Breakdown

We've all done it.  We've all seen the mother/father with the screaming child and said a little prayer.

A little prayer for that poor parent trying to handle the situation.

A little prayer thanking God that for that moment that isn't us.

Maybe we judge, maybe we empathize - but we've all had an opinion.  We pretend we don't see, pretend we don't see - we walk by without making eye contact.

I know I've done it.  I've been the mother with the well behaved toddler who loved shopping.  The one who would sympathize with those other mothers all the while saying "thank God that's not me".

Then it happened.

Last month while shopping after work - complete toddler meltdown.  There was screaming - there were tears.  My perfect angel had turned into an uncontrollable little person.

I tried to calm him down.

I tried to bribe him.

I even tried a mini time out.

FAIL, FAIL, FAIL!

The screaming, crying and kicking only got worse as we got in the car.  As soon as we approached the front door he threw himself on the floor and screamed louder - those shrieking, piercing screams!

I broke.  I closed the door and try to compose myself.  The screaming baby on the other side of the door.

He began knocking and immediately my tears started flowing.

What had I done?  What kind of mother closes the door on her child.  I picked him up and held him tight even though he fought me every second.

I felt so much shame - staring into the eyes of my son.  I am supposed to be his rock - the one that protects him, the one that consoles him.  Not the one that shuts him out.

Eventually he calmed down, went to bed, but as I found out toddlers are not so quick to forgive and forget.  I received the silent treatment - no hugs or kisses for a couple of days and then life resumed like normal - even though the emotions of that night will be with me for a long time to come.

Hopefully I will be less quick to judge.  Less quick to say those little prayers in the grocery store.  Less quick to let my emotions get the better of me.


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16 comments:

Katharine said...

I will try not to be the person pretending to ignore them. Its hard not to look and them and know on some level that its only a matter of time until you are in their shoes.

Michelle said...

Ugh, don't you HATE it when toddlers do that? I've been blessed to not have Lane throw a tantrum in public yet, but she does it plenty at home! I'm just waiting on the day when I have to decide if I let her continue while people stare at me or if I try to get her to calm down...no idea which I'll choose in the moment!

Ali - My Suitcase Full of Tricks said...

I know how that feels. It happens to all of us. Some more than others. You did great knowing that you needed to shut the door and get a second of composure. My friend's daughter throws a complete meltdown almost every single day. It's horrible.

Minivan Mama said...

Oh those toddlers! This is when that saying, "What doesn't kill us, makes us stronger" is soooo true!

vinobaby said...

Ugh...hugs to you. A toddler tantrum tests even the strongest parent. I can vividly remember crying in the kitchen while Kiddo screamed in his room (I shut the door on him too). I do think sometimes it is better for both involved parties to step away from each other. It's okay.

This stage too shall pass. Hang in there.

Natalie said...

Awww don't be so hard on yourself...it's so hard to be perfect every single second. Don't let it get you down!

Mark said...

You opened the door again. That's all that matters.
You know he needs you. They always come back.
m.

Shellsea said...

I'm right there with you. I totally understand why this took a month to put into words. As mothers we carry so much guilt. Guilt over a child that throws a tantrum, guilt for needing a moment to regain ourselves and shutting the door. It can be heartbreaking when they stop giving kisses. Your a wonderful mom. I know it's probably hard with all the extra emotions going on to remember that!

jeands said...

Don't feet too bad, my guess mostly if not all mommies go through such ordeal. It's a tantrum phase, I know it's easier for me to said that right now as I'm not going there yet but I know eventually it'll come on my way too. I'm bracing for myself when that day finally comes. Can I ask you some help and advice then when it comes?

Just don't be hard on yourself.

Cam | Bibs and Baubles said...

Don't be so hard on yourself. Other people in your shoes have reacted far worse. The little people we bring in this world push us to the brink. Closing that door probably gave you a minute to breathe. We've all been there or will be soon.

Megan said...

Don't be so harsh with yourself - everyone has those moments!

JDaniel4's Mom said...

I had had to tell JDaniel that I need time to pray about what to do next.

glitnir76 said...

I think you did the right thing. Removing ourselves from the situation when our own emotions are running high is actually a good way to prevent worse reactions.

And the toddler will forget it (in much less time than us!).

Stacey said...

OMG-is that what I have to look forward to?? Right now Jonathan throws mini fits and I just sit there and stare at him until he stops. Sometimes if his faces get to be too funny, I laugh a bit too-I know-mean mommy, but those are the times if I don't laugh I will cry. Hugs sweet pea.

Shell said...

Toddlers can be so moody. Those tantrums happen to all of us at some point!

Anastasia said...

I have had those moments. But really sometimes it's best to compose yourself before dealing with the situation. It's better then overreacting.

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