Daily tantrums. Over. Nothing. The wrong colour cup. They don’t want to wear shoes. That dog looked at them funny. From the time my son was two, until a couple of months after his fourth birthday, our life was filled with constant tantrums. Sometimes they were small, and could be eased with a cuddle. Sometimes they were epic meltdowns that only subsided after mummy was bitten and whacked into submission. And by submission, I mean I would be curled up in a corner sobbing my eyes out.
But then things got easier. And I don’t mean that I became better adept at dealing with the tantrums. Or that I became tougher at dealing with the public shamings and smackings. I probably did get better at handling them, but then the tantrums just eased. Considerably. My son no longer needed to fight about every decision. Dubz no longer needed to shout and scream whenever he disagreed with me. We could leave a park without floods of tears. All of a sudden, he seemed to gain some sense.
And life has become so much easier. I am no longer that mum – the one with the screaming child, the one who looks embarrassed and ashamed. I don’t remember the last time Dubz kicked his father or slapped me. I don’t remember the last time I had to go into another room for a mummy meltdown. If he wants something, yes, he will whinge. And sometimes he has a little cry. But they don’t attract the attention of all my neighbours. Dubz does not throw himself on the ground every time we have to go home. People no longer stop and stare at us, looking at me with pity.
Don’t get me wrong, my children are not perfect. Both my eight year old and four year old still bicker and throw tantrums. But it does not happen every day or at every outing. Which means that I don’t have to be constantly stressed, waiting for the next tantrum. And they would come, in such a quick moment that I barely knew what was happening.
When you’re going through the tantrummy stage, it feels like it will never end. But it will. It does. One day, you will be able to enjoy family outings without the dread of your child embarrassing you. You won’t have to negotiate through gritted teeth, doing anything to get them to calm down. It will get easier, mamas. Until then, maybe carry around some treats that work well as bribes.