Dear Moms Of A Screaming, Kicking, Crying, Throwing Something Child,
This medal for mental endurance during EPIC tantrums is for you. You rock! You may think to yourself “Oh MY GOD, how am I ever going to survive this nightmare?” I understand how hard it is not to lose it. I don’t even pretend that I don’t lose it from time to time. It’s so hard to deal with a child who is not in the right frame of mind to even hear your voice, let alone respond to threats of punishment, or attempts to figure out what will make the chaos stop.
After WAY too many of my son’s tantrums lately I finally figured out one universal truth – there is NOTHING to do, but wait it out. It’s like the girl at the party crying in her beer. All attempts to make her feel better are lost. You just say to her “alright time to go to bed and sleep it off.”
Sugar High Crash
My five-year-old son’s tantrums are caused by one thing – he’s overly tired. Sure last night’s Desert Fest 2014 at our neighbor’s house at our weekly “booty call” complete with ice cream, donuts and cookies played a hand in the nightmare of a tantrum produced when we got home, but he was TIRED. First he kicked off his fit when he wanted a glass of water and daddy told him he could have water when we got home (I think it’s less than 60 seconds by car door to door).
Then he wound himself up into a good cry, followed by pounding his fists on the floor, and after refusing to get ready for bed he just lay on the floor. When I told him he could just sleep in the hallway and let him lie there he started banging on my bedroom door as I was attempting to get the baby to sleep. Then I could feel the anger in me rising like bile in my throat. I always know that feeling when my face gets hot and I start to bite my lip hard. These are the moments I pray, “Lord, please don’t let me beat my child.” Of course I mean a spanking so feel free to put the phone down. No need to call CPS.
My Right Eye For Some Holy Water
During a particularly bad tantrum that lasted well over an hour last week I looked at my son and thought, “Who the hell are you?” “I so don’t like you right now.” It’s ok to admit it mamas. It doesn’t mean you don’t love your kid. It means your patience is well beyond spent. It means you are at an utter and total loss as to how to stop it and get your sweet, lovable kid back. If I had some holy water I may have been tempted to throw it on him to see if I could exercise whatever demon was possessing his little body.
A Padded Room For One Please
After my anger passed, I went into “survival denial.” This is when in order not to become “The Hulk” I have to remove myself from the presence of my tantruming boy. If that’s not physically possible, I have to go into a separate room in my mind. Call it meditation, call it what you want. My goal is to survive it. I’ve tried calming, I’ve trying ignoring and eventually I know that I can do just one thing – survive it. If that means locking myself away in a little happy quiet room in my mind well then that’s exactly what I have to do.
Waiting Out The Tornado
The really crazy thing about a tantrum is that it is gone almost as inexplicably as it began. One minute there are tears and stomping and screaming and the next the tears are dry and that sweet voice comes back to ask you a random question or say, “I love you Mama.” It’s taken living through many of these tantrums to find the inner strength to endure the storm to get to that moment in the tornado where it suddenly dissipates and the sun comes out and life is once again beautiful.
So this is my prayer for you mamas out there – I pray for the strength to endure. Endure till the storm lifts, for surely it cannot last forever, no matter how long and agonizing it feels. Your rainbow is coming. Your “I love you” is right around the next tear drop so just hold on.
I’ve said before that parenting is a marathon and not a sprint. A tantrum is therefore that moment where your calf seizes up and you feel like you can’t go on. You know there is a finish line somewhere, but it seems too impossible to continue through the pain. I hope these words help ease the knot of guilt a little bit.
Let The Guilt Go
I often tell my children post-tantrum or episode of misbehaving, “mommy may not like your actions, but I love you no matter what.” This is unconditional love -the “I love you through good times and bad.” It’s hard in that moment when The Hulk turns back into Bruce Banner and the storm has cleared and the wave of guilt rushes in. The guilt of “did I really just scream or act crazy or hate my kid in that moment.” It’s ok mama, let it go. Let it go as quickly as your child’s tantrum ends. No need to hang onto it. Massage out your calf and keep running the good race. And just in case you don’t feel like the world’s best mama the next time your child is writhing on the ground, completely immersed in a tantrum this medal is for you. The medal of Supreme Endurance. You have certainly earned it.