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:

Children are a garden. If you tend to them properly (and patiently), they'll thrive.
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

Being A Dog Parent Prepared Me For Having A Baby, Really

I’ve always wanted kids; I was never as sure about raising a puppy. Then I spent six months living with someone who brought home an eight-week-old golden retriever puppy, and I see no way to make it out of that experience claiming not to love dogs. I…
By Heather Caplan

20 Of The Most Popular Unisex Names Of All Time, That You'll Be Hearing More Of For Sure

You might think of unisex names as a fairly recent trend, but the truth is these versatile monikers have been commonly used throughout history (well, some more commonly than others). That's why the team over at recently compiled a list of t…
By Jacqueline Burt Cote

How To Have A Date Night With No Babysitter, Because It's Easier Than You Think

After having children, many couples feel that their love lives immediately go out the window, but it's so important to make your romantic life a priority so both you and your partner can be the best versions of yourselves you can be. As we all know, …
By Abi Berwager Schreier

9 Ways Baby No. 3 Made My Family Feel Complete

My husband and I decided to have another baby right after we got married and, well, we had no idea what we were getting into. I got pregnant right away, endured a high-risk pregnancy, and, before I knew it, my third baby had arrived. Together, we emb…
By Steph Montgomery

8 Stereotypes About New Dads That Are *Totally* True

Much like new mothers, new fathers have a lot on their plate. Parenting can be scary and complex, especially at first and regardless of your gender. People want to do right by their kids, after all. And since all new parents are a hot mess, dads are …
By Priscilla Blossom

8 Differences Between Being Pregnant In Your 20s Vs 30s, According To Science

Whether you're planning a pregnancy, or just thinking about your future family, it's typical to think about things like child-spacing, how many kids you want, and when to start trying to conceive. When making your pro/con list, you might also conside…
By Steph Montgomery

16 Moms Share Remedies For Their Most Intense Chocolate Cravings During Pregnancy

For better or worse, pregnancy is usually synonymous with odd cravings. Sure, there are the stereotypical combos like pickles and ice cream that plague gestating women the world over, but there are other mind-boggling combinations, too, including but…
By Candace Ganger

Putting Sunscreen On Your Kid Doesn't Have To Be A Fight — Here's How To Do It

I am almost translucent, so me and sunscreen are basically besties at this point. Even though my children are beautifully deep brown thanks to my husband's genetics, I still slather them like biscuits being buttered because I refuse to take risks wit…
By Cat Bowen

7 Things A Mom Really Means When She Says She Doesn't Want Anything On Mother's Day

Every year my family asks me what I want for Mother's Day, and every single year I tell them the same thing: Nothing. So, by now, they know that when I say "nothing" I absolutely do not mean "nothing." In fact, there are more than a few things a mom …
By Candace Ganger

19 Moms Share The Way They Cured Their Pregnancy Comfort Food Cravings

I was obnoxiously sick during the first trimester with, "lucky" for me, both of my pregnancies. For the first three months I lived on saltines, lemonade, and fresh bread. Once I was able to eat, however, all I wanted was savory and sweet comfort food…
By Dina Leygerman

8 Fascinating Facts About Babies Born In May, The Luckiest Month Of All

The height of all things fresh and springy, May is an excellent month to have a baby. It's a time of growth, graduations, and outdoor celebrations. And these fascinating facts about May babies will give you more reasons than ever to appreciate childr…
By Lindsay E. Mack

I Used To Judge Formula-Feeding Moms — Until I Became One

The other patrons in the hip Brooklyn restaurant probably couldn’t care less what I was feeding my baby, but I’ll always remember the shame I felt as I quickly mixed up his bottle of formula in front of them. I admitted to my childless friend that I …
By Katherine Martinelli

7 White Lies It’s Necessary To Tell To Keep Your Relationship Healthy

Telling lots of lies typically isn't associated with a healthy, strong, lasting relationship, and that's still certainly true, but not all lies are exactly the same. Though you've probably heard from someone at least once or twice that the lie they t…
By Lauren Schumacker

The Skinny Jeans That Saved Me Postpartum

Accepting my post-pregnancy body is hands-down one of the most difficult things I’ve ever done. It’s something that I still work on every single day. During my first pregnancy, I was 20 years old, so I managed to bounce back quickly. In fact, I dropp…
By Allison Cooper

7 Ways Your Baby Is Trying To Say They Feel Safe

In those first weeks of new motherhood, it can feel like you need an interpreter for your newborn. With their limited means of communication, figuring out what message your baby is trying to get across to you can be a challenge. With time, however, y…
By Kimmie Fink

Here's Why Dogs Are Obsessed With Babies' Poop, According To Science

Most family dogs seem to understand babies, and they're more than happy to make friends with the newest member of the pack. It's adorable... for the most part and until you go to change your little one's diaper. Suddenly, you're wondering why dogs ar…
By Lindsay E. Mack

6 Signs You're Meant To Have A Big Age Gap Between Kids

There's a five year age difference between my two children, to the day. Their age gap wasn't planned but, for a variety of reasons, works well for our family. And since I was so focused on having a second baby, I totally overlooked the signs that wou…
By Candace Ganger

13 Unique (& Totally Not Mainstream) Mother's Day Gifts For The Hipster Mom

Hipsters thrive on being outside the norm and not really digging anything considered "mainstream." Whether it's in their fashion, what music they listen to, the books they read, or how they enjoy beverages, there's just something that makes them dist…
By Abi Berwager Schreier

Here's How To Introduce Your Pet To Your Baby & Make Everything As Calm As Possible

Our home, which we lovingly refer to as “the funny farm,” is filled with four-legged family members. We have two crazy beagles and two cat jerks, and boy are they loved and spoiled. (As they should be.) But we are now finally having a baby of our own…
By Abi Berwager Schreier

Here's The Right Birth Method For You, According To Your Zodiac Sign

If you're pregnant, you've probably given childbirth some serious thought. Some moms-to-be prepare a meticulous birth plan, while others are comfortable just going with the flow. And me? Well, I made a plan... but that plan was useless when faced wit…
By Steph Montgomery

My Dog Knew I Was Pregnant Before My Family Did

Growing up, I was 100 percent sure I'd be a mom one day. To a dog, that is. My baby plans came later. And once my husband and I were sure we wanted both a dog and a baby, we'd add to our joint dog-and-baby name list over Sunday brunch or on date nigh…
By Melissa Mills