Keep calm and carry on?

What’s that I see approaching on the horizon? Ah yes. . . that’ll be my wit’s end, and I’m nearly at it. Fellow parents, friends and followers, mothers of the world: HELP!

I have blogged about tantrums before. The time we trashed the craft shop springs to mind. But untill recently, they were the exception; not the norm. The balance is now shifting. Several times this week I have had to leave the room and take a few deep breaths to calm down.  It’s tantrums a-go-go in the Waterbirth Please household and the upshot of the past week has been the utter conviction that:

I must be a bad Mum. I must have gone wrong somewhere.

Friends re-assure me that their own kids are just the same, that it’s the terrible twos etc, but I’m just not seeing it their toddlers like I am with Gibby. Nothing I do is right with her – nothing.

She brings me shoes and sticks her foot out, crying for them to be put on. I try to put them on. “No, no NOOOOOOOOO” she screams pulling them off and throwing them. I crouch down to her level and put on my serious voice.

“No throwing.” I say with conviction, and take the shoes away.

This not only results in screaming and stamping that could measure on the Richter scale, but usually ends up with a “No hitting Mummy Grace.”

I then walk away and leave her to her hissy fit. It’s very hard. After she is eventually calm,  it’s a matter of minutes before it all starts again. Whether it’s shoes, clothes, food, play, it would appear that anything inflicted on her by Mummy is a justifiable trigger for world war 3.

I don’t know what to do. Maybe we’ve just had a bad few days but it’s wearing me down.

I looked forward so much to picking her up from the childminder’s today (I always do when I’ve been at work.) I am greeted with beaming smiles, showing me her Autumn collage, and I hear all about what an angel she’s been all day, and all the cute things she’s done. I scoop her up proudly and give her a big kiss.

Within minutes of being in the car it begins . . .

“Bobble Mummy.”

“Mummy’s driving, Grace. I will put bobble back in when we get home.”


“Soon baby.”


“No Grace.”


Kick, kick, kick, thrash, thrash, thrash.

It’s heartbreaking that the Childminder is having more fun with my daughter than me, and there was no letting up with this horrible new behaviour when we arrived home.

So today, for the first time, I tried to implement the naughty step. This involved about 20 minutes (felt like hours) of desperate screaming and making herself stiff as a board, refusing to say sorry, and lashing out. On yet another attempt to walk away from her, she threw herself off the step so violently she banged her head on the tiled floor. There’s no way I could leave her after such a whack.

Bye bye naughty step, hello guilt.

 Come on Gibby, help me out here and give Mummy a break.

Suggestios anyone? Where the hell have I gone wrong?


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15 responses to “Keep calm and carry on?

  1. How old is she? I think she’s a bit younger than The Boy isn’t she? A few months ago, he did this. I had over a week of “no no no” and “I’ll do it” and it was breaking me. In the end I was crying all the time because he was such a swine. I made a conscious decision to be uber-mummy when I wasn’t working and one day it worked, the next it didn’t. I honestly think it’s a phase. To be honest I walked away and ignored him. Then I would go back and ask him if he’d finished. Then he’d apologise. She’s testing the boundaries to see what she can get away with.
    Stay calm. Stay firm. Stay resolute.
    You’re not a bad mum, because if you were you wouldn’t even have picked up on this, and certainly wouldn’t be trying to fix it.

    • She’s not quite 2 yet (4th Nov) so it’s still hard to reason with her. The frustrating thing is that she WILL not say sorry, but she KNOWS what it means! Thank you for your comment though, it shall be my new mantra . . . “stay calm, stay firm . . .” xxxx

  2. You’re certainly not a bad mum – I think we all go through little phases like this, she’s just testing you. You have to stay calm and firm. The best thing to do is ignore her. If MC is being difficult I just walk away and ignore her and I soon get “I’m saaaawwwwwwry Mummy”. It tends to be when you interact with them they just demand more each time.
    Big hugs to you honey xx

  3. Not a bad mum at all, please don’t think it. Toddlers are stroppy, some more than others, that’s it. They grow out of it, meantime don’t take them out in public if you can avoid it! 😉

  4. Aww, you’re certainly not on your own. My oldest used to have ‘lie down on the floor screaming’ tantrums when he couldn’t get his own way. But that didn’t prepare me for my middle boys fits of anger. Most of the time he is a star. He’s sweet, polite and loving. Then every so often something comes over him and he turns into a child possessed. It could be something as simple as giving him the wrong cup or just asking him the wrong question. And he’s just turned 4! I though I’d got away with the terrible two’s with him, but no such luck. He was just a late starter.

    Like you, the naughty step didn’t work as he loses control. I used to try to deal with it and talk him around, but now I just walk away. I know there’s nothing I can do when he gets like that. At times I try to change the situation quickly before he gets upset, but once he does I don’t give into his demands. Nothing I do would be right anyway. He eventually calms himself down.

    Sorry I haven’t got any real advice, but stay strong and hopefully it’ll pass soon and she’ll be onto the next stage in her behavioural development. Good luck xx

    • OOh I hope so. Thank you though – it’s always good to know you’re not alone in these things. And I was starting to think I was the only parent on the planet that doesn’t think the naughty step always works x

  5. They always take it out on the ones they love best. Children know how to push your buttons and make you feel bad. I don’t find the naughty step works for tantrums either. They are just expressions of uncontrollable emotion. I don’t know whether you should focus on the saying sorry part – as she is only 2. The main thing is that she calms down and realises that tantrums will not mean she gets her own way. You’re definitely not a bad mum. Everyone has weeks like this. It’s just very hard at the time.

    By the way would love if you’d link up with my linky on having a bad day! It stays open for a week.

  6. My youngest Ozzy is 2.5 and going through that right now – it’s a testing time and one that has had me reaching for the gin on more than one occasion.
    Ozzys favourite trick is throwing himself backwards and seeing as we only have floorboards it ends up in more screams than the initial tantrum!
    I’m a firm fan of ‘time out’, if he really is getting to the ‘point of no return’ then it’s a big cuddle on the way up to his bedroom where he’ll spend 10 minutes crying and then calming down.
    Are you finding that Grace is going through a developmental burst at the moment? Ozzy usually has spells like that when he’s goign through a leap in progress like speaking more.

    Best of British my dear !

  7. Urgh. Tantrums suck don’t they? I’ve been very lucky with DD so far but there have been the odd incidents. I usually find distraction works but if not I do the same as Annie and give her a time out in her cot with the door shut and no toys. I set a timer for 2 minutes and tell her she can come out if she’s calmed down when the timer goes. She cries. A LOT. But when the timer goes and I come in and and give her a big cuddle she’s usually over it within a couple of mins. Best of luck my dear x

  8. Not sure I am one to offer advice but I would say pick one course of action and stick with it. But it has to be at the actual time of the tantrum – ie naughty step, taking a toy away etc. Having said that my 3 year old who I end up picking up kicking and screaming every day on the school run (in front of all the other mothers naturally) punched me in the face this week. Nice.

  9. Ouch! (SCHOOL run? Might this go on till she’s school age??!! AAAAhhh!) sound advise though Kate, thank you. Need a good think about which course of action to take xxx

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