to ask what you do when you need a break from your kids, but cant get one

(50 Posts)
wontletmesignin Tue 14-Jan-14 17:08:56

I am having such a hard time at the moment.
Bare in mind, i am usually ok to handle all of this. There is just a lot going on in my life atm.

I have 4 kids between 3 and 10. I have no way of getting a break.
I have a short time while my youngest is at nursery, but it takes me ages to get home. By the time i have had a cuppa and squared up,its time to head back to get him again.

By this point, he is tired but refuses point blank to have a nap, and so becomes a little more whingy and demanding.

After this battle - it is then time for the school run. Which LO decides to go as slow as poss, which results in me pulling him along which pulls my back.

By the time we get there, his tiredness gets the better of him. Collect child 1 and when waiting for child 2, LO decides its time to kick off and lay on the floor refusing to move. Picking him up pulls my back further and then i have to keep hold of him while waiting for child 3.

Cries all the way home, and deliberately ignores. Demanding that i get off him and things so he can run off. Which sends me in a panic.

By the time we get home i am stressed to bits.

I am fed up of being stressed when i finally have all my kids back home.
I want to be happy and calm for them coming home.

I feel a break is what i need, but i have no idea how to get one!
So i wondered if any of you had any tips? On a break or just handling the stress better.

I have even thought of anti ds as im really struggling atm

CailinDana Tue 14-Jan-14 17:11:46

Will LO go in a buggy?

Do you have a partner?

ChippyMinton Tue 14-Jan-14 17:14:24

How do you travel around? Would a bike or scooter be an option for your youngest?

lilyaldrin Tue 14-Jan-14 17:14:42

Could he do 2.5 days at nursery instead of mornings? Then at least on 2 days you'd have more of a break.

Definitely sounds like you need a pushchair for the school run.

Even if he won't nap after nursery, maybe enforce an hour or two of quiet time? Put a DVD on?

Awkwardsis Tue 14-Jan-14 17:15:17

I feel a bit like you do. I have 3 dc, the youngest is a few months away from being two and I am worn out. I have no one to watch them all at once and not even a nursery to give me the morning off. I adore them but I have been to the dr this month because I know I am depressed. I'm very much an introvert and just crave some time alone but as a single parent, it ain't gonna happen. I'm on my second lot of antidepressant as the first lot made me a zombie. Practically, I am going to start looking if I can afford to send ds to nursery for a day a week. The respite, the quiet would do wonders for me.
So practically, for you. There's no shame admitting you are depressed. Get to the doctors if you need to. It sounds like he'd benefit from being strapped into a buggy tbh, Gumtree would have some cheap secondhand ones if you have got rid of yours. Is nursery just too far away? Do you walk home? Perhaps look at getting a bike with a seat on the back off the littlest to get you there and back quicker?

Middleagedmotheroftwo Tue 14-Jan-14 17:15:43

I would get them all play dates/sleepovers organised (at friends houses obvs) on the same night.
It will mean reciprocating the favour, but you could do that one child at a time.
I find that the kids bother me less when they have mates round anyway, so wouldn't be as bad as you think.

Chocotrekkie Tue 14-Jan-14 17:17:32

What about a trike/push along thing for the school run if he won't use a pushchair ?

Some most days I used the buggy and lollipop combination on occasion

jacks365 Tue 14-Jan-14 17:18:32

Pick lo up from nursery in the buggy then he can fall asleep on the way home saving you all the battles that him being tired causes it also gives you a bit more peace.

Jinty64 Tue 14-Jan-14 17:18:59

Get a pushchair to collect him from nursery and/or do the school run. Is their any provision for him to stay longer at nursery? Could you afford a childminder to collect him 2 days a week and have him for the afternoon. Could you share the school run with another parent so that you don't have to go every day?

TakeYourPick Tue 14-Jan-14 17:21:12

That sounds tough, i have a friend who has 4 dc and have no idea how she copes. Do you have a DP? If you do then could you get a few hours to yourself on his days off? Maybe ignore the housework once in a while and have a nice hot bath or something when LO is at nursery, i do this sometimes and even though i feel guilty i know it's important for my well being.
How about a buggy for the LO on the school run or a scooter/bike? Or do you have any mum friends local who could watch LO whilst you do the school run? you could maybe pick up their kids in return.
Sorry if none of this feasable, just thinking out loud!
Sounds like the main problem is the LO's tiredness, would he sleep if you lay down with him maybe?

