So temper tantrums are a blast, aren’t they? It’s a wonder how any of us survive any single day given the voracious nature with which our children pump out fits of screaming, yelling, and crying over something so grave as a misplaced raisin, for example. I am mother to a wild and tiny maniac who routinely gives me a serious run for my money with the fits she throws; she’s got nearly four years of experience in the tantrum industry, and specializes in parading around the house, force-feeding me wholly contrived fits of lamentation for a barrage of different reasons that range from eye-roll-inducing to downright maddening. Maybe she’s mad that she has to roll back up all the toilet paper she just unraveled onto the floor, or maybe she’s flying off the rails because the noodles in her mac ‘n cheese are shaped like cows today when she specifically requested the penne that she polished off yesterday. It’s like a fun tantrum lottery!
Based on my experience, I can tell you with confidence that there exists a list of perfectly reasonable ways to cope with that endless stream of bullshit that your kids are pumping out on the regular. None of this stuff is going to bring you the blessed satisfaction that comes with screaming out all your favorite swear words while you tear off your clothing in a fit of rage and flush yourself down the toilet, but until such a time arises, this list will at least provide some healthy alternatives to deep-diving through your city’s sewer system when you need relief most.
Well, duh. This one’s a given. But the caveat here is that you have to do it subtly. Unless you want your child to bring home weekly notes from his or her teacher asking you to kindly see to it that your little one stops dropping the F-bomb in class no matter how apt the situation is, then you’re going to have to swear quietly and creatively. I recommend slipping into another room, burying your face into a throw pillow or briefly hiding the bottom half of your face inside the collar of your shirt while you let that muffled vitriol spew from your lips.
2. Throw things.
Again, this has to be carefully executed and preferably done out of sight. I recommend objects such as all the stray and mismatched socks that your kids have left strewn throughout any given room in the house, or the little bits of your mail that they so kindly turned into confetti before you’d had a quick sec to make sure it was actually junk and not a jury duty summons.
3. Ignore it.
Reputable parenting websites are going to tell you this anyway, but I cannot stress enough what satisfaction I get from leaving my daughter to her own devices (Safely, guys; I’m not a monster.) while she wails through the hallways, summoning the strength of the gods to get a single tear to fall from her cheek. My favorite pastime is trying on my favorite Snapchat filters and letting that tiny dictator who’s raging around my house provide the most compelling soundtrack to my snap stories.
4. Eat some stuff.
Not just any stuff; I mean the good stuff. The stuff that if they saw you eating, they’d flip their lid even harder. So sneak three brownies or a handful of your secret stash of M&Ms and bask in that cool satisfaction that comes from being a grownup who can do whatever the hell they want whenever they want.
5. Breathe deep.
This is an important one, and we all know it. One of the best ways to cope with stressors is to breathe deeply and with intention in order to lower blood pressure and reach an even keel. It doesn’t always feel particularly satisfying, but it's good to know that all that breathing training we put ourselves through in the months leading up to childbirth still comes in handy time and again.
6. Write it down.
You don’t have to be a writer; you barely have to be literate. Not only does documenting these occurrences provide some modicum of distracted relief at the moment, but the notes you make end up serving as a brilliant reminder when those rose-colored glasses find their way to your face as you wistfully remember those days when your kids were small.
7. Get loud.
Sometimes quiet doesn’t cut it — what works is matching that hellion’s volume with whatever suits you best. I’m not condoning throwing a tantrum of your own, here, but rather turning up the volume on your favorite music, for example. Just drown out the noise, plaster a smile on your face and dance like you just won the lottery. Ignorance is bliss, right?
8. Turn on the TV.
Don’t try telling me we don’t negotiate with terrorists — of course, we do. Need the madness to stop? Cut the bullshit in a nanosecond by throwing on Netflix and jumping out the proverbial window, landing on a perfect pillow of your favorite snacks, drinks and any other guilty pleasures you have. Treat yourself to an hour or two of silence with the help of a couple of episodes of whatever damn show your kids like because nobody was kidding anybody when you asserted yourself as top dog in this house.
9. Put yourself out to the curb with the recycling.
I mean, the worst-case scenario is that you’ll find out that the recycling company doesn’t accept weathered and weary parents, so you’ll just have to sit out there until garbage day. It’s worth a shot.
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