Surviving Public Tantrums

Surviving Public Tantrums.jpg

A good friend of mine is running for local office. Originally I was hired to design her website and logo, but eventually became her Campaign Manager. It has been an amazing experience and though the election is on a very local level, it has all been a whirlwind of deadlines and fundraising events. And, I’m loving every minute of it.

I have an amazing support network at home, and though The Beau is deep into midterms this week, we still find a way to make it work. Of course, I am grateful for my mother in Annapolis who has been very flexible in meeting me at events to pick up Mae, or rearranging some of her plans so I can drop off Mae for early afternoon meetings with my regular clients, followed by late nights of campaign fundraisers and Meet and Greets.

Unfortunately, there are times when the stars do not align and Mae must attend a few of these events with me. You can always tell the level of hope I have that my child will behave–or rather, my predication that she will not–based on how well she is dressed.

And so today I share with you the secret to taking your child out in public:

Make them look super cute!

The puffier the dress or the bigger that Peter Pan collar on your daughter’s shirt–which perfectly accents her chubby cheeks–will yield less eye rolls and evil glares when your child throws a tantrum. I wish I were kidding, but let’s face it–positive parenting is all about strategy.

This week for instance has been an unusually happy week. Not that most days are not happy, but this week Mae has been most agreeable, silly, and in just good humor. And so, she has been in charge of all her outfits this week.

In fact, this morning on the way to our favorite bakery for breakfast she wore her gray pants containing printed numbers, a neon yellow striped shirt, and her ballet dress. It may not sound that ridiculous, but if you saw the combination you would believe me.

I’m all for letting kids make their own decisions, but some times I have to win the battle, and generally because I’m anticipating a battle in the very near future.

A few weeks ago my daughter had to go with me to a formal fundraiser for my client running for office. Thankfully my client is a mother and completely understands the struggle of balance, especially when my husband is in graduate school and not always available. My mother was out of town that week also, so I was left without backup support.

So, I dressed little Mae in a super cute embroidered dress my sister brought her from Paris. I put Mae in ruffly little socks, monogrammed bloomers and made sure the bow in her hair accented her outfit perfectly.

All in all, Mae was very well-behaved, but let’s be frank. At one point during the fundraiser–around the time I couldn’t stop sweating from the struggle to balance my professional self with my parenting self–a bartender at the event snuck over and asked if he could bring Mae a little plate of French Fries to keep her busy. To which I replied, "Hells yes!" There are some occasions where nothing matters more than keeping your child quiet and out of trouble.

And so she sat there for the rest of the event eating a plate of French Fries, announcing to everyone that she had catsup, and reading the copy of Corduroy I had brought along. Meanwhile, I continued to sweat profusely, desperately trying to keep her preoccupied while speaking with donors, tracking fundraising amounts, and gathering information about potential volunteers. Not the easiest task with a mini munchkin.

Days after I heard many reports about how sweet little Mae was at the event, how cute she looked running around shouting, "Hello," to all the attendees, and how funny it was when she interrupted both my client and the County Executive when each stood up to speak to event attendees–both occasions which nearly gave me a panic attack.

And so today I sit back and thank my lucky stars that for that one moment, Mae allowed me to pick out her outfit so I could convince people that her presence at my client’s fundraising event was not completely inappropriate, disastrous or a downright bad idea.