I know– it can be so embarrassing when your child inevitably throws a tantrum, especially when it is out in public. People will look at you and stare, pausing to watch the drama unfold. But guess what? Your child’s wicked tantrum is good for all of us. It reminds us all that none of us are raising robots; we will all have public tantrums and we will all survive them.
Being a mother can feel lonely. It can be isolating. And if you don’t have a solid group of mommy friends who you can text at 10pm when you’re Googling “symptoms of a child sociopath,” you may not get the confirmation that you are normal. That your child, and his tantrums, are normal.
But pay attention the next time your kid is flailing like a zombie fish on the floor of Trader Joe’s– in the sea of what feels like judgement, you will find at least one other mother who has a face filled with compassion. Some may see you as exasperated, holding bananas in one hand and a baby in the other, but another mother will see herself; she will see a hardworking, exhausted mama who is just trying to pile groceries in her cart before her toddler realizes that the cart is a cage and he wants to be set free.
She knows you– because she is you.
Every child has their own unique set of quirks whether it is banging their forehead in rage on a concrete floor, or putting themselves to sleep when the pain from a skinned-knee gets to be too much. They all act out when we are hanging by a thread in the local supermarket, just trying to buy some ingredients for a healthy freakin’ dinner.
Remember– when I see your two-year-old with one shoe on, pulling bags of chips from the shelf in a blind rage– it is good for me. It reminds me that I’m not the only one. Tell yourself that your suffering is a reminder to mothers everywhere that we are all raising a bunch of peanut butter-faced, emotional, hooligans.