Families with 4 children

(82 Posts)
DeGlitterBug Fri 04-Jan-13 10:57:53

Please can someone reassure me all will be ok!

Youngest is 5 months, and the others are 3, 5 and 7.5 years. I am exhausted. It's the end of the school hols, plus baby and I have had permacolds for what feels like about 2 months. I am run ragged chasing round after them. Leaving the house is hard. The rain doesn't help. Staying on top of the cooking and washing is near impossible and I ache all over from doing everything one handed whilst holding baby! I seem to shout all the time, and have no time between the essential stream of get this, clear that, wipe the other, feed baby, change nappy, wipe bum, pick up stuff etc to actually have fun and enjoy spending time with the kids. Aaaaaaarrrrrggggghhhhh!

I have lost my voice today, and the night time was a merry go round of feeding baby, changing a wet bed, toddler had bad dream. Dh is knackered too.

Will it get better? Please tell me it will. Currently feeling like having a fourth has tipped us over the edge sad. So few real people have a big family there's no-one in rl to empathise.

I know teenagers will be hard in a different way, so no need to scare me about that thanks wink

cynner Fri 04-Jan-13 11:00:45

waits with you I have four children too..ages 16 to 5... I do hope someone will come along and reassure us..

lockets Fri 04-Jan-13 11:08:35

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Poor you hmm yes, it does get better as little things change like baby sleeping through, older dc can do a bit more etc. Being ill/tired skews your perspective on things and I've noticed that most women expect the same of themselves & the housework when ill. But we ought to lower our expectations!! Mine are 9,6 and 4yo dts. Every few months if things are getting beyond us, we look at which bits are causing most hassle and try and think of ways to work round them. Dp came up with plan that one of us puts all 4 to bed one nite & the other person gets on with jobs. I feel more relaxed because I don't have to deal with bedtime at all 3/4 nights a week AND have managed to tidy lots of areas of the house. That might not work for you right now, but when you're better maybe spend an hour with DH working out exactly what is tipping you over from busy to chaos and what might solve it. Often we find its just switching the order of things that helps. Having one meal that's easy peasy on a hectic day, getting older dc to do 1 extra job. I sound like Tesco but every little does help. And I know I know I know that getting out of the house is ghastly but it's the thing that will force you to spend nice time with the kids. IYSWIM? Be nice to yourself. smile

DeGlitterBug Fri 04-Jan-13 12:32:15

Thank you smile

I know in my head that being ill makes it harder, but still feel bad about not coping. Housework standards really are very low already.

You are totally right about going out. I can't wait for the weather to improve a bit. Even the park's not an option many days when it's so wet and cold, as if baby needs changing or feeding there's no way to cope.

The hardest thing this week has been the screaming and arguing. Every single time baby starts to fall asleep some fecking row breaks out!

I know about the arguing, it's what drives me bonkers with 4 dc. But they don't do well in the house all day together. Is it feasible to split them 2/2 or 3/1, we do this quite a lot so it's not quite so full on for either of us. And the kids get a bit more 1to 1 time, so they're happier. I have got to the point of treating them like dogs and dragging them out whatever the weather. Took 9yo and 4yo dd to the woods last week in freezing mud, they were happy as larry. Perhaps for now don't aim for big family outings with all 4, that is really tough in winter with a baby. Hopefully next week when your eldest 2 back at school, life should calm down a bit. smile

TameGaloot Fri 04-Jan-13 13:37:46

Yes it gets easier
Mine are now 9,8,6&3

This too shall pass smile

Hanikam Fri 04-Jan-13 13:48:50

Deglitterbug, I've just found out I'm expecting number 4! Due in August. It was hard enough with 3 dcs when they were 0, 3 and 5!
It really did get easier....once they were all at school, but that's a long time to wait. I've said it before on MN, the best advice I had was to hire a cleaner. She was a Godsend! At least one day a week the house would be fresh, clean and shiny, beds changed, ironing done, windows sparkling. I'm going to hire another cleaner before dc4 arrives. Mandy has retired now and I miss her!

Hang in there op, it's good to get it all out on MN cos being a mum is f***ing hard sometimes, and anyone who says different is either lying or has has a whole team of domestics doing it all for her.

hugs from suffolk

MelodyHarmony Fri 04-Jan-13 21:07:36

Hi DeGlitter. I only have three DCs (we are TTC #4) so I'm not as experienced as other posters. I think, though, that you mustn't be too hard on yourself. The weather has been crap so that really doesn't help. The autumn term at school is notoriously long so your bigger ones would have been exhausted by the time they broke up from school, Christmas holidays are a roller coaster of emotions for children (excitement, later nights etc).

I remember when my DC3 turned six months things just seemed to get a little easier, so hang in there. Then once the night times got better it was easier again, then when he approached a year just recently, things got slightly easier again.

