Public Tantrums: The Mindset That Will Change Your Response

There are times when I’m out and about, either by myself or I have my 4 kids with me, and I hear a child somewhere having a tantrum. There is a moment of relief to know that this time it’s not my problem. I am not the one getting stared at and embarrassed. There is a moment of pride in my ability to raise such wonderful children who are behaving nicely. But I quickly have to remind myself that I am not a perfect parent of perfect children, and it’s probably just a matter of time before MY children are the ones screaming.

Maybe your kids are angels on outings, or like my children… it’s about a 50/50 gamble any time you decide to take them out in public. Recently, my husband and I wanted to check out the sales that were going on Black Friday. We didn’t have a sitter, so we figured they would survive for a quick trip. It was evening, all the hustle and bustle had passed… so we can’t even blame it on chaos. They were fed, they were clean, but they were OVER it. Pretty much as soon as we got to Target. 

Like I said before, we are so proud of ourselves when they do choose to behave. We walk through the store with a cart literally filled with children, and people always have to gawk. The prize winning phrase “you sure have your hands full” is heard at least 11 times… and we’re proud.

Yeah we DO have our hands full, and we are so good at it. But on the days when they choose to be tiny monsters, we want to act like we simply don’t know them. Maybe we are helping them find their misplaced parents, who obviously have no idea how to raise mindful and well mannered children. Poor parents. 

But we aren’t fooling anyone. Everyone knows they’re ours, and WE are the ones floundering trying to just CHECK OUT! “Yes I know you picked out this ornament… and we WILL take it home. She seriously just wants to SCAN IT! This kind lady isn’t going to take it!” Please tell me you can relate. Please!

As my husband and I fake smile at people who are fully entertained by our screaming children… {no joke, all 4 of them were crying at the same time on Black Friday} I remind myself of this: somewhere in this store, someone is hearing this and feeling relief. Relief that they aren’t the ones getting looks of utter shock that we would even attempt to take 4 tiny children into a store with other people in it. Relief that, for that moment, their child is behaving. And most of all, relief that they aren’t the only parents who at times feel like they have no idea what they are doing.

Because if I’m honest, that’s what feel the most relieved by. That I’m not the only parent who is at their wits end trying to calm a toddler who has no concept of having to scan and pay for something before we take it home. I’m not the only parent who avoids the toy section at all cost yet the child still sees Mickey Mouse on a greeting card and all hell breaks loose. 

No one is perfect. Children included.

So whether you are the one with the screaming child, or the one that is just grateful it’s not your turn, remember you aren’t alone. And you definitely aren’t the only Mom who desperately wishes every store just had a stinkin’ drive thru!




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