It usually starts without warning... a few grumbles, some foot stomping and before I know it a full blown tantrum. We'll be having fun, just wrapping up lunch, or getting ready to leave and in moments there will be an angry, heart broken tiny sitting at my feet completely melting into a puddle of emotion. I feel like someone probably warned me about this while I was pregnant or an old lady at the grocery store told me this phase would come but it still catches me by surprise and leaves me overwhelmed and speechless... Taking her dirty diaper off in her crib and flinging poop everywhere, I got it. Throwing food and spilling drinks, no problem but having a complete meltdown over something that appears to be nothing or at least nothing she can communicate effectively.. that stops me in my tracks.
If I was being real I have to admit emotions have always been a struggle for me. That balance between feeling enough and feeling too much has never been clear and I always seem to swing too far one way or another. Even as an adult handling tough feelings and functioning through my emotions is hard. I don't have tantrums.. I don't rip my clothes of and scream, or throw my toys across the room while collapsing into a fit of tears... but sometimes I want to.
When the airport worker told me there was a mistake with our flight and we would be sitting separately and I would be flying alone with a toddler... I wanted to stomp my feet and cry. When someone honks at me or flips me off while I am driving I want to get angry... but also collapse into a fit of tears. When my husband fills the kitchen sink with dirty dishes and leaves for work... I want to throw them and cry... and if I was being honest I don't always respond to these situations (or bigger ones) as best as I could, I don't always make the right emotional choice. SO how am I expected to model this for my daughter and help her through this current emotional phase she is in?
I don't have a firm answer or solution, and I am not convinced I ever will. Today though at the end of her tantrum through the hiccups and tears Jessamyn grabbed her pacifier and bunny and crawled into my lap. Even though moments before she had been stomping and screaming and glaring at me in the most intense way... she still crawled up into my lap and cuddled. I think that is the answer isn't it? Love, connection, knowing that life goes on through emotions. I can't solve all of her problems, I can't even understand what they are half the time. All I can do is be there to hold her and tell her she is loved and okay no matter how many tantrums she throws or how many hard emotions she feels. Even as an adult that is where I find my peace with hard emotions, through connection and love and that is the only thing I have to offer my daughter. I many not always model my emotions well, I may not be able to give her the best coping skills or emotional management skills... but I can give her love and connection and can be there to hold her and let her know she is okay... and that is enough.
I would love to hear your thoughts on this or your own experiences with toddler emotions or maybe even your own mama moments. Parenting can be tough and we definitely don't have to go at it alone! I would love to connect feel free to comment, follow along on Bloglovin, Instagram, or send me an email!