Herding Cats Has Got Nothing on Herding Toddlers

Source: Wikimedia Commons

We’re all familiar with the phrase “herding cats,” oft used in the business world to describe a difficult group to manage.

As the parent of a toddler, I submit we change this phrase to “herding toddlers.” Even a single toddler is nigh impossible to manage.

I’ll solve your cat problem right now: simply walk in front of the group of cats holding a stinky fish. They’ll immediately fall into line and follow wherever you go. Easy peasy.

Anyone who has tried to get a toddler dressed, convince them to eat, keep them on a schedule, get them to sleep, or care about your priorities knows how tedious, infuriating, and thankless it is.

Why do I have to tell my daughter 50 times per meal to “keep eating”? Why doesn’t she just want to eat, godammit? How about when it’s 40 degrees outside and she insists on wearing a princess dress, then complains about how cold she is? She also wants to wear her least sensible footwear to the playground and then can’t get good footing on the jungle gym because of those flimsy Mary Janes. She conveniently forgets the daily bedtime routine we follow to help her wind down and get ready to sleep. Etc, etc, etc.

I must apologize for my rant. At breakfast this morning as I pleaded with my daughter to just eat her meal for the love of God, I thought ‘I’m going to have to be carted away to the mental asylum.’ And you know what? I can’t wait! 

This is the very definition of insanity, people — doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result. To raise a child is to have insanity become your norm.

There’s no fish stinky enough to pull these toddlers into line. What worked yesterday won’t work today. And you can’t make bribes be your MO forever, because you’ll raise a child with unrealistic expectations, and worse, someone who no one else will find lovable.

I’d accept the challenge of herding cats over toddlers any day. And if anyone out there has found the magic bullet to motivate toddlers into compliance, please — enlighten me!