I’m honored to be a Sisterhood of Motherhood partner, a sponsored blog partner this year. I’m joining #SisterhoodUnite and making my pledge to stop the mommy wars.
Most of us have experienced dealing with a tantruming toddler in public. I tend to go in embarrassment mode: red face, avoiding all eye contact from strangers and will do or say anything to my child to get him to stop the outburst. I always come stocked with a tantrum tools in my diaper bag as bribes for the said coaxing. Sometimes my bribery works, but sometimes we have to just leave our cart and go home. Been there, too?
And most of the time when we’re out running errands, we’ll see or hear at least one other toddler have a melt down in the aisle next to us. Sh*t hits the fan and that little person can’t be consoled. I think the worst part about it isn’t the fact that your child is screaming, it’s that you’re too worried about what the onlookers are thinking of you and your parenting. Inside you feel judged. You just want to crawl inside a little hole and wait until the coast is clear to leave. It’s so embarrassing! Try as you may, the little creature won’t calm down and you see glares and stares out of the corner of your eye.
As onlookers, what do you do? What can you do? Would they want you to do something? I feel awful being just feet away from the poor parent who is clearly embarrassed, too. I want to run to them and give them a hug and say, “I’ve been there! That was me yesterday!” But instead of being a creeper, I keep on walking. Thankfully, my own toddler’s words are out of ear shot of the parent when he asks, “Why he upset?”
Every time my toddler has a tantrum, I get the stares and just keep on keeping on, red face and all. However, let me tell you the most memorable act of kindness I’ve ever received when it happened to me.
I was very pregnant with Hayden and had to make a quick run to Whole Foods with Liam. I didn’t even get a cart, just a basket because I only needed two quick things from the baking aisle. I knew Liam was nearing nap time and his patience was running low. I took the risk of taking him in to the store anyway.
*Bashes palm on forehead.*
We went straight to the aisle that I needed, which also happened to house the candy. Oye. Queue the break down when I said, ‘no’:
You said no? No! My life is over! What am I going to do with myself? There’s nothing to do except scream and cry, flail my arms in the air and make it look like I’m making snow angels on the dirty floor.
Yep. That’ll show her.
It was taking me longer than I would have liked to locate my items and there was no way I could carry my toddler and basket with my giant pregnant belly. So, I let him tantrum all over the floor of the grocery store aisle.
Within minutes of his tantrum beginning, this Whole Foods angel came right up to me with a grocery cart and an applesauce pouch. She didn’t say a word, just smiled. She put my items in the cart and handed me the applesauce pouch. Instantly, the tantrum stopped and he got right in the cart to enjoy his snack. What?! We proceeded to have a glorious shopping trip, staying longer than I had planned because Liam was being so good.
A small part of me wondered if she did it to get the annoying kid to stop crying, but I like to think the best of people, so most of me likes to think that she did it because she saw a pregnant mother in need. I felt so special and supported with that act of kindness.
Since then, I always come prepared with a diaper bag stocked with anti-tantrum tools:
- Snacks – I make sure to always stock up on my toddler’s favorite snacks to give out when I see a tantrum about to emerge. He doesn’t get fruit snacks at home, so it’s always a special treat to get through shopping trips, too.
- Water – The tantrums that are brought on because I wasn’t prepared for a thirsty child are the worst. Nothing will subside the fit and we usually have to leave. I forgot the sippy cup once and I never will again.
- Toys – I bring small toys that my toddler hasn’t seen in a while. I keep small cars in my diaper bag for extra entertainment.
- Germ Juice – You wouldn’t believe the distraction wiping hands with antibacterial hand sanitizer will do. And if your child is like mine, I can give him a wipe in the cart and he’ll spend a good 15 minutes wiping every inch of it. Win/win!
When I was the onlooker
I was shopping in Target with my crew the other day and saw a dad and his child. The child was at the beginning of a temper tantrum and the mother-in-me noticed that he came without a diaper bag. Ah, judgement #1. Bad. I kept thinking how crazy he was, but sometimes you forget or like me in Whole Foods, you think you’ll be okay during your quick trip.
I wanted so badly to go over to him and share a fruit snack with him, in hopes of making their trip better. I didn’t. Would it have been weird if I did that, like a creeper giving out contaminated candy? Would he have felt supported? Would he have felt less judged?
I want to commit to #SisterhoodUnite and want to do anything I can to help the parent of the tantruming toddler feel not judged. I want to help end the mommy wars.
I’m curious, if you were the parent with the toddler who is having a tantrum, what would you want strangers to do? Ignore you and your child and keep on walking? Give you a smile and keep walking? Accept a snack for the child or a hug for you? Give you a little reassurance, “I was there yesterday! I hope today gets better for you!”? Tell me! I want so badly to not be awkward and want to put a smile on my fellow parent’s faces, so they don’t feel alone in this.
Similac’s #SisterhoodUnite is aiming to end the judgement and made a wonderful video that highlights the real life anecdotes from parents:
After you watch, join in #SisterhoodUnite and head over to the Similac Facebook page and share the one thing you will do to help end the mommy wars. I’m doing it! Oh, and the Duff Sisters (Hilary + Haylie, the new faces of this campaign…gorgeous faces) are doing it, too!