Adults Have Tantrums, Too

Adults have tantrums too Maine Doulas.png

Adults still have tantrums, too. I mean, there are rarely tears streaming down a colleague's face with snot and fists tight, seething because he or she is overtired. But, as adults, we still fall prey to all the same things our kids are learning about daily: frustration, anger, disappointment, competitiveness, a growing sense of self-worth, jealousy, fear, shame, and loneliness.

Sure our tantrums are not rolling around on the ground, yelling and hitting our fists, but does this sound familiar?

You and a co-worker have the same responsibilities, but routinely, they do not complete them, and you are left to make sure things get finished. When you address it and ask, "Did you know you were supposed to do this?" Perhaps they say well, sure, but no one is really going to make me, so why bother?

Translation: Nanny Nanny boo boo, you can't make me!

Or this one...

A friend has been MIA for sometime, and upon reentry into life, it's hard to miss they have undergone a drastic change which enhances their appearance. Everyone wants to talk to them. To their face, the friend gives a compliment, but after he leaves, negative comments fly in the group. "It totally isn't natural, if you know what I mean."

Translation: You can have that toy, I didn't want to play with it anyway!!!


It isn't a seamless comparison, but the point is that adults aren't perfect, we still make mistakes, and we are not that great at regulating our emotions even when we know better.

The hard part about emotions is that they are real. Whenever we feel them, and in whatever form they take, they are real. Telling them to go away rarely ever works.

And as adults, this is with the benefit of having a fully developed frontal cortex that helps regulate our feelings and reactions!

When you have an 18-month old who does not want to wear gloves, it is tough to help them understand that in the winter in Maine, they need to wear gloves outside! Or, the daily trial of your child wanting something, and being frustrated they can't have it.

Our children are trying.

They are trying our nerves, but they are also trying. Trying out new skills. Trying out sounds and words. Trying out new choices and seeing what happens.

But when our kids get to the point where they are in a tantrum, it isn't like talking to an adult who makes a snide comment to a co-worker - you can't change their behavior by calling them on it. In fact, you can't do much.

The options many parents have tried when kids have meltdowns are:

1) screaming back at them

2) moving them to a different location to have their meltdown

3) stare at them and wait until they are done

4) love them through it

I had no idea what it meant to love someone through a meltdown until I experienced it. It was the first time I could see that my child had zero connection between her brain and her body when she was flopping on the floor.

There was nothing but anguish.

It wasn't done with malice.

She didn't have a goal in mind. She didn't even remember what the problem was in the first place.

She was overwhelmed, and I had a choice: I could leave her there to go through it alone, or I could stay and go through it with her.

It just so happened that day I had patience. It just so happened on that day I was rested, and able to turn off my parenting lessons, and I could sit with her while she was mad and sad.

Young children are not giving us a hard time. They are having a hard time. And any logic that we would use on another adult simply won't work, and it isn't appropriate.

Our kids are not co-workers, or friends, or strangers we meet in the community. They are future adults who have no clue how to exist in the world, and we are the people who help them.

Some days, we can say, "Please get down off the table." and they get down off the table. Easy! Some days, they stomp and scream, and buck when we move their body for them back onto the floor.

Part of me wonders what would happen the next time we caught an adult having a moment of being particularly unreasonable or crass, what if we responded like we do to young kids and ask instead,

"Wow, it sounds like you have some big things inside you that need to get out. Do you need a hug?"

Holiday Traveling With Baby

The holidays are finally here

That means plenty of family gatherings to bring you back and forth across county and state lines this season, with your new baby in tow. 

Holiday travel is challenging enough as one adult, a whole family including a new baby isn't for the faint of heart. Traveling with your baby can become stressful pretty quick, making your journey over the river and through the woods to grandma's house an adventure you're dreading. 

A little extra preparation goes a long way when it comes to traveling with baby


Packing a complete diaper bag might be the most stressful part of holiday traveling. Instead of overthinking your baby supplies, consider what will be available at your destination that you probably don't need to pack. You should bring at least two outfits for baby per day and plenty of diapers, wipes, bottles and extra pacifiers. Keeping a separate bag next to you in the car will keep certain items easily accessible like a diaper, wipes, hand sanitizer and water. 

Keep your bag organized so you aren't left rummaging through a cluttered diaper bag one handed. Packing your baby outfits in separate baggies will keep them clean in case something spills inside the bag and keeps tiny socks and accessories from getting lost. 

Long Car Rides

Car rides are boring for everyone, including your baby. Pack toys or distractions for baby to stay occupies that aren't too big or soft that could create a suffocation risk. Take turns spending some time in the back seat with baby keeping them company. Bring some stories to read to your baby on long car rides and keep your emergency bag nearby for any unexpected messes. If you can, travel during times your baby is normally sleepy to keep them from waking up cranky when you finally arrive at your destination. Before the big departure, make sure your baby's window is equipped with a sun shade and your car seat is installed correctly. Babies should be in rear-facing car seats until about age two, which definitely makes it easier to tend to them while you're in the back seat and they're buckled in. 


Navigating an airport with your baby might be an expert level parenting exercise, whether you're ready or not. TSA has a way of making air travel a little more complicated, however they do have some accommodations that will make checkpoints with baby a little easier on parents. That being said, plan to incorporate some extra time into your schedule for TSA checks, because your baby items must be meticulously inspected by security. Keep your baby's carry on organized, nothing in the basket under your stroller, and your baby dressed in easy to remove footwear. Freezing baby food puree flat in little labeled baggies can also double as ice packs in your diaper bag. Make sure your little one has their pacifier, bottle or nursing during takeoff because little ones are more sensitive to changes in cabin pressure. 

Traveling with your baby is nothing to panic about. 

Don't rush, take your time, and roll with the punches. 

