Bad Mums’ Club: The Tantrum Tipping Point

So what is The Bad Mums’ Club? It’s a collection of posts by bloggers on our failings as mothers. Of course, we know we’re not really bad mums, but I think it’s important to highlight all the imperfect stuff we do, as well as the amazing rose-tinted moments. It’s good to keep it real, right? At the moment, The Bad Mums’ Club consists of me, Morgana from But Why Mummy Why, Aimee from Pass The Gin and Katie from Hurrah For Gin (Can you tell, mum bloggers like gin?) but really, everyone is welcome. If you’re a blogger and fancy writing a Bad Mums’ Club post, you can link it up by heading to Aimee’s blog Pass The Gin this month.

I'm a member of the Bad Mums' Club

The Tantrum Tipping Point

Picture the scene: I’m in the kitchen with my three-year-old daughter, getting ready for pre-school. She’s already refused to get dressed, has barked that she wants “MILK NOT WATER PLEASE MUMMY” and is now watching Mister Maker on the iPad (I know. Tsk! TV before pre-school…)

I’m boiling the kettle to make myself a tea. “Can I have toast please, Mummy?” she says, not even looking up from the crepe paper octopus being made on screen. “Yep, of course,” I reply as I pop bread in the toaster and head to the fridge. “Oh. Sorry,” I say. “We’re out of jam. Just butter OK?”

Just then, time stops. Everything goes into slow motion. She glances up at me, and I wonder how she is about to react. This is going to go one of two ways:

1. Her face will crumple, her shoulders will sink, her chin will jut out and she will say (shout) in her whiniest voice: “I WANT JAAAAAAAM!” She will possibly also throw herself dramatically off her chair and onto the floor, where she will wail and pound the floor with her fists. And repeat “I WANT JAAAAAAM!” 47 times.

2. She will frown, think for a second or two, and then as she goes back to watching her TV programme, say quietly: “OK, Mummy.”

This moment – these slow-mo few seconds of time – is called the Tantrum Tipping Point. You have no idea which way things will tip, and you pretty much have no control over it. Or do you?

For me, distraction is the key. Some of my favourite ways of distracting my daughter at the Tantrum Tipping Point are:

  • SINGING. “We’ve run out of jam! We’ve run out of jam!” to the tune of Three Blind Mice would work.
  • SHARP INTAKE OF BREATH. Smile while doing this (so as not to scare them) and then say something like “You will NEVER guess what! I’ve heard Peppa Pig doesn’t like jam!”
  • LAUGHING. This usually sounds more manic than jovial but laughter can diffuse any tense moment.
  • POINTING AT SOMETHING. The classic ‘look over there!’ trick. I often point at something on the TV and ask a question about what’s happening on it.

Or, alternatively, y’know, just let the tantrum play out. Pick up your cup of tea, sit down (preferably in a sunny spot) and stare out into the world outside, thinking about nature and wildlife. And Brad Pitt. Mean? Probably. But sometimes, it’s the only way…

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Psst! If you liked this post (and like the blog) then I would love it if you headed over here and voted for me – I’ve been shortlisted for a Brilliance In Blogging award in the Writer category… which is TOTALLY AMAZEBALLS (and a bit of a shock) but if I want to become a finalist, I need your vote! Thank you!





  1. May 5, 2014 / 7:54 am

    Oh yes, this is very familiar! LOVE the picture. Noo loved to throw epic tantrums in shopping centres. xx

    • Alison Perry
      May 5, 2014 / 8:46 am

      The shopping centre ones are the best. Oh and some of the wobblers she threw in Butlins were pretty special!

  2. May 5, 2014 / 8:10 am

    Hee hee! Oh this rings so true! I’ve become a master of distraction over the years – my jolly performances rival Mr Tumble’s 🙂 Such a great post Alison. I really love the picture too! Xx

    • Alison Perry
      May 5, 2014 / 8:47 am

      It’s a fine art form, isn’t it? Thanks for reading!

  3. May 5, 2014 / 8:12 am

    haha – YES! We had a similar experience yesterday when The Chunky Monkey didn’t like the fact that he lost at dominoes… bottom lip was out, head down on chest, and my desperate distraction was “OH MY GOODNESS – THAT MEANS YOU’RE THE CHAMPION OF NOT WINNING!”

    • Alison Perry
      May 5, 2014 / 8:47 am


  4. May 5, 2014 / 10:39 am

    Ha this did make me chuckle. I was nodding along – although in our case it’s peanut butter rather than jam. #badmumsclub

  5. May 5, 2014 / 2:31 pm

    Fabulous Alison – i love the tips and am totally going to use them. Singing bad news may make you look like a nutter but who cares if it works :))
    Great post and congrats again on your bibs noms – fingers crossed for you xxx

  6. May 5, 2014 / 5:37 pm

    I am a big fan of manic laughter which over compensates for what is going on. And is generally accompanied with a sweaty top lip and psychotic eyes! Brill post #badmomsclub x

  7. May 5, 2014 / 7:43 pm

    Oh yes, I’m familiar with The Tantrum Tipping Point! I tend to favour smiling through the bad news to make it seem OK and fun, or the distraction method. My 4yo has never been that much of a tantrum thrower, but my 20 month old is already making up for this…! #BadMumsClub

  8. May 5, 2014 / 9:28 pm

    Oh, this ‘advice’ (can i call it advice?!) has come JUST at the right time! Bear has recently started having the mother of all meltdowns & i’ve been going crazy figuring out what to do? Brilliant post Alison 🙂 x

  9. May 6, 2014 / 9:31 pm

    Oh yes, the tipping point. Nerve-wracking waiting to see how it goes. I also try to distract with silly songs.

  10. May 7, 2014 / 10:13 am

    I read these and get scared about what is to come with my 1.5 year old, but they make me laugh sooo much. Voted for you. xxx

  11. May 8, 2014 / 8:48 pm

    I’m afraid that no amount of distraction could head off a tantrum from my four year old if its coming! I guess it just depends how much sleep he got the night before… Me singing in particular just fans the flames of his anger!! (I guess I won’t be auditioning for X factor any time soon!) Great post! #badmumsclub

  12. May 8, 2014 / 9:28 pm

    fab post.

    not a lot will stop my 2 (5 and 3) from tantrumming …. which seem to increase by the day.
    My favourite today was Ben (5) stropping about being on the naughty spot while Noah (3) laughed and said “Silly Ben being put on the naughty step, you silly ha ha ha” …. talk about fueling the fire!!

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