“I am so not leaving the house” – Mum asks for advice on painful toddler phase

Posted in Behaviour and Discipline.

There is a particularly painful stage of motherhood that most of us go through. It isn’t really talked about but it totally sucks. It just does. But like all things, it passes.

It’s the, ‘I’m scared to leave the house because my tot is so unruly’ stage.

Think public meltdowns, trying to grab him before he bolts while holding on to your baby’s pram in the car park, refusing to walk when you are heavily pregnant and can’t carry him through the mall. That sort of thing.

It’s the stage that makes you think, “Humph, it’s just too hard. I’ll do an online order rather than brave the supermarket.”

And today, this poor mum is feeling it.

How can I make life with my toddler more enjoyable?

Taking to Mumsnet, user ‘ReverseSmilyFace’ sought advice from members when she candidly posted:

“I’m really not enjoying this phase of DD’s life. The tantrums, clinginess and mess is really making life seem so miserable. Going out is starting to become stressful as she likes to dash off around the shops and I end up chasing her. I can’t even do my bloody shopping.

“Does anyone have a routine that they recommend to make life with a child at this age easier to deal with? I don’t even know where I’m going wrong, confused.”

Tantrum toddler clinging to mum's leg

And the advice poured in

As is the case when a mum asks another mum for help, we offer it. Sometimes a little too much.

“Does she still nap? Honestly, my LO is only 18 months, not even in the thrall of toddlerhood yet and that two hours in the day where she sleeps keeps me sane,” offered one.

“We have a very active two-year-old and – to be honest, the only way we have found through it is to keep things pretty child-focused. We don’t try to do much, other than playgrounds, playgroups and toys at home. Certainly, don’t try to do any real shopping (that’s all online),” another said, perhaps also in the same ‘not braving going out’ boat.

A stage

Then one mum offered a glimmer of hope that this could all just be a painful stage.

“My youngest is three and I can now take him to shops, get him to help and trust him to stay near me. Was completely different six months ago. It’s a hard stage but it will get easier. Sorry, no real advice. In the meantime soft play and online shopping.”


As the mum of two boys, one who made public outings during this ‘I am so not leaving the house with them‘ stage particularly painful, embarrassing and well all too hard, I can personally say that it did pass.

Nowadays we do venture out to the cafe, shops and movies but there was a time, and it probably lasted a few months, where we didn’t, really.   

I remember our ‘radius’ was restricted to enclosed playgrounds or visiting other friends who were also stuck in the ‘can’t trust them to go out’ stage.

It was just easier and less stressful for myself and my fellow ‘living it’ mum friends if we didn’t put ourselves through that.

So we shopped online or peacefully perused the aisles of Kmart sans kids after hours when our cherubs were finally asleep.

But just when I thought, “Maybe I should purchase a pair of those controversial reigns that make me look like I am walking a dog, not just trying to keep my runaway kid safe,” this stage was over.

If you are living this now though, I just want to say chin up. It’s a hard, lonely and frustrating stage to feel trapped in. 

But one day (and I hope this is soon for you!) your little one will learn to hold your hand when crossing the road. One day he will stop when you shriek, “Stop!” and turn to look at you. One day he will resist the urge to throw himself on the floor in the middle of Coles in a public tantrum. One day he will let you confidently and safely leave the house with him because like every other stage, this one was just that, and he grew out of it.

But fist bump to this mumma, and all the others living the, ‘I can’t even leave the bloody house stage’ now. But please know this too shall pass. And in the meantime, do click and collect, or better yet, get your shopping delivered so you don’t have to face the car seat battles. It won’t last forever.

Also, have a glass of wine with another mum who has also put her toddler under house arrest. Always helps! 

More posts about toddler behaviour:


Get more babyology straight to your inbox