JanetAndRoy Tue 14-Jan-14 17:26:55

Duct tape and the understairs cupboard.

grin JOKE grin

Seriously, my hat comes off to anyone with 4 kids. I'm too selfish to have more than 2!

wontletmesignin Tue 14-Jan-14 17:28:14

I think i may have to invest in a buggy. I stopped using it when we had the car and he was doing really well with the walking.
That was when i had a partner. Now im a SM. The car has gone also as i dont drive.

Ive tried the scooters, he goes even slower lol. He will walk along with it, sometimes he will go fast but then i end up carrying it and end up with two dead arms. Him being pulled along by one, and the scooter killing my other one. I am weak, i know.

I am quite a loner when it comes to socialising. I dont really have friends that i could ask for help from.

I have one day a week where my ds3 df will pick him up, so my older two walk home themselves. That is my favourite day lol.

Thanm you all for your helpful suggestions xx

wontletmesignin Tue 14-Jan-14 17:30:11

Lol janetandroy dont tempt me grin

crescentmoon Tue 14-Jan-14 17:32:36

could you put them to bed earlier? or give them dinner, brush teeth, pjs on and send them to their rooms earlier in the evening? 'today, no kids downstairs after 6.30'?

wontletmesignin Tue 14-Jan-14 17:41:07

I have that rule crescent.
Its teeth brushing time at half 6, getting all ready for bed. Im sorted by 7, older 2 are then settled doing what they have chosen to do and come down every now and then, which i dont mind. They just have a quick chat and back up they go to continue what they are doing.

I am just getting youngest out of shouting of me every 5 minutes.

I ask for nothing more than me being allowed to watch hollyoaks at 7 with a cuppa and a ciggy. But i am not allowed lol.

The past couple of nights, he has shouted of me twice. Which is fantastic compared to what it was.

It was every 5 minutes for at least an hour, then he would finally fall asleep. But then ds3 would then need to shout down for the toilet instead of just taking himself. Then he would finally drop off. Then the older two would come down "whats for supper"

Which all in all is nothing. But when it takes almost 2 hours to watch a 30 minute episode hmm

I am so pleased i am getting somewhere with bedtime though.

I think its just after the holidays and getting back into routine and things. Its finally taking its toll on me. Hopefully in another couple of weeks ill be back to my best. If not, i will head to docs for some anti ds

jacks365 Tue 14-Jan-14 17:46:31

It's still early days for you being a lone parent and it will get easier so hold in there. You and your dc have been through a lot so it's hardly surprising that they are currently unsettled it won't last though. If you are anywhere near me in the north west then I have a pushchair going spare that you can have.

SugarplumKate Tue 14-Jan-14 17:49:14

I do understand how you feel as I have 4, ages 2 3/4 to 13 years.

My youngest is very tired after pre-school (he does 2 school days which does give me a break - though I have to work most of that time) so I usually bribe him into the buggy after pre-school with chocolate or crisps (needs must) and he then falls asleep which makes the school run much easier!! I would be seriously stressed out with his whinging and walking slowly and we'd never get to school in time. I don't trust him onthe scooter as it is busy roads so he will be in the buggy for school runs for a while yet... Could you pick up a second hand buggy off freecycle or one of the fb groups?

Four is really hard work, no question. Sometimes I feel my brain is going to explode with all the things I have to remember. xxxx

This was me last year except I wasn't a sm
I started not going home every time and going for a potter or doing the shopping
I used to get incredibly tired because I would stay up late to get some alone time. I had a bike with a trailer which I used for the youngest a lot.

This year dc4 started school (this is you in two terms?) and I recently passed my driving test. Wow life is different

I know money will be tight but could you get a regular babysitter once a month and go and do an evening club or something?

wontletmesignin Tue 14-Jan-14 18:10:32

Thanx you all. You are right, jacks they will still be unsettled. Also thank you for the offer of the pushchair. I am in the north east.

I will have a look around on gumtree and the likes, and if that fails i will just buy one.

I have no idea how he would react to one. It has been that long since he has used one.
He may love it. Fingers crossed.

As for childminders and babysitters, i dont have the money.
I will be fine if i can get this tiredness of LO under control.
Hopefully a buggy really is the way forward.

It is also good to hear that im not alone!

Yes sugarplumkate - i know the feeling lol.

Its the four times of everything that gets me
Mam whats for tea x4
Who was at the door x4
Everything you do is questioned x4 haha

wontletmesignin Tue 14-Jan-14 18:40:46

Will have a buggy in two days time woohoo. LO said he would love it too. Hopefully he still feels this way when it comes lol

Sparklymommy Tue 14-Jan-14 18:49:45

I have four children too, aged 11, 7, 6 and 4. Let me tell you it does get easier as they start school and you get some decent time to yourself!

