Navigating the Toddler Minefield

Probably the most important lesson I’ve learned as a parent is to pick your battles. Sometimes, this is a lot easier said than done, and sometimes it’s a no-brainer. There are some things I am willing to bend on, and some {albeit a few may be petty} that I will go to battle for each and every time. Navigating the toddler battlefield is no easy task, especially in these three key areas…

  1. Meals :: I will not fight the battle of forcing my daughter to sit down for every meal. If we are at home, she often plays while she eats. If we are at a restaurant, she will sit for as long as she can last, but often gets out of her chair. I don’t fight her staying in the chair, as I have always assumed people would rather a happy child walking around the table {not bothering other tables}, than a screaming child who is sitting. On the topic of eating, I am also not willing to fight the milk versus chocolate milk battle. She loves her chocolate milk, and I’ve resigned to the fact that it dominates her diet in terms of milk variety. I make myself feel better by buying organic, which has less sugar and additives, but deep down I know she should be drinking regular. However, as long as she’s getting some milk in her body, I’m not going to fight her on it.
  2. Everyday :: Routines have pretty much been a way of life since she came into this world. There are a few I’m not willing to budge on, one of these being bedtime. I truly believe that having the same bedtime routine {bath, one episode of a show of her choice, and milk} helps to smooth out our nights. This is not an area with battles I will fight. However, if she is exceptionally exhausted and we skip one part of the routine, that’s a different story. But, on normal nights, lights out comes in the same way around the same time. The same goes for our mornings. With little variation, we get up, get ready for school, and head out the door in the same manner day after day. As an adult, I appreciate predictability, so I have to think my toddler does too. Veering off course in the morning or evening is simply not something I am willing to go to bat for.
  3. Appearance :: Matching shoes, socks, hair done, and a bow before we leave the house. No questions asked. I am not into the whole “Look how cute my daughter’s mismatched outfit is, she dressed herself today” mentality. I typically give her a choice between two outfits, but beyond that, she knows the fact that her long hair must be pulled back out of her face and shoes and socks must be on are not left up for debate. If she is going to be wreaking havoc {which, let’s be honest – she’s three, it happens}, I would at least like her to appear to have it together.

toddler hair

Life with a toddler is pretty close to walking through a minefield, so I often have to ask myself if a certain battle is worth fighting. The ones I choose to or choose not to fight may not line up with the rest of the world, but I’ve managed to create a harmonious {for the most part} environment for my family. As she gets older, I know there will be more and more times I will need to lay down the law, but for now, I’ll let certain things pass for the sake of my sanity. After all, when it comes down to it, isn’t parenting really about raising tiny humans without totally and completely losing it?

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Jill is a former elementary school teacher, University of Arizona graduate {Bear Down!}, and mom to Talya {September 2012}, but not necessarily in that order. She has always had a passion for writing and really took it to the next level after her daughter was born. It didn't take long for her to realize it was just the outlet she needed. As a first-time-mom, she is constantly searching for balance in her life, whether it's work and family, marriage and kids, or a sense of normalcy and complete craziness. She has, for the most part, managed to maintain her sanity {depending on who you ask}. Jill's writing aims to portray an honest viewpoint on parenting. Sometimes it's what nobody else is willing to say that inspires Jill to speak up on certain topics! She is a regular contributor to sites such as The Huffington Post,, and She and her husband Sam reside in the Bellaire area with their daughter, Talya.


  1. I know a mom who does it similar to what you’ve described. I however am opposite on meals and appearance. I believe it is much more important for their health to go to war over what they eat and instill correct table manners than to split hairs over what bow or socks they wear outside the house. Their healthful eating habits will serve them well into adulthood, but how they dress will inevitably change as they age.


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