I fully intend to hire a cleaner as soon as I get pg with#4 and morning sickness kicks in, then keep her for as long as I need. I don't have spare cash for a cleaner but I will cut down on food if necessary just to afford one. Would that be possible for you?

Like others have said, do easy meals on busy days. I don't expect much from my DCs after school except snack, school reading book then play on the Wii/DS (separately, otherwise they argue! We have a rota to show whose turn it is!). Early tea (5ish) then all three upstairs at six, bath only every other night. Bigger one plays quietly on our room, smaller two to bed. I think a bit of evening to yourself is very important, vital in fact.

I hope that doesn't all sound patronising. I really am no expert but you must not be so harsh on yourself. I'm sure you're doing a fantastic job. I also always think if all I've achieved all day is clean pants, hot dinner (even if that is Maccy D's occasionally) then that's enough!

bigbuttons Fri 04-Jan-13 21:12:10

I have 6 the oldest being 8 when the youngest was born. I suppose it was tough. I had a cleaner, that made all the difference. I can't say it's any easier now though, sorry, just different as I have teens. Life was much simpler when they were all small.

bigbuttons Fri 04-Jan-13 21:14:31

Oh yes and having my fourth really did make a huge difference. When I had just 3 I still socialised, when no4 came along it tipped the balance .After that 5 and 6 didn't make that much difference!

DeGlitterBug Fri 04-Jan-13 23:00:10

We don't have a cleaner and can't afford one. We've recently cut back on takeaways etc too and are trying to plan meals better to save money. No local family support either sad.

Thanks for all the suggestions. Our kids seem to need little sleep, which is far from ideal. The older ones tend to finally go to sleep between 8 and 9pm and as the baby is still so little she's still down with us (though mostly sleeps all evening now). The brood start to get up from about 6am. The older two have been persuaded that they must stay in their rooms until 7am, but the toddler and baby are a whole other deal! Time to ourselves is literally non-existent, either individually or together. The evenings consist of (a) getting the big three to bed, (b) clearing up essentials -sorting a bit of washing, clearing the table/kitchen & gettting dishwasher on or emptied, and (c) caring for baby, which is at least gradually reducing now that she no longer cluster feeds all evening. At the moment we're sleeping separately too just to try to maximise the amount of sleep we each get. Often we have one (or more!) child each in with us for some or all of the night.

One thing I'm suffering with is my 3 year old dropping her nap. It makes bedtime for her a bit easier (though still 2 older ones to wrangle, so overall impact on evenings minimal), but means I get no time with her asleep during the day, and also by teatime she's so tired she's gripey and tantrumy. I guess this will improve as her stamina increases. Looking forward to her starting nursery half days smile. The baby also sleeps a bit less during the day now she's not newborn, so less chances overall for me to grab a cup of tea! Not sitting or crawling yet (both of which will bring new challenges when they happen), but seems to want some sort of entertaining all the time.

Thanks for all the suggestions. After school, 2 days a week the older 2 have activities, so those days are hard because it means getting out of the house again to collect them, with whining toddler and unhappy baby, whilst dinner cooks on a timer! That'll be easier in better weather, as we won't come home, just go to the park and play. The other days, after getting home and snacks etc they mostly just watch TV or play computer games blush. It's all I can cope with right now. We eat as a family at . There's no way I would even contemplate us eating separately. I'd be too hungry to wait until bedtime's over, and as dh is home by then usually, it's a key part of our family life. We only bath them about twice a week, and dh takes care of that. The eldest is starting to prefer a shower. One of the main challenges right now is that he's getting significantly older than the others -his interests are changing. He wants to have friends over, he's totally past cbeebies etc. Often I feel he misses out sad.

I don't even know what I'm going on about. I'm just finding it all hard. There are SO many competing and different needs to balance that I can literally never win - when I have 4 on my own someone is always unhappy, often more than one. Thank you for letting me offload and for the reassurance that it will all pass smile.

I'm struggling (just as I did with baby 3) with not wishing away the precious baby days, whilst at the same time finding them very very taxing!

<repeats to self> Breathe in, breathe out and try not to shout.

Skiffen Fri 04-Jan-13 23:05:16

Sounds v hard - remember this will all pass.

One tip though - have you got a sling? Get a really good SSC and have baby on your back while you cook/serve dinner/tidy etc. Then you won't be one handed and she may settle and sleep a bit in the evenings?

Myliferocks Fri 04-Jan-13 23:05:40

Mine are aged 16, 12, 10, 9 and 8.
In some ways it has got easier and in others it has got a lot worse.
The arguing seems to be worse these days but I think that is more to do with all the hormones flying around in our house.
The easier side is that the children can do most things for themselves and if it gets really bad I just kick them out to call on their friends whatever the weather!

