Tantrums, Tears, & Attitudes

Pick up the wine, spoon into your ice-cream and read on...

We've all been there. Wondering how in the hell we could have taken part biologically in creating these miniature psychotic humans. Don't deny it. Behind every Pinterest mom and Instagram husband there's a parental rage, you know, the unrecognizable anger that boils up inside of you. These moments are not glamour mom moments, and they certainly aren't part of your latest social media post. These moments are when you have to dig deep, and really parent.

Spoiler alert.. you, the parent, signed up for this and are somehow expected to keep it ALL together. The real question is how?

I hesitated to write this blog post because honestly I love to make it seem like I've got my shit together, really I do. I love juggling it all, organizing, handling chaos, and putting out fires. I am a Marine spouse and often do it all without my wonderful husband. Until I simply can't do it all anymore... and then I break.

I've seen my fair of fits. I have a spirited four-year-old daughter Lucy, and a spitfire two-year-old daughter Amelia. Not to mention my still innocent fresh baby boy Austin who is six months. (He'll rock my world later I'm certain of it.) I am quite versed in the latest disciplinary methods and I've read about four parenting books, specifically on ways to discipline. (big fan of self help books)

 I'll tell you what none of those books prepare for, the deep dark trenches of parenthood with zero weapons in hand. Just imagine this scene: me elbow deep in a shit diaper, my four-year-old screeching "Mom! Wipe my hiney & my sparkle hairclip fell in the potty!!" all while my two-year-old is completely nude, yet again, while also letting the dogs out of the front door. I mean come on! I wanna scream, "MAY-DAY MAY-DAY, CALL IN BACKUP, AIR-SUPPORT... GOD GIVE ME SOMETHING"  If I have to hear one more time, "the days are long but the years are short," I might take a long walk off a short pier if ya know what I mean.

Yes, time flies, but you know what doesn't fly by? A rainy day stuck inside FOR TWELVE AWAKE HOURS with three babies under four. Talk about emotions. They should seriously recruit my four-year-old to break down hostage negotiators or something- the girl has got skills. She will bend you until you break, work you to the bone, and take no mercy upon your poor soul. Then 8.5 seconds later she will smother you with kisses. Total mind eff, right? Yet we completely imagine that in some way shape or form there is a rational human in there.

The truth is, there isn't, well not yet anyway. They aren't rational AT ALL, and they really aren't supposed to be. They may seem like bipolar dictators but think about it from their perspective for a minute:

Take Amelia for example, she's been on this earth for a grand total of two years and seven months. She has HUGE emotions. These emotions are super comparable to adults, except the major difference is the content. The reasons for her huge emotions often seem trivial, to us grown people anyway. However, to this little girl, losing her ever-loving mind because I separated the clementine "incorrectly" is everything. I mean any rational adult would want to yell "I quit!" then smash that clementine into smithereens. The key is to take the reason for the tantrum seriously, no matter how trivial it may seem; because in her mind this clementine separation anxiety is real, and it is important. So as the mother I should handle it as so. How angry would you be with your best friend or spouse if they refused to listen to your daily woes, i.e. the reason you got a speeding ticket, or the jackass thing your boss said. You'd be ticked! Well your toddler is ticked.. their reason is just mildly questionable.

Quick tip, don't match their emotions. It may seem tempting, and in the moment it may even feel really good to scream. But we all know where that leaves us come bedtime, with a head full of regret. There is nothing worse going to bed thinking, "gosh I could have done better." Regardless of how you may have handled the tantrums, tears or attitudes, you handled it, you made it to another bedtime. I'm here to say that you are knee deep in those baby years, and you are doing the best damn job you can. Motherhood is hard, it's messy, it's downright disgusting sometimes. And YOU were chosen to be the mama to those little rugrats. There is a reason why you were chosen and don't take it lightly. 

How often do you surprise yourself with little mom victories? Some days we rule this whole mom-gig. I’m talking out the door by 8:30am, all three dressed, giggles filling the air, minimal food remains on faces type of morning. With hopes high you take a trip to target, I mean you basically killed it this morning, why not have a fun family outing! We all know how this one ends: two of the three laying in the middle of the Target aisle sobbing.. the reason is not relevant. Not a single mom has it all together, but if anyone can handle mothering these adorable monsters, you can, I mean they did come from you after all. 

Our children forgive us so quickly for our mistakes and it's unbelievable the unfailing love they have for us. I'm the first to admit that there are numerous times where I outright apologize to my girls for overreacting or losing my temper. As important as it is to teach our kids emotional control, it's equally as important to show them that we too are only human. Apologies flow freely out of my own mouth in my home and because of it apologies flow freely from my babies mouths. Making mistakes is ok, and every single emotion we feel is ok. I hope to show my children never to devalue their emotions. Validate the wonderful joy, validate the debilitating fear, & validate the crushing sadness. Every emotion is important, every emotion is necessary. Burying any of these emotions down deep does no good for any child, adolescent, or adult.

The best thing I've learned to do is to reduce my expectations. Don't expect your kids to act grown, they simply aren't. Our children do not have the capability to navigate their emotions, as adults we barely do! Once I reduced my expectations of how my kids should or should not act I found myself slightly more at ease.

I also started listening, like really listening, to what they want and need. Instead of forcing them to do something as they are melting down, I often remove them from the situation entirely. Because at four and two, that can help immensely. It may irk you, the adult, because come on, all you want is ONE conversation with someone above the age of five. But in that moment your child is overwhelmed and needs to escape: listen to them, let them escape.

I'm lucky enough to have such a close knit military community of mamas to rely on. We've been there for the good, the bad, and the ugly of our parenting trials and tribulations. We have one another to rely on when our husbands aren't even reachable via phone. On multiple occasions I've cried to them, tossed down the parenting baton and thrown my hands in the air. Having them one text away is incredible. We bounce ideas off of one another constantly, and sometimes we are ALL at a loss for what to do. Because the truth is, no matter how many kids you have now, or how many you'll have in five years, we are all still winging it. We are all surviving, one box of mac-n-cheese at a time. I love these women like sisters and the age old saying "it takes a village" couldn't be more true.

If you find yourself struggling, exhausted, losing your footing when it comes to disciplining or parenting in general, do not fear because you ARE good enough for this. You have inner strength, patience, and a hell of a lot of love to give; and with those three things, you cannot go wrong. Your kids will grow into incredible adults and you'll be able to take all the damn credit, so keep it up Mama- it's harder than we've ever imagined and you love those babies so much more then you could have possibly dreamed.

So pour another glass of wine, turn on a feel good flick, because 6am will come quick and know that you've got this and you will every single day.


  1. Oh bless you honey! 3 under 4 and a Marine wife to boot. I know several military mommas and I am in awe of how you guys manage your homes and families when your husbands are off fighting to keep us safe.

  2. I so don't have my shit together either. My son with autism is taking EVERYTHING out of me and I feel like my other son gets the bad end of my parenting because I'm so damh TIRED all the time.