“Why are you hiding in the closet?”

While I’m not a candidate in the running for Mother of the Year, I’d like to offer up an explanation as to why my husband found me in the bedroom closet this afternoon.

No, it’s not where I was hanging laundry up or getting dressed for the day. I wasn’t searching for any particular item either.

I was hiding.

Within all the walls of our home, we were told that our bedroom closet was the safest place should we need to hunker down for a tropical storm. Unbeknownst to our home inspector, the master closet is quite a suitable place for some solitude away from a whiny toddler as well.

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I feel less than as a parent for even sharing this with you, but after a good cry, I figured it’s OK to let people into my heart and struggles as a mom.

Hiding from my kids is not an everyday occurrence in fact, it’s quite rare.

Sure he’s been put in his playroom and fussed, or I’ve let tantrums run their course, but I’m always close by. With tinnitus ringing in my ears from the pitches my son can reach, I can’t help but listen and try to quiet my spiraling brain down. I have anxiety, but oftentimes, I’m certain I have a sensory processing disorder because the overload of fussing, screaming, screeching, and 20 toys playing sounds overwhelms me. I can’t form a thought and make silly mistakes like placing the remote in the fridge or putting dog food in the trash can instead of the dog bowl. It fries my brain to an extent I never knew possible.

I’m a peaceful parenting practicer 99% of the time. We talk things out on level ground, sit together and hug, and work through the tantrums. We pray to Jesus for peace and let the moments ride out.

That other 1 percent (honestly probably 10 percent), I yell. I act out worse than my toddler, to be frank with you. I’ve been ignored, dismissed, and my brain is still a blender of thoughts not slowing down. To avoid snapping at my son, which I felt in my entire body was coming soon, I put him in the playroom, gated off into the wall where he’s safe from harm.

I was sweating and not sure if I was going to yell at the top of my lungs something I’d soon regret or if I was going to burst into tears.

To prevent my son from seeing Mommy be “Not Nice Mommy,” I walked away. I went into my bedroom and shut the door.

Still loud.

So I went into the bedroom closet.

Much quieter.

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I sat and felt like a horrible mother with my head between my knees and composed myself. For all of 10 minutes.

You would’ve thought someone else was in there with me, but I was talking to myself.

Telling myself it’s OK. He’s a good kid. I’m a good mom. It’s a bad day, not a bad life. It’s hard, but the Lord is carrying me through this.

My husband walked in and said, “Why are you hiding in here?”

HIDING. The jig is up. He called it hiding too. Maybe because he knows this feeling?
Maybe because he’s here with me in this moment of sheer chaos of toddlerhood with the two doors now open and my son’s fit still in progress.

“I’m so exhausted. I couldn’t listen to it anymore,” I said.

And he went and retrieved my son from his playroom and put him on his lap for a few minutes in his office to do some work.

I stood up, went in with open arms to hug my son, and prepared a little chat about how hitting isn’t nice, and how I still love him.

Sometimes I need a minute of quiet.

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Sometimes I am starving and need to eat food without being climbed on and have it taken from me.

Sometimes hidden in between racks of shirts I regain perspective on motherhood.

Sometimes, I hide.

Jennifer Bailey

Stay at home mom enjoying one little boy and navigating parenting one trip to Target at a time.