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10 things to do when mama throws a fit

You yelled, screamed, wanted to run away and told the kids it’s daddy’s turnyou threw a fit. Here are my 10 things to do when mama throws a fit.
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In our house, when Madilyn or Juliana, ages 6 and 3, throw a tantrum we call it “throwing a fit.” Brian and I say that Madilyn’s not so nice step-sister, “Madeline,” shows up. Ironically, she does LOVE the Madeline books, especially “Madeline Says Merci: The Always-Be-Polite Book.” Oh brother. “Juliet” is Juliana’s other personality. It’s never fun when Madeleine or Juliet shows up. They both only show up a few times every couple of months but when they arrive, they barge in like tornados. Usually because they are tired or ate way too much junk food.
I totally lost my cool with Madilyn one day. This was a couple years ago. “Madeline” showed up. I was in a hurry. All I wanted was for her to do is go upstairs, get dressed, brush her teeth and let me put her hair in pigtails. We had plans to go to the gym that afternoon. I get my “me time” and the girls get to play at the daycare. It’s a win-win for us. The majority of the time she loves this daily routine of getting ready. Her little sister is usually napping so this is her “big girl” time with just mommy. We get to play clothing store and hair dresser. On this particular day, she was not having it and she fought me on absolutely everything.
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After 25 wardrobe changes, talking back, hands on her little hips, her telling me “No!,” and throwing toys all around her room, I lost my cool. I yelled. I screamed. I threatened to take away her toys. I took away TV for the day. I marched her into the bathroom and made her brush her teeth kicking and screaming. After another screaming match I marched her into her room, picked out an outfit for her which she “hated” and made her lay on her bed for 10 min by herself while I left the room and cried my eyes out.
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I wanted to leave. I wanted to curl up on my bed. I wanted to scream. I wanted to smack her butt. I wanted to give up and give this job to someone else. I wanted to pass the torch to a mama who is “better” at it. You know, a mama whose kids never throw fits.
After the 10 minutes were over, I could still hear Madilyn crying on her bed. I took some deep breaths. I said a little prayer. I slowed down and thought about what I needed to do. I remembered that no one is perfect. I told myself that I am her mom. I am not perfect. She is not perfect either. She needs me. We need each other.
The next thing I know she comes walking into my room dragging Danielle, her favorite baby doll, and says, “Mommy I so sorry. We both threw a fit. Yelling not nice. I so sad I yelled at you. I lub you so much.”
That’s when it hit me. I threw a fit too. When I throw a fit, she will throw a fit too. She wants to do everything I do these days. She looks up to me for everything. I need to set a good example.
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So, below are the 10 things to do when mama throws a fit just like the kiddos:
1. Apologize and admit you make mistakes too.
It is really hard to say “I’m sorry” to someone who totally pisses you off. Let’s be honest, kids can really piss us mamas off. A lot. However, when I apologize I get a different reaction from my girls. That day, Madilyn calmed down. She huged me instead of screamed at me. She apologized too. There is so much peace in apologizing. As moms, we are in charge but we have to remember to be kind to our kids. They deserve respect and the grace when they make mistakes.
2. Never go to bed angry. Always make up before bedtime. 
Life is too darn short to go to bed angry. This goes to with your spouse too. Try so hard not to go to bed after an argument with your spouse. You just never know what can happen. Plus, busy mama, I bet you sleep better too and more sleep makes everyone happier and healthier.
3. Take a moment of silence. Or two. Or three. 
Say a prayer. Take a few breaths. Meditate. Go to church. Whatever works for you to calm down and collect yourself, do it. Do it for you and do it for your children. As much as we can think before we react, the better parents we will be. Take a moment to tell your child that you love him or her before you react. “First, I love you.” This small step makes a huge difference in their actions.
4. Remember that kids are not only kids, they are people and deserve to be treated with respect.
No one likes to be yelled at. Kids don’t like to be yelled at either. Just because us mamas are bigger and older and in charge doesn’t give us the right to be mean and yell. A few weeks ago, I witnessed a very upset mother spank her child in the middle of a parking lot. It was ugly. My heart went out to that little girl. It also went out to that mother. I don’t think she made the right choice. However, I can relate to her frustration, overwhelm and anger.
5. Look in the mirror.
The other day, I was out shopping with my girls and we were having fun and laughing. I perfect stranger approached me and said, “A happy mom makes happy kids. Enjoy them.” I have been thinking about this a lot. It is so darn true. We can’t expect our kids to be happy, relaxed and having fun when we are stressed, overwhelmed and on a tight time schedule. Be who you want your kids to be.
6. Schedule a massage.
Or a manicure or a pedicure or maybe all of the above if your budget allows it. Find a way to get some time for yourself. You will feel better and when confronted with the next temper tantrum, you will be better prepared to deal with it.
7. Count your blessings. 
Sure, my kid may throw fits, we may miss deadlines, we may be late for the gym but my kids are here. They are HERE. They are breathing. They are making messes. They are full of energy. They talk. They can see me. They can smell the dinners I make them. They say “thank you.” Their eyes light up when I walk into a room. They are here. Life can change so fast. We all need to count our blessings.
8. Give lots of nose kisses. 
They just make everything better.
9. Move on.
Don’t harp on what happened too long. Let it go. Don’t rehash the entire situation with dad at the dinner table when he gets home. Instead, focus on the positive. Move on and remember that tomorrow is a new day.
10. Make a healthy meal and eat it together. 
Turn off the iPhones and the TV and enjoy some time together over a healthy meal. My grandma’s spanish rice is an easy favorite that kids of all ages can help make. Have your kids help you in the kitchen. Most of the time, kids are giving us trouble because they want attention. Make a conscious effort to spend real time with them. I love to have my girls help in the kitchen. Not only does it allow us to spend time doing something together, it helps them learn about home cooked food and health.
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Us mamas are going to throw fits from time to time. It is going to happen and it is OK. Our kids just want us to be real. They don’t expect the perfect mom or the perfectly clean and decorated house. They want us to be happy. They want us to laugh with them. Next time you throw a fit, apologize and mother on.
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9 Comments

  1. Thank you, Betsy. It’s reassuring to know that we are not alone. With 4 kids, I lose my cool a lot it seems. I appreciate the insite on how to deal.

  2. Betsy- love it!! :):) Best advice… “Be happy, relaxed, be who you want them to be..” I so believe this. Great read!!

  3. This was very enjoyable to read Betsy. I love that you are so open and honest to help yourself reflect and help us other moms to deal with similar situations and also realize we’re not alone in our struggles! Keep them coming. My favorite tips were the nose kisses (we call them eskimo kisses, and they really do melt your heart and fix everything) and the count your blessings tip.

  4. Oh, Betsy… Good, good stuff right there. Thank you for sharing this. I love the honesty and transparency, and the great tips. : )

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