DeGlitterBug Fri 04-Jan-13 23:11:54

Totally right skiffen, slings are a lifesaver grin. Yesterday she napped for almost 2hrs on my back and I not only managed to clear up, but also give everyone a little attention (OK, they peeled and chopped veg for making soup & dinner, but you know, I paid them some attention, so not all slave labour! Amazing how much of a 3 year old's attention it takes to peel garlic). Once they're back at school the sling is less handy round the house, cos the baby's in that for school runs several times a day, so that's when she sleeps, and when she's at home she doesn't want to be in it any longer. Soon she'll be crawling, then goodless only knows how dinner will get made. It's quite scary how little of this stage I even remember from last time hmm. I don't seeem to have many photos of 6-12 months, so guess it was too manic for me to have had hands free to take them.

Maybe I'm not doing that badly, maybe it's just that it's really really hard and even a pro would struggle?

ohforfoxsake Fri 04-Jan-13 23:12:40

It is very hard. Looking back I wonder how I got through it (I had 4 under 6) but its so much easier now (eldest is 11 now).

It was once recommended to me to approach a local college and offer work experience for a child-care student in the holidays. You don't leave them in charge, but they can help with the older ones.

I'd also recommend putting your 3yo into afternoon nursery - that way you get a couple of hours to have a break and get dinner ready.

I worked so hard at trying to get ahead of myself I tied myself up in knots.

Be the first up, shower and have a peaceful cup of tea. Do your grocery shopping online, keep on top of the laundry, tidy up at the end of the day. That's really all you can do. smile

amillionyears Fri 04-Jan-13 23:16:13

It will all get easier.
You say your older ones have lots of energy.
Could they help you out with chores a bit more.
Even offering that if they do some extra bits, they get a few pennies or stickers or an extra comic or whatever?
You could just do that until the weather is better.
It is surprising how much a few extra chores getting done helps.
-and will wear them out quicker as well--

DeGlitterBug Fri 04-Jan-13 23:18:25

OK, that's a good plan amillion. What sort of things can a 7yr old boy do that are helpful? I think he would respond to small payments wink.

amillionyears Fri 04-Jan-13 23:25:24

Bits of cleaning, dusting, sweeping. Dishes if you have a dishwasher.
Clearing the table, laying the table.

He will probably dislike some, but quite like others.

amillionyears Fri 04-Jan-13 23:29:35

You could pay him by 20 minutes work done, or even 5 minutes
That is what I used to do when I was desperate.
Mine enjoyed it for a limited time.
And then I used to occasionally reintroduce when I needed it again, or sometimes they asked me, so I let them then even if i didnt particularly need them to. I felt I had to be fair to them in that respect.

amillionyears Fri 04-Jan-13 23:31:22

They start learning the value of money, working for money etc.
And also that adults need help sometimes, and that the house does not just run itself.

DeGlitterBug Fri 04-Jan-13 23:39:43

Clearing and laying tale would make a big difference actually. they are very time consuming when everyone's at home all day. I think I will give it a go and see how I get on. I expect even 10p wluld be sufficient to motivate. They;re also quite annoyingly competitive, so I guess the middle two will want in on it too. Even if it only helps over the weekend it's worth a go! Thanks

Baby asleep again, so off to bed now before early start tomorrow smile

Op, it sounds like a really hard slog at the moment, the kids not sleeping much would be a killer alone for me! Help with chores sounds great, my 6yo empties the dishwasher, puts away shopping. 9yo does the bins and I'm training him to put the washing on, he has to gather it up too. 4yo dts can lay the table. They all get daily pocket money . I do wonder whether your older 2 could go to bed earlier with books, audio stories etc, in bed but with light on? Just so your evenings are not so protracted? I remember thinking same thing about my eldest a few years ago, and I still don't manage to get friends round that often. But did realise that he appreciated small things here and there. Didn't have to be a big effort, just 20 mins on a project with dp before bed or a trip to the shop to buy a magazine with just me. Hope things improve next week, I do think Christmas and Feb half term are hardest and then there is light at the end of the tunnel! smile

notnagging Sat 05-Jan-13 01:49:51

Yes it does get better! I have 5 now & they have been great today. Sent the eldest 3 to the shops while I was sick in bed with baby & doing 5 yr olds hwk. I keep them very busy & use alot if bribery/threats/rewards. They now help out in the house & mostly get themselves organised. With that many you can't do it all yourself op.

Reassuring to hear from some posters that it does get easier as mine are 5,4,2&1.

Really need dd1 to go back to school & dd2 to go back to nursery, it's all getting too much now!

MelodyHarmony Sat 05-Jan-13 10:15:30

As I mentioned in my earlier post, I only have three DCs (at the moment) but this thread is full of great tips. I'm seriously thinking about the pocket money attached to helping around the house thing.

