Please help, how do you cope with 4 without haviing a breakdown?!(52 Posts)
I have 4 dcs ds1 (9) ds2 (7) dd1 (4) and dd2 (9 weeks). I feel like the worst and most useless mum. My house is a tip, my dcs are behaving terribly constantly fighting and winding eachother up. Dd1 has turned into a tantruming rude little diva and regularly refuses to settle down at bedtime. Anything we ask of her sends her into a rage (ie please eat dinner, please don't throw things at people etc)
Obviously right now the baby needs a kot of attention. I am ebf and although she sleeps fairly well i am shattered!
I feel like i am constantly shouting and no one is happy or having much fun. The evenings are hard as dh works nights so i am on my own. He tries to help but also needs to sleep before work.
Don't really know what i want from thia, just need to vent.
Someone please tell me it gets easier and how you cope! I love them so much but feel like i am failing them totally!
You've said it yourself: you are tired. This is completely understandable and normal. You are doing tons and have a newborn.
Your children's behaviour sounds very age-appropriate as well! My guess is that you're not coping as well as you normally because, well, you're tired.
We always wanted 4. But the first thing I said to DH straight after DD2 was born was "NO more!". Then after a very long gap we had DD3. She was always wanted and loved, we just didn't have the energy for her earlier. Then, when DD3 was about 2 and started sleeping properly, everything became a lot easier and we started thinking "maybe".
Then it took a monster of a long time (from the time she was 5 till she was 12) to get pregnant. She is 3.6 now, and literally every day feels like a blessing.
When you are less tired than you are now, hopefully within a few months, I think you will start to feel more positive and be able to cope better. In the meantime, can you harness the 3 older ones to do age-appropriate things about the house to help you? Sit them down one by one in a quiet time and tell them you are feeling very tired and need them to be helpful big boys and girls. Ask them to ask if you need anything doing, to offer help if they think you need it. They need such a lot of guidance at this age- they're unlikely to just ask you spontaneously yet they are perfectly old enough to make themselves useful.
My gauge of a day well spent when mine were 1,3 and 5 was whether they were still all alive at the end of the day. If we'd actually done something that was a big bonus! And I didn't have a newborn as well.
This shall pass. And one day very soon you will look at your brood and feel really really glad that you had them. Until then, take it one day at a time.
Sorry, *when DD2 was 2. That is confusing.
The baby gets bigger and is less demanding and you get more practised at juggling
It will get easier, I promise
You cope because you have to. And it will get better. 9 weeks is very early days and probably when you are at your lowest (ime anyway).
Mine are 11, 9, 6 and 3 now so similar gaps I think. You will all find your places and settle down again. And I found dd1 had a hormonal outburst around 9 which settled down (although us starting up again now she is nearing 12 )
Practically - my dh works away and was when dc4 was born. In some respects it is easier because I had no expectations of anyone else.
So, if friends offer to help, take them up on it. But ask them to do something concrete - a school run or take the baby out for an hour or have a selection if children after school one night. That sort of thing.
The house being a tip - get a cleaner if you can afford it. If not, use the children. Mine do more chores than I suspect they would if I only had 2. They can stack and empty the dishwasher, sort recycling, put their clean clothes away and put dirty washing in the laundry pile.
Bedtime is all by the clock and extensions are by negotiation. So dc4 goes up about 6.30, dc3 at 7, dc2 at 7.30 and dc1 at 8. I plug them into the TV and try to spend that 30mins with each one - bath, PJs and story. Although I'm finding the older 2 are getting less interested. I don't have a lights out as I've explained that I want them in bed so I can watch my TV/do my stuff. Although I remember that baby dc4 didn't really play by the rules early on
Oh I misread and though dd1 was the 9yo, sorry!
I have more than most DC and I found routine is the best way forward.
Thank you all! Is reassuring to know it will probably get easier!
Duchesse you are right i am tired and that makes things harder. I am trying to enjoy dd2 as there will be no more babies (and she is a 'bonus baby'). Ds2 often does washing up for me - bless him he will offer to 'give me a break' (so its not all bad).
I just feel guilty for making things harder!
I have decided to start a reward system for help and good behaviour.. I've got some jars and marbles and good behaviour will earn marbles worth 10p each, am hoping this will help things to be more positive!
Tom rationally i know that! I remember things getting easier as dd1 got older, slept better and i could get a break! Yesterday was just a blip
Badroly i think this is true at 9 weeks all the adrenaline from the birth is gone and its a long time since i last slept through a whole night, it just catches up with you doesn't it?