How many mornings does you lo go to nursery? Would it be possible to change his sessions to two full days and a half day (assuming he does five mornings). This will give you more time to yourself on those days so you won't be getting home and then going straight back out to pick him up again. You may also find that he is then tired and easier to settle to bed In the evenings.

On the days when you would have him at home perhaps you could arrange activities like swimming to wear him out and he would have your undivided attention which would be nice for him.

I am not a sm, and my heart goes out to you struggling with four on your own. I know I struggled to get through the day when my six year old was at home all the time. He is a real handful and I was constantly shattered trying to keep him safe and out of trouble!

Does your ex have the children ever? Could he maybe help with picking up the youngest from nursery? Or have him one day a week to take the pressure off you? Or is it contentious?

Could you go and do something for yourself one day a week whilst he is in nursery rather than trekking all the way home? e.g. is there a park, library, cafe or swimming pool nearby.

wontletmesignin Tue 14-Jan-14 19:11:21

My oldest 2 have the same dad. He doesnt bother with them at all.
My oldest youngest dad takes him 1 day through the week and weekends.
My lo dad is not allowed contact.

So i only ever get a break from 1.

I didnt even know it was possible to get full days in nursery. I will have a talk with them tomorrow to see if that can be arranged.
He is in nursery 5 days a week.

He is a handful. Always on the go and so fast paced (until it comes to walking), he has me a nervous wreck all of the time. You need eyes in the back of your head for him.

Hopefully the nursery can do that. Even just one day. That way i would be able to recharge and do something nice together.
I am so drained atm it is hard, and i hate it.

As for doing something for myself one day a week. That is possible. I like photography, and the park we walk through has some nice spots. I always just take quick snaps as we walk through. I have never actually gone to just take photos. So there is an idea.

Sparklymommy Tue 14-Jan-14 19:23:40

Your little one sounds like my 6 year old. He was such a handful. And still is alot of the time but he is getting better. His the irritant in our house and winds all the others up too.

Maybe ask your hv for some suggestions too. They often run workshops for parents (fun things like crafts etc) and run a crèche. There are often groups for single parents that can be a way of having an hour or so to recharge your batteries, whilst the children are having fun in another area. These are usually very low cost or even free.

forceslover Tue 14-Jan-14 19:59:22

I hide upstairs with a cup of tea and chocolate, I tell them I am sorting washing and tidying up and they can help me if they wish. I can get at least 15 mins peace!

woodrunner Tue 14-Jan-14 20:04:59

Cbeebies and DVDs

Ignore anyone who says the TV isn't or shouldn't be a nanny. That's precisely what it is. It's a safe, soothing caretaker for your DC when you're at the end of your tether and need a break. Teletubbies saved my sanity when DC were under school age.

Stick them on a cushion with a drink, a cuddly toy and a favourite DVD for 30 mins. Get them into the habit of going in the buggy straight after the DVD finishes, so you have time to get to school without rushing.

Bribes are good. Snack time is on the way to school and happens only once in the buggy. I used to use all sorts of bribey language ('Let's get you in the buggy so you can have your biscuit' etc.)

MrsAragon Tue 14-Jan-14 20:16:39

lie up on the top bunk with your book, they never find you there smile

BeaWheesht Tue 14-Jan-14 22:59:50

woodrunner now see that would and did work with ds but dd (3) doesn't watch TV for longer than a few minutes. It drives me demented.

msvenus Wed 15-Jan-14 02:51:43

Just read that you are getting a buggy. I was going to suggest this one as I got it for home time and its brilliant for day trips & v light.

www.argos.co.uk/m/static/Product/partNumber/9104213/c_1/1|category_root|Baby+and+Nursery|33005732/c_2/2|33005732|Travel|33008428/c_3/3|cat_33008428|Pushchairs|33012089.htm

msvenus Wed 15-Jan-14 03:00:16

Contact homestart as they provide practical support for families & lone parents. You might get a volunteer round to play with your ds while you can switch off.

www.home-start.org.uk/findsupport/

mobile.gingerbread.org.uk/default.aspx#bmb=1

MrsMook Wed 15-Jan-14 03:27:17

I often carry my toddler in a sling or carier and find it easier oan my joints than levering him out in front in the pushchair, as his weight is snuggled up on my back. Admittedly he's quite light for his age and much lighter than his baby bump was! He prefers it to the buggy as he gets a better view in a "piggyback".

