Category: Motherhood

Tantrums! Sympathise, or mind your own business!

dealing with tantrums

You know how those kids who throw tantrums in public, plus their mums who completely ignoring them, get on your nerves? Especially at the supermarket! And you know how you look at the lady, thinking to yourself… ‘Oh God, not now… not today! Is she going to make it shut up, or then at least give it whatever it is it wants!’… you know how you react like that? Well, not long ago I was exactly like you. I never understood why she didn’t just punch that kid on the face, get it over and done with!… How could she let that naughty brat embarrass her in front of all those people and disturb everyone’s peace? And why didn’t she look at all bothered by the situation? Well, if someone had walked up to me then, and told me that ‘she’ would be me one day… I seriously would have laughed at them… ‘don’t be ridiculous!’, I would have said. As it turns out, joke’s on me.

Being a mum is one of the toughest jobs ever!…Wait, correction – IT IS the toughest job ever! See, a child throws a tantrum wherever, whenever, and for whatever reason. And there’s no prior ‘tantrum notice’ served either! I remember, not long after Imani started school, she threw this huge tantrum one morning. Manu usually dropped her at school, but on this particular day, he had to be at work earlier than usual, so I had the honors, we left home, got to school – all happy, all fine… or so I thought, out of no way… the mother of all tantrums! Reason? She wanted Papa to drop her at school, not me! Another time, at dinner – she doesn’t like her peas green… she prefers them white, they are less spicy??? – excuse me, what??? And am not talking silent, contained sobs, no!… these were full blown, screaming, pulling-hair, tearing-off-clothes, devil-possessed tantrums! And for what?

Anyway, where was I?… Oh yeah, supermarket lady! See, when that kid is screaming his lungs out, and she is completely ignoring… stop looking at her like she’s an evil, sadist, who’s ‘letting her own child cry so hard, and not even attempting to soothe him’. Please, just don’t do. You have no idea what her day has been like. This tantrum you’re witnessing, at 11.23 am, is probably the 57th tantrum of the day… and it’s not yet noon!! That mum is not ignoring her child because she doesn’t care. She is not evil, nor a sadist. She is not ignoring that child because she doesn’t love him… she loves him with all her might… and some! You know why she can’t be bothered? Do you also want to know why she’s completely ignoring YOUR judgmental looks?… For her sanity! Yes, all she is trying to do… fighting to do, is to remain sane!

What you don’t know is that, this lady probably has 2 more children waiting at home, plus a bloody dog, a house to keep tidy, laundry to do, dinner to prepare, a job she doesn’t even like, mortgage to pay, she has a horrid flu – but can’t take a day off from the kids to just lay in bed – those days don’t exist for mums! Plus, her youngest probably knocked over and broke the last bottle of her favourite wine that same morning, while fighting with the brother, and the damn supermarket doesn’t have it in stock anymore!

So cut the lady some slack, she has a lot to deal besides that tantrum… and your unsolicited sneers! Instead, try offer a sympathetic smile, the kind of smile that says, ‘I totally understand.’ If you’re the shopper who just took the last bottle of the wine she was after – give it to her, let her have it… heck, offer to pay for it! That’s the least you could do for bitching about her parental skills! Better yet, put down your shopping basket and go over there, punch that kid! NO!.. am kidding on this one – (don’t go round punching people’s kids, then blame it on me). Just walk over, ask the mum, calmly, if you can try ‘a trick’ you know to work for tantrums, if you get the green light, give the kid a ‘gentle scolding’… tell him his mum is very tired, and sad that he’s being whinny. Tell him that he’ll make her very happy if he calmed down. Try using the Santa trick, tell him Santa has started his list, and it would be a pity if he wasn’t on the ‘nice kids’ list. Kids tend to listen more easily to strangers that they do their own parents.

If your attempts fail, and the kid continues screaming, at least you will have tried. And guess who’s day you’ll have made just a bit better… even if just for the remainder of the supermarket trip?… the lady with the screaming child at the supermarket! You’ll have made her feel a tad better… and you know why? Because, she will know there’s one less pair of eyes judging her.

