A Letter to the Mamas Out There

toddler feet

I work in a children’s hospital, which means that in any given day I see hundreds of parents and their kids. I see lots and lots of Mamas. And I’ve noticed something about Mom’s that seems pretty consistent across the board. There is a look that Mom’s make when their kid is having a complete meltdown in a super public place. I’m not a Mom so I don’t know what that feels like. But I know that look and every time, I want to tell that Mama this:

It’s okay. It’s no big deal. Your kid is not the first kid to have a tantrum and won’t be the last. In fact, that isn’t even the worst one we’ve seen today! So your kid is sprawled on the floor, screaming. It will pass. It isn’t your fault. It doesn’t make you a bad Mom. I’m sure it feels bad, and your face tells me you might be embarrassed. Please don’t be. You’re doing a good job. It’s okay. 

I want to walk right up to the Mamas and tell them that. They’ll never get an eye roll, a rude comment, or a judgy glance from me. Kids have meltdowns in Target, walking down the sidewalk, and yes, on airplanes (In fact, put the kid in the seat next to me. Thanks to my airplane meds, I won’t even notice). It happens.

I was a kid once. You were a kid once. And one day, that will be my kid having a meltdown on aisle 7. It will happen. All kids have tantrums. In fact it’s normal! N and I both listed to this Stuff You Should Know podcast about Temper Tantrums and it was definitely worth a listen. So someday I hope to be on the receiving end of some understanding when that is my kid. And Mamas out there? Let me reiterate: You’re doing a good job.

And actually, because I’m not a Mom, could someone tell me this: what is the best thing to do to make a Mom feel better or to help in this situation? Ignore it all together? Offer to help? Smile? I just never know but as someone who witnesses dozens of temper tantrums a day, I’d love some suggestions.

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