Ashley Batz/Romper

This One Analogy Could Actually Help You Understand Your Toddler's Tantrums

Ad failed to load

Toddlers are notoriously strange and complex creatures. They throw tantrums without notice, say inappropriate things at the worst times, and have the magical ability to flip from demon spawn to an majestic angel at the drop of a hat. De-coding all of that is taxing and may require strategic planning on your part, so you can stay one step ahead of their mind-trick mastery. If you've run out of ideas on how to get on their level, this one analogy could help you understand your toddler's tantrums a little bit better.

Let me backtrack. When I was new to parenting, caring for and understanding my daughter was like trying to solve a 1,000 piece jigsaw puzzle in two minutes. How did she work exactly? And what could I do to help her flourish? I had no clue. And once I thought I was nailing the whole mom thing, she entered toddlerhood and things took a dramatic, downward turn. All of the sudden, I was back at square one. Unsure of who this little girl was, or how to connect on her level, I fought the whole process and I think it hindered the natural progression of our relationship. If you're experiencing similar growing pains, stop and think of this analogy before you react:

Ad failed to load

Sounds easy enough, right? I know it's more complicated than that, but even still, whenever my daughter and I came to a stand-off, I thought of her as my garden. Did I want to nourish her roots so she'd grow, or did I need to be "right" and steadfast in my parenting?

After the birth of my youngest, I took a different approach to parenting that completely centered around him being that garden. The less I fought against the natural route of his stems, the better off he was. So with that in mind, here are some of the ways the garden analogy helped me better understand both my toddlers, and myself as their guardian, while maintaining some level of composure and sanity.

Ad failed to load

I Practiced Patience


I've never been the most patient person, and once I had kids my patience was tested in ways I couldn't imagine. When I'm the most frustrated with my toddlers, I focused hard on the garden analogy because it's a great reminder of how long it takes to nourish all that's been planted. It takes time and thoughtfulness to grow produce or flowers.

The toddler phase only lasts a season, and once they've bloomed, there's no going back to re-plant pieces of my children's foundation. Patience is not only necessary for your garden's survival, it's important for yours.

I Learned To Listen Instead Of Speak


Along with patience, listening is vital. A good gardener plants and tends to their seedlings, but a great gardener knows what they need before they need it. If your toddler feels heard early on, it'll lessen the chances of you having to endure those world-ending tantrums. I promise.

It Gave Me Some Breathing Room


Tending a garden is a lot of work, but the end result is always worth it if you've done everything correctly. The way I was doing things meant I was constantly strained, exhausted, and still not getting anywhere. When I allowed room for growth (letting my toddler have opinions or giving them room to make their own decisions without me hovering), we were all less disappointed. Gardens need room to grow, and so do our children.

Ad failed to load

It Reminded Me That My Children Will Grow


As much as I think I want my seedlings to blossom quickly — so that I can reap the benefits of my hard work — there will come a time when I'll wish time had slowed down or stopped altogether, despite how many tantrums my toddler has in a day.

Still, remembering my children are like gardens forces me to be OK with the fact that, yes, they will grow. They will become fully functioning adult humans and they won't need me the way they need me now, and that's OK. In fact, that's how it's supposed to be.

It Helped Me See The Bigger Picture


While some toddler tantrums feel never-ending, this analogy and likening parenthood to tending a garden, makes complete sense. It isn't about the seeds, or how much I've watered my plants on any particular day. It's all of it put together that create my bounty. My babies will grow up and, someday, live on their own. I want to make sure they leaVe my care fully bloomed.

Check out the entire Romper's Doula Diaries series and other videos on Facebook and the Bustle app across Apple TV, Roku, and Amazon Fire TV.

Watch Romper's new video series, Romper's Doula Diaries:

Ad failed to load
Must Reads

Umm, Toys "R" Us Has A BOGO 50 Percent Off Deal So You Better Stock Up

After the holidays, you were probably hoping that your kid's massive toy collection would keep him entertained for a little while, at least. But that was wishful thinking, wasn't it? Because now that a couple of months have passed, all those must-hav…
By Jacqueline Burt Cote

Turns Out, Kim Kardashian's Favorite Mom Products Look A Lot Like Your Own Faves

Being a mom is really hard work, especially for the first few months, and Kim Kardashian West is no different in that regard. Now the mother of three, Kardashian says that there are a few products she just can't live without when it comes to raising …
By Abi Berwager Schreier

These 9 Instant Pot Recipes Will Make Even The Pickiest Eater Happy At The Table

Like any parent, I've had my share of parenting hits and misses, but one of my favorite "wins" is my daughter's diverse palate. I don't even know if I can take credit for it, but I would like to think I had something to do with her love for lentils, …
By Caroline Shannon-Karasik

