Picture this… Just last week me and my little mini-me went on an outing, to the local SPAR (does that count)? Anyway everything went great until we approach Spar and Minki saw the mini trolleys (super cute, but quite unpractical for grown-ups). She literally pushed me to the mini trolley section, grabbed one and then pointing her little finger to another mini trolley saying “Take that one Mama.”
By now a few innocent bystanders were already looking and I could see what they were thinking. It was as if the one lady’s stern face was saying: Discipline your child now. So, I tried to tell Minki that Mommy is taking the big trolley for lots of yummy stuff, but that didn’t resonate well. Her voice steadily raising and her little finger going up and down more aggressively I decided to lose this battle and just grab the mini trolley. Dodging the stern lady disapproving looks we entered Spar…
Me, bend over like the Hunchback of Notre Dame and Minki strolling around like the coolest shopper ever. More curious looks ensued… Saying to myself “Just get the basics Helene” I headed for the bread section.
Unfortunately Minki had the same idea and started piling enough bread to feed an army in her little trolley. By now the bakers were peering from behind the bakery, laughing and pointing at this little bread lady.
I tried to direct Minki to the next aisle, all the while silently repeating “You can do this, you can do this.” But then she saw the vegetable section (damn your perfect layout Spar)! And headed straight for the potatoes.
Throwing potatoes into her trolley like a madwoman, attracting even more looks… Still the end wasn’t near. She grabbed some sort of pumpkin (I’m not a MasterChef), and put them on her head. And then into her overflowing trolley.
I need to get her out of here now. So I literally put my foot down and said in my sternest voice: “Minki Mariette put down the potatoes!” She stopped and for one blissful second I thought: It worked, take that Nanny McPhee! But then her lower lip started quivering… O oh… I know the signs… wait for it… wait for it….
Ba-haaaaaaaaaaa!!!! Minki started crying at the top of her little lungs.
Trying to console her, even bribe her (with cheese curls) definitely not working. She planted her feet firmly in the ground and just stood there and throw a full blown tantrum. Now EVERYBODY was looking. The stern lady from outside, the baker, the managers and even the till cashiers were stretching their necks to see what was happening.
So this is how public humiliation feels I thought for a split second. Standing next to your two year old, surrounded by bread and potatoes, while she screams louder than Sharapova on the tennis court.
Nothing worked and then I turned to my last resort: The fake goodbye. “Okay Minki, Mommy is going now. Bye!” Didn’t work. Just got more crying. Pretending not to notice I walked away (just to get her to follow me), please please please follow me but noooooo!
So the Spar manager took her hand and console her which of course made me look (and feel) like the worst mom ever. I could feel the judgemental atmosphere. I was a failure as a Mom. As a human being and worst of all I didn’t even get to buy sweet chilli sauce.
My point: Public humiliation is real. Especially when you have a very stubborn 2 year old. Can anyone relate?
So what do you do when your toddler decides to publicly throw a tantrum, resist all discipline methods and draw all the attention to your (poor) mothering skills?
You become a ninja mom! Duh!
You know that mom, the one that stays cool, calm and collective while still being stern and in command.
How to channel your inner #ninja-mom:
1. Avoid hangry kids
Keep snacks on you at all times. Also be mindful of your toddler’s naptime. Hungry and tired toddlers are more likely to throw tantrums. Pretty much like grown-ups!
2. Chill Mama
3. Do not lose your cool
4. Say the magic words
See what I did there? #ninjamom
5. Go back
This is my least favourite part, but if you are planning to visit the grocery store again you need to talk to your toddler about what happened and explain that her behaviour was unacceptable. Role-play the situation and show her the correct way to handle the situation.
Don’t give in, don’t ignore and don’t reason during a tantrum. According to the experts.
And if all else fails… hold on to this:
According to Potegal’s research, the average tantrum lasts about three minutes.
1. Glance at a clock
2. Take a deep breath
3. Repeat after me:
You can do this! You are a #ninja-mom!
Helene (& Minki)