years, I’ve had five different stomach bugs. F I V E. I think that’s more than I’ve had in my entire lifetime before having kids. Being sick is just a fact of toddler life. What more can you expect from a creature that eats off the ground and licks playground structures? I would really appreciate just one full month for our entire family to be healthy.

8. One day of guilt-free screen time.

We all know screen time is (supposedly) ~bad~ for our toddlers. We’re constantly hit with guilt about the amount of time our kids spend in front of TVs, phones, and tablets from our pediatricians, the AAP, our parents, preschool teachers, Internet sanctimommies. We know. But we also know work needs to be done. And dinner needs to be cooked. And sometimes we just need a dang break. So I’d like just one day to turn off the guilt and turn on the TV, and veg out like the good ol’ days.

9. A one-foot radius of personal space.

Being “touched out” is a real thing moms experience – after a full day of toddlers and babies treating you like a human jungle gym, the mere thought of someone or something be near you can make you cringe. So I’d like to initiate a one-foot radius of personal space. No one shall enter my space without explicit permission.

10. Snuggles on demand.

I know this seems contradictory to the last gift, but I’m not a monster – I still love my sweet toddler snuggles as much as the next guy. But let’s be real, they’re few and far between over in these parts. I want snuggles on demand. When I say “snuggle up,” you say “how close,” toddler. (And more importantly, when I say “get,” you say “how far.”)

Now is all that really so much to ask?!