DeGlitter I think you are doing a fantastic job already. Some of the things you mention that you do are just brilliant. From the words of Dory from Finding Nemo... Keep on swimming!

amillionyears Sat 05-Jan-13 11:12:56

I actually made the paid jobs seperate to pocket money.
They still got the set amount of pocket money.
I purposely kept the two seperate. And used to say, "does anyone want to work for money?", when I needed some help, or even if it was nearing the end of holidays, and some of them were looking a bit bored.

I think everyone does it differently, just as long as the kids help out and realise that with more people comes more chores! Although it took me a while to twig myself that I didn't have to do it all (control freak!)

MelodyHarmony Sat 05-Jan-13 13:20:02

Actually amillion, I think that's how I will do it. I am a control freak too accessorize... It's gonna take a whole mindshift to get me delegating more to the DCs.

Thinkingof4 Sat 05-Jan-13 13:38:16

deglitter honestly it sounds like you are doing a great job! I'm currently pg with no4 and mine will be 6.5, nearly 4, and 2 when baby arrives.
You are managing to all sit down and eat together, big ones are getting after school stuff, they all get s bit of time with you at night- if I can manage that when dc4 arrives I think I'll be doing fine!

amillionyears Sat 05-Jan-13 13:55:15

Agreed.
There will be some not so nice patches [especially when some of them or you are ill], but they should still turn out fine!

And sometimes we all learn things as a family,through the worse times, as well as the good.

Lookingforthebrightside Sat 05-Jan-13 14:44:01

Hello all, it sounds like everyone is doing a great job with their broods. I have 4dc 14, 12, 7, 4. Whilst life is busy and particulary so during the Xmas holidays I find that it is not too bad when you get them to help out.

I get all dc involved in doing cleaning on a Sunday morning, between them all they clean the bathrooms, dust/polish and vacuum. This means that when they all head back to school on a Monday I can actually enjoy a few hours of peace without having to go round cleaning up manically after the usually hectic weekend.

I however am clearly a mean Mommy as I don't pay them to do chores, my argument being that nobody pays me and I don't want them to get into the habit of only doing something to help if they get a reward. The fact is we are a large family so everyone needs to pull their weight (if they don't want a permanently stressed Mum)

Also my situation is slightly different in that my older 2dc are not mine by birth. Their mother passed away when they were very young and I then met and married their Dad became ft mum to them both and then went on to have 2dc together so probably not quite a stressful as the rest of you in that I only had to contend with 2 births.

looking I don't think so you had two bereaved children to bring up that's nothing compared to birth! smile

Lookingforthebrightside Sat 05-Jan-13 15:26:41

thanks girls, whilst the 2 older dc where quite challenging to begin with by the time i had my first dd I had two older children of 4 and 6 which surprisingly did take a bit of the stress out of having a small baby, ie they could entertain her whilst I had a shower, cooked dinner etc so it wasn't so completely 24/7 relentless which really helped.

I always say to friends that to be honest once you have got 3 adding anymore into the mix isn't that bad because unless you have had them really close together (ie 4 under 4) the older ones can be a great help, making the baby toddler stage (slightly) more bearable!

Lookingforthebrightside Sat 05-Jan-13 15:27:37

although I would like to have less washing!

amillionyears Sat 05-Jan-13 16:23:06

Not sure if I made my posts very clear, the paid bit of chores, was for over and above any normal ones.
I didnt make any of it too onerous or compulsury. And can no longer remember at what age I introduced it.

Sabriel Sun 06-Jan-13 16:30:28

I think you are being too hard on yourself. 4 small children are hard work, and the weather we've had hasn't helped.

By the time your youngest isn't so tiny and if the weather ever improves, things will seem much brighter. Our first 4 were all born within 5.5 years and things were hellish when they were very small. But things improve so much as they get bigger and don't need so much hands on feeding, cleaning, dressing and holding.

FWIW we enjoyed having 4 teens grin

DeGlitterBug Sun 06-Jan-13 17:08:30

Well my plan to spend the weekend bribing incentivising them to help didn't really come off, as I sort of didn't get round to it blush. However, they have each cleared away a bit of their own stuff after meals, and dh has done a bit more housework than usual this weekend, which has made a difference too. This morning I only had 3 of them, and on Friday afternoon the toddler and baby both slept for an hour at the same time (praise be!) whilst the eldest was out playing with a friend. These 2 events made me realise just how incredibly hard it is stretching me alone between 4 of them simultaneously. Take one or more out of the picture temporarily and suddenly everything's bearable. So, I am eagerly awaiting the return to school, even though that brings it's own challenges grin. Now I just need to shake off this cold and remember to shout a bit less.

