In being a mom Motherhood parenting toddler

Dear Non-Mom

Dear not-yet-a-mom,
   I see you give me that look when my toddler is screaming loudly through the juice aisle of WalMart. That look that plainly says, When I have children, they will not act like that.

I'm torn between laughing at you and feeling sorry for you. See, you have no idea what it really means to raise a toddler.

Maybe you've spent some time babysitting, or helping out in the nursery at church. You think you have some idea how to make children mind. But until you have your own, you don't have a clue.

A toddler is a trying little creature: they are adorable, they give hugs, and they are just starting to understand things. They can have preferences in food and toys, and they are getting acquainted with their desires. But they do not understand that screaming and running around at the park is acceptable, while doing the same thing during a prayer at church is not. The concept of "wait" is pig latin, and "patience" is meaningless.

The other thing to know about toddlers? They all have distinct personalities and react to different things. Some babies pick up on sign language and use that to convey what they want. Some scream. Some cry. Some throw an all out tantrum.

Personally, mine uses sign language when he's calm, but if he's already upset, he screams. Loudly.
So when he doesn't want to be strapped in the buggy at the grocery store anymore, he screams and cries and, if he can get close enough to a shelf, tries to knock things off.

And, before you suggest that when he throws a tantrum I should pick him up and leave to teach him a lesson, I must ask you for your time-turner. Because I don't think any mom has time to leave and come back every time her child decides he or she isn't pleased.

I do take a little joy in knowing that you will one day understand this, because if you ever have children of your own you will rethink nearly all of what you believed prior to motherhood. And I hope that you find a group of supportive mom friends like I have to assure you that no matter how you choose to discipline and raise your child, you are still a good mom.

A real mom of an actual toddler

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