Soda Might Hurt Your Fertility, Study Says, & Here's What You Can Do

Who doesn't love sugary drinks? I stopped drinking soda years ago, but I still love gulping down those fancy Starbucks coffee beverages. I don't have a big sweet tooth, but I am a sucker for sugar-sweetened beverages every now-and-then. Turns out, th…
By Annamarya Scaccia

10 Things No One Tells You About Having A Baby In Your 30s

If you're like me, you evaluate the pros and cons of any major life decision. When my husband and I were considering starting a family, I thought about my career, education, and financial stability. I wanted to know how a pregnancy and childbirth wou…
By Steph Montgomery

This Woman Thought She Had An Eyelash Stuck In Her Eye. Then It Moved.

I'm not a person who is easily icked out. As a kid, I collected bugs and thought I was going to be an entomologist and asked Santa Claus for ant farms and nets to catch bees. I'm still super curious about anything that flies and crawls, which might s…
By Karen Fratti

A Hot Mess Mom's Guide To Surviving Winter

As I sit here at my home office in Connecticut, it's cold. Damn cold. Winter is a rough season in New England and it's even worse when you're a parent and have to manage cooped up, restless children. It's even worse when you're a hot mess as it is, u…
By Jamie Kenney

5 Red Flags Your Toddler Isn't Eating Enough

Toddlers are notoriously picky eaters, at least in my experience. You offer mashed potatoes, they want french fries. You give them crackers, they scream for chips. It's frustrating, to be sure, but it's usually their way of vying for independence. It…
By Candace Ganger

11 Ways Your Pregnancy Will Be Different If You Have A Boy Vs A Girl

If you've been pregnant before, you might start comparing your previous pregnancies to that of your current pregnancy. A lot of things can change from pregnancy to pregnancy, based on a whole host of different factors (including how well you remember…
By Lauren Schumacker

35 Moms Share The Most Disgusting Things Their Husbands Do

I'm a human being who revels in challenges. I like when people present me with one, especially if they don't think I can meet or succeed it, and I like taking a challenge on, especially if it's unexpected. So when I aimed to uncover the most disgusti…
By Jamie Kenney

How Having Kids In Your 20s Affects You Later In Life

For parents, like myself, who had kids in their 20s, there are a number of questions that come to mind. When you're deciding what your future will look like, you'll likely consider what this means for your health, career, and more down the line. Thin…
By Tessa Shull

8 Reasons I Let My Toddler Play Outside Unsupervised

I'm not a helicopter mom, but I'm not exactly a free-range parent either. I like to think of myself as safely ensconced somewhere in the middle. I insist on certain safety measures, like car seats and helmets. I prefer to keep my 2-year-old in my sig…
By Kimmie Fink

12 Moms Share How They Stay Healthy During Flu Season

Unfortunately, we're in the middle of the roughest flu seasons in recent memory. And we’re not totally out of the woods, either. People around the country are still getting the flu, and, sadly, some of them are having to be hospitalized due to flu-re…
By Priscilla Blossom

8 "Mistakes" I'm Glad I Made During My First Pregnancy

As an adult, I've learned you never really stop hating being told what to do. When I was pregnant I was getting instructions at every turn, from doctors, relatives, and complete strangers on the subway. I would nod and smile but then go about making …
By Liza Wyles

Study: Drinking Two Glasses Of Wine A Day Is Good For Your Mind — Here's Why

There’s more scientific proof that a daily drink or two isn't necessarily a bad thing and could have a place in an overall healthy lifestyle. A new study out of the University of Rochester Medical Center (URMC) in New York found that — in mice, at le…
By Tiffany Thomas

Research Says Eating Carbs Can Lead To A Healthy Pregnancy, So Bring On The Pasta

In the world of me, no food is better than bread. I know it's supposed to be pretty terrible for you, high in calories, low in protein, and full of that modern-day demon, gluten... but guys, it's really yummy. Especially warm out of the oven, when th…
By Jen McGuire

These Photos Of Prince George Then & Now Will Give You Serious Baby Fever

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are expecting their third child in Spring 2018. With all of the excitement surrounding the new baby, it's easy to forget all of the good times that have already passed. The couple's eldest is already well into the sc…
By Azure Hall

This Is, Hands Down, The *Grossest* Thing Babies Do Inside The Womb

Your baby's life in the womb may be safe and warm, but it's also kind of grody. Seriously, the whole process of growing into a human being includes more than a few icky moments along the way. But this is the grossest thing babies do inside the womb b…
By Lindsay E. Mack