I do appreciate the opportunity to moan. I think I remember with my first baby having days where I felt like collapsing in the corner screaming "What have I done?!". This time that feeling has been back, and I just worry sometimes things will never get any easier, so it's good to know they do and others have survived.

DeGlitterBug Sun 06-Jan-13 17:09:26

Psst Sabriel, I'm looking forward to having teenagers grin, I think they'll be real characters. I also like staying in bed until lunchtime wink.

MelodyHarmony Sun 06-Jan-13 17:46:17

Something I wondered the other day DeGlitter... Is it worth you seeing GP to check whether you've got PND? I know baby isn't newborn but a friend of mind didn't have it diagnosed and treated til her third was 8 months old. She'd sort of been muddling through but never enjoying any of it and in despair at most if it. She only needed a short course of anti- depressants, they helped within days and then six months later she was able to slowly come off them with no side effects.

Just a thought...

DeGlitterBug Sun 06-Jan-13 18:48:39

Thanks smile. I don't have pnd and I score fine on the questionnaires. There's a big difference between finding life hard and clinical depression wink. After all, having a baby (with or without other children) is hard!

notnagging Sun 06-Jan-13 18:54:30

Another thing that has changed my life is my slow cooker. No more standing over the stove! Has made such a difference & freezing food. My 5 month old is permanently attached & I would not have been able to function without itsmile

NAR4 Sun 06-Jan-13 19:47:54

I think the night feeds are a bit of a killer when you have several other children to look after during the day. Being tired and ill puts everyone on edge and makes it all seem much worse than it is. As soon as baby sleeps through the night things will seem A LOT easier, but don't wish their life away, they are only babies once.

I def recommend getting out the house with the children. Activities like the giant soft play at sports centres, span the ages really well and wear the children out while you enjoy a more relaxing time with the baby, in an environment that is safe for them to all go off on their own. I know this can be expensive with several children, so maybe use it as a bit of a bribe for them to help do little jobs around the house, and go once a week or fortnight.

I do agree with notnagging that they all need little jobs to do each. I have 4 (expecting number 5) and they have to take turns to unload the dishwasher, put away their own washing (that goes in draws), which I leave folded in their own piles, take their plates and cups out after meals, clear their own toys up and their own rooms. Doesn't sound much but it does save me a lot of housework because all those bits add up to a lot when you have several children.

I'm afraid the washing never gets better really unless you can get them to do their own, I'm still working on this one and my eldest 2 are teenagers.

Smudging Sun 06-Jan-13 19:57:40

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Smudging Sun 06-Jan-13 19:59:05

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

notnagging Sun 06-Jan-13 21:34:11

Me too smudging! If its not dirty enough it doesn't get washed! smile
They have a drying rack each in their rooms. They get a load each each week & dry it in their rooms. They put their own washing away but I help the youngest too.

TameGaloot Sun 06-Jan-13 22:04:39

I found co sleeping my no 4 saved my sanity
Meant he could feed without me getting out of bed, getting cold and woken fully.

FedupofTurkey Sun 06-Jan-13 22:21:50

Watching thread with interest as i'm going from 1 to 4 this year and looking for survival tips!

ohforfoxsake Sun 06-Jan-13 22:34:39

1 to 4! grin

Agree with co-sleeping.

just do whatever you need to to get you through the day. smile

Debs75 Sun 06-Jan-13 22:35:44

I have 4 but mine are spread out. 16, 13, 4 and 2. Having such a big gap was the shocker as I had completely forgotten what a newborn baby was like. I survived on no sleep for months. DC4 was a surprise as well so we had spoilt dc3 a bit so she is super clingy and it is a struggle getting the younger two to bed at a reaonable time. Was 7.30 for dc4 as she is dropping naps but 9.30 by time dc3 was asleep.
I remember when dc4 was tiny the joy if they both had naps together. It wasn't very often as dc3 would only sleep in the car by then.
For us the worst times are mealtimes, inquizitive toddlers and not enough room for 6 plates. Bedtimes are bad still especially with four of us squeezed into a damp small bedroom.
The teenagers don't help much either as dc1 is at college and we hardly ever see her and dc2 is disabled.
It can and will get easier though

5madthings Sun 06-Jan-13 22:45:04

I have five and co-sleeping saved my sanity.

Def agree with getting therm to help, set and clear tables, sort sdocjs, fold laundry, sweep, hoiver etc, my four year old loves to hoover.

Slow cooker also fab.

And a good sling is a look feel saver, I had a Moby wrap which was a godsend.

My youngest has just turned two and its much easier now...so much so that I get pangs of broodines...

TameGaloot Sun 06-Jan-13 22:49:17

You and me both 5

5madthings Sun 06-Jan-13 23:04:51

Do you think the broodiness ever goes away? Do says no more and I know rationally that five is enough but it doesn't stop that ache for another...

