To the mum who was asked to leave John Lewis because her child was having a tantrum…

Anna and Ollie

 

Anna and Ollie

 

Hang in there.

The article I read quoted you as saying that you were made to feel like a rubbish parent. I wanted to reassure you that you are not.

You’re a real parent.

Trying to placate a toddler or young child mid-tantrum is rather like trying to put fart putty back into a too-small container. No matter how discreet you try to be, the noise you are trying so hard to avoid will echo loudly enough to attract the unwelcome opinion or smart-arsed comments from others.

In the fart putty case it’s normally the children who are quick to yell out: ‘Mum faaarrrt-edddd!’ In tantrum-throwing children cases it’s normally either a) the parenting experts who haven’t children of their own but know everything about handling every possible scenario or, b) those whose own children were so dreadful once upon a time that their memory has blocked out every possible misbehaviour they may have ever displayed, leaving them with the ill-conceived notion that their child ‘never behaved like that.’

Group A, I admit, I once was a member of. I was once a parenting expert of great command. My mastery in child-related issues was unsurpassable. My expertise in the parenting field was, quite frankly, proficient beyond any other imaginable. Then I had children. My membership of Group A then swiftly ended.

And we all know someone from Group B.

My oldest child is now 23. My youngest is not much older than your toddler, having just turned two. To say we have experienced our fair share of tantrums in public places would be an understatement. In fact, one particular child would begin to scream every time we even approached the doorway of a store – and I’m talking ear-piercing, gut-wrenching, deep-from-the-bowels-of-his-belly kind of screaming. And yes, I know that bellies don’t have bowels.

But still, that’s what real parenting is. The magazines, the books – they all ought to have a disclaimer stating: ‘These articles do not in any way, shape or form exemplify what real parenting is like.’

The reality is tantrums in public places.

And the reality is also like this…

 

Ollie after he had put a tub of papier mache in his hair
Ollie after he had put a tub of papier mache in his hair

 

Paddy had eaten a tub of hot chocolate. He was adamant he was telling the truth when he said he didn't. I suspected otherwise.
Paddy had eaten a tub of hot chocolate. He was adamant he was telling the truth when he said he didn’t. I suspected otherwise.

 

Libby had discovered her brother's chemistry set when she was supposed to be having her afternoon nap. That blue stuff stayed on everything for ages.
Libby had discovered her brother’s chemistry set when she was supposed to be having her afternoon nap. That blue stuff stayed on everything for ages.

 

Or how about Joseph's blu-tac-in-hair episode? No, you couldn't just pull it out. Yes, scissors were required. Yes, half a dozen other children were watching. Yes, I am expecting them to play a discreet game of hairdressers very soon and find at least someone's beautiful locks completely butchered.
Or how about Joseph’s blu-tac-in-hair episode? No, you couldn’t just pull it out. Yes, scissors were required. Yes, half a dozen other children were watching. Yes, I am expecting them to play a discreet game of hairdressers very soon and find at least someone’s beautiful locks completely butchered.

 

The three youngest girls insisting they were leaving home in order to walk to Costa Rica from our home in Kent, England to find their real family. Despite our efforts to reassure them that we are their real family, they maintain otherwise. I told my husband I couldn't believe they were really going. His reply: "I can't believe you stopped them."
The three youngest girls insisting they were leaving home in order to walk to Costa Rica from our home in Kent, England to find their real family. Despite our efforts to reassure them that we are their real family, they maintain otherwise. I told my husband I couldn’t believe they were really going. His reply: “I can’t believe you stopped them.”

 

Or what about the time Ben and Steph tried to convince me they had chicken pox?
Or what about the time Ben and Steph tried to convince me they had chicken pox?

 

No, parenting isn’t like the magazines. It’s not like the books. Parenting is real. Sometimes it makes you laugh, sometimes it makes you cry and often it makes you think you’re utterly insane for even signing up to this journey in the first place. I’m sure I’m not the only one who can vouch for this.

To you and all us other mums who are dealing with the realities of parenthood day in, day out, I want to say:

“Hang in there, Mama. You’re doing well.”

#hanginthere

 

10 thoughts on “To the mum who was asked to leave John Lewis because her child was having a tantrum…

  1. haha I love this. I think we all need to share a more honest account of what parenting is like because like you say it isn’t always easy but you can normally find the funny side in everything, if you look hard enough :-)

  2. Ha ha I cant believe you stopped them, so funny. But yes I had no idea pre children that my perceived perfect kiddies would ever have a tantrum, I had such a shock now I look at Mums going though this and offer a supportive smile, its part of parenting isnt it?

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