My Little Bs Have the Big C

A Breast Cancer Blog For Young Women

Mommy Mondays: Dealing With a Toddler Tantrums While Undergoing Cancer Treatment


It’s official.  My advanced child is beginning his terrible twos early.  Just like his mama, he’s always been prone to the more dramatic reaction to things disagreeable but, it’s getting to a whole new level now.  In the last few weeks, Oliver has been extremely moody and very quick to react to something he doesn’t like.  I have always known that this day was going to come but to try to deal with it on top of everything that is going on with me right now is quite a challenge.

For starters, anyone with a toddler knows that they require a lot of energy and attention.  One thing that chemo deprives you of is energy and focus.  Hmmmmm…..whattodowhattodowhattodo?  For example, when Oliver wakes up in the morning, bright eyed and bushy tailed, we all better be ready to get up and entertain.  When dealing with my worst days of chemo last week, I could barely move much less entertain the little one.  It did not go over well.  It kind of looked like this.

Crying Devil Girl there is green in the head

He’s also in a phase where he gets frustrated very easily when he wants something and can’t have it, when we don’t read his mind, when something isn’t as exactly as he wants it in that moment even though it was fine the day before….  For example, yesterday he had an utter meltdown because I cut his peanut butter and jelly sandwich in half.  I always cut his peanut butter and jelly sandwich in half.  Always.  But yesterday, he freaked out.  I mean screaming, stomping, hitting…the works.  Yesterday was a good day for me so I had the capacity to deal with it.  But if it was one of my bad chemo days, I’m not sure what I would do.

One solution is to have help on hand on my bad days.  This is good so I can still see Oliver but others are here to help me with those situations.  The other is to ship him off to Grandma and Grandpa so that I don’t even have to hear or deal with it.  Because sometimes, no matter who else is here, he just wants mommy.  And I don’t know if I can always do it.

It makes me feel like a bad mother even though I know that by delegating, I’m being the best mother I can be right now.  But I don’t have a lot of strategies to deal with toddler tantrums to begin with.  We are figuring it out as we go.  So how do I do this when I feel like total crap?

I’ll take any and all suggestions.  Besides giving him up for adoption, there are no bad ideas (I think).

One of Oliver's first tantrums at 12 months.  Doesn't it look like fun?

One of Oliver’s first tantrums at 12 months. Doesn’t it look like fun?


2 thoughts on “Mommy Mondays: Dealing With a Toddler Tantrums While Undergoing Cancer Treatment

  1. Oh man, I know that face. First of all, the best mommies ask for help and lean on their network (and I’m preaching to myself here, too;) I know I can’t understand the weight of what you are feeling physically (and emotionally for that matter) but I’ve been encouraged by the tips in the below article (especially the scenarios they play out…) Can Oliver climb out of his crib? I have definitely put my little guy in crib with some toys and books if we both need some quiet time (even if he’s screaming). Also, when I’m sick, it has worked to make a pillow fort with some toys and books so I can lay down but we can still play. I hope this is helpful!

    • Katie,
      I love the idea of a pillow fort!!! It’s brilliant! I will look at the article you shared and let you know how it goes. Thank you for the advice!

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