Over the last few months, Wallace has gone full-toddler. Occasional tantrums have turned into daily meltdowns that often include full-body freak outs, hyper-aggressive behavior, loud screaming, saying "shut up Jamie" (which is particularly painful as it reminds me of how I treated my mother) and shouting demands at me and Bryan. Meeting these outbursts with a loving reaction has become increasingly more difficult, so I am starting a new practice.
When Wallace has an intense moment and I find that I want to react by way of F-word, I have started counting to 30. Growing up, we are told to count to ten but when it comes to finding patience with an insanely wild toddler, ten seconds is not sufficient. I need 30, and not a rushed one-Mississippi 30, these circumstances require an actual slow-count with deep breaths 30. I have found that these 30 seconds often set the tone for the entire day. If I take my time and count, I become calm and change the energy in the room. After I pause for 30 seconds, the chances of snapping and feeling regret are replaced with an opportunity for communication and possibly even an eruption of laughter. Because sometimes having a tantrum is downright hilarious. I grew up in a home where screaming was commonplace so I spent much of my life communicating that way, which has proven not to be the best. I don't want Wallace to have that same experience and by counting before reacting, I am setting a positive example for communication.
Toddler meltdowns are the most trying motherhood moments that I have experienced thus far, and each day I work hard to be mindful. It's these split second choices that are woven together to create how one will remember their childhood. Do you want your children to think of your home as a yelling house or do you want them remembering a house full of laughter. Sometimes, 30 seconds can make all of the difference and I hope this inspires you to take the time to count.