He punched her in the face. She handled it like a pro!

Dear Mum at the Northbound services yesterday,

As my husband and I sat having a snack with our angelically behaved 7-year-old and 12-year-old, you may have felt even more horrible looking at my perfect little family while your toddler was chucking a mega tanty.
You see, what I saw is probably quite the opposite to what you felt.

You were feeling:

Frustrated. Frustrated as these tantrums seemed to be getting worse with age, not better.

Embarrassed. Embarrassed that everyone was looking at you.

Alone. None of your friends have kids that throw tantrums like your little possessed spawn of Satan!

Exhausted. How much more of this can you take?

Demoralised. You are trying your best to be a good parent. It’s not working. You’re not a good parent!

Fearful. What if this keeps going? Will he have friends? Will you have friends?

Imprisoned. A prisoner in your own home. You can’t take him out when he’s being like this.

The list goes on, doesn’t it?! How do I know you were feeling this? I’ll tell you in a sec.

First, I want to tell you what I saw!
I saw you sat there with a screaming toddler on your lap trying to settle him down.

I saw you trying to settle him and settle yourself.

I saw you beginning to lose your patience and pass him to your partner while you had some time out to collect yourself before totally losing your shit (in public!).

I saw you return calm and confident on the outside.

I saw you once again trying to console/regain control of your child while trying to include your older child in normal conversation.

I saw, mostly, me. Only a few short years ago, I was doing exactly what you are now. Only looking at you….
I saw a superwoman!
And guess what? So did everyone else that saw you.

I couldn’t help myself. I needed to let you know that you were doing an amazing job. You may have noticed that I was a little teary when I walked up to you to speak to you. I had to tell you what I wished I had been told just a few years earlier. I wanted to sit with you for hours and tell you all the reasons why I thought you were amazing but in our brief conversation, here’s what I want you to know and more.

You told me that your son punched you in the face and your biggest fear is that he’ll do that to another adult. Well guess what? He won’t!
He won’t because you’re safe. You’re a safe person for him to take his emotions out on and learn emotions from. Because he knows you. He knows that you won’t hurt him. He knows that it takes a lot before mum cracks. He’s testing you so he learns his limits. Now punching you in the face isn’t right but doing what you did will teach him this. Doing this in public is just another way to test your limits and you didn’t give in! You’re amazing!!!!

But I’ll tell you what you didn’t see (you were kinda distracted) …

You didn’t see the other mums walking past looking at you thinking “Thank fuck that’s not mine this time!”

You didn’t see the looks of admiration from the other parents and the cleaner!

You didn’t see my 2 “angels” 20 minutes prior, fighting in the back of the car over something really fucking menial and making it out like WW3!!!
Y ou see, we all go through these years and come out the other side mostly intact. You will too. It’s OK. You’ll be OK. He’ll be OK. And until you’re out the other side of the shitty toddler stage, know that you are amazing and doing it perfectly! Maybe drink coffee and eat chocolate more.
The Goodnight Nurse and Toddlerhood survivor x 2