Having a tantrum-throwing toddler is like playing video game where you keep on pressing the arrow button to move your character, but they just spasm and explode. So it's not surprising that, as a mother, you might lose your sense of reality, and do some things you wouldn't ordinarily do before you had a small person with seemingly irrational reactions, when your kid is in meltdown mode. One of the perks of being a mom to a toddler in the tantrum stages? There are some things you can only get away with when your toddler is tantruming.
The other day, in the middle of a snowstorm, I had to pick up bagels and cream cheese to bring to my son's preschool party because I'm a class mother (a thing I honestly never thought I'd type or say). Naturally, both my toddler and my kindergartner wanted to play in the snow while I got the bagels, and when it was time to head to the party my toddler was not pleased. "I wanna make a snowman!" he said, even though the snow was slushy and he was already soaked. I told him we had to go to the party, but he planted his feet and protested. Finally I picked him up and he made his body go stiff and started screaming like he was being skinned alive. By the time we got to the school, the bagel bag was soggy and beginning to break, all three of us were soaking wet, and along the way I had lost one of my sons' mittens. I saw one of the other class moms, looked at her, and said, "I can't." Then I put my son on the floor, where he continued to cry about the lost snowman opportunity, and I took a few moments to just breathe while she took the bagels and gave them to someone else and helped my son with his coat and shoes and calmed him down within moments.
Ordinarily, I wouldn't just deposit my child on the floor and ask someone else to deal with my business. However, when you've got a full-blown toddler meltdown on your hands, it is one of those moments in life when you get a pass.
You Can Be A Hot Mess
If your kid has been a total sh*t the whole morning and you haven't had a second to even brush your teeth, let alone pee, you're allowed to look like one of the characters from Trolls. Anyone with half a brain knows a real-time tantrum on your toddler's part can totally justify your drop-off look du jour. No one will judge because all they'll have to see is your toddler, who clearly refused to wear anything but a shirt, despite the 20 degree weather.
You Can Look Like You've Given Up On Life
If you have that "I've just given up on everything" air about you, and you're pushing a wailing toddler fighting to get loose from his stroller straps because he wants you to carry him uphill even though you're pregnant and suffering horrible back pains, you can totally get away with that looking like you want to die. It's a legitimate look.
Normally we want mothers to have their act together more or less (I mean, they are supposedly responsible for other human lives) but when a mom is pushed to her absolute limits by an irrational toddler, she gets a free pass every now and then.
You Can Ask People To Do Simple, Normal Things For You
Sometimes, in the middle of your toddler having a tantrum, you literally just can't. You can't take your coat off by yourself. You can't unbuckle your kid from his stroller. You can't even find the pacifier in the diaper bag. When a small person, whose cries hit you on a truly visceral level (because you're their mama) has been screaming or pounding the floor for hours on end, you sometimes lose your ability to do normal grownup person functions. In other words, you need some damn help.
You Can Cut In Line
Toddler losing it on line at your coffee place? Guess who doesn't want to hear it? The people in your coffee line. After you've placed your order, as the pitch of your toddler's wails increases, feel free to bug the barista (who may not be able to hear it over the noise of the lattes he or she is making) to move your order to the front of the queue. Trust me, no one is going to complain.
You Can Speed Up Your Restuarant Order
Toddlers have a brief window during which they will allow you to dine in a public place. It can be anywhere from 20 to 35 minutes, and then you should expect everything to go downhill from there.
My son gives me about 25 minutes before we go to "Mommy's Phone," and then I have about 10 to 15 more minutes before he wants to start jumping on tables and poking other patrons. If deprived of these opportunities, the Tantrum Devil may rear his ugly head. I usually let our servers know in advance about "The Window," and make it clear that if my children are present we are not here "to dine," but to eat and get the hell out of there.
You Can Get Things For Free
Once in a while, if the tantrum happens later in the meal at a restaurant, a very nice (and very wise) server or manager might send us packing with food to go that they have not even charged us for. After all, the alternative (us staying with our child who is making a scene) would be far worse than footing the bill.
You Can Act Like You've Temporarily Lost Your Ability To Hear Sounds
Sometimes you'll see that mom walking down the street with the screaming toddler by her side — the kid who has snot running down her nose and is crying so hard she's gasping for air — and the mom just has this look of like, "What crying toddler?" Is she not hearing this? Should she be allowed to act so serene?
I have tried to pull this move when out in public with my not-so-happy toddler but, sadly, I do not possess enough chill. If you see me walking down the street, dragging my kid who has gone limp-noodle on me because I refused to buy him a cookie bigger than his face, I will likely be scowling and close to tears.
You Can Pretend You Don't Even Know Your Kid
If you're out with your toddler, who is yelling at the top of their lungs about some horrible injustice, and you've pretty much had it at this point in the day, you can just pretend they're not your kid (so long as you are in an enclosed space and you are keeping a watchful eye).
If my toddler is having a throw-down tantrum of the writhing on the floor sort, I sometimes sneak off to shadowy corner and wait it out. When he gets in that state, he just needs to be left alone until it is out of his system. If I try to intervene, it just works him up even more. Most grownups are too fearful of his rapid-animal state to approach him anyway, so this is usually a safe move. "Whose kid is that? Glad that's not my kid. Oh well!"