Debs75 Sun 06-Jan-13 23:12:56

5mad no I don't think it does. I would have more tomorrow, even with the struggles. The only thing stopping me is I am hoping to get into work and I have a 5 year plan which will be really hard to do with a new baby.

5madthings Sun 06-Jan-13 23:15:27

Yes I am starting to make plans for when did starts preschool in a year, I think once she starts and I have that bit of time to myself I won't want to go back to the baby stage, I hope so anyway, just need to be sensible for the next year! And borrow babies to snuggle!

Whojamaflip Sun 06-Jan-13 23:20:12

yy to getting the older ones to help with the chores - every little bit they do is a bit less to ignore stress over.

Mine are 9, 7, 5 and 3 and they all have chores to do and earn their pocket money.

9 yr old will put a load of washing on, brushes and mops kitchen floor and feeds the animals (pigs, guinea pigs and hens) He has also taken responsibility for making the bread (breadmaker)

7 yr old strips sheets of the beds once a week (I make them up during day), hangs out wet washing and hoovers the downstairs.

5 yr old sets and clears table and empties dishwasher. Also takes clothes upstairs when dry to everyones room for them to put away.

3 yr old helps with setting table, feeds cats (crunchies) and pairs up the socks.

They are all things which help life run a bit smoother - the other thing I have found is let them make their own food - cheese and crackers are easily achievable for lunch by my 3 yr old. They also get their own breakfast on a Sunday so that I can snatch a couple of hours extra sleep. grin

It will get easier I promise........

TameGaloot Sun 06-Jan-13 23:20:31

I keep hoping it will go away. Dc4 is nearly 4 and it still aches. Dh has had the snip though so no chance

NAR4 Tue 08-Jan-13 11:39:19

For me the broodiness never went away in the 11 year gap between my third and fourth. Now pregnant with number five and although it has been a truely horrid pregnancy I know that it won't put me off having another one. Dh has said def no more children, but I live in hope.

5madthings Tue 08-Jan-13 11:41:40

Oh god don't say it never goes away!

I am only 33 so have a few more years yet. Think we are done but my boys keep asking about us having more, I told them to ask do, he is fairly adament no more....tho not enough to get the snip!

fluffygal Tue 08-Jan-13 12:56:20

I have 5 dc- 7,6,6,5 and 2. To get housework done we ALL do a room together, going from room to room until the house is done, makes it so quick and kids quite enjoy it as we make a game of how quick we can get it done together.

Also recommend just getting out of the house, no matter what the weather. We would go stir crazy otherwise. Sitting down and doing set activities help too. Having a husband who does his fair share is what really makes it bearable, could not cope otherwise.

NAR4 Tue 08-Jan-13 13:14:23

My Dh is the same, in he says no more but isn't sure enough to get the snip. Maybe you will do what we did and have a large gap and then some more. I had my first 3 by my early twenties, so could never accept my Dh saying no more. My fourth wasn't planned but I was thrilled and to my surprise so was Dh, so much so that he actually agreed to another to keep them company due to the large age gap (never thought he would go for that one). Feel like my body has fallen apart during this pregnancy though, so it might put me off yet (unlikely though).

Oldest is 16 now and I have mentioned to Dh that we are young enough to have a couple more when our oldest 3 go off to uni, but he was sensible and pointed out the cost. We'll have to see.

Sabriel Wed 09-Jan-13 16:49:15

We had 4 in our twenties, then had DC5 in our mid 40s. Seemed like a good idea at the time hmm

The broody feeling was always there until DC5 hit 3 yo. When she was born I did think seriously about having another when she was 2 or 3 so she wasn't an only, but then other things took over and we weren't in a position to have any more. Then once she'd got to about 3 I just realised that actually I really don't want another child. It always felt like someone was missing before, but it doesn't now and I feel done.

notnagging Wed 09-Jan-13 16:55:04

My mind says I'm not done but my body is knackered. I'm 34 & most if my friends are just starting. I have 5 boys & no girls though.

randolf Mon 06-Jan-14 14:04:46

Hi there, I read this post a year ago when I was expecting DC4 and it's always stuck with me. I now have a 5 month old - others are 6,4,2 and I am feeling exactly the same as you DeGlitterBug!!! A year on, can you tell me that things are better?? Please give me some hope....

NAR4 Mon 06-Jan-14 17:08:28

As soon as night feeds have stopped and the youngest is potty trained, life will seem a breeze. Babies are very time consuming and tiredness makes everything seem too much to manage.

You will survive. After all, you did the last three times.

ilovesmurfs Mon 06-Jan-14 17:19:20

Ooh just reading this, I was 5madthings, have namr changed. Life is def easier, my youngest just turned three and stsrts pre-school this week. But I am broody as hell!

