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To feel like breaking down when other mums are critical

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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.

whistlestop Fri 30-Aug-13 16:46:17

Have you tried the backpack reins or just the traditional ones? I have a little life backpack that needs a new home, you can have it free if you think it would help?

KatoPotato Fri 30-Aug-13 16:47:28

Sounds like a horrid stressful day, but It's all one hour closer to bedtime! I'd second the reins and the afternoons at home if you've been out all morning.

Just trying to understand what happened here ^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. ^

Do you mean he ran upstairs and you didn't go after him straight away? Obviously I can't picture the place but I'd have been straight after him and It would have been hometime for everyone!

Chalk this one up to a bad day and try to relax, can you have a wee treat for yourself tonight?

cory Fri 30-Aug-13 16:47:51

ANy planning ahead helps at this stage ime. Explain to him what is going to happen, explain what the rules are, explain what you are going to do (now we will put the reins on, now you will have to wave bye-bye to the slide).

Very soon he will (I assume) be going to playschool and then to school. His life will be a lot easier if he has already got used to, as a matter of course, that adults are in charge and that small children can't actually enforce their will against a grown-up who has made up her mind. It will just make it a happier experience for him.

Floggingmolly Fri 30-Aug-13 16:57:20

For next time; remember none of us could stand in a queue and "watch" our constantly moving toddlers either, you need to hold his hand hmm
I can see why you got little sympathy from the cashier, tbh...

everlong Fri 30-Aug-13 17:08:42

wine for you tonight!

Horrible day.

You need to make life a lot simpler for yourself.

Take them out after his nap or first thing. Take a packed lunch. Use a sling and a buggy. Forget the dolly pram.

And remember this stage will pass eventually

AmberLeaf Fri 30-Aug-13 17:10:52

Another recommendation for wrist strap reins here.

The ones that go around the body encourage that 'swinging' thing IME! and the wrist ones are better for older children and children who dont like feeling restrained.

I had a runner and the wrist reins were essential.

One strap around your wrist and one around his, leaves your hands free to push the buggy etc.

flatwhite Fri 30-Aug-13 17:13:44

Omg wrist reins sound like an excellent idea.. Will explore

everlong Fri 30-Aug-13 17:14:09

I think the toddler needs to be harnessed in a pram so the OP has full control. I've used those wrist bands and they are horrible when the child decides to have a full blown strop.

At least when getting from A to B he will be safe, baby fast asleep in sling?

RowanMumsnet (MNHQ) Fri 30-Aug-13 17:18:37

(Sorry to butt in) flatwhite we've replied to your emails, but your email address is bouncing back! Could you please update your MyMumsnet account to include a current email address? Thanks.

(Sorry for hijack)


HeySoulSister Fri 30-Aug-13 17:21:22

In what way do you expect the leisure centre to be 'childproof'?

DanicaJones Fri 30-Aug-13 17:21:27

LOL at Bowlersarm dc throwing veg at other customers at M&S grin

Idespair Fri 30-Aug-13 17:23:02

They are at difficult ages - toddler and baby, very hard.

Get the into a double buggy, both strapped in so you can do things. Also carry reins with you for 2yo and never let your 2yo run off out of your sight. If he tantrums on the reins, he will at least be safe. Also avoid leaving the baby unattended by having a sling or baby carrier if necessary.

Only go to places where you can maintain control or both of them. Very small soft play for eg. I used to go to one which was the size of a room in a house when mine were this age.

Forget about the people who you encountered when you were having a nightmare.

And remember it will get easier and they will probably play very nicely together in time!

AmberLeaf Fri 30-Aug-13 17:28:29

everlong, I dont think harnessing a nearly 3 yr old in a pram is the best idea, he needs to learn to walk in a sensible manner, that wont happen if he is always in a buggy.

My son had many a strop while using wrist reins, I never found them an issue. In fact they stopped him running off [which is the point]

A 3 yr old having a strop while harnessed in a pram isnt exactly nice either, they are generally too big for a buggy at that age and Ive seen many a 3 yr old doing the stiff arched back thing trying to protest at their incarceration!

He needs to learn not to run walk nicely, reins will help do that safely.

