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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.

SmiteYouWithThunderbolts Fri 30-Aug-13 14:48:14

You poor thing. That sounds like a shocker of a morning and I'm not surprised you feel drained now.

Cup of tea, good cry and chill at home for the afternoon.

Reins are an absolute godsend for children this age with that much energy. My ds1 was a swine for running off and when he was 2 and ds2 was 6 months, I hated leaving the house for precisely this reason.

I hadn't been dating DH for very long when we were invited to his dad's milestone birthday bash. BIG extended family get together, lovely picnic, etc. Ds1 was EVIL all afternoon. Running off, throwing things, screaming, stole a bowl of strawberries that was meant to go in the dessert. I had to make a quick tearful exit when DH's aunt tried to distract DS and he responded by throwing gravel in her face. blush Never felt so mortified in my entire life. Off the back of that incident, MIL & I had a falling out that saw us not speak for almost 2 years.

Lilicat1013 Fri 30-Aug-13 14:50:06

Sorry, I cross posted with your reply about having tried reins. It might be worth persisting, maybe trying the ones shaped like a cuddly toy to tempt him.

My son refused reins but it isn't an option in his case. I wont leave the house without them as he tends to run in to roads. Pick a day when there is nothing you urgently need to get to and wait him out if he refuses to move. He will give up eventually.

neolara Fri 30-Aug-13 14:51:43

My dc3 was hideous at nearly 3. The tantrums and not bloody doing what she was told Ugh. It does get better. (OK, maybe not for a couple of months.) In the meantime, you probably just need to make it easier for yourself. Naps and CBeebies are your friends. Carry emergency biscuits for bribery. One outing a day may be enough. As others have said, reins may be a good investment. I had a bolter too - absolutely nothing I said or did made the slightest bit of difference in terms of getting her to stay by my side (and I am a fierce, stricty pants mummy who, as an ex child psychologist, thought I had a lot of tricks up my sleeve.)

And some people are just not very nice. Or maybe they too were having a very bad day and you were unlucky enough to get in their way.

justanuthermanicmumsday Fri 30-Aug-13 14:52:26

I Couldn't cope with reins that and I hate them. If you don't like reins stick him in double buggy when you're in queues. If he was tired he would have fallen asleep there too. Plus in bad weather they're all covered

I sympathise with you, and the lady saying we've all been there would infuriate me. Everyone's experiences are different and each child is different . I suppose this lady was a lot older than, you? So no she wouldn't know what you as a mother face now, women are expected to be superwomen in modern society .

Agree with last poster park is heaven with kids even library is great. Take snacks and even in library you can give your child some dry not so messy food.

Kids playgroups locally are better than soft play unless you have a friend or partner with you to help.

The soft play area should have been childproof a child shouldn't be able to open the doors and exit into the eating area.maybe get a complaints form and suggest it?

peggyundercrackers Fri 30-Aug-13 14:53:00

sorry but if ds1 wanted to run away i would have reins on him when i went out.

currentbuns Fri 30-Aug-13 14:55:47

Have you got a buggy board? That might be an option if he won't tolerate the reins?

MrsOakenshield Fri 30-Aug-13 14:56:06

if reins won't work, is it worth having a sling for baby so that you can use the pram for DS1 if needs be?

Otherwise, snacks and avoid soft play like the plague. Playgrounds are you friend!

BooCanary Fri 30-Aug-13 14:57:59

Poor you OP.
The trip was ill advised -I have done similar and kicked myself afterwards.
Soft play with a baby and toddler should only be attempted with other mum-friends (to watch the baby whilst you dive in after toddler), and only at optimum time of day (when DCs are not tired).

My DS was (still is to a certain extent) a bit of a 'runner' and used to play dead with reins on, so I'd have to drag him along - totally unfeasible! So I just had to choose my outings verrrrry carefully.

Most of us have been there (i'm another one who has cried in a shop!). Have a cuppa tea (or preferably gin), and don't try anything similar for a long while.

flatwhite Fri 30-Aug-13 14:58:52

This forum has really helped me take stock and realise I am sometimes really setting myself up and putting added pressure on myself and poor child more then I need to.
I rarely shout at him but sometimes feel pressured to when in public!

currentbuns Fri 30-Aug-13 15:01:28

Yes, there's nothing worse when you're already stressed than the added pressure of an audience!

pollyblue Fri 30-Aug-13 15:03:06

I have twins (now 4) and another child 2 years older and my blood still runs cold at the memory of the twins bolting in a split second in opposite directions across a car park, when I distracted by my older dc. I got reins grin I used either reins or the double buggy for them for a good year before they were 'tamed'. Seriously, sometimes you just don't have the necessary number of arms and eyes to keep on top of a fast determined toddler (or three).

Make life as easy for yourself as you can. Personally I think young dcs don't need as much in the way of 'organized' activities as we are led to believe - trips to the library/playground/park/picnics in the garden etc are all in my experience much easier than indoor activities such as soft play. And if things start to go wrong, it's very easy to up and go home. And yes, take plenty of snacks/drinks with you, for you and dcs, so you can avoid cafes etc when you're out.

pollyblue Fri 30-Aug-13 15:05:33

flat I also found that using a low, quiet, mildly menacing tone (think Ray Winstone!) bought the dcs to heel much more effectively than shouting.

