To feel like breaking down when other mums are critical

(165 Posts)

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flatwhite Fri 30-Aug-13 14:24:41

Hi there,
I just had an awful experience at local council run leisure centre where I had taken DS1 age 2 yrs 11 months to soft play. I also had DS2 age 4M with me in buggy.
I think already off to bad start as DS1 has habit of late bedtime and needing to sleep in afternoons unless he is with childminder who has been away last 2 weeks (bring on the Valium...!!!).
So DS was tired but thought I would try and avoid afternoon sleep by stopping at leisure centre for lunch and soft play..(we had already been to singing thing in morning)
So DS insists on wheeling in his dolly size buggy..
We enter soft play and he manages to busy himself for about 20mins before being able to push open non child proof door into foyer of leisure centre where there is a cafe.
I figured he was hungry - I perhaps should have ordered food the minute we Arrived - I took a chance and paid consequences..
So I join queue - 1 lady making order and having leisurely chat with canteen lady. Another lady behind her.
DS runs out of cafe area and into main foyer and up stairs and is basically all over place.
I can't see him clearly from back of queue so move to other side and ask another staff member behind till area if I could make an order. 2nd lady in queue tells me there is a queue and I say I can't queue as need to watch son. 2nd lady tells me to stop standing still then and to "go after my child" and "control him". Lady behind till continues to serve oblivious to all this.

I go and retieve DS from swimming changing area, speak firmly to him and return him to cafe. Then I apologised to canteen lady for asking to skip queue adding that I hoped she could understand my predicament. She got quite defensive saying "we need to have a queue here to keep things orderly" she also said " Yes weve all been there" in a rather unsympathetic way when I continued to state how difficult it was to order food and watch DS in open uncontained space.
By now both DS's screaming +++.
I realise need to cut my losses and go home as need to wait to order food them long wait for it to come..
I realise left dolly buggy in soft play and rush in to retieve it leaving crying DS2 in cafe area.
DS1 rushes in ahead of me and jumps into soft play. I locate buggy with another child and claim it. Mum holding this child as I extract buggy from child's hand - child was holding quite strongly so I had to pull a little - all the while could hear DS2 screaming outside door. Mother with child totally loses it With me and tells me "not to snatch". I explained I was anxious that I had left my baby unattended ( mumsnetters please don't judge me for this latter faux pas- there were a handful of mums and kids in cafe area and did not feel baby at risk of being kidnapped over the 60 sec period I thought I'd be away!!)
Mother says "it doesn't matter ( re unattended baby) you don't snatch!"
I felt totally feel at my wits end and grab Ds1 and buggy and make a run for it. I was feeling totally desperate and persecuted from all angles.

DS1 playing up again on walk across cArpark and I really shouted at him again prompting lady from hotel next door to come out and shout something critical or even abusive at me but I was walking so fast did not make any any attempt to listen. But I must have been shouting quite loudly for her to get that angry!

But overall 3 diff women all had their share of telling me off over a short time and all because of my anxious and prob seemingly aggressive reaction to fear DS unsafe..

Whole experience left me feeling like I was an ineffectual and even dangerous and aggressive mother who needs professional help!!

I wonder whether maybe sometimes I should not take out both kids on my own as I as am unable to contain DS1.

(Note sorts of things don't happen to me very often - not usually aggressive person, just utterly exhausted from 2 weeks no childcare and very active and curious toddler)

But the criticism from others really added ladel of salt to the wound!

I also could not help feeling quite pissed with leisure centre for not being more childproof and also sympathetic.
AIBU?

kungfupannda Fri 30-Aug-13 18:05:01

Do you have more than one local softplay? Can you drive to one?

I used to go to a very big one, and found it quite stressful as soon as DS2 was mobile. It was just too big. You couldn't keep an eye on the kids while queuing for food and the toilets were a fair walk away.

I found a tiny local one in a leisure centre and it's lovely. The tables are all round the play area and the café is about 20 feet away so you can see them while queuing.

It's actually quite a pleasant, restful place to go!

Kaekae Fri 30-Aug-13 18:05:39

I say F**k them all, you don't know them from Adam so why worry about what they think? If anything I would say toughen up and in the future don't let judgey strangers talk down to you!wink

Katkins1 Fri 30-Aug-13 18:20:47

I don't think other Mums/women were criticising her parenting or her, just the way that she dealt with that particular situation.

Kids of that age are very challenging; add a baby in to the mix and its hard. But there's no excuse to be rude, jump the queue ,let your child run around in a busy place, leave your baby unattended, be unkind to another child and shout so loudly at your children that some-one else comes out to see what the fuss is.

If this were a young mum, single parent (assuming you aren't because you have a new baby, though I could be wrong), or some-one who looked like they were struggling even more then they would be judged even more.

