Motherhood Thoughts & Inspiration

The Day I Closed The Door And Walked Away

A photograph of a blonde haired, rosey cheeked and blue eyed 16 month old baby boy sitting on his bedroom floor and playing with some wooden toys - The Day I Closed The Door and Walked Away - Mrs H's favourite things

Before I became a mother I could never imagine turning my back on a crying child. Especially not MY crying child.

Of course, I knew that children had tantrums but I foolishly imagined that my children would be different. They would be angels. And they would never tantrum in public or get so upset that I wouldn’t be able to calm them.

I also thought that I would be a natural mother. That from the moment they were born I would know exactly how to soothe them. Why wouldn’t I? I was their mother. The woman who grew them in my tummy and gave birth to them. Surely that meant that my mere presence would be enough to calm them.

I foolishly imagined myself as Mary Poppins. I would always have a smile or a song to cheer up my children. No matter what the cause of their unhappiness. And I would be able to tell what was wrong just by looking at them. Because I was their mother. And I thought that was what mothers do.

But then the reality of parenting hit. And with it the reality of life

And this week has been full of the reality of life.

Little Miss H has had a nasty virus and Little Mister H has been teething. We’ve had a number of sleepless nights. I’ve had a migraine and we’re all feeling run down and generally rubbish.

And since the relapse in my anxiety and depression a few months ago my patience has disappeared. I get aggravated and annoyed easily. And then I run the risk of having a panic attack.

This is not helped by being stuck in the house and being unable to achieve much. And sadly, the combination of a poorly little girl and sleep deprivation has meant that I’ve been relegated to home for the past few days.

But today was meant to be different. Mr H was planning to take Little Miss H to see Paddington 2 at the cinema and I was going to have a chilled morning with my littlest man. Then in the afternoon, Daddy was going to watch the football and we were either going to go to the park or go for a walk in the woods.

Our children had other ideas.

Little Miss H didn’t even get to the first advert before she screamed and asked to go home. She was then tired in the afternoon and didn’t want to go out. But she did want to bake chocolate chip cookies.

I measured out the ingredients and got everything ready to bake. However, when I asked Little Miss H to go and wash her hands, she flatly refused and declared that she didn’t want to bake after all.

“You do it Mummy. I’m going to watch Strictly Come Dancing!”

Meanwhile, Little Mister H decided that naps were for wimps and he didn’t want to sleep. Even though he was clearly shattered. Eventually, I put him in his cot and after protesting for five minutes he fell asleep.

He woke up 20 minutes later… screaming. I brought him downstairs… screaming. I sat with him on the sofa and gave him hugs, tickles and kisses… but he was still screaming. He squirmed off my lap and lay on the floor and continued to scream.

I knew that he was exhausted. 20 minutes is not a long enough nap time for a 16-month-old. Especially one who had recently had a lot of disturbed sleep due to teething.

I picked him up and began to rock him. But once again he squirmed out of my arms. And as I attempted to lift him again he flailed around and hit his head. Yet, he still wouldn’t let me pick him up and he screamed and screamed.

I was beginning to feel my anxiety levels rising. And I could already hear the negative thoughts of self-doubt.

“You’re a rubbish mummy. Why can’t you calm your own son down? The son who adores you. You should know how to soothe him. You’re a failure. You can’t do anything right.”

Pushing those thoughts aside, I had no other choice but to persevere and to try to settle Little Mister H.

I began to wonder if he might be hungry. So I decided to try him with some food. I gave him 2 halves of a banana – he threw them at me and continued screaming. I wondered if he was upset that I’d cut the banana in half. So I gave him a whole banana. Again he threw this at me and continued screaming.

Maybe he’d like an apple? Nope, he threw that too and continued to scream.

Grapes?  They ended up on the floor. And… you’ve guessed it, he was still screaming.

His bottle of water met the same fate as the two bananas and the apple. And the screaming only seemed to increase in intensity and volume.

At this point, my last course of action was to change his nappy. He screamed and writhed all the way through the nappy change. He was like a child possessed.

After that, I brought him downstairs and popped him on the kitchen floor.

But his crying was getting louder and louder. And the more he cried the more anxious I became.

I could feel my heart beginning to race and I was starting to find it difficult to breathe. I was a few seconds away from a full-blown panic attack.

So I scooped him into my arms and marched up the stairs. I took him into his room and placed him in his cot with his favourite teddy bear. I also put his Slumber Buddies Elephant on.

And then I did one of the things I never thought I would do as a mother.

