Being a mother is such a humbling experience. My little chipmunk sends me through 500 emotional experiences a day. He gives me constant heart attacks (reference photo 🙄), constant joy, frustration, compassion, aggravation, delight…all rolled up into one precious but crazy moment.
He’s a professional with tantrums now. They were so CUTE…when he was 10 months old. I mean, it was like… Oh look, he’s learning to have a tantrum! Awww. That’s what other parents are always fussing about. So adorable. Aaaand…cute tantrums are now fewer and fewer in between.
He had a tantrum in the store a while back…he wanted to play with the products. Can’t blame him. He has no idea why he can’t play with the shimmery, shiny make-up. And I respect that. But he still can’t play with them. So I made him sit in his stroller instead of allowing him to run around terrorizing the store. (I gave him leeway in a craft store once…oh my. Half the store’s employees had to assist with clean up. God bless those patient souls.)
Anyway, I went in to get a maximum of three products. But with a young one shrieking his head off in the stroller, I spent a while just wandering the store trying to remember just what in the world I actually came in to buy. I left with just one of those items and about 500 snacks. Now, I’m actually a patient mom. Usually. (Easy to say with just one kid, right?) But this endless, public SCREAMING sent my stress level through the roof. If it was a spiritual test of my patience, it was authored by Satan himself.
The thing is, I really didn’t want my son to know his tantrum was affecting me. I really try to just ignore tantrums. Not punishing them, nor encouraging them. Just ignore. Whether or not I actually succeed in not snapping my son’s head off, well… anyway. As I roamed the store with my screaming
spawn offspring, I gritted my teeth and snatched random items off the shelf.
When I finally survived check out, Josiah simultaneously stopped bellowing like a banshee (what a coincidence). I marched outside and took several deep breaths. Applauded myself for surviving that experience. And then, since I determined enough time had passed since the tantrum to not be rewarding it – like, 30 seconds – I shoved some caramel popcorn in Josiah’s mouth in hopes that if he’s too busy chewing, he will be incapable of making any further noise during our walk home. Problem solved. This method, ladies and gentlemen, is called
rewarding tantrums preventative parenting. Then, I calmly strolled next door to the convenience store, bought an ice cream Snickers bar, and shoved that in my mouth.
Give yourself some grace. Motherhood is hard. And when you do survive a storm, don’t be afraid to reward yourself. Despite anything else… is your child still healthy and safe after a fierce tantrum? Yes? You didn’t abandon him in the middle of the store so you can run into a closet, curl into a ball, and rock back and forth in hysteria? Good job, Mom. You deserve a Snickers.
Verse of the Day