Why I locked myself in the bathroom to hide from the kids

by Melody on July 18, 2012

It was Monday.

My husband and I had just got back from a 3-night camping trip while our kids stayed at Grandma and Grandpa’s.  We had loads of laundry piled up around the house, camping gear piled up outside, a rusty griddle sitting in the sink.

We’re trying to sell our house, so it’s frowned upon to have piles of laundry, piles of camping gear and certainly not a rusty griddle sitting in the sink.  I don’t think prospective buyers want to see our literal dirty laundry.

Our cat was angry that we left and peed all over our bed, down to the mattress.  Not only did I sleep in a tent for 3 nights, but I got to come home and sleep on the couch for 2 nights.  I couldn’t make our bed either, further fueling my anxiety that someone was going to come in and want to see our house.

The kids had a serious readjustment period coming back from Grandma and Grandpa’s, not to mention a possible sugar detox.  They are normally very busy boys on a good day, but they were just plain naughty.  Like “Play out in the middle of the street, climb the highest shelves, kick your brother in the face” naughty.  They fought and wrestled and punched and fought and kicked.  They couldn’t get along to save their life, but refused to leave each other alone.

I just couldn’t deep-breathe my way through it.  I was dangling on the precipice of sanity.  Midway through the morning, I finally gave up and put on an episode of Clifford.  We all sat on the couch, ate snacks and just hung out.  I rarely just sit down and watch a cartoon with the kids, but I just couldn’t handle it anymore.  About 2.5 seconds into the show, someone punched someone else.  I can’t even remember who.  It might have been me punching myself in the face.  What was happening?

I finally gave in to the fact that I probably wasn’t going to make it through this day alone.  If I succumbed to my foolish pride, somebody wasn’t going to survive.  I tried to hide in the pantry, but the kids chased me down and screamed at each other for some extremely terrible offense I’m sure.  It felt like nails on a chalkboard.

I grabbed my phone, ran to the bathroom, locked the door and called Emilie, praying she would answer.  She picked up, I let fly a few choice words and then burst into tears.  In a five minute conversation, she calmed me down, told me to breathe, told me to break up the day in 30 minute increments and told me to pour a glass of wine (kidding).  She finally got me to admit that keeping the house show-ready was pushing me over the edge and I was taking it out on and rubbing off on the kids.

I promise you that this conversation didn’t solve all my problems.  I wasn’t magically more patient, but I was a slightly better version of the Troll Mama I had become that day.

Having a focused conversation with a trusted friend helped me realize that I can’t do this alone.  This was truly one of those “It takes a village” moments.  I don’t know why so many of us feel that we have to do it alone or that asking for help will make us appear weak.  I’ve learned that putting myself out there, admitting my faults, admitting my weaknesses, admitting when I just can’t figure out this chess match we like to call parenting, actually makes me a BETTER mother.

So what did we do?  We muddled through.  We went outside for a few minutes.  We packed up and went to the store for something we didn’t even need.  I finally gave in and let them wrestle to their heart’s content, I just told them they had to do it while I was sitting there so I could step in before someone lost an eye.  The laundry eventually got done (a week later).  The griddle was finally cleaned after I hid it in the bathtub we never use for a week.

Why am I sharing?  Heck, I don’t know.  I just want you to know that you’re not alone.  Are you locked in the bathroom while reading this?  Good for you.  I think in this culture of social media overload, we tend to have a much rosier view of the lives of others.  We start to think every other mother out there is baking homemade treats everyday, reading to their children for hours, all while dressed in their finest and actually having their hair done.

Share with us.  How do you get through challenging days?  I’m so lucky to have good friends who will listen, empathize and then bust my chops if I’m being trying to do too many things at once.

Disclaimer: No children were harmed in the writing of this post or while I was holed up in the bathroom.  They were doing really sweet things like pulling all the sheets off the bed, sneaking the last graham cracker from the pantry and sword fighting with golf clubs.

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{ 15 comments… read them below or add one }

Rachel July 18, 2012 at 9:08 pm

I just wanted to let you know that you shared that so I could read it. Not feel alone and remember to try and break tomorrow up in 30 minute increments. We’re going on 2 weeks with out Daddy (while he is away at work). We do this once a year and we’re terrible at it. My two boys (2 & 4) have been replaced by two other similar looking children who kick, cry, whine, forget how to get dressed, climb on dressers and take all the clothes on hangers out of the closet, crawl under the table and bite brothers toes, refuse to nap, refuse to stay in bed, refuse to obey. So thank you, thank you for sharing. Tomorrow when I lock myself in the bathroom I will know I am not alone!


Melody July 18, 2012 at 9:15 pm

Oh man, two weeks? I would be terrible at it too. My boys are 2 and 4 as well and it’s definitely a challenge. This post was mostly written last week. This week, my oldest has given up his naps and my youngest figured out how to fling himself out of his crib. He skipped his nap today and just barely went to bed at 9 PM after pulling all the Easter grass out of the holiday box in the closet.

Mommas unite! I’ll be thinking of you and praying for your hubby to come home soon. 🙂


Rachel July 18, 2012 at 9:18 pm

Oh Melody! I can relate to this post SO SO much! Thank the Lord it has passed after a handful of hellish days…okay, weeks.


Danielle July 18, 2012 at 9:19 pm

Coming back from the grandparents house we call GRANDMA HANGOVER, its our running joke, but sooo true.