I turned away from my screaming son. I walked out of his room. Closed the door behind me and went downstairs to bake some cookies.

At that point, I was no good to anyone. I wasn’t in the right place to be a mother or a wife. I just needed to focus on something simple – breathing and baking.

So although I could still hear him upstairs, I began to mix the ingredients together. And as I added each element of the recipe I could feel my heart rate getting back to normal. I could breathe properly again. And I took full advantage of this fact by taking several deep breaths.

I had calmed down by the time the first batch of cookies was ready for the oven.

Eventually, I went upstairs.

Little Mister H was still screaming. But as soon as I opened the door he smiled at me and held out his arms. I lifted him up and gave him a cuddle. He snuggled into my neck and made kissy noises.

I carried him downstairs and held him to me. Eventually, it was clear that he didn’t want to be put down. So I put him in the carrier so that he was close to me and I got on with the washing up. Meanwhile, Little Mister H calmly snuggled into the carrier and closed his eyes.

I knew at that point that my son didn’t hate me. That I wasn’t a bad mother. But we’d both needed some time out from each other. And just taking 15 minutes apart had done us the world of good.

So yes, today I closed the door and walked away from my screaming child. But I did it for my sanity. Because I’m the cornerstone of my family and I’m important.

And sometimes… just sometimes… I need to put my needs first and walk away.

And knowing that, is what makes me a good mother.

 

24 Comments

  • Reply
    Alice | Letters to my Daughter
    November 29, 2017 at 10:22 pm

    It’s hardcore being stuck indoors for days on end & can definitely lead to needing some time out from each other. I have done a similar thing with my daughter when it’s just got too much. Well done for recognising it and dealing with it proactively, that shows great strength #BlogCrush

  • Reply
    Yeah Lifestyle
    November 27, 2017 at 10:45 am

    Sometimes the hardest thing to do is the best thing to do and having two young kids. you need to take that little breather to clear and refresh your mind. You come back as a better parent afterwards.

  • Reply
    Kirsty HF @ You Know You're A Mum
    November 24, 2017 at 8:24 am

    I’ve tried everything from reasoning to placating my kids when they’ve been in the midst of a tantrum and I quickly came to the realisation that ignoring them is the best way for us. Children need to learn how to handle their emotions and when they’re in the blind-rage of a tantrum, no amount of reasoning will work. We calmly put our children in a safe place, remove ourselves from the situation and let them burn it out. Works every time. When they’re letting their frustrations out, I look back on the events that lead to the tantrum and it’s usually because I’ve dropped the ball in terms of letting them get overly hungry or they are for whatever reason tired. It took me a while to use this ignoring tactic, but it’s worked so incredibly well. My eldest (2.5 years) rarely tantrums and when he does, once he’s had his ‘alone time’ we can carry on our day as if nothing ever happened! #BlogCrush

  • Reply
    Heledd @ yummyblogger
    November 23, 2017 at 9:01 pm

    I have to do this on a nearly daily basis!! As you said, I prefer doing this to losing my rag!
    And like you, pre-kids I never thought mine would have tantrums… how naive we were! Good on you for sharing and making the rest of us feel a bit better about doing it! Xxx

  • Reply
    Mudpie Fridays
    November 22, 2017 at 8:53 pm

    I do this with Monkey who is 5.5yrs sometimes there is no reasoning with him at all. All he does is yell at me. So if I don’t walk away I yell back. I don’t want to yell back. I think it takes a brave mummy to do this and I salute you for knowing and accepting what is best. xx

  • Reply
    Becky, Cuddle Fairy
    November 21, 2017 at 6:59 pm

    You did the right thing & I’m so glad that you know it! Honestly reading your post brings back so many memories of days like this with my kids. And I still have them but not with the tantrums as my youngest is 4 now. Hang in there, you are doing an awesome job xx

  • Reply
    Amy
    November 20, 2017 at 10:35 pm

    Some days for our own sanity we just have to walk away and have a few minutes!