Don't sweat the small stuff, the more upset you get the more fussy your baby will be throughout your holiday experience. 



A Week of No School With a Baby and Toddler

Having a toddler and a new baby at the same time has a laundry list of challenges. 

Several hours of school during the day keeps your toddler occupied and lets you manage housework and baby care without being completely overwhelmed.

Until school is closed over an extended holiday break. 

Cue dramatic and ominous music. 

Getting used to the school routine, it is a terrifying thought that you'll have to entertain a toddler with cabin fever while trying to balance everything else on your plate. 

It's bittersweet because you miss your tiny tot all day while they're at school, but it's so stressful to find the balance to get everything done on your own and still feel sane at the end of the day. 

Don't panic, it'll be okay.

Your postpartum doula is a big help while your little one is home on a holiday break. She can take over newborn care throughout the day while you give your toddler a little more attention. She can help take care of them too, fixing snacks and reading them a story while mom and baby are taking a much needed nap. 

Get a bag of tricks together. 

Have a survival kit ready for the big holiday vacation. Fill a tote with plenty of "rainy day" activities like puzzles, coloring books, and crafts. For your own sanity, keep the crafts mess-free wherever possible. Use the tote as a reward for good behavior if your little one is getting particularly fussy during their vacation. 

Keep them on schedule wherever possible. 

Kids love predictability, believe it or not. Wake them up at the time they usually get up for school and keep their day on schedule to avoid shocking their systems with a few days of freedom. If you aren't sure what the class schedule looks like during the week, ask the teacher! Give your toddler snacks, story time, and naps at a predictable time during the day. This will be a huge weight off your shoulders and your toddler will have an easier time transitioning into their week long break. 

Call in reinforcements!

Your household isn't likely the only one in your family to be home from school, chances are you have some relatives feeling cooped up in the house for the week. Call up some relatives to spend the night and help you keep your toddler entertained while you get a little extra help with your baby care. A trip to grandmas can even be a fun trip for your little one while you get the opportunity to straighten up the house for your holiday get together. 

Head into the vacation break with confidence!

You got this. 

Armed with some helping hands, some activities and a strategy will take the stress out of your toddler's holiday break. 



What's at Play with Those After-Meal Naps? Your Thanksgiving Experience ByTrimester


Sounding strangely like the substance which drains Superman's powers, tryptophan has long been the scapegoat for a long post-dinner nap on Thanksgiving. But are there other things at play?

According to the New York Times, the amino acid tryptophan "is a precursor for the brain chemical serotonin, which is associated with healthy sleep". Unfortunately, for your uncle dead asleep in front of the Bears/Packers game, turkey doesn't contain any greater amount of tryptophan than other meats like beef or chicken. And while tryptophan on its own could make you sleepy, turkey contains many other amino acids which limit the effect.

So what's going on? Why are your family members spread upon the soft furniture like the sandman got carried away?

Consider the feast of the day. On a day when loading up your plate three or four times before the dessert course even makes it to the table is not only acceptable, but encouraged, it makes sense that everyone feels a bit sluggish. Add to that a glass of wine or a seasonal brew. Oh, not for you? You're pregnant, you say? Well, have I got a story for you!

  • 1st Trimester: If you're just starting this great adventure, your body is busy creating the entire life support system for your baby. This includes growing the placenta. As your metabolism increases, your blood sugar and pressure lower. Then add to that whatever excess you can manage around the meal+hormones+emotions = Hello naptime!


  • 2nd Trimester: This trimester you may feel a renewed sense of energy. You might have adjusted to your new hormones, and be in a sweet spot with the size and shape of your new belly. You might feel like you can fit just one more piece of pie and shuffle around for that family football game, but don't be surprised if they find you in a bed of leaves by the third quarter.


  • 3rd Trimester: As baby grows, there are more demands on your body. Your sleep at night may be disrupted by practice labor or frequent bathroom trips. In general, you are just feeling a bit slower and sleepier. So the indulgences of the day are a perfect excuse for a well-deserved nap!

Wherever you are in your pregnancy (or parenting!), you deserve a rest! So take advantage of the extra hands, leave the dishes to your dad, and put your feet up. Just let them know,  "My doula said I should probably take a nap today"

Your body will thank you.

Happy Thanksgiving!


3 Things: what are you thankful for?


I had to sit for a few minutes to remember my first Thanksgiving as a new parent. Once I did, oh boy, the memories really flooded me. I have always longed for the formal gathering of extended family; the long table decorated with an overflowing cornucopia, sparkling cider in champagne flutes, steaming platters and bowls being passed between distant cousins. Our family holidays are usually more scarcely attended but not any less warm and loving.


My son was born in the beginning of November 2011. The birth wasn't what we were anticipating (is it ever?) and we ended up with a longer than expected hospital stay. The afternoon we returned home with our five day old baby, my partner had to return to work in another state for two weeks. So having him home for Thanksgiving made the occasion seem more special. We were many things in those first few months; tired, full of joy, scared of doing it all wrong, starry-eyed, and thankful - completely thankful for this little baby. As I look back on the two of us, still learning about our new son, and ourselves as completely transformed humans, I am sending a little note of "thanks". 

Here are three things I am grateful to those new parents for, these four years later:


It has come and gone and come again over these past few years, but the laughter over burnt lobster stuffing and adventures in infant potty learning have certainly made it more interesting. 


There was a lot of advice given and many stories shared. Thank you for always searching for your own path and learning what worked for you as a family. Your children are stronger and brighter for it.


It was out of your comfort zone, but you took that newborn class when your son was two months old. You met others who were in the storm with you. They helped you see the calmer waters on the other side. You pulled each other into the life boat and sailed on. You formed a community; mothers, fathers and friends.

Wishing all you Maine families a warm and joyful Thanksgiving!