So : YABU. And this thread is making me cross. You handled it badly, put them to bed, move on, and learn for the future.

NorfolkIngWay Fri 30-Aug-13 18:22:01

Some 3 year olds respond better to a choice.
So reins or hold buggy when in a queue or near road.
You must enforce this every time. Don't cave at the first protest.

Think about what things are important and work from there.
Mine non negotiable ones were:

Sitting at the table to eat.
Safety near roads, holding buggy or reins on.
No running off or reins on.

Your children need you to be in charge .Do you have a HV that you could talk to get some support ?

Have also done the quick exit with child under arm "Smile and wave"grin
Tomorrow is another day OP.

insummeritrains Fri 30-Aug-13 18:24:26

I will never understand other mum's who watch and are critcical of situations like yours - it will be them and their DC next week!

wine and cake

Tigresswoods Fri 30-Aug-13 18:26:44

Feel for you. Xxx

Goldenbear Fri 30-Aug-13 18:32:35

I agree with Boffin and there are some very smug posts on here. I mean people have not lived if they think you were 'incredibly rude' - bloody ridiculous!

Fwiw, I don't think you were rude at all in trying to retrieve your property- you explained that you had a baby to return to and the other Mother was totally obstructive. You have a lot more patience than me!

Equally, a bit of empathy in the queue wouldn't have gone amiss. I agree with whoever made the comment about grumpy, middle England moaners at the leisure centres.

Goldenbear Fri 30-Aug-13 18:34:51

Katkins - it's making you cross? Why?

HaroldLloyd Fri 30-Aug-13 18:40:23

I've had a similarly awful day with my ds's op. I had three people from the same group come over and have a pop at me for one incident.

Some people are just dicks.

Filofax Fri 30-Aug-13 19:00:59

You have my sympathies OP, mine are same ages and the early years I was often close to tears after outings.
See if there are any cosy softplays near you that are just for babies and toddlers.
Always have food in your bag.
Have a look at Jojo for wrist straps and they do little life rucksacks which are reins in disguise.
I like to give catsbum faces a cold hard stare.

whistlestop Fri 30-Aug-13 19:08:24

Goldenbear Fri 30-Aug-13 18:32:35
I agree with Boffin and there are some very smug posts on here. I mean people have not lived if they think you were 'incredibly rude' - bloody ridiculous!

Not a single poster has said she was 'incredibly rude'. Some people have said she was rude/lacking in manners, to which the OP agreed.

I'll never understand why people make stuff up on here to try to reinforce their point.

flatwhite Fri 30-Aug-13 19:17:01

I just want to challenge comment from someone re being "unkind to another child".
I don't remember it like that at all! A child had my child's toy. Her mother gave me permission t come and retrieve it. I did so - but had to exert a little pressure to release it from other child's grasp.
I dot think that is being unkind - perhaps I pulled too hard yes but i wouldnt go as far as saying being unkind
Sometimes it can be like Chinese whispers! shock. A bit out of hand.
Thank you so much everyone for all the support and advice.
I am no angel I know. I just panicked my son was running amok and unsafe and dealt with things awkwardly. I think I came off worst though - and my poor DS who I hope is not too traumatised by my exasperation!

BoffinMum Fri 30-Aug-13 19:19:47

You don't have to justify yourself here. We've all had bad days and children running amok. Where is it written that we have to get it right all the time? Would these women judge their dad as harshly? Next time choose to spend your day in a more laid back way and your kids will pick up on it and calm down too. They don't need activities or soft play - just veg out a bit and have fun. xx

Fakebook Fri 30-Aug-13 19:31:50

Sounds like a bad day to me!

Never leave the house without a snack and drink.

If your instinct tells you that one of them is tired and will play up then don't take the risk of taking them somewhere without a rest first.

Could you get him a scooter with a scoot'n'pull rein when he's tired?

mrsfrumble Fri 30-Aug-13 19:37:18

Nothing but sympathy from me. My son is 2.9 and 'spirited' shall we say, and my daughter is 10 months. We've had many days like the one you describe. It makes me so sad that there seem to be many people who would rather tut and criticize than actually help.

It's easy to say that you could have handled it better or not bothered with soft play at all, because hindsight is a wonderful thing isn't it? I expect that - if you're anything like I was when Dd was 4 months - you were just so pleased to have made it out the house at all that you were trying to make the most of it!

My one piece of advise would be to persevere with the sling. If you're not comfortable or confident with the one you have then see if there's a sling library near so you can find one that does work. I have a Connecta which is brilliant because it takes about 30 seconds to get the baby strapped into it then I have my hands free to peg it after the absconding toddler without having to abandon Dd.

