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10 Things to Do When Your Husband Has a Mantrum

"F@*k! F@*k! F@*F!" my husband screams as he tries to reinstall the car seat in the back of his small car. My son, daughter and I are standing nearby, watching, before he takes the kids to school.

"Would you like me to help?" I say in a voice just slightly louder than a whisper.

"The frickin' seat belt is caught and I can't get the stupid car seat back in!" he shouts. He shakes the car seat around, not actually doing anything, and then continues to berate it.

"Daddy said the F-word," my son says.

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"Daddy's really mad at the car seat," my daughter chimes in.

"He's not mad, guys," I offer. "He's having a mantrum. Stand back. Everything will be OK."

I step in, grab the troublesome car seat and with one finger get the strap out that was giving him so much trouble. This takes me all of two seconds. My husband's eyes meet mine. He blushes, knowing he's just made a spectacle of himself. And we never speak of the incident again.

That's because my husband has just had a mantrum, which is the grown man's equivalent of a toddler tantrum. Like a toddler who can't regulate his emotions, my husband has temporarily lost his marbles all because he was frustrated with a car seat. One of the first rules of dealing with your toddler's tantrums is to ignore them and move on. The same can be said for your man's mantrum.

If you've mastered the art of dealing with your kid's tantrums, you're this close to being able to deal with your husband's mantrums.

In fact, there's a whole host of similarities between mantrums and toddler tantrums. Women may get accused of being moody, cranky or intense, but we don't lose our cool over a garden hose that won't recoil, a remote control that won't respond or a car seat that won't be easily installed.

If you've mastered the art of dealing with your kid's tantrums, you're this close to being able to deal with your husband's mantrums. Here are 10 things you need to do.

1. Accept it

If your husband is screaming at the bookshelf he has to put together from Ikea, he's having a mantrum. If he's cranky and moody, he's in a bad mood. You should ignore both, but it's important to know which embarrassing man behavior you're ignoring and why.

2. Be supportive

Your man will look like a cartoon character when he has a colossal meltdown over an iPad that won't charge, but it's important you be supportive by stepping away when you need to laugh uncontrollably at his behavior.

3. Avoid letting your husband see that you're videotaping his mantrum on your iPhone

He'll figure it out when you put it on Facebook. Hopefully by then, he'll find it as funny as you do.

4. Help your children to understand what's really going on

Children tend to internalize things. So make sure they understand that Dad isn't mad at them, Dad is mad at a hard plastic toy or car seat that can't fight back.

5. Don't tell your husband to calm down

Nobody has ever calmed down because someone shouted at them to calm down. So instead of telling your man to chill out, enjoy the fact that he's the one losing his marbles, not you.

6. Don't minimize his frustration

So no, don't ask if he has his period like he does to you when you freak out.

7. Try to avoid mantrum triggers

If your man is prone to mantrums, it's probably best to avoid all Ikea purchases, the parking lot of any Trader Joe's and taking your children to buy shoes. These are what is professionally known as mantrum triggers, and you want to avoid them at all costs.

8. Fix the problem

Once you see that your husband has exhausted himself with his mantrum, fix the problem that has him so frustrated. And no, don't tell him that you knew what to do an hour ago. Let him think this episode was really important.

9. Move on

Once your husband's blood sugar level has returned to normal and his mantrum has ended, don't bring it up. Mantrums, after all, are like Vegas. What happens there, stays there.

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10. Wait for the next one

Sorry, ladies, but chances are your husband will have another mantrum the next time he has to make the kid's lunch, braid your daughter's hair or put together a Lego set. But now that you know what to expect, you'll be better informed. And you'll remember to walk out of the room before you start laughing out loud.

Image via Twenty20/comomemira

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