The Knowing Smile

The other day I went on a lovely autumnal walk with my husband (Mr P) and my youngest son (DB2). The sun was shining, the sky was blue, the trees were a mixture of greens, oranges and browns and the leaves were falling. It was made even more beautiful by the fact my two-year-old son did not have too many melt downs.

We are in full-blown toddler tantrum mode at the moment and it honestly can be awful. I look back to the Sunday just gone and DB2 decided he wanted to play on the altar at church during the sermon. He doesn’t care that the reverend is in full flow and the congregation engaged. No, he is determined to reach that altar. So, as he had already run down the aisle like an Olympic sprinter, I chased after him probably looking like the manic and embarrassed mother I was. Eventually, I caught up with him and tried my best to quickly grab him. He was not going to make it that easy though. He did all the things every child does when they don’t want to be picked up. He went floppy, thrashed about like a freshly caught fish, tried to hit me, headbutt me, screamed, etc.… He was doing all this near enough to the front of the church, so all eyes (even if they didn’t want to be) were on him and me. He is strong and all 5ft 2inches of me does at times struggle when he is like this. But, like so many mums, I will not be beaten by a two-year-old. I did eventually get enough of a grip of him to get down the aisle; all the while smiling on the outside and cursing on the inside. I have to say I tried my best to avoid eye contact with anyone, so I didn’t have to be met with any judgemental glares. My church is great though, and usually when this does happen there are those that will see the funny side and laugh out loud and the reverend did make light of it as he was addressing everyone, which does ease the embarrassment and guilt slightly. I did feel mortified though because this wasn’t the only time he tried to do this on Sunday. By the end I did want to curl up into a little ball and cry, because I felt there would be those judging me as a mother for letting my unruly child behave in this way.

I do joke that I brought this on myself, because with my first son (DB1) I was so smug at the fact he didn’t go through the terrible twos. He didn’t have a proper tantrum until he was nearly four. I thought the terrible twos were a myth. How wrong am I now and I am positive it is thanks to my arrogance that DB2 has become a typical terrible two-year-old.

My walk in the park though showed me that there are so many mums that go through this. As we were heading back to the car we came upon a mum with two children. One was holding her hand looking like a picture-perfect child. The other was being held underneath the mum’s arm screaming and thrashing about just as my son has done so many times before. She saw that I had my two-year-old and the knowing smile I gave her let her know that I knew exactly what she was going through. We exchanged a hello and asked each other how we were. This made me feel so much better, so I am hoping my understanding smile made her realise that she is not alone and made her feel slightly better about the screaming child under her arm too.

This smile is so important. Mums try their best, but most children go through a terrible period at some point. My eldest has left having his tantrums until he got older and even though he is ten, the teenager in him is starting rear its ugly head. So, if you do see a parent or a grandparent with a child that is having a meltdown, understand that the adult is trying their best and rather than judge, give the knowing smile of understanding and support. I promise you it will make a difficult situation so much better for the person going through it, because I know when people give me this smile I don’t feel like I am failing. I feel like I am one of many going through the ups and downs of parenthood.

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Thank you for your support.

Mrs P x x x

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