Before I became a mother, I was the girl in the grocery store shaking her head at the mom who was clearly not capable of "controlling" her toddler. I was the server in the restaurant who tried desperately to give up the table with the family of four being seated. I was the girl shopping at the mall wishing the mother and her screaming child in the oversized stroller would just go home.
I owe a HUGE apology to every parent I judged.
Toddlers are nuts, plain and simple. Toddlers need to explore, and talk, and test boundaries. Yes, they are sweet, and wonderful, and full of smiles and laughter too, but they will scream and cry and throw tantrums the second you try to keep them from doing something they are determined to do.
Of course, with tough love, consistency and perseverance, toddlers calm down and stop with the petty tantrums, but it's a process, not an overnight thing.
Toddlers are not robots. Therefore, no, they cannot always be "controlled." There is no "ON/OFF" switch.
Toddlers can be loud, stubborn, out of control and vocal at times. So can adults.
Toddlers will throw a huge fit when stopped from, or kept from doing something they want. So do adults.
I promise, I am trying to "control" my toddler, but dammit, there is only so much I can take in a day! There are only so many "No's!" I can shout. There are only so many times I can pick him up, only to have him push away with such force I think he is going to crush my throat and chest. There are only so many times I can have him screaming in my ear as I redirect his attention.
I pick my battles and do my best.
I am officially at a point where I want to wear a shirt everywhere I go that says, "He's a toddler, GET OVER IT!" The shirt would be both for me and for the people shaking their head during a meltdown.
I try to be the best mom I can be.
No. I am the best mom I can be.
I trust my instincts, put my foot down and try to "control" my son as best as possible. Parenting is a delicate balance, and worrying what other people think throws that balance right off.
Babies and toddlers are sweet and wonderful, but at the same time, they are trying to figure out this big world, and sometimes that will include running, screaming, crying, laughing, smashing things and meltdowns-sometimes all within 30-seconds.
To the people shaking their head in the grocery store at the parent with the crying kid, or annoyed that a family is sitting next to you in a restaurant with a young child or rolling your eyes at the mother in the mall for letting her kid cry or run around... Get over yourself. Trust me, you did it too. Call your mom.
To the parents embarrassed by your toddler's public meltdowns, do your best to get over yourself too. This, too, shall pass...