I’m writing this blog while sipping my fresh Starbucks in commiseration with all the parents out there who’ve dealt with a tantrum or two in the most awkward of places. Today I tip my hat and raise my venti cold brew high to the mom in the pink shirt.
Dear Fellow Target Mom,
I see you. I see your spunky toddler begging for that Paw Patrol Lego set. I see you calmly telling her “I know you like legos! Let’s go home and play with the ones we have.”
And then it happens, I see her demand this very set and you reply, “We aren’t going to buy new toys today, love. We brought along just enough money for the things we need. Today we don’t need legos.”
I look at my phone and feel your pain. It’s dangerously close to lunch time. And she unravels. I see her scream, she “WANTS this toy RIGHT NOW!” and you explain “That’s not a very nice way to talk to mommy. We don’t have money for this toy, let’s go pick out a snack for later instead!”
I see your daughter begin to cry and you begin to push the cart just a bit quicker, telling her “It’s ok to be sad when you’re disappointed.” She cries harder and you walk faster.
I see you looking around giving away your embarrassment, your cheeks feel hot I’m sure. I see your daughter knock a toy off the shelf in anger as you then explain to her that she has to pick it up because “We do NOT treat other people’s things like that”. You lift her out of the cart and she picks it up, reluctantly shoving it back in its place.
I see your toddler explode into sobs and screams and you’ve had about all you can take. You’re feeling ready to join her in her fit of frustration. You gently place her back in the seat and dart to the neighboring aisle, throw the toilet paper into your cart heading to the check out. I know you’ve forgotten the very thing you’ve come in for and in your mind you are checking off the items that aren’t as important. You know, the ones that can wait for a day when you aren’t dealing with a toddler tantrum. Or maybe a day you can come shopping without kids and then you chuckle, “yeah- like that will happen”!
I see you pushing a screaming toddler to the checkout, waiting in line and trying to reason with her as you count the items in the carts of fellow shoppers. Which lane is moving the fastest?
I see you start to panic and as her volume increases so does the redness in your face. And then you begin offering up more attempts to quiet her, “If you don’t stop crying you can’t watch Paw Patrol when we get home.” Finally, it’s your turn and you swiftly, yet sheepishly, toss your items onto the conveyor belt. I’m sure you feel like this cashier is taking her ever loving time checking you out! And, of course, your daughter is still crying. The cashier offers her a sticker and your toddler crosses her arms, pouts, and looks the other direction with a grunt. You tell your little girl to “Be polite and just say ‘No thanks’” and you give the cashier an apologetic smile.
I know you feel like everyone is watching. And I know in this moment you feel like you could have done something better or different. I get it.
But, I see you. I see you teaching your daughter that her feelings are valid. I see you teaching her that you don’t always get things just because you want them. I see you teaching her patience. I see you teaching her calmness. I see you teaching her respect. I see you teaching her manners. I see you teaching.
I see you in this moment teaching your little person such extremely important lessons. I know it would have been easier to just buy the dang legos, but you didn’t. You didn’t because parenting is hard. The best part? Someday, maybe not today or even tomorrow, but someday, she’ll understand that these lessons are worth so much more than Paw Patrol legos!
Now go home, be proud of yourself, and enjoy the quiet as your little one drifts off to sleep on your drive home.
Another Target Mom