Lots of plans for when dd is at pre-school so hoping being busy will help eith broodiness.

I had an extra for kids today, so my five age 14, 11, 9, 5 and 3. And anothrr four ages 3, 4, 5 and 6. Crazy but duprisingly fine!

MoominMammasHandbag Mon 06-Jan-14 17:28:20

I have 4DCs. Four in primary school is a real joy I think, so lovely to have your own little gang; hang on in there OP the very best years are just up ahead.

Quickly draws a veil over the horror that is a houseful of teenagers.

Thinkingofmyfabfour Mon 06-Jan-14 19:22:48

Snap randolf! I have 5 month old dd, and 3 boys aged 6,4,2. Still up lots in the night and dd just will not co-sleep with me, don't know why.
Just to add to the craziness, we have decided to buy a bigger house, so will be putting ours on market in next week or so!! Oh, and my car has packed up so looks like we will have to buy another sad not great timing after Christmas!

randolf Tue 07-Jan-14 13:40:52

Oh God, a house move as well would send me over the edge! Even though the house does seem very small now - how can a tiny baby do that? Thanks for the boost girls, I'm sure things will feel better once the sleep improves, that's probably the key to everything. Me and dh keep saying to each other "We'll get there" but think I'll change my mantra to "the very best years are just up ahead" (Thanks MoominMammasHandbag). Kids are back in school today so if I can just stop the husband from convulsing in his sleep all night and waking me up (along with the kids and baby) I might feel a bit better by the end of the week! Going to attempt to go back to a yoga class for an hour tonight and hope the baby doesn't scream the whole time I'm gone! Fingers crossed...

fuzzyduck234 Tue 14-Jan-14 18:28:21

I have 4 DS and am now excepting DD! Mine are 10, 8.5, 7 and 4 and trust me it does get easier! All my boys do lots of sport and we are lucky to have a large garden so that they are constantly running outside and doing things so that they are very tired by the end of the day. When the youngest were 3 and a few months that was tough constant crying and feeding and not being able to sleep or having a bad dream…. but don't worry as they get older it does get easier! It's a blessing when they go back to school even though its great spending time with them school gives you that time to just sort things out and clear your head! But it will get easier!

sweetkitty Tue 14-Jan-14 18:50:39

Can I join it too we have 4, currently 9.6, almost 8, 5.6 and 3.8 years old. When DS was born DD1 was 5.10 years. We have no family help either.

Yes it does get better. We have 3 at school now and DS at nursery so we went and got a puppy grin

My tips, get everything ready the night before so mornings are less rushed, factor in baby feeding time in the mornings, go to toddler groups etc just to get out. You and your DP/DH need to work as a team. Accept your house will never be tidy again oh and cut down on the after school stuff as well helps.

I'm with you deglitter bug! As a single mum with 4 DC 16, 5 and twins at 3,some days feel I can't keep on top of things, tantrums, mood swings, the cleaning and the ironing pile for example is a beast but other days seem to run smoothly, I just try to go with the flow as its all I really can do haha otherwise would have probably been sectioned by now lol, hope things get easier for you, we are blessed at the end of the daysmile

hallamoo Fri 17-Jan-14 16:01:59

Haven't read the whole thread, but I really felt like DC4 tipped me over the edge. First 2 years were really hard, turns out I had PND (and DC2 didn't sleep for 2 years).

It will get easier. Get your iron levels checked, consider whether you might have PND (I was in denial for nearly a year).

Do you have Home Start in your area? If you have no family support locally, they can provide you with a volunteer to help with practical issues, like looking after the younger ones while you collect the older ones, or do the washing up so you can feed the baby etc.

Things got easier for me when DC3 went to school, just having one at home during the day helped me have some head space.

Was reading this last year when i had a brand new dd2 (dc4) and did wonder then if no4 was a step too far. Mine are 10,8,5 and 13months.

Now she is 13 months and we have survived and itdoes seem easier now, possibly becaise i've hd a full nights sleep now! We have routine and when older dc are at school dd2 and i have lots of time together and at weekends my older dc love playing with her. I

Is almost the best of both worlds.

Organisation, routine and a lax attitude to housework are the way through grin

ThinkIMmad Sun 16-Feb-14 23:17:06

Holidays are always worse though arent they? I have 4 kids 5,3,3(twins) and a nearly 1 year old. It gets a lot easier i found having the baby the easiest to get into a good routine with. DS 1 was always a bad sleeper and you can imagine what the twins were like. People tell me i make it look easy but ive bloody struggled i can tell you, ive had support off family workers on 2 occasions i think its only the fact that dd2 is such a good baby so far that ive coped i was petrified to start with but everything just fell into place she kinda slotted into my already routine.

