Being at home full time with both kids has been a challenge on a level I have no shame in admitting I was probably only half prepared for. When I was working full time, I’d always empathised with my SAHM mum friends, knowing full well that what they were doing must be bloody hard (understatement of the century much?!) When I left my career and took on a part time role, I understood a hell of a lot more what those friends had been talking about. Making the decision to stay at home full time wasn’t an easy one, and I knew that I’d find aspects of it seriously tough.
What I hadn’t taken into account was the effect it would have on my patience levels. One of the advantages to leaving the house to go to work, whether its a day a week or 5 days, is having the chance to allow you patience levels and general tolerance of toddler shit to refresh. The reality of this hit hard last week when I felt like I was on the verge of a nervous breakdown.
It wasn’t funny at the time, but looking back I suppose I’m able to see the (mildly) funny side of it…
The Stages of Toddler (and Mum) Meltdown
Stage 1 – Minor Indiscretion
“Oh FFS… How have you managed to spill that drink?! It was miles away from you, seriously. Please pay a bit more attention to what you’re doing.”
*15 second cry* “Sorry Mum, it was an accident.”
“I know, never mind. Let’s clear it up shall we?”
Stage 2 – Again? Are you for real?!
“Are you kidding me?? I just cleared up the last drink! We put this one even further away, how the hell did you manage to spill another drink??” *deep breath*
*45 second cry* *shouts* “It’s not myyyyyyy fault!”
“Well who’s fault is it then, the tooth fairy’s?!” *another deep breath* “Ok, ok. Let’s not cry over a spilled drink, just pleeeease try to be careful next time. Ok??”
Stage 3 – Deep breaths can do one
“Really??! Reeeally?! Play dough. You’re stamping play dough into the carpet? Have we never EVER spoken about what not to do with play dough?! You know that’s not ok, don’t you? Well??”
*Screaming and yelling* “You’re a mean mummy! You’re not using your nice voice! Noooooo! Don’t take the play dough awaaaaaaaaay!”
Stage 4 – Hiding in the bathroom
“Mu-uuuuuum! Mum! Mummy! Mama! MUM!!!!!”
“What??!! All I want to do is have a wee in peace, is that really too much to ask? What is it now??”
“Look at my bogey… did you know I have bogeys in my nose, and now there’s some on my finger too and… Hey! Don’t shut the door, I’m talking!”
*screaming and stomping* “You’re a mean mummy, I WANT DADDY!”
“Yeah… Well you’re not the only one!!”
Stage 5 – Might as well write off the whole day
“NO! I’m not putting the other shoe on! You can’t make me. I’m not wearing that coat, I want the other one! The one with the pink elephants! Arrrrggghhhh!!! I. Want. My. Pink. Elephant. Coat!”
“The pink elephant coat that hasn’t fit you for almost an entire year! Don’t be so ridiculous! Put your damn shoe on, you don’t want to wear a coat then fine! Don’t wear a coat!! Freeze, see if I care!”
“You’re horrible! I won’t freeze!”
“Here, I’ll help you with your other shoe.”
*screaming as though being murdered* “NOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!” *flailing and kicking, might even crack you a good one, kicks off the one shoe that was already on*
“FINE!!!! I give up, do what you like! All I was trying to do was get us out for some bloody fresh air! I try to do a nice thing for you, take you to the park and this is how you behave! Well I give up. I’m not going anywhere, you can stay in the house all bloody day for all I care.”
*Crying. On both parts*
Bad Mother Disclaimer
I’d like to say that parts of this are exaggerated, but the reality is that there are genuinely days when it just is this difficult. Aside from the sweary bits (which are mostly under my breath) life at home full time isn’t all roses and laughter. But who am I kidding, you guys know that!
It goes without saying that of course we care if our kids freeze. We wouldn’t be so emotional about everything if we didn’t care. While these days aren’t every day, the odd one here and there is enough to send mum guilt raging through our veins for days upon days afterwards.
So to the lady who sympathised the other day, and offered the very (un) helpful “Awww, it’s the terrible two’s eh?” I’m sorry.
I’m sorry I muttered “Yeah well she’s NOT two!” before storming away. It was just one of those days.
How do you handle your toddler meltdown on a bad day? Tell me I’m not the only one?!