And then punch the kid, right on the nose! – Still a joke obviously 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

Why I am raising my kids to be feminists

The family

Before my kids, my loves were partying, shopping, food, sleep and a good G&T. I lived for these things, I lived for the weekend! ***reminiscing on the good ol’ days.*** Then one day everything changed – the day I found out I was expecting my first child… Imani. I had heard people say having kids doesn’t necessarily change you… unless you let it. Well, that’s total B.S! Believe me, nothing will change your life the way becoming a parent does! Maybe what these people should add to that statement is, it’s up to you how you view that change, for better or worse. Personally my little ones’ arrival changed everything… for the better! I thought I had love, more or less, figured out, until I held Imani on that Autumn evening. The meaning of that little word… ‘love’… changed completely then. The love I felt for this tiny little person was like no other love I had ever experienced. No words could describe the feeling that suddenly overcame me. That there… that was love. Pure, genuine love.

So back in 2012, here I was, growing a tiny human in me, a tiny being that was all mine, to care for, to protect, to mentor, to nurture, and to love. This was responsibility taken to another level. I prayed and hoped I would be the best mum in the world. I was so excited and terrified at the same time, but I knew I was gonna do everything in my power to nail this gig. I didn’t really care much about the baby’s sex… I just wanted a health baby. At my 20th week scan, the doc announces that the little person was going to be a girl! And that was a game changer right there!

See, raising a girl.. and raising her well, to me, was going to be the most challenging thing I will ever have to do in my life. Society dictates a girl’s future even before they can utter their first words. Girls are inferior to boys… never equal. They are seen as softer, more fragile beings. When you look at the most common girls’ toys, they are always along the lines of soft cuddly dolls, little pink doll houses, and anything princessy. Boys on the other hand, get ‘tough’ toys and machines! Cars and diggers, work bench and power tools, toy planes. Even when it comes to dress up play and costumes, the common options for girls are a princess… or a witch, while boys get to be firemen, pilots, policemen and super heroes. That’s where I have a problem with society! Why is society undermining my daughter’s capabilities! Why can’t society allow her to dream of greater things? Why can’t she be a pilot? A fire woman? A superhero? Why does she have to be a helpless princess trapped in a tower waiting for ‘oh so strong prince charming’ to come to her rescue? Heck… why can’t she be the one to rescue the bloody prince?

Well, I accepted the challenge that destiny threw at me, I am going to do my best to raise Imani to be a young woman who believes in herself, in her abilities… who will not be put down just because she was born ‘the wrong sex’! I will encourage her to be a go-getter, proud of being a woman, and not be held back because of the ‘what-ifs’ of life. I will raise BOTH my kids with this mentality. At bedtime, I repeat to Imani the same words, every single night, I tell her that she is a strong little girl who will grow up to do great things… and I make her repeat that phrase! Most of the time she whines… “Mama am tired, I’ll say it tomorrow”… but I insist on it. She might not understand why I insist on her repeating these words, they don’t even make sense to her, but one day it will click.

Please don’t get me wrong, I know she is still a child, and I know ‘children should be left to do ‘being children’… and of course I do not cringe when she picks her ‘Elsa’ dress – yes, she has one, bought it myself – for Halloween, as long as that’s what she wants, and not because someone has pressured her into it. If Teo wants to play with a doll – which he does all the time- I let him, even encourage it. If he wants to put on a princess dress… why the hell not! If Imani wants to dress like papa and play at ‘doctor’… nothing makes me more proud! I let my kids be whatever THEY want to be.

As for the Teo, I raise him the exact same way as I do Imani. I want him to grow up with the understanding that girls are just as brilliant as boys. That girls can do what boys can do… and probably even better. I don’t want him growing up thinking that he is superior to Imani… or to any girl for that matter just because of his sex. I will tell him that the world will try to convince him that he is better, he is more intelligent… but he should not let this blind his judgment. He should see girls, women as equals. I want for him to grow up to be the kind of man who stands up to defend girls and women whenever he sees an injustice towards them.

I will raise my munchkins equally… and raise them to see each other in this same way, from as early as now. I will not force them to be something else just because society says they are! And when that day comes, when they go out there to face the ‘big bad world’, equipped with the understanding that we are all capable of greatness… I will be able to, finally, sit back and watch them take over the world.

What are some of your parenting challenges? What do you teach your kids? What do you wish for them when they grow up?