Another vote for doing something else between drop iff and pick-up.
I could afford the wraparound care, so use 12 of his hours on two full days. I would have found 5 mornings very restrictive around DS2's needs and more stress than it was worth, plus DS1 would be shattered every day and spend two hours napping when we get home so nothing like food shopping would ever happen! I saw no benefit to an extra half day.

moldingsunbeams Wed 15-Jan-14 04:16:10

I resorted to using the tv as a babysitter when I cannot cope anymore and just need an hour, I end up getting annoyed and shouty otherwise and I figure tv is a better option than that. (dd has hit hormone stage and can be awful)

I don't get any break either.

Yes to the light buggy, much easier and great if you go on a day out somewhere.

I remember your original threads op and just wanted to say I think you have done great, don't be hard on yourself.

Jemimapuddlemuck Wed 15-Jan-14 04:50:13

The sure start centre near me does take a break sessions where they run a free crèche and parents can sit down and read a magazine, go online etc. TBH I find all sessions there, eg stay and play, are great because although it isn't a break as such, the staff are lovely about chatting to you, watching DCs while you nip to the loo etc.

Is there a cafe near nursery where you could plonk yourself down in between drop off and pick up, rather than trek home for your cuppa?

wontletmesignin Wed 15-Jan-14 08:18:30

Thank you all smile
Im feeling a lil more refreshed today.

Thank you mouldingsunbeams!

My LO likes a bit of horrid henry from time to time. Youtube is great For this.
Sometimes i will get a half hour from that.
Other times, he is so clingy there is no hope.

He is a big 3 year old, and im only tiny. Hes got no hope of getting on my back lol.

I think a buggy could possibly solve a lot of problems here.
He has done fantastic to walk as much as he has, bless him.
Im quite frustrated at the fact i have fought against it. I kind of felt like i was going backwards if you know what i mean.

I wont be so panicky near the roads, i wont worry about him running off, i wont have to keep tight hold of him during his moments thinking its fun to run off and have me chase him.

Without all of that (and thats not all of it), surely then, i will be able to function on a more level head by the time we get in. So the kids wont need to deal with stresshead mam.

I will see how i get on with things with a buggy. I honestly think it will solve it. If not, then i will look into further support/help.

It is only until september. By then, i will be lost and wish he was still playing havoc with me ha. You cant win hmm grin

blahe Wed 15-Jan-14 08:24:47

He might fall asleep on the way home from nursery which may help his grumpiness.

Just reading this and so much good advice for you. Regards getting him in the buggy again, when I've had big toddlers that I just want to jump in so I could push them somewhere quickly, I've had special buggy snacks to keep them occupied. I know you shouldn't reward with food but I always saw it as a snack they'd be having at home, but they had it on the move! I used to get very cheap containers from B and M and pound places and you can fill with: currants, cut up grapes, cup up apple, tiny sandwiches, lower calorie crisps like hula hoops and French fries. Plus a drink in an easy flip lid type cup. Keeps them so busy (especially if you've not given a snack before you set off!) I could walk to school, wait in playground and walk home again with cheerful toddler. I also had a cloth bag rigged up on buggy and if toddle spotted an interesting branch, leaf or pine cone it went in the bag for exploring later at home. The advantage of this is they are busy looking for interesting stuff and so distracted and occupied.

When you get home, toddler can inspect his treasures, you have cuppa, older children get a snack before tea making begins. When my littlest was this age, I would do a hearty meal for lunch (simple though) and then if not in mood for tea after buggy picnic, they could just eat a little tea to fill up the gap.

I take my hat off to you, you are doing so well. I have 3 and a DP so to be doing it all without support makes you an impressive person.

You just sound v v tired x

wontletmesignin Wed 15-Jan-14 22:47:07

I really like that idea of an exploring bag. It saves my pockets! He filled them with leaves one day and when i emptied them on the table when we got home there was a huge spider in!! Im terrified of spiders, so that was the last time my pockets were used.

Thanx for the tips. The snacks are also a good idea.

I am so very tired. I have slept since 8pm til 10pm im having a cuppa and then going to bed. So much on my plate at the minute.
I cant even remember how it feels to be awake awake!

Just to add - as a lone parent, around 70% of your childcare costs would be paid by the govt.

WeddingComingUp Wed 15-Jan-14 22:55:41

Mine are 5 and 3.

If I need a break, I give them a 'treat' night. They are allowed to go into mine and dh's room with a hot chocolate, biscuits and a DVD.

They love this and means they are more than happy to go to 'bed' at 6.30. They are then usually asleep by 8.30 and I carry them into their own beds.

This is usually reserved for the odd Saturday night when we fancy a film and takeaway in peace

I have given them a treat night mid-week a couple of times though if I've had an awful day in work and just need a bit of space.

