When all your child wants is mummy

meltdown Aug 20, 2021
Upset man

During those tough parenting moments, you can be as calm, patient and as present as you can, but sometimes as parents, we’re left thinking:

“WTF do I do now?!”

It’s these moments the parenting books and blogs rarely talk about. But they happen and we’ve all been there. I remember one time (not at band camp) during a meltdown our 3.5yo really wanted mummy, but unfortunately, mummy wasn’t home. We were playing with Brio and he began getting frustrated and started asking for mummy. I calmly said:

“I understand you want mummy, but mummy is out at the moment, daddy is here”

This escalated matters and he screamed:

“I not want you, I want mummy, go away”

Needless to say this cut deep. And I was left confused, how could I help when he didn’t want me around. I won’t lie, I wanted to scream too:


But I did my best to take a deep breath. When we’re left thinking “WTF!”, it’s in these moments that we need to be even more conscious of our response.

An important point here is we can be present and we can ok the feeling whilst giving our child the space they need. All meltdowns are different and require a unique response. Your child may need to be held, they may need you to remain close, or they may need their own space. Regardless of what they need, we can always remain calm and present.

During this particular meltdown, I worked very hard to regulate my own emotions. Even though I was confused and felt like I had no idea how to respond, I took a deep breath:

“I hear you. You want mummy and she isn’t here, I can see you’re frustrated. If you need daddy, I’m here for you”

I gave our little one some space, I remained in the room and let him know I was here if he needed me. As the meltdown eased, he came over for a hug and that was it, we literally went back into the playroom and continued playing.

As parents, we don’t always have the answers. We’re all learning day by day and sometimes, we’re puzzled, confused and left thinking “WTF!”. If you ever feel like this, know that regulating yourself is the first step, once you’re regulated then you’re well placed to ride out the storm together, however that may look.


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