KatieN1 Sun 16-Feb-14 23:48:31

Yes it does get easier although in a large family I always find you can go from a state of complete order to total chaos in seconds. Looking after children is hard work. I have five boys and when they were young I often felt guilty that one or more were missing out; the reality was that what they lost in one respect they gained in another. Try to share after school activities with other parents and don't try to do too much. Your children are at an age where they will enjoy dusting, vacuuming and helping with laundry so get them involved. And teach them to tidy up their toys. Have a star chart for being helpful and for being good at bedtimes etc. When you reach a certain number have a family outing, that will encourage them to work as a team which will help loads as they grow older. Winter will be over soon and you can look forward to days in the park. Until then be kind to yourself, don't judge yourself too harshly and don't worry about the state of the house, plenty of time for that in the future. Every time your children laugh is an achievement, you're doing a fantastic job.
Oh, if you have neighbours with teenage children perhaps they may be able to spend an hour every day helping you by playing with the children?

NAR4 Mon 17-Feb-14 20:36:08

I completely sympathise with the whole lack of sleep thing. My youngest (11 months) sleeps a total of about 4 hrs a night and naps during the day while I'm on the school run. My toddler is also stroppy and overtired by around 4 and it seems an eternity until bed time.

The last couple of wks I have routinely strapped the baby into the pushchair after lunch, watching In The Night Garden and bribed my toddler as best I can to do quieter activities such as colouring or puzzles. I turn off the phone, take the batteries out the door bell and have an hr as my unwind time. It's not a total break but I have found it helps me calm down and feel less overwhelmed by all the things I need to get done.

Early baths are always good if the little ones start to fall asleep in the late afternoon. It keeps them awake as they love baths. It's also nice to shut the door on the mess in the rest of the house and be mentally distracted by the level of supervision my very lively little ones require in the bath. I have even fed them tea in the bath to save on mess.

I try to cook batches of meals for the freezer when dh is around at the weekend because I find it almost impossible to cook from scratch with the baby climbing everything.

My mil often tells me to do whatever makes life easiest for me and to not put so much pressure on myself. She is right, but it is often hard to remember.

We all find things overwhelming sometimes but it WILL get easier.

NAR4 Mon 17-Feb-14 20:42:40

I read a quote somewhere (can't remember where); doing housework when children are growing, is like shovelling snow when its still snowing.

Very true.

nar i like that! i always say its like herding water..totally pointless!

katie i agree. the speed that my house is turned upside down after school is shocking smile

jenniferalisonphillipasue Sat 22-Feb-14 22:32:35

I am so glad I read this thread. I have 4 (8, 6,3,15months). I think I may have suffered from PND after my last dd. She is not a sleeper and I have been frazzled. I think I am coming out of it now but I still look around and feel completely overwhelmed sometimes. My house is always a constant tip. I never seem to be able to get on top of the cleaning and washing. The dc do help when asked but don't do a great job. I used to have a whizz round at bath time but now I spend that time helping the older two with homework so it just never gets done.

I am struggling a lot with the arguing too at the moment. My two boys (8,3) take great delight in winding dd1 up who totally falls for it and then all hell breaks loose.

I know that life will get easier and we have been here before I just wish I wasn't wishing my beautiful dd's babyhood away.

BoyBandMumager1 Tue 04-Mar-14 12:43:17

I have four boys (8, 6, 3 & 1) and agree that four children can seem like A LOT at times, so I take my hat off to anyone who is managing with 5, 6 or more.
My best advice is to forward-plan (meals for the week, packed lunches for the next day, get uniforms out the night before etc) and also to train the kids to do those kinds of tasks (even a 4 year old can get his/her uniform ready - with a bit of checking).
There are times when my house is just craaaazy - the amount of noise 4 boys can make is unbelievable! But nothing makes me happier than the few moments that they play nicely together, or cuddle each other, or interact in really positive ways.
I also find that when all else fails a sense of humour can get me through some long days. I've started blogging about our life as a family with 4 boys. Hope it's okay to give the link here: boybandinthemaking.wordpress.com
If you're having a bad day, it might make you smile :-)

TheBigBumTheory Tue 04-Mar-14 13:11:02

Hi, haven't read the whole thread, but I have 4; my youngest is now 9, oldest 15.

The one thing I wish I could have known when they all were little was that I was far too hard on myself. Looking back, I was doing fine, but at the time I would compare myself to people with less or older children and wonder why they managed so easily. You feel as though you can't complain because you chose to have them all, and you feel you have do do it really well because people might think you can't handle your big family. I used to mentally flog myself for having a messy house/garden..not keeping in touch with people, being grumpy and so on.

Don't be afraid to be quite firm, someone needs to be in charge. Have ridiculously early bed times-for you too. But do delegate loads, children actually like to be useful and feel useful. Imagine you had broken your leg (this happened to me) and think of all the things they could do to help I with a little direction.

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