Graceparkhill Wed 15-Jan-14 23:06:58

I just wanted to say how much I admire you OP . You have a lot on your plate but your love for your children and your optimism shines through.
It sounds to me that you are building a close family unit and will be supportive of each other . Things will get easier as they get older.
Only thing I can suggest is to foster the idea of team spirit and helping each other out. Even the wee ones could do something I am sure.

Alanna1 Wed 15-Jan-14 23:16:35

TV.

randomAXEofkindness Wed 15-Jan-14 23:35:01

Mine are 1, 3 and 5. I was going to suggest the pushchair, but you've already sorted it. I understand why you might have felt like it was a backwards step, but I wouldn't see it that way. I just think it's sensible to have a pushchair for any small kid who still naps.

I'm sure you'll both be a lot happier on the school run when it comes. And of course, if he does nap, it'll have a knock on effect on his behavior for the rest of the day and he might not be as wired. You're almost there with bedtime, having a regular nap might just do the trick.

Also, agree with the tele idea. I haven't had any time alone away from mine since I was in hospital having the third a year and a half ago, I don't feel in the least bit guilty for putting sesame street (or tmnt blush) on youtube a few times a day and hiding in the dining room with a four mugs cup of coffee while I read about what actual grown ups think on mn. I would go insane otherwise, I'm certain.

Slatecross Thu 16-Jan-14 01:09:10

Sounds like you're getting on top of things, OP! Well done you! Some things that have changed my life are Resourceful Cook! You just pick a meal plan, and then click on the supermarket where you shop, it adds the ingredients and you just get it delivered or click and collect! for us that's meant that every night for a week I've been on top of what's for tea! I got a slow cooker (£15 tesco) and I shove everything in at lunchtime and it's all ready for teatime, so about 15 mins prep all in. That leaves the remaining time for me to put my feet up!

I'm also a fan of flylady.com. In my version I give myself 4 minutes to attach each room so it looks half decent. So long as the hall, lounge and kitchen surfaces are straight, I can relax. A good squirt of bleach down the lav and I'm done!

re the buggy, they are a Good Thing and aren't just about transportation, they're about control and lugging shopping too, so don't for a second think you've gone backwards!

Good luck!

Slatecross Thu 16-Jan-14 01:13:23

Would a buggy board help for the older ones?

re childcare, sometimes (and I don't know the criteria) HVs can refer so that children get more than the 15 hours, which might enable you to have a couple of full days. I think it's worth asking. x x

BratinghamPalace Thu 16-Jan-14 07:56:20

Buggy, buggy, buggy. Will stop you worrying and struggling. Changed my life with number three when I went back to it. A web site called imagination tree is FAB. Great ideas for young ones that are cheep and keeps that absorbed for ages. Baths durning the day. With mine she picks the book, we cuddle in bed, read the book then nod off, often together. Good luck.

TempusFuckit Thu 16-Jan-14 08:45:22

I hope your buggy works the magic you and everyone else thinks it will - sounds promising.

My suggestions would be a strap to pull a scooter along on days when he wants to use that (they double up as across the back scooter carriers) and also the crèche at your local pool, if it has one.

fanjobiscuits Thu 16-Jan-14 08:49:43

Is there somewhere near nursery you can have a solitary coffee/walk or whatever gives you a break, rather than losing that time to the commute home?

wontletmesignin Thu 16-Jan-14 10:35:23

Thank you all for your great suggestions, tips and kind words smile

At the minute i cant even get home. My mam is ill so ive been having to go to parents house everyday. After school drop off and sometimes after school pick up.

The past few days my house has been quite neglected and so that is depressing me everytime i finally do get through the door. I manage to do a few dishes and have a little square up. But i am so mentally and physically exhausted by that point, i cant be bothered.

Im at my parents right now. Wishing id clicked to have thr buggy delivered herem i hope to god if it has been its been delivered to a neighbour and not sent to the post office.

That resourcelful cook sounds good and also flylady. Ill check them out when i get home.

Ignore my typos please.

I am so shattered today and i had a really good sleep. Although, 2 youngest mustve started messing about at half 4 this morn. Had to keep telling them to go back to sleep.

I think i just need a time out at the minute.
There is no hope for one at the minute though, and i think knowing that makes it that little bit worse.

wontletmesignin Thu 16-Jan-14 12:55:36

Got the buggy and the handles have snapped. Oh my fucking god!!

TakeYourPick Thu 16-Jan-14 15:39:55

Oh OP, that is rubbish. Do you have surestart in your area. Could you see your HV about getting some help? I'm a LP and I think I'd go quietly insane without regular breaks which I thankfully get due to my parents. Take it Dad isn't around to help?

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