    • Reply
      Mrs H
      November 21, 2017 at 4:02 pm

      Thanks for your comment. Absolutely. Sometimes we do just need to take a few minutes. Because being a parent is the hardest job in the world and we often forget that. Hugs Lucy xxxx

  • Reply
    five little doves
    November 20, 2017 at 9:44 pm

    Believe me, I have done this on more than one occasion, and it’s okay. When mine were newborn, 1 and 2, I thought I was going to go INSANE and when all three used to cry and I was tired and fighting PND and losing the will to live, I had to walk away for my own sanity. You are doing a great job, much love. xx

    • Reply
      Mrs H
      November 21, 2017 at 4:04 pm

      Thanks so much for your comment, lovely lady. Being a mum is bloody tough, isn’t it?! I think when you’re struggling with your mental health too then it is even more important to put yourself first and have some time out when you need it. Hugs Lucy xxxx

  • Reply
    Sinead
    November 20, 2017 at 8:41 am

    Parenting is so very hard. Those feelings of self-doubt seem to always be floating around. Toddlers don’t make things easier really. I often feel like I could throw in the towel! Hugs to us both! We’ll get there! 😉

    • Reply
      Mrs H
      November 21, 2017 at 4:08 pm

      Thanks for your comment. Absolutely, hugs to us. I often think that we don’t give ourselves enough credit. And we certainly don’t recognise that being a parent is bloody tough. Hugs Lucy xxxx

  • Reply
    Ami
    November 19, 2017 at 10:32 pm

    I think if we were honest we have all done this.
    When E was 6 months old hubs was working away and I was alone with her 24/7. I’ll always remember one day when all she had done was scream at me and by 8pm I couldn’t take it anymore. I laid her on my bed (she couldn’t roll) and walked away, shutting the door to just go into bathroom and clean my teeth. All I’d wanted to do all day was clean my teeth. In the time it took me to do that, she’d fallen to sleep, she slept all night and woke up a happy baby. Sometimes we just need those precious minutes.

  • Reply
    Laura - Dear Bear and Beany
    November 19, 2017 at 10:26 pm

    Parenting is tough and we’ve all had these moments where they are screaming and you can’t work out how to make them stop. You have to follow your instincts, you are his mum and the one in that moment. x

  • Reply
    Louise
    November 19, 2017 at 10:23 pm

    This was me today. In fact, I could have written this! Nice to read from another mummy x

  • Reply
    Sarah - Arthurwears
    November 19, 2017 at 10:02 pm

    I’ve definitely been there and I defy any parent of toddlers not to have days like this. It’s even harder when you struggle with depression and anxiety because you are simultaneously fighting with those thoughts that pop into your mind whilst trying to calm your child and work out what is wrong. I think you did the right thing just giving yourself some space, and it’s really helpful to read that using baking as a distraction can help in the way it did. Your instincts are bang on and you are doing a wonderful job xx

  • Reply
    Chantele
    November 19, 2017 at 8:03 pm

    Your totally right sometimes we all just need a bit of space. Ive had to do this once also and within 10 minutes he had calmed and I wasn’t as angry at him. I’m against controlled crying but as long as they are safe and it is only in extreme situations for a short space of time it is best for both patent and child

  • Reply
    Su Chanprasong
    November 19, 2017 at 2:00 pm

    It’s so hard isn’t it? But I agree that sometimes you just have to. Lovely post, Su x

    • Reply
      Mrs H
      November 19, 2017 at 7:35 pm

      Thanks for your comment Su. Parenting is really tough. And that is why it is especially important that we put ourselves first now and then. Hugs Lucy xxxx

  • Reply
    Christina - Ladybug Home
    November 19, 2017 at 12:55 pm

    You did amazing coping. Sometimes the best option is to just walk out of the room to just reset your mind and just breathe. If my husband is home, I have actually left the house for a walk when I hit the “I can’t do this anymore” point. I agree that sometimes a break from each for 15 min is best. You survived and did great. Thank you sharing your story.

  • Reply
    Claire - life love and dirty dishes
    November 19, 2017 at 10:58 am

    Oh honey, don’t ever feel aline in this. Only this week i cried in the school playground because everything got too much. A bad day doesn’t makd you a bad mother. Xxx

  • Reply
    Emma
    November 19, 2017 at 9:42 am

    It can be so tough sometimes and I think it’s great that you recognised that sometimes you just need to walk away from it for a bit. We can be made to feel so guilty for putting our needs first but it is this that helps us be the best mother we can be. An exhausted mum running on empty is not what we want to be. Sending hugs xxx

  • Reply
    Cath - BattleMum
    November 19, 2017 at 8:16 am

    I’ve had to do that on a few occasions with my son and even now at nearly 4, it happens. When the week has been long and frustrating, or if he’s in a full blown tantrum, sometimes the best thing for me is to walk away and let him get on with it before I explode. It does both of us good and it’s soon forgotten about. I’m sure every mum has had to do it once x

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