Today was better instead of fightibg the boys spent the evening finding daft nursery rhymes on.you tube to entertain the baby!
Oh, that sounds good Apples! So they all ended the day alive AND happy- Result, I'd say.
badroly and almost routine is what i want. We've always kepr to one in the past but things were allowed to slide whilst i was pg as i was pretty unwell (and not entirely happy to find myself pg) so i feel like now i am having to reign everyone back in!
Am sure things will be easier if we can get bedtimes back on track!
X posted! Badroly that bedtime routine sounds good. I like the idea of each one having their own bit of time and attention
Yes I regularly have to re jump start our routine again when we let it slide, I find school holidays really knock our routine slide ways and that when I have regin everyone back in again.
You will get there, just start by making a few small steps in the right direction and gradually get a full routine up and running but don't forget about a bit of 'me' time for yourself in the routine even it's its just 10mins to have a bath.
It is so hard trying to get back on track, especially when you just feel drained. But remember that being a good mum isn't all about doing 'stuff' all the time - giggling over YouTube videos is just as good as eg junk modelling/making crafty stuff.
I don't know how it would work for you but when it's dry, just staying at the park for an hour after school helps
Meal planning too then online shopping, but of a pain at the start but easy once you get into the habit.
Does your dp get home at a readonable time to do all the morning stuff with the dc so you can lie in?
Almost - it is hard work the first week or 2 after holidays!
As for shouting all the time, I notice that I get shoutier over a period if time then have to reign myself in. I think once I am aware of it, I can try and stop myself strokes back of hand counting down from 379
Congrats op! It certainly does get easier with a little time. Mine are now ds1 -9, ds2-8, dd1-3 and ds3-2. By far the most challenging one is dd, she is a total diva dolly!
Our routine is key (which works well for ds1 as he has sn). I am always preparing ahead, especially when dc4 was teeny like yours.
ie pjs ready in bathroom at some point in the day when I get a sec.
Set table for tea before school run esp when baby would need a feed as soon as we got home.
Easy meals that I knew they would all eat with no fussing.
Going up for bath and bed early, giving myself loads of time for them to soak while feeding baby (sat on floor). In fact i'd forgotten I had a bouncy chair in the bathroom to put him in while getting them ready for bed.
School kit ready the night before.
I used lots of electronic babysitting in the early days!
Cut yourself some slack you are doing fab for the heady days of sleep deprivation, enjoy those newborn snuggles while you can. My last tiny baby runs off when I ask him for a kiss 'noooo way mama'!!!
I have just started work (this week first job in 17yrs) and I am having to start a whole new routine morning and evening so I have warned DC school and teachers that there maybe a few hiccups in the first couple of weeks but all I can do is learn what/where/if anything goes wrong and change our routine to suit as I'm only part time we will have two different routines and all I or anyone else can do is try and learn from any
all of the mistakes made.
Forgot to add the best thing that helped me was arranging a few shelves by the front door, not only for shoes.
the top shelf is used for school bags, pe bags, my work bag and once made packed lunches get added. Younger children's coats hang on the side of the shelves so they can reach, hang up coats and put them on with little/no help.
Our shoes are on the shelves below the bags, all school shoes on one and trainers below.
This way I have everything we need by the front door ready to go as we go.
Almost thats a fab idea, when dh has some time will get him to do shelves in hall
Btw congrats on new job! Hope you are enjoying being back at work.
badroly sometimes dh is a bit late and misses morning routine altogether but mostky he is a great help to get everyone out. At weekends he will let me lie in a bit.but he also works weekends
The park is a good idea as there is one right by school.
I do try to catch myself re shouting as i think it all escalates then.
four thanks. Dd1 is hard as she seems to think shes in and is a proper diva but then she was the baby and i think we babied her as she was meant to be our last!
I actualky have a spare bouncer upstairs so dd2 can watch bedtime. I think i just need to get organised
Oops that should read dd1 thinks shes in charge!
Thank you, it's my first ever proper job feeling very proud of myself.
I really like my shelving, no more running around in the mornings trying to find everything. I just need to remind
nag mine to put the things actually on the shelves not dumped on the floor next to shelves
Almost I think we need some shelves as it looks like we have been burgled when we get in from school with coats, hats, gloves, shoes and bags everywhere. Well done with work. There will be no more babies so getting back into my profession is my next challenge!
Apple hope today has been a good one.
I couldn't have coped so I admire you. I think routines and times for meals for the older children is quite a good idea. I read a book once it was quite helpful. Time Management for Manic Mums.