I think I got my reins in Boots OP. They weren't expensive.

flatwhite Fri 30-Aug-13 17:28:32

Sure... Thanks!

thebody Fri 30-Aug-13 17:30:29

whatever method you use op you do need to restrain a toddler as that keeps them safe. end of. no argument with a 3 year old as you are the adult and he is the child.

however I defy even Mary popping herself to not get fucked off with kids sometimes.

be nice to yourself and maybe less ambitious. a cuddle watching TV is fine for an afternoon or a potter in the garden. kids don't need soft play and lunch really. keep it simple.

now shove them into bed and get a large glass.[[😄]{

everlong Fri 30-Aug-13 17:30:32

I get what you're saying amberleaf I just think the OP needs to make things as easy for herself as she can right now.

thebody Fri 30-Aug-13 17:31:39


WallaceWindsock Fri 30-Aug-13 17:32:13

I always feel like a horrid strict mum when reading threads like this. DD doesn't get chance to run off. She's 2.5 and walks everywhere as 5mo DS is in the buggy. I hold her hand just at the wrist so that if she lets go I've still got her. She is not allowed to let go until we are somewhere appropriate - park, playground etc. if she starts to tantrum she gets a warning to behave and if that doesn't work I fling her over my shoulder like a sack of potatoes until she stops.

I've had to be tough like this because we couldn't afford a double buggy and I don't drive so we have to bus everywhere. I knew I couldn't be in that position where I had to chase her and abandon the baby. She now has good recall grin and will come back when I call her so I do sometimes let her run about but never in queues or shops etc.

Write today off, plan a strategy be it reins or double buggy etc nd then stick to it no matter what. I don't be scared to lose it now and then. Before I had DS I once completely flipped out at DD after she ran into a road. She was petrified and I didn't hold back. She now knows that roads aren't safe and always points and says "danger mummy".

AmberLeaf Fri 30-Aug-13 17:36:03

This is what I used;

Boots wrist reins

AmberLeaf Fri 30-Aug-13 17:38:38

Oh, I agree with that everlong. Whatever it takes.

BoffinMum Fri 30-Aug-13 17:48:25

I am sure people think I am a terrible mother sometimes, but IMVHO you need to pace yourself and not take things to heart so much. Leisure centres and the like are full of miserable people waiting to be difficult IME - so I rarely use them. What I do like is to meet equally rebellious friends and moan collectively about being tired and simultaneously having a laugh about how difficult and bonkers our children are being while they play. If you pepper your days with more of that and less of the rule-orientated grumpy stuff you might feel a bit better.

I would recommend double buggies, wrist straps, toddler reins, 1-2-3 Magic and so on however, as then you can Have Dominion and the children will soon learn You Are In Charge and They Do What You Say, making life a bit more settled.

BoffinMum Fri 30-Aug-13 17:49:32

PS It would have killed the cats bum people in the queue to help, wouldn't it? FFS.

everlong Fri 30-Aug-13 17:56:18

I agree Boffin.
Obviously weren't MNetters wink

kungfupannda Fri 30-Aug-13 17:59:13

It sounds like a terrible day, OP. Have some wine and remember you'll probably never see those people again.

BUT I would suggest having a bit of a think about how you manage your own reactions when in stressful situations like this. I understand getting stressed and focused on your own situation, but I think you need to take a deep breath and remember that, in places like soft play, the other people around you are also trying to order food while keeping an eye on one or more children. So some of the people in front of you in the queue might have been trying to look in three directions at once at a 4, 3 and 2 year-old for example.

If I had been in the queue, I'd like to think I would have been a bit gentler with you, but I probably would have said "we're all in the same boat - sorry, I need to get back to my two asap" or similar, and not let you go in front, because I wouldn't have wanted to find myself in the same position.

If this sort of thing happens again, it's probably worth catching someone's eye and making some sort of "oh dear, isn't it a nightmare" comment. You'll probably find people more sympathetic (although still probably not amenable to queue-jumping!) if you acknowledge that you're not the only one in a bit of a stress.

Samnella Fri 30-Aug-13 18:01:32

Have a wine later when they are in bed. You had a bad day.

Personally, I don't do more than one activity a day especially with that age and for your own sanity don't try and drop the afternoon sleep.

If I am being totally honest I don't think you should have left a child of that age unattended whilst you queued for food nor dare I say expected to jump ahead of the queue. But I would imagine you weren't thinking straight as you were trying to do to much.

I did a similar thing once. DD aged 2 went missing in a very busy shop whilst we were queuing in one of those roped off sort of pathways to the tills. I was so worried about how I was going to turn round and push past all the commuters (all very sour faced as DD had been screaming) that I left 4 month old DS alone in the buggy whilst I hot footed after DD.

That was a classic case of doing too much and tired children.

Re: the buggy mother and hotel woman. They were unreasonable. Buggy woman should have forced the buggy back although perhaps thought it was the softplays.

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