Temper tantrums are common among young children, and although parents tend to handle tantrums in different ways — everything from giving the child positive attention to just sitting there — not many are brave enough to record themselves having a “mommy mental breakdown” during the outburst.
In comes Sarah Van Sickle. The personal trainer and single mom from Knoxville, Tenn., shared a heart-wrenching video to Facebook of her sitting in the front seat of her car, crying, while her toddler son threw a tantrum in the backseat.
“This is just a video for all the moms who feel like they’re crazy people when their kids have gone crazy,” she told the camera, with tears streaming down her face. She said her son had been screaming for 40 minutes — something he did “yesterday, and the day before.”
“He bashed his head on the ground and has bruises on his head,” she added. “And when you feel like you’re going insane and that you’re a failure as a parent, you just have to remind yourself that you’re doing the best that you can. And that you’re normal.”
“Somebody, please tell me this is normal, to be so frustrated and feel so guilty at the same time,” she said. “We are doing the best we can.”
Sickle said that mom life won’t always be easy — and yes, many parents “put up cute pictures” of their kids on social media, but “this is real life.”
“This is mom life,” she said, pointing to her son, crying. “This is the stuff we fight through and we go through because these babies matter and because we love them.”
“So any mom who feels they’re losing their ever-loving mind and keeps comparing yourself to moms who seem so perfect on social media, I’m here to tell you that this is what this is like. And it’s OK, and you’re OK, and we’re going to make it.”
The video, captioned “REAL LIFE: This is what a mommy mental breakdown looks like… ” was shared earlier this month, and so far has more than 3.9 million views and 87,000 shares. Although Sickle received her fair share of support, some shamed the mom for her parenting skills and suggested she should have been more to comforting her screaming child.
“Yes… there are break down, melt downs and tantrum times… that’s real. BUT, there’s also learning and discipline times too… even for 1/2 year olds,” one concerned mom commented on Facebook. “Not normal for a kid to just be screaming! Stop the car, check him out.”
Others suggested that the mom take a different, more positive approach to dealing with the tantrum: “Take a breath, the easier you make it on him, the easier it will be for you.”
Others told Sickle to “forget about herself” when these incidents arise, as it’s not about her.
“Well, you better just forget about yourself and try to figure out why he acting like that? Where are you taking him? Who is babysitting? I’d be listening (and) closely watching if my child acted out like this!” Take a deep breath distract him with something you know he loves n when he’s calm TALK!”
Still, many parents found the video to be a relief and admitted they went through similar issues with their children.
“My heart felt thoughts are with you because l have the same thing with my two-year-old son. I honestly thought l was the only one.. so your video has brought to the forefront of what a lot of parents experience and given me the peace of mind.”
“No one should be shaming you…Parents should be encouraging you, praising you and giving you the peace of mind that any parent deserves. Be kind to yourself and know that you aren’t alone, because l now feel l am not alone and remember you are the only one that knows you and your child and any other judgements are a shame on that person. ”
Sickle said that she was “sick of people just showing the perfect side of parenthood on social media,” and the day she filmed that video was “one of the worst days” she’s had as a mom. But the support she received from other parents who opened up about their hardships also made her thankful.