There is nothing more frustrating, embarrassing – and yes – amusing about witnessing the core meltdown of a toddler, especially if the toddler in question belongs to you. However, as disheartening and emotionally trying as a toddler tantrum can be, sometimes they’re not the only ones who need to release stress by some good old-fashioned kicking and screaming. Even moms succumb to their baser instincts and just let fly whatever frustrations, stresses, or general craziness are upsetting their apple cart.
As moms we hold ourselves up to incredible standards to be the perfect motherly specimen (the UberMom). We see the images of SuperMom on television, in movies, and in commercials; we strive to live up to the images of June Cleaver, Heidi Klum, and Martha Stewart all rolled into one. We push ourselves to be successful, attractive, fashion forward, creative, and the mom who makes sack lunches, heads up the PTA, creates fun and interesting art projects to fill the rainy days, and lays lavish home-cooked meals on the table every night of the week. No wonder the veneer begins to crack every now and again. We’ve packed so many must haves into our personality that we are bursting at the seams.
I am completely guilty of buying into the SuperMom image. I have accumulated numerous infractions, violations, and downright felonies of that SuperMom code of conduct. And yes – that includes temper tantrums. I have lost my inner SuperMom more times than I wish to admit. When surrounded with toilets overflowing with an entire roll of toilet paper, dry-erase crayon pictures decorating the carpet (courtesy of my daughter), all of my clothes & shoes cascading out of my closet and dresser, the dog marking the furniture, the kids screaming bloody murder at each other over who gets to rip the pages out of books or shred the resident holiday decorations and my sweet little boy pulling handfuls of flour and sugar out of the canisters so he can make it “snow”, I have been pushed so far to the edge that my inner self is screaming at me (over my yelling) to just throw myself on the nearest available surface and kick and scream and pound my fists, then get up and start flinging things around the room with all my might, until I feel better. And that, ladies and gentlemen, is a mom sized tantrum. Kids have nothing on mom when she’s about to blow.
The good thing about being an adult (and the bad) is that you have the presence of mind to suppress the all-out rage and destruction part. Dammit. The thing that I have learned through the numerous encounters with my inner toddler is that that frustration and craving for a good old-fashioned kick & scream is completely healthy and normal. We need that release in one way or another.
My way is to write about it. That is, if the kids leave me alone long enough to fire up my laptop, let alone type actual words. However, when time and toddlers are not so obliging, a quick trip upstairs to my bedroom where I quickly lock the door and throw myself face first on to the bed to let out one, good, throat rattling scream, usually suffices until a little quiet time is actually attainable. When all else fails, a little wine can become mom’s best friend. Don’t look at me that way, you know it’s true.
So for those of you moms (or dads) aspiring to SuperMom (or SuperDad) status, failure is not only an option, it’s practically a job requirement. No one is perfect, and trying to be the perfect parent only adds to the pressure of simply trying to be a good parent. So give yourself a break and accept that you’ll never be perfect, and that your kids actually don’t want perfect. They just want you.