I am participating in The Scintilla Project. You can read my first post here.

Prompt: Talk about a time when you lost your temper.

Everday is a battle to not lose my temper.

Before the day is done, and I can sit back on my couch relaxing with a bowl of whipped cream, Kate puts me through the Toddler Gauntlet.

On any given day, I’ve:

+held Kate while she screams in my face;

+tried to reason with Kate while she flails on the living room rug, kicking and screaming for milk, no wait, water, no crackers, no park, no, wait, MILK!;

+submitted to acting as Kate’s personal jungle gym while she pulls my hair, yanks my clothes;

+made multiple lunches only to have each one rejected and thrown to the dog;

+chased her down the street because she refuses to get in the car to go bye-bye;

+been that mom football holding her kid kicking and screaming because it’s time to leave the park;

And that’s just the stuff that happens before nap.

I lose my temper. So sometimes I go hide out in the bathroom and take a couple deep breathes. When I feel my patience expiring, guilt rises in my pit of my stomach just as fast as my annoyance.

Wouldn’t a good mother just smile when her toddler smashes a display at Rite Aid because I won’t let her stuff my diaper bag with Kit Kats? Would a good mother conjure up promises of Elmo’s World and Stacy’s Pita Chips to stop a crying jag because she just can’t take any more screaming? If I was a good mother, Kate wouldn’t have any tantrums because I’d anticipate her needs and desires and make her happy.

But I know that’s just not how it works. Twos tantrum because, well, they’re twos. Kate needs to push back at me, assert her independence, work to tell me what she wants.

So sometimes I’ve had enough. Sometimes I just need to step away. I loose my patience. I give us each some space, so we can both regain control so I can calming explain why we can’t steal from Rite Aid, in toddler terms.

I lose patience because I feel I’m doing something wrong, I’m loosing, I’m not good at this.

But in the middle of that screaming fit, when I sit down on the floor next to her and rub her back in soothing circles, I think, this is hard. And after she stops kicking and lifts herself off the ground and into my open arms, I hug her against my chest and think, I am doing my best. We hug and kiss. I talk about using our words. And I wipe the slate clean.


Sarah is a thiry-something wife to an engineer and mother of three. She loves teaching aerobic and cycling classes, learning to shoot with her DSLR in manual mode, and drinking coffee.