8 Times A Nasty Breakup Prepared Me For My Kid's Toddler Tantrums
I have to assume I'm not alone in believing there's nothing particularly enjoyable about a breakup. Even the most amicable of splits are taxing, difficult, and somewhat confusing. Since I was once notoriously horrible at dating and have a slew of unsuccessful relationships now behind me, I have to say that I know my way around a crappy breakup. However, I can say that my nasty breakups prepared me for my kid's toddler tantrums, so they weren't entirely pointless. I mean, not only were they the catalyst for me eventually finding my partner and the father of my son, they prepared me for the annoying, difficult, and sane-testing moments that come along with a toddler acting ridiculous for no reason whatsoever.
In all fairness, my exes are not solely responsible for these breakups being pretty damn horrible. There's always two sides to every story and I was not particularly "easy to deal with" in my more formidable, college and post-college years. However, in the middle of all that self-awareness I can still say that the crappy breakups happened for a reason: the person I was with wasn't someone I ever should have ever been with. Trying to make a relationship work — pushing toward a future that doesn't really exists and holding onto someone who doesn't really want you in return — is never a recipe for an amicable split. So, when it comes to breakups, I have had more than my fair share of toxic, hurtful, and downright disgusting ones. From slammed doors to horrible words being thrown around in all directions, to pictures breaking and threats being made: it wasn't pretty, my friends. Not in the slightest.
Still, like almost any good, bad, or ugly moment in my life, I learned from them. I took those breakups (and sometimes the long arguments that followed) and turned them into silver linings. Now, when my kid throws his tiny little body on the ground and refuses to move because his show isn't on (not my fault, child, that's the cable provider's fault) I know I can handle it. My kid has nothing on some of the adult toddlers I used to date, so a 2-year-old tantrum is child's play, kids.
When My Toddler Refused To Listen To Reason
My toddler is fantastic at completely glossing over the parts of any conversation that make sense. You know, kind of like a few of my ex-boyfriends. It's like toddlers (and terrible dates) turn off the part of their brain that can comprehend general, obvious, well-established knowledge.
Of course, my toddler is allowed a very reasonable pass because he's a 2-year-old child and still learning. Some of those exes, though? Especially during some epic breakups, in which reason seemed to fail at an almost impressive level? I have no idea what their excuses are.
When My Toddler Decided To Ignore Me
Out of all my failed relationships (and trust me, there are more than a few to choose from) the one that bothered me the most was one in which my ex just flat out ignored me. Towards the end of our relationship he acted as if I didn't even exist, especially during a conversation in which I had something important to say. His six packs of beer and online poker tournaments were more important, so I learned to live with being consistently ignored. No wonder we didn't work out, right?
So, when my son throws a fit and ignores my pleas to calm down or at least listen to reason, I'm not phased in the slightest. I know that this will pass, eventually he will come to his senses, and (much like my ex, after we split) I won't be able to get him to stop paying attention to me.
When My Toddler Ran To My Partner To Try And Make Me Jealous
I mean, what romantic partner slighted by a bad breakup doesn't run to the first set of open arms in order to evoke some negative emotion from their ex, right? This is just toxic breakups 101, kids.
My son knows how to push my buttons (like most of the men in my life) so he knows that my heart will hurt a little when he wants dad, and only dad. Like a lover scorned, I sit in some corner of my apartment and nurse my emotional scars until my son comes running back to me, telling me how much he loves mama.
When My Toddler Told Me It Was All My Fault
I've had more than a few ex-boyfriends blame me (and only me) for the way our relationships eventually failed. Now, obviously I do hold partial blame. I can admit I am exponentially flawed, but it's pretty ridiculous to assume (or say) only one person is at fault. It's never just one person, my friends. However, you can't really reason with someone who is so upset reason no longer computes, so you suck it up and take responsibility for things that may or may not be your fault in order to move on.
So when my son blames me for his tantrums (usually for trying to help when he has specifically asked for my help, or giving him the blue cup when he has asked for the blue cup, even though I should have known he really wanted the red cup) I take it in stride. I've been the "bad guy" before, and I can surely do it again.
When My Toddler Gave Back The Toy I Bought Him, Because He Was Mad
Who hasn't gone through the dividing of the things post-break up, right? Whether you lived with your now-ex, or you're just giving back presents they used to give you out of love, you'll probably end up with a box of your crap that they used to cherish, on your doorstep or something. It's part of the relationship-ending process, I'm afraid, and while it hurts like hell it's essentially to healing.
So I had to laugh when my son stomped his little feet up to me, and handed me the Hulk action figure we purchased him for his birthday. "I don't want this anymore! Mama mean!" he proclaimed, before stomping back into his room. Kids these days. (He took it back no more than five minutes later, the but I have a feeling he's going to win an Oscar someday.)
When My Toddler Acted Like He Couldn't Hear Me
I liken my son pretending he's incapable of hearing, as an ex refusing to reply to texts as if they've suddenly lost the ability to move their fingers. Just like those exes, motor functions will resume eventually. You usually just have to wait it out (which is why patience is the most virtuous ability of all).
When My Toddler Threatened To Leave The House
Unfortunately, I've been in a few too many unhealthy relationships in which slammed doors and someone angrily leaving the apartment or condo we lived in, was a "normal" occurrence. So to say I'm used to someone threatening to leave the place in which we live, only to return a few hours later, is an understatement. (What can I say? I had some pretty bad relationships in college and directly afterwards. Thankfully, I've learned.)
So when my adorable, sweet, wonderfully defiant 2-year-old told me he was going to walk out the front door and go to grandma's house, "Me leave to see grandma, now!" (who lives in Alaska, by the way) I couldn't help but silently laugh my ass off. You'll have to play the game better than that, little man.
When My Toddler Called Me A "Meany Face"
OK, to be honest nothing really prepares you for moments like this, only because you have to keep yourself from laughing in order to establish the lesson that calling people names isn't nice. So here I am, trying not to smile in order to explain to my son that we don't say those things, while simultaneously dying inside because a little toddler calling you a ridiculous name is just funny.
It truly is remarkable how much of my pre-baby life has prepared me for motherhood, and in ways I couldn't have possibly imagined. While the baby books were helpful and online forums nothing if not informational, there's nothing like the learned experiences of failed relationships to really teach you that you can handle anything. Even a toddler throwing the most epic tantrum anyone has ever seen.