Four so far so good! Have actualy managed to get dinner on before the school run which gives us some breathing room so having a with dh whilst dcs entertain themselves and baby plays on her gym.
Only problem is our totally unreasonable dd1 currently having a tantrum in her room as we told her off for ripping a photo! Not looking forward to her teenage years!
Boys out to transport museum tomorrow witu cubs/beavers so should be ok
Almost hope work going well. You should be proud as its a big step after so long. Am quite nervous for when i need to get a job as its been 6 years at home.
Op, I could have written this post many times in the past year, and possibly will still for a little longer....
4dds 6, 4, almost 3 and 13 months. The past year has been hard, and I think the lows have outnumbered the highs unfortunately. I have has niggling health issues and dd4 has just given me the best night so far, waking only every three hours throughout the night!
I do find the days run easier if I get dinner out of the way while dd1 and 2 are at school. In the past year I have the shelf at the front door, big basket for hats etc, two huge coat racks, a pidgin hole cupboard for shoes. It has made life easier and cleaner. But I am constantly shouting and nagging to get the dds to put their stuff away. And I have come to realise that the path to sanity lies in putting a lock on the art cupboard (which is actually a whole floor to dealing cupboard)!
Dh is usually not around in the evenings. I find tea time the hardest as I struggle with the lack of adult company to stop me getting too shouty. No dd just wants to sit down and eat, they want to go to the toilet, a drink, random standing up and running about. I have tried to make dinner earlier and that has helped, but I am sure I am not alone in this thread saying that dinner is usually late because I struggle to cook with 4dds in the early evening.
It's gotten easier with dd turning one. And this weekend I think has been the nicest for a while. Nicest being easiest!
Personally, I know I need to get better at food shopping (online has it problems) and meal planning. That level of organisation seems too allude me. And to be less shouty .
Good luck op, I think it is all a case of swings and round about s. some days are good, some days are bad....
Imip gosh that sounds hard. Yours are younger than mine and all my older dcs are at school now - its the first time in my life i actualky look forward to mondays! I try to get the housr under control on a monday but dd2 doesn't sleep as much now and needs more attention!
I agree about the meal planning this is where i often fail as i sonetimes forget and then its fish fingers
Oh the arts! Dh let them at the paint yesterday for mothrs day but didn't check where or what they were doing. I amHope now spending my day cleaning red paint out of bedroom carpets!
Hope your dh helps out too and your enjoying a restful.mothers day x
A place for everything, a time for everything and cutting yourself some slack when it doesn't go to plan are the main things.
Also sorting what you can the night before helps.
Mine are 9, 8, 6 and 3 at the moment soon I'll go back to my neat 10, 8, 6 and 4 which I like because then I can remember when people ask
I know what you mean Tom - mine will be 11,10,6 and 3 next month which is all wrong. Roll on July when it'll be a smooth 12, 10, 6 and 4
Hello apple. Like many of the posters here, we are in a similar boat - I have 4 boys aged 8, 6, 2 and 8 weeks. Although my husband doesn't work nights, and is here most evenings, he's out of the house from 6.30am to 6pm, and has been / will be away a week a month for the next few months. We also moved to the US, for his job, while I was pregnant, so as well as being away from my tried and trusted support networks, I have turned from a working mum (with childcare, which is the important factor here) to housewife - and there's no maternity leave for a housewife is there!
In the first couple of weeks, my oldest boy turned into a proper little diva (how interesting that there doesn't seem to be a male/ gender neutral word for that!). He'd stomp off to his room, shouting he hated us / didn't ask to be born / never wanted to leave the UK at the slightest provocation (for example being asked to pick something up off the floor) and the 6 year old turned into a proper limp dishcloth, traipsing round the house following his dad and holding onto his leg. I'm not quite sure what has pulled them together, but I think a talking to from my parents who came to visit a month ago might have helped. Do you have an outsider who could ask your older kids to be helpful?
What has helped me feel like I'm keeping my head above water is feeling like I'm on top of things, so for example, I can't bear sitting to feed the baby in a really messy room so I try and keep one room tidy (ish - you wouldn't want to look closely at the carpet or under the furniture) so I can retreat there. I also try not to get sucked into watching crap telly when I'm feeding, so keep a book / paper / magazine wherever I might end up. It's also important to me to be creative, so I have a couple of easy projects on the go that I can pick up and put down. That said, this all went to pot a bit when my husband was away as I usually get an hour twice a week when he takes the boys to tae kwondo.
Anyway, I feel by now I'm rambling. Don't feel like you're failing them - within reason, I think the best thing you can give a child is a sibling, and you have a wonderful family of 4 who will play with each other and entertain each other and look out for each other (and for you) - eventually! I am telling myself this as much as you...