Alli July 18, 2012 at 11:10 pm

Enjoy the fact that you can lock yourself in the bathroom. I have two 7 year olds and a 4 year. The 7 years know how to pick the lock on the bathroom door & barge on in. When they’re not doing that they write notes and slip them under the door. The 4 year old just sits outside a whines a lot. Hopefully my story will make you feel better cuz it can always be worse……lol ( and seriously–the ages of 2-4 are the worst. They get better as the get older. )


Melody July 19, 2012 at 5:20 am

Oh my gosh, the notes under the door cracks me up. Smart kids. 🙂


Annie July 19, 2012 at 7:12 am

I’m 7 months preggo- and fear these days 🙂 (no kids of my own – but I’ve borrowed enough to know that this happens 🙂 )

I recently read an amazing book – “I was a better mom before I had kids” – talks about not needing to do it all – knowing when to let yourself break and having your village to support you – HIGHLY recommend it.

It also has amazing awesome / funny quotes in it from real moms including their “dirty little secrets”


Melody July 19, 2012 at 7:30 am

I’ve read that book, it’s awesome! Definitely recommend it, it’s really light-hearted and fun.

I don’t mean to strike fear in the hearts of others, sometimes it’s just cathartic to write about my experiences. Although these days are challenging and frustrating (in a way I’d never experienced before), they are oddly sweet and the good moments far outshine the bad most of the time. Congratulations on your pregnancy!


Tami July 19, 2012 at 11:11 am

My son is now 26, but I remember the days of putting myself in “time-out” by locking myself in the bedroom. Needing space from your kids (even for 30 minutes) is a necessity to keep your sanity. You can’t do it all — all of the time, but you can do your best, most of the time. As for the fighting part, I have 10 nephews, several who seemed to live at my house during the summer. When the boys started fighting, my rules were: If you fight, someone will get hurt. If you get hurt, I don’t want to hear about it. If there is blood, don’t get it on the carpet. If someone breaks a bone, call 911. Then, I would make them repeat the rules to me. Then tell them to “carry on.” Sounds weird/mean, but nine times ot of ten, the fighting stopped. I think they were always so stunned that I “didn’t care” that they fought, that it no longer seemd like a good idea. Hang in there and find the humor in the situation.


Kristi B July 19, 2012 at 3:39 pm

I love this and I’m going to use those rules on my boys!!


Rachell Newman July 19, 2012 at 12:14 pm

Oh Mel, thank you for pouring your heart about this matter, I too had some of those moments, not quite like yours but having a messy clattery house makes me a loca mommy, like literally just wants to cry, Justin comes home from work and I start crying and sobbing and he would asked why, I’d say, laundry, bathroom, kitchen, all i can see is clattered and just plain messiness. He would usually makes things better by letting me go for a run or go to the store;) We are normal mom, like you said sometimes we need to let go and just enjoy the kids, and I do but sometimes i have to do what makes me happy so I can be a better mom. Your boys are keeping you on your toes. YOu are doing great….I love it!


Kristi B July 19, 2012 at 3:38 pm

I love you Melody. That you are SO real. Thank you for sharing. I am able to write this because I forced my 4 and 5 year olds to take naps. They are still asleep. I’m sure I’m asking for it tonight but in the meantime I was able to read this post and just feel so good about the fact that lots of moms lock themselves in the bathroom or make their too old for naps kids nap 🙂 Thank you SO much for being you and sharing!! You are such encouragement lots of mommas (and dads too) out there!


Lora July 19, 2012 at 9:17 pm

Oh I LOVE this post!! It’s so refreshing to read something honest about being a mom! Every mom can relate to this post! I especially loved it (sorry!!) because my boys are just a TINY bit older than yours now, 7 and 4, and I have started to feel that we are just barely on the precipice of easier days. The oldest is going into second grade and honestly, he is SO easy compared to the 4 year old and baby. I remember having many, many days like yours where I yelled and cried a lot, and it seems like now they are fewer and further between. They still happen, of course, just not nearly as often! So there’s some comfort maybe in that! Not to mention that from what you said you handled it better than I ever did! 🙂 You’re lucky to have such great friends. Someday we will all look back on those days and giggle…..and probably miss them a little too.


connie July 28, 2012 at 2:12 pm

Your post made me think of something I read on pinterest- something like, ‘the problem is we are comparing our blooper reel to everyone elses highlight reel’. I like to scrapbook and when I flip through our books or photos I think, wow- what great stuff we’ve done. but as soon as I close the book I feel just like your post- why can’t I ever keep up with the house/laundry/ kids. Why do I always forget to do those Donna Reed things- books, crafts, snacks sculptured into cute animals- why do I always feel just two steps away from going crazy? So- thank you for reminding us all that no ones life is as perfect as it seems in their scrapbooks, facebook posts, whatever… and that we’re all pretty normal for feeling like life is a bit out of control!


Jenny July 30, 2012 at 4:07 pm

Happened upon this post because I thought the title was worth looking into more and getting a good laugh and I did! However, I have a 16 yr old (b) & 12 yr old (g) and work full-time. Mind you they did not physically fight much but the bickering and “stop touching me” was over the top and I would trade it all to be back in your shoes at that time with them. I know that it is hard to live in the moment and forgot about all the things that we believe we have to get done because I was there! But, looking back on it now, I miss it so much sometimes it physically hurts. So, to all of you out there, take the time to sit down and watch that cartoon with them as it could be the moment that they remember as what their mommy was like when they were growing up OR they could remember the moment when you locked yourself in the bathroom & they got to rearrange the bedding…LOL! Sorry, that did not come out right…what I meant was take the good and the bad as you never know what could happen tomorrow 🙂 Thanks for the great story!


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