Sunday, 26 June 2011

Mummy in Meltdown

Today I did something about which I am completely ashamed and guilt-ridden.

This morning, Imogen would not go down for her morning nap. This is not that unusual, more times than not there will be a little battle, but she sleeps eventually. Today was different. 

Earlier this week, she had suddenly decided to start rolling over in bed onto her front. Now, I know most babies do this and it's fine, but she's always been a very still sleeper; lay her down on her back and she'll be in the same spot when she wakes up. But now, out of nowhere, she's decided to do cot gymnastics before the morning nap. It would be OK if she rolled over and slept but she cries, so I have to go in and turn her back over, then she rolls back, cries, I turn her back ad nauseum......

All this to-ing and fro-ing inevitably winds her up into a frenzy and to a point where she struggles to sleep. Today was a bad episode.

James had taken the dog for a walk and I decided to try and lay her down again with the house being quieter. It started off well, I thought she'd drifted off and I headed to the shower, but then the whining started again and gradually got louder and louder until it became a screaming cry.

For some reason, today these screams really got to me, really pissed me off and I lost my patience. I stomped into her room, pulled her out of bed, sat her down and shouted at her, calling her stupid and silly (two things she most certainly is not) and she just sat there screaming even louder, sobbing her heart out in confusion and distress. I don't know where all my pent-up frustration had come from and why I had to vent it on her. Then I did what I knew I had to do, I put her in a safe place and went to another room to calm down. 

I remember being told/reading this advice not long after I had her and it's obviously to avoid the unthinkable - shaking your baby with anger.** It's good advice. It took me less than a minute to find clarity and to regain my composure. I immediately realised that my behaviour was unacceptable, childish and irresponsible. I realised that I am my precious daughter's only mother, that I am her anchor in this crazy world, I ground her and my unconditional love makes her feel safe and secure. I do not EVER want her to feel unloved by me and insecure of my affection.

So, I scooped her up, both of us now sobbing, and we had big cuddles. I put my hand on my heart and made a solemn promise to her that this would never happen again. It won't. I know it. 

Losing my self-control, if only for a second, was scary and sobering. This is not the person I am and definitely not the mother I want to be.

In the end, James had the strength of nerve to outlast her defiant cries and she slept. We then went on to have a wonderful day out to Asheville, NC :-)

** By writing about this advice, I am not implying that I, personally, was close to shaking her; I was not and never would do.  It's just a good method for calming down and finding five minutes alone to see the wood from the trees! Also good for when dogs DON'T STOP BARKING!!


  1. Brave post! We've all done this at one point, I am sure. That you stopped yourself and got your calm is exactly what makes you someone who shouldn't feel guilty.

  2. Thank you. I felt better for getting it off my chest and writing it down!

  3. We've definitely all have taken our frustration out on our little ones at one point. But you handled it well and I am so glad you posted.


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