Whimsicle congrats on your new baby!
Your ds1 sounds like my dd1! I have to keep reminding myself that her world has been turned upside down! Before dd2 arrived she was the baby and the only girl. Am trying to be consistent and calm in dealing with her but...
Interestingly i tend to feel better if i am able to sit and feed in a tidy/clean space. At weekends when they are making a mess in the living room it makes me feel like the walls are closing in on me
I used to do cross stitch which i.find really relaxing and in the last few days have dug one out and i do feel a bit more sane.
Being so far from home must be hard for you. I'm finding it hard and we'vr been in the same house for the last 10 years! Unfortunatly my family are not nearby akthough my mum came up yesterday and helped me out a bit (in the very early days she came up and took all dcs to park with dh whilst dd2 and i slept)
Hopefully once things settle down and babies sleep.longer it will all get easier [fingers crossed emoticon]
Aw whimsicle congrats. Eight weeks, so teeny.
Our 8 year old ds2 is quite emotionally peculiar at the moment and our youngest is two. So nothing to do with a new arrival. He is like the eldest (as ds1 has Down's syndrome so is emotionally and developmentally delayed.) I have recently bought the 'Raising Boys' book. So it may be the same with your ds1 rather than the new baby. He said to me the other day 'Mum you are ruling my life!' Think he mention ruining. And I did probably the worst thing and giggled at him.
I remember the days of being pinned to the sofa while the house is destroyed by the others in front of your eyes, all passed for me now so fast and you know what I'm sad about that. So try enjoy. My teeny baby is a walking, talking toddler who thinks he rules the roost (but dd1 has other ideas).
We have 4 dcs dd1 (11), ds1 (6), dd2 (3) and ds2 (10mths).
It is really hard work, I won't lie Iam exhausted. I try to be organised, write lists etc but I manage to do something wrong/forget things every day.
At the moment I keep trying to tell myself that as long as dcs are fed, clean, don't have headlice (we had BIG problem with them few months ago and I think we single handedly kept hedrin in business) and are happy then I'm not doing too bad.
Our house is a tip (ok, its a shithole really but dh hates me swearing), we have massive piles of washing to wash and another huge amount to fold/put away. Everywhere else is cluttered.
I write a list each night of what I need to do the following day and try to actually do it. We also have a clipboard on fridge with dcs hosp appt letters in date order on it, a family calendar with same appts on and all clocks in house are ten mins fast so that we are tricked into being early rather than late (doesn't always work!).
It is difficult but manageable (just).
Good luck op
Thanks four. my 8yo has actually always been quite peculiar, it just manifests in different ways at times.
I hadn't appreciated your daughter wasn't your eldest, apple. perhaps there's a spot of regression going on, so she's behaving like a 2-3 year old, but with the vocabulary of a 4 year old. Blimey, a terrifying prospect. By comparison, my 2 yo (who is close to 3) has insisted on wearing a babygrow / onesie thing (with wellies, natch, to complete the outfit) for days. Curiously, I remember my 8 yo doing exactly the same thing when DS2 was born.
in a way, we were lucky to move when we did as we have gone from a reasonably sized but psychologically squished (in that it was tall and thin, opened straight onto the street, no garden to talk of) terrace to a hilarious suburban pile (typically American really) in a very leafy area, so we purged prior to moving, and have less stuff in a larger house so the clutter hasn't got on top of us yet Ariane. No doubt it's only a matter of time.
Thanks all. I'm glad i started this thread now as its reassuring to realise things are pretty normal here
whimsicle i think there is some regression with dd and we are trying to encourage her to feel special as the big sister (ie by reading her school book to baby). Just trying to remember that it is still very early days!
ariane its the clutter that seems to.get all over that drives me crackers - and don't get me started on the washing! Dd2 only does exploding poos so i am constantly having to change all her clothes!
Today things feel better. Older dcs all at school so just me and baby and she has slept since her last feed so i have tidied, hoovered, washed up and emptied the washing machine (& refilled it)
Hope everyone else is having a good day
Adding myself into this thread! My 4 are 5.5,4.5,2.7 and 15 months.
Three girls then a boy.
I have also started back to work for the first time since dd1 was born though its not regular hours. Most three days a week least none.
Dh works mainly nights and leaves around 5 returns 12-2 ish and works most of the weekend.
I agree with things being organised as much as possible the night before. School uniform out - everyone apart from the baby carries their clothes downstairs in the morning.
Dd1 is the stroppiest and ds is the most tiring.