ArtexMonkey Fri 30-Aug-13 15:07:19

Been there, done that -it is rubbish. As other have said, try a buggy board, and perhaps do less in the day. If you go to an activity in the morning, then a tootle round the park or some drawing/play doh/telly time at home is fine. I only ever took mine to soft play with other mums at that age, so that we could divide and conquer - one person queuing for food order, the other on ball pool detail etc.

uselessinformation Fri 30-Aug-13 15:07:19

You said he lies on the floor screaming when you use reins but better that than running amok and out of sight.

AdmiralData Fri 30-Aug-13 15:07:43

Arghh, I seriously feel for you. People are quick to pull up their judgy pants aren't they? I've got a serious anxiety disorder so just leaving the house with my very quiet and very smiley DS 5 months has me cacking my pants so I can imagine how you must have felt. I second other posters suggestions of a double buggy, reins, buggy board etc smile Other than that my only other suggestion is don't give two seconds thought to any fuckers who judge you or give their opinions and attitudes when it isn't wanted.

Munxx Fri 30-Aug-13 15:08:35

It's hard I know. I have 2 under 3 as well and I am close to tears most weeks!

For us, we do an activity every morning we are out from around 10-12 then home for lunch and naps.

Perhaps you could have a buy morning and then after lunch if naps won't happen you could have books or
DVDs for an hour or so? If we need an afternoon activity we then pop out to the park or just a little walk.

To be fair it has taken us a while to get our rhythm, my youngest is almost one. I have a double buggy but I also use a sling for the baby and a single buggy for my toddler. Or reins (she doesn't love them but I insist).

You'll be ok, be kind to yourself you're only 4 months into having two children.

Chippednailvarnish Fri 30-Aug-13 15:08:41

Maybe I'm reading too much into your posts OP, but your DS appears to be in charge?
Saying that DS insists on wheeling his dolly size buggy, he won't nap for you, he won't tolerate reins, comes across as though he gets his own way for everything.
You might want to start enforcing some rules now before you have a toddler and preschooler to deal with...

Munxx Fri 30-Aug-13 15:10:00

A busy morning I mean!

Also, our activities are all either toddler groups or classes. I am not brave enough for anything else solo!

saggybaps Fri 30-Aug-13 15:13:10

Get a secondhand double buggy, mine is a life-saver at times, otherwise my daughter would just bolt. She's just turned 3. She also just lolls about the floor with reins on.

Don't worry, we all have crap days.

usualsuspect Fri 30-Aug-13 15:18:06

I think a double buggy would help, then if he's tired he can nod off in it.

You can strap him in and bribe him to stay there grin

Munxx Fri 30-Aug-13 15:18:50

At least with the buggy they may both be screaming but yo can just run home quickly!

VestaCurry Fri 30-Aug-13 15:32:28

Lots of good advice from which I'm sure you'll choose what will work for you.

Parenting is a learning experience grin and when my dc's were small (2 year age gap) I definitely had the odd 'mad' outing where, when I got home, I wondered why the bloody hell I had handled things the way I had! Luckily I had my sister (who had had 2 children with a small age gap) to ring and moan to about an awful day, which was very cathartic as she'd always be able to recount some similar scenario she had faced.

We learn from these crapola days, do things differently next time and see if it helps. Put your feet up tonight with a cuppa or some wine and remind yourself that you are doing your best.

whistlestop Fri 30-Aug-13 15:32:28

I actually think that most of the criticism was due to your poor manners, as opposed to your parenting.

It was rude to try to jump the queue in the way that you did and I'm not surprised that the lady was cross with you.

The dolly buggy - the way your OP reads, the mother was holding her child, who was holding the buggy and you pulled it out of their hands.

I realise you were stressed and distracted - but the extra 30 seconds it would have taken you to say

"I'm so sorry to bother you but would you mind if I tried to get served before you?"

and "I'm so sorry, but I need to take the buggy now, it belongs to my DS and we have to leave now, please could you help?"

would have prevented you being told off by those people.

I had two under two and it was very hard, so I sympathise.

This is totally out of left field, and only anecdotal but I have noticed that the general public seem to be less tolerant of the behaviour of little boys - I only say this as I have 2 girls and my friend has 2 boys and they are all as boisterous as each other. Yet when we go out together people seem to comment on her children's behaviour and not mine (and that's not because my children are better behaved).

I may just have one of those 'don't mess with me' faces though!

whistlestop Fri 30-Aug-13 15:35:05

Sorry, I also think if a child is tired but you don't want them to nap then you need to keep things low key, especially after a morning activity.

I had this phase with both of mine when the nap meant a late bedtime and I would just keep things very quiet in the afternoon - marathon story sessions or a quiet DVD or quiet carpet play.

CailinDana Fri 30-Aug-13 15:42:59

Poor thing. Those women were so nasty - had I been there I would have offered to watch the baby/order your food/whatever to help you out.

Ok, some things that have helped me (I have two of very similar ages):
One outing per day followed by chill time
I never ever go to soft play without a friend- an extra pair of hands/eyes makes a huge difference.
Don't take a tired/hungry child into a stressful situation - guaranteed disaster.
No toys outside the car - having to look after 2 small children and keep track of a toy is too much.
Keep a carton of juice and a snack in the change bag for emergencies
Get a buggy board for ds - has been a total lifesaver for me
When kids do kick off don't ask for help from strangers unless desperat but accept offers of help. Pretend you're on your own- don't look around apologetically as you'll give an opening for the shitheads to criticise. Slow down your movements and lower your voice - it makes you seem in control and that makes people back off.
Make life as easy as possible for yourself. There is nothing wrong with just playing in the garden or sticking a film on for your ds. If an outing is going to stress you all out what's the point?

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