As a proud feminist, I make it a point in my life to let my children know that they're heard, that their feelings are important and that what they have to say is important, too. However, as a parent, I do find it somewhat difficult to maintain that mindset when my toddler is pitching a monumental fit because he's mad at his shoe. Still, as difficult as it can be, I continue to try. Why? Because feminists handle toddler tantrums differently, even when it's difficult, because we know that our kids are paying close attention to our behavior, too.
The list of reasons why my toddler has a meltdown is a long one. It could be something serious, like a new move that has him stressed, or something so minuscule I think I just might lose my mind, like the color of his cup refusing to change from blue to red. That's just life with toddler. They're learning how to handle their own emotions just like we're learning how to help them handle their own emotions. Sure, these tantrums annoy you and have this unique ability to test your feminist values (for example, preaching body autonomy when your kid wants to just wear underwear to the grocery store) but it will be those same tested values that get you through public tantrums and private tantrums and the tantrums that having you eyeing your front door and/or the nearest escape route.
A feminist mother understands that fleeting moments of emotional outbursts happen, and that how we choose to respond to them, even at our most frustrated, can be the ultimate learning experience. We understand that our kids are still learning, and that it's our job to teach them what is and is not an acceptable way to express emotions, while simultaneously refusing to police those emotions in a way that can be harmful or neglectful. Basically, feminist mothers just handle tantrums differently in a way that's as healthy for both parties as possible.