I sometimes set myself challenges ( I don't tell the kids!) and recently did a No Shout week as i felt I was getting more & more shouty.
And like a previous poster I am honest with the children that I need them to go to bed so as I can get some time for myself.
How's today been Apples?
I am ready to bury dc4 under the patio! Testing does not even start to describe him at the moment - even challenging is not hitting the mark but he is sleeping now and looks like an angel...
Aw badroly they all seem so lovely when asleep
Today was ok. Dd2 slept well last night and i was only up once. Dh is off tonight so he's helped. Just seems easier when theres 2 of us dealing - i've even managed to wash my hair
Mine would be lovely if they would just sleep Also DC1 is surfing towards an ASD diagnosis with a side order of anxiety and it's affecting all of us.
I second (?third) that! I nearly had a melt down last night when it was 9.30 and only one was asleep. Typically the least troublesome one at that!
Mine 4 are now 13 (oldest) to 4 (youngest). I can't say for me it has got easier. They fight so much I am at my wit's end. I have a friend with 5 and hers are so nice and polite. I am really down about them at the moment.
Not saying this to panic OP: But the people who say it will get easier - my question is how?! What's the secret. Cos it hasn't got easier for me.
I could have written that post op !!!! Sounds like our house and how I often feel !!! It has got better now weaning started ( no longer have to duck flying cars thrown by tantrumming toddler when bf ing!) and I feel like I can cope better when slept ok ish .... Good luck x
Frenchlion i wonder about when it will get easier my friend has 4 boys and they are lovely and her house is always clean and tidy whislt my house is a mess despite constant clearing up and the dcs just seem to fight all the time. I keep telling myself its because hers are older and have bigger age gaps but still...
I worry that the problem is me not them and when i catch myself shouting i always worry that it makes it worse!
Disclaimer: is hols right now so there is no break and a lot of routine gone out window
Hello Apple! Hope you are doing a bit better now. Easter holidays are a bit of a challenge. I'm shattered!
The weather hasn't helped, I think we can put a lot of frustration down to that. Hopefully it will get easier when the weather warms up and we can send kids outside to play and leave the house without tracking down 4 lots of gloves / hats / coats etc.
Oh Lime only just seen your post! Hows everything going?
Bad day today they just won't listen! Dd1 is currently my biggest problem as she refuses to do anything asked of her however reasonable! A lot of it is attention seeking but even when we make a real effory for her as soon as something doesn't go her way she kicks off. Frankly no consequences seem to make any diference <and breathe>
On the plus side dd2 now goes to bed early evening and i have a bit more time in the evening. The peace is lovely when they are all asleep
Am sure things will get easier. I just need to breath
and let some things slide
I'm trying to channel that Radford woman from 16 kids...shes always smiley and unstressedas i doubt my seemingly constant nagging is helping
<marking place for later when I get a minute>
4DS 12, 11, 9 and 3. About to return to FT work after 5 months off and dreading it. I neeeeeeed advice on structure and planning. How not to shout. How to carve a bit of space for me. Getting through a day without shouting and WTF to do about getting homework, showers, dinner and encouraging parenting done in the short window at the end or beginning of the day.
Hi Apple! Good to hear your update, though sorry to hear DD1 is challenging you at the moment. Is she the eldest and how old is she? Sorry I have forgotten (though I seem to remember your age ranges were similarish to mine).
I find my eldest (ds1) is sometimes a challenge because I have no previous experience of how to deal with one that age! With the younger ones, at least I have some knowledge to draw on. People ask how DD is doing (the baby) - but of course 4th time round it is relatively easy because I know what to do with her!
DS3 is driving me nuts at the moment. He is very good natured - lively and funny - but he constantly trashes the house. Yesterday he spread toys everywhere downstairs - a complete mish mash of everything he could lay his hands on, and it took ages to clear it all up (looked like it had rained lego). Ironically this happened when DH and I were trying to tidy up / sort out upstairs! Then today he did the same thing again in his brothers' bedroom - all the soft toys, books, bedding, dressing up clothes - everywhere! He has also damaged DH's ipad and smeared butter systematically over the entire kitchen floor.
I love watching 16 kids... I like the Radford family although I can't imagine having 4x as many as I do... how she stays so calm I don't know! The woman with all the beauty pagent daughters also seems really happy all the time too.
oops sorry just noticed that you put your DC ages in the OP. Do you think your DD1's behaviour could be due to the fact that she isn't the baby anymore? Also, if I remember right she is in reception? My DS2 is one of the younger ones in the class and is still knackered by the long (for him) school week