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I was very young when I had my first son, and the struggle to show the world I could be a good parent was an everyday battle. When he was little, I would try to avoid any public opportunity for him to make a scene because I just could not let the world know that I really had no idea how to be a parent. The second that he would cry over not getting a toy or fuss because his snack bowl was empty, I would scoop him up and we would run out of the situation as fast as possible. The only way that I ever knew to confront these tantrums was to run, and never tell a soul about the hours we would spend in the car crying to each other; him for wanting that toy, and me because I didn't know how to get through these moments.

I remember the incident that changed my life like it was yesterday. He was three years old and we were at a local farmer's on one of the busiest days of the season. There were people everywhere and my car was parked at least a half mile away. Most of the trip was successful; we sampled fruits and looked at the animals, and got lots of yummy treats. But then my worst fear came: he saw the toy tractor display and HAD to stop and play. I told him no and explained that it was not that kind of display. Instantly, he screamed and threw himself to the floor. I panicked. There was no way my 4'11" frame was carrying this 30lb child that far kicking and screaming; I had no choice but to batten down the hatches and deal with this one.

Without a word, I scooped him up and took him outside away from the crowd. I conjured up a tone in me that I did not know I was capable of and told him that this fit was not acceptable, and we were going to stand right there until he was done. There was no running to the car this time, there was no going home to his toys; we were going to get through this. Not long after, a delicate looking woman who I'd never met came to me and ever so sweetly said, "Good for you, stand your ground. I wish had your patience with my own children." 

MY patience? What? I do not have patience? I am scared. I don't know what I'm doing, and I certainly don't know how this is going to turn out. All of these thoughts were going through my mind, but something inside of me clicked. My son looked up at me with his eyes red and nose running; but he was not screaming and the tears were gone. I asked if he was done, and he simply said, "yes." That was it. We went on with our day, and he was perfect. There were no arguments, there was no pleading, and he was just happy.

Looking back, I am so thankful for that woman. At one of the most unknowingly crucial moments in my life, she was there to give me the reassurance that I needed to know that I was not alone. She also let me know that it is okay to let these things happen. Maybe you will get looks and maybe people will make comments, but you are not alone. Every mother in the world has struggled with moments like these, and you can't let the idea of what others may think or assume effect how you deal with your own child. Stay strong, stand your ground, and know there is light at the end of every tunnel.

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