Moms aren’t just moms. Moms are detectives, actresses, housekeepers, chefs, teachers, and in this case, professional fighters. We are detectives because we figure out what our toddler means when they point or talk to us in their Minion language. We are actresses because we pretend to be fierce lions, delicate fairies and courageous firemen when it is story time. We are housekeepers because we are constantly following our kids (and our husbands) around, picking up after them and cleaning constantly. We wash bottles at least ten times a day, load and unload the dishwasher what seems like every hour, on the hour and do multiple loads of laundry daily. We are chefs because we whip up recipes in our heads as if we were Gordon Ramsay, with items that are left over in the pantry to satisfy our hungry little ones. Black bean, sausage and potato casserole anyone? We are teachers because we are always helping our kids with their colors, alphabet and shapes, while also showing them how to respect others and love everyone. We are even professional fighters sometimes as were dart to the left to avoid an occasional flying book or throw up a left hook to defend our face from a flying Sippy Cup. Muhammad Ali has got nothing on us moms. Whether we are dealing with hitting, tantrums, throwing things or just toddlers who don’t listen, all moms have their own way of disciplining and frankly, it is one of the toughest jobs on the planet. But it can also be one of the most comical. I was recently assaulted with a Sippy Cup and have lived to tell my story. I have no idea what Miss Meyer’s intention was when she threw the Sippy Cup at me but it took every bone in my body not to cry. Seriously! She was standing about a foot away from me when she clocked me square in the nose with the hardest plastic cup known to baby products. As the tears were welling up in my eyes, she strutted away like nothing happened. ‘Keep it together Erin, do not cry in front of the baby!’ But holy hell that hurt. I felt like I just got knocked out by Mayweather in the first round. I was down for the count. But I stood up, rubbed my (now crooked) nose, wiped those tears out of my eyes and chased after Meyer. I told her that she shouldn’t throw things at Mommy, gave her a hug and asked her if she could help me with her zoo animal puzzle. Because that’s what moms do. We pretend that Sippy Cups and books and marbles and Legos don’t hurt and we keep our cool and move on.
There are many ways of disciplining and every parent has their preference on how to do it. Don’t yell at your kid. Yell at your kid. Don’t hit them. It’s okay to spank. Treat them like an adult. Don’t ever put them in timeout. How do parents know what to do? None of these child therapists or psychologists who are giving advice have ever met your child, so how do they know what works for them and what doesn’t? In my opinion, no way is right and no way is wrong (unless of course it’s an extreme case bordering abuse). It is simply a preference and depending on your little one, it either works or it doesn’t. You can listen to all the advice in the world but it doesn’t mean that you should follow it. Just like when you were pregnant and every mom under the sun had advice for you from the best crib to the best diaper genie. You listen but it doesn’t mean that you should do what every mom is doing. Your baby will be a unique little personality who will let you know what is best for them. My method of disciplining Meyer isn’t right or wrong, it is what I choose to do. I get down to her level when she does something wrong and talk to her about why she shouldn’t do what she did and what she should do instead. Sometimes it works and sometimes she hits me with a Sippy Cup.
For me, one of the hardest parts about disciplining is not laughing. Because most of the time when kids are doing something wrong, they know they aren’t supposed to be doing it and they look at you to see how far they can get before you catch them. And those damn faces they make are just so hilarious, that it’s hard to keep a straight face. Right now, Meyer’s big thing is standing on her little chair, or the couch and either jumping up and down or simply walking off the edge (I catch her of course). She has no idea that if she falls off that edge, she could get hurt or hit her head on the coffee table. No kid ever thinks of the consequences of falling or bumping their heads, they think it’s a fun game and as parents, we are the ones that constantly worry. And then when you do discipline them, they sometimes have a tantrum. Yup, I said it- the dreaded tantrum! She’s usually over it pretty quickly but sometimes they last a little longer making me wonder if I should be doing something different. I thought I would cruise the internet to see how ‘it was recommended’ that I handle these tantrums, just for reference.
According to the website www.babycenter.com, there are 7 ways to deal with tantrums:
- Don’t lose your cool. Even during the height of the meltdown, stay with them instead of storming out of the room. Or you can calmly leave the room to cool off and the return when you are ready. That one should be easy, I’m a cool mom. I can keep my cool! (Way harder than I thought). I found that deep breaths help….and wine.
- Remember that you’re the adult. No matter how much they try to bribe and reason with you, don’t give in. You are the boss. Once they get you wrapped around their finger, it is very hard to unstick yourself, like gum on the bottom of your shoe.
- Use time-outs sparingly beginning when they are 18 months and explain why they are receiving a timeout. I’m thinking of using Meyer’s potty as a time-out chair to kill two birds with one stone.
- Talk it over afterward. I’m pretty sure that’s what I was doing when I was assaulted by the Sippy Cup so I may skip that one.
- Let your child know that you love them. That’s easy, I do that every second! Hmmm, I can’t remember if I did that after she hit me with a Sippy Cup though…
- Try to head off the tantrum-inducing situations. If you anticipate what triggers these meltdowns, it is easier to avoid them. So, does that mean I can never say no? I may have to skip that one too.
- Watch for signs of overstress and seek a Doctor’s help if needed. Apparently, kids can get stressed out too, just not over bills and work like we do.
- Wine (I may have added that one…)