You know the saying, "There's a reason and a season for everything?" Well, apparently it applies to the awful fights you had with your BFF. At the time, I never realized how much these tiffs with the most important person in my world over earth-shattering things like what to wear to a party, who to invite over, or where to eat at the mall, were foreshadows of my future fights as a mom to a toddler. But I kid you not, there are plenty of BFF fights that prepared me for handling a toddler tantrum. All it takes is a little trip down memory lane.
Toddler tantrums, like the emotions of adolescent and angsty teenagers, are highly emotional and seemingly irrational. The parallels are almost uncanny, actually and when you think about it. I was so very grateful to no longer have to deal with the high school drama of my youth until I realized that I'm dealing with something far worse in my own household: children who do not yet understand how to reign in their range of emotions and feelings. Luckily, my friendship with my BFF survived many, many years and we are still dear friends today. Hopefully that bodes well for me and my kids, too, especially considering all these tantrums I'm dealing with on a daily basis:
The "No Way In Hell Am I Going To That Party" Fight
There's an amazing party that involves a pool and it is happening in your town and everyone is going. Like, everyone, except for most of your actual friend group, but someone you kind of know, sort of invited you, so that means you can go and bring a plus one (like your BFF). She wants nothing to do with said party, mainly because wearing a swimsuit around the hottest guys in town is not her ideal way to spend the day. Why can't you and your BFF ever agree on anything?!?
Fighting with your toddler about the birthday party you're about to take him to brings you back to these good-old-days with your BFF. When you try to get him dressed to go, he goes all limp noodle on you. No thanks, he'd rather stay here in his wet diaper and play with his Elsa and Anna Magic Clip dolls and reenact every scene from Frozen than go to your husband's friend's kid's pool-themed party in the suburbs. Did I mention he also hates pools?
The "Please Tell Me You're Not Wearing That" Fight
Your BFF thinks a casual shirt and jeans is just fine to hang at the most popular guy in school's house with all of his friends, because, "Who cares? It's like, a random weeknight" (her words). But you're like, "OMG, we cannot just go there like we are off to study for AP U.S. History like nerds" (i.e. your usual weeknight). She thinks you're being crazy and trying too hard (she's right) and refuses to budge, and you are pretty much going to lose it if she doesn't change out of that dumb shirt because you don't want to be seen with her if she insists on wearing that.
So years later, when you are arguing with your toddler about how, no, he may not wear his Minions pajama shirt to school picture day, it kind of brings you back. Only this time, both of you are kind of freaking out about it. You know that both sets of grandparents will not treasure a photo of your kid wearing a tattered Minions shirt that is already a size too small, and he knows that if he keeps crying like this, you guys will be late enough to school that you might just let him wear a swimsuit if that's what he insists.
The "You Best Apologize Now" Fight
Sometimes, when it comes to making apologies, the battle of the wills makes it next to impossible to come to a conclusion. When it came to you and your BFF, neither of you were very willing to easily back down, especially since she was always so obviously wrong. Duh.
However, you're grown now. You're grown and you have a kid, which means you are most definitely the one who is the right, and that it is your job to teach your little when it is time to apologize. To you, that is. Your kid needs to apologize to you. It is up to you to train your little mini-me right and show him or her when it is appropriate to cease the tantrums and take some solid deep inhales so they can catch their breath long enough to say, "I'm sorry I created a fort out of your couch cushions and broke your favorite glass picture frame, mom." Or, if your toddler's language isn't as developed, a simple, "Sowwy" will do.
The "How Dare You Invite Her Over" Fight
You had thought it would be fun to invite a new friend over to hang with you guys, but hadn't fully run it by your BFF first. Big mistake. Your BFF is having a full-on meltdown, because she used to go to elementary school with "whats her face" and she used to gang up on your BFF with some other mean girls and, well, let's just say the past is not in the past.
Now, all these years later, you're a mom and you thought it would be nice to invite a new friend over from your toddler's class to play. "Noooooooo!" screams your toddler, when he hears about this prospective play date. "I don't like her!" You immediately flip out because you're pretty sure your kid will also vocalize this thought during the play date, in front of the child's mother. What a great way to make new friends, huh?
The "What Should We Eat For Dinner?" Fight
You wanted Cheesecake Factory but she really wanted Panda Express. Your BFF always wanted Panda Express every time you guys went to the mall together, so if you ever deviated from this plan it was always a disappointment to her.
Luckily this low-key prepared you for fights over what to eat with your toddler because your toddler is pretty much just like your old BFF, but instead of Panda Express at the mall, your toddler just wants to eat a brownie for every meal. You attempt to serve him some chicken and he's like, "brownie! brownie!" When you refuse to give him the brownie, he flips out and cries about how that's the only thing he will eat, end of story (just like your BFF) until you lose all your patience and give him the freaking brownie and hope that nuts count as "healthy".
The "You Should Do Something About Your Hair" Fight
You were "just trying to be helpful" but, in fact, you kind of overstepped a boundary when you suggested to your BFF that she could really benefit from some well-placed highlights. She immediately burst into tears because, A) she liked her hair just the way it was and, B) why did you always have to be so critical of her?
Fast-forward to you, chasing your crying toddler around the house with a hairbrush like a lame video game from the early '90s where you are the evil villain with the brush as your weapon. "I just want you to look nice!" is what you're shouting as you reach for your kid's legs, sure that you're going to get hold of him this time, but no. He sidesteps right out of reach. Finally, when you think you might be nearly out of breath, you catch your kid and, as your brush descends on his or her head, they let out a bloodcurdling scream, like the brush is an insult to a long-cultivated "look".
The "You've Got Some Messed Up Eating Habits" Fight
There comes a time when a BFF might have to confront you about your own eating issues. Mine certainly had to call me out on some weirdness back in the day, like when I decided that I was no longer eating the same fruits on the same days, and that I couldn't ingest anything but water after a certain hour at night. I denied it first, raged against her second, and then finally accepted that she was right.
With my toddler? Different story. My toddler enjoys about five different foods and it has nothing to do with maintaining his girlish figure. But if I confront him about it, I get pretty much the same reaction that my BFF got when she tried to help me with my eating craziness. A whole lot of "no" and an enormous amount of rage.
The "I Think You Like Her Better Than Me" Fight
Sometimes me and my BFF hit a rocky point when another friend came into the picture and it seemed as if Number Three was about to threaten our intense bond, so one of us would get a tad jealous.
Well, cue Baby Number Two, and that's how my toddler felt when his little bro came along. "Why don't I get to sleep in your bed at night?" he wanted to know. "Why don't I get to nurse?" Suddenly, all the things that my toddler had grown out of were back on the table (in his mind) as options, because he was feeling competitive with his baby brother. So not fun for Mama. But it wasn't like I hadn't had practice on the topic.