NervousLaugh Fri 30-Aug-13 19:39:02

Pretty sure I live in a parallel universe sometimes.
'Ds ran out the cafe' so your 2.11 legged it across a room where people carry boiling drinks and hot food. 'Into the foyer area' where he could have chosen to run out the entrance/exit door. 'And up the stairs. Out of sight' and you only went after him when someone told you too?? Has it occurred to you that when you 'finally retrieved him in the swimming changing area' that he could have quite easily come to some serious harm?
You've had a bad day, you have my sympathies. But, please do as others have suggested and hold hands/use a double buggy or reins, for your sanity as well as your Ds' safety.

nancerama Fri 30-Aug-13 19:40:28

You've had a bad day. We all have them. If I don't start out 3 paces ahead of DS he overtakes me by lunchtime and I spend the rest of the day playing catchup and making daft decisions. You might feel a bit daft, but you're unlikely to see these people again and no one died.

DS hated reins too. I bought him a little life backpack and he used to swing from it, thrown himself on the ground, spiral around. I took him to a field and trained him to get used to it. It's a godsend in queues or waiting to cross the road and I stuff it with snacks and drinks.

Have a wine and a long hot bath.

cory Fri 30-Aug-13 19:49:34

What I found with the buggy was that it worked at this age if used for very specific purposes. When we went to the shops she would walk most of the way, but just before we got to the Coop we would stop, at the same point every time, and she would go in the buggy. Not willingly, but eventually she learned that this is what we do in this particular situation. A bit like teaching them that you always wear a seatbelt in the car. So she was still getting her exercise and learning how to walk nicely, but in very specific situations I kept her under restraint.

FixItUpChappie Fri 30-Aug-13 19:50:09

Sorry your having such a crap day OP.

Mine are of similar ages - really the 2 year old is too young to be out of arms reach of you in a public place TBH. I manage this by keeping DS2 in a carrier/sling - then I have 2 hands free and feel more physically capable of herding DS1 around at soft-play type activities. I keep my carrier in the undercarriage of the pram so I always have it handy.

DS1 is told he will either need to hold my hand and/or stay holding the pram or he will have to sit in the double buggy - end of. I am not shy about putting him in the pram when I am feeling just a bit overwhelmed too - he can sit and eat a snack while I shop etc. I don't give two shits what anybody thinks. At least he is contained and safe.

I also try to keep some fun little toys and snacks always in my purse for when I need to keep him occupied (bubble, raisins and yes chocolate chips).

Don't be too hard on yourself - it takes practice to manage two young children and it can be no easy task I empathize.

morethanpotatoprints Fri 30-Aug-13 19:59:37

OP, ignore, ignore, ignore but for God's sake buy some reins for safety reasons. It is hard when they are little and those with little sympathy have probably forgotten how tough it is or have never had 2 v small dc to deal with.
it does get better I promise you, have some wine and think of ways to make it easier next time.

Goldenbear Fri 30-Aug-13 20:06:12

Ok I stand corrected 'rude' not incredibly so just 'rude'. Rude enough to get a poster 'cross' - talk about OTT. I am baffled as to why anyone would care to this extent.

Op there was nothing wrong with retrieving your toy, the Mother should've done it for you rather than telling you off.

whistlestop Fri 30-Aug-13 20:12:53

Sorry, OP, but the mention of him managing to push open the "non child proof door" did make me chuckle. It's a leisure centre, not a prison. Definitely time to take a bit more responsibility for his behaviour, but it sounds like you know that now.

Re-reading the OP - how come the childminder manages to get him through the day without a nap. Have you asked the childminder what they are doing differently?

HeySoulSister Fri 30-Aug-13 20:18:38

I wondered that about the childminder too?

toobreathless Fri 30-Aug-13 20:26:47

I don't think you are making life easy for yourself, I have two with a smaller gap.

If DS1 can't be trusted to run off he needs to be contained in double buggy. Always carry a snack. I would have found a table & highchair and put DS in with a drink, snack and small toy from bag then got myself in queue.

I'm afraid I would have not been happy if you had taken the buggy off my child in soft play. How was she to know it was yours? I would have been furious had you touched my child & tried to take it out of her hands. I agree you don't snatch and if you had asked nicely would of course have handed it straight over. In that situation I might have let my daughter have another minute with it.

I agree it IS hard but I think you need to develop some strategies for coping better.

Nicola19 Fri 30-Aug-13 20:27:36

Don't be so hard on yourself, honestly, just sounds like an awful day! I had many similar times with DDs, when they were a similar age, they are six and three now.

I found myself dealing with out of control behaviour from DD1 and decided one day i had to be proactive rather than reactive! Very firmly told her my expectations of her behaviour, what constituted good and naughty behaviour, linked with a very timely reward all the time. Reinforced all this constantly in similar situations like yours to rmind her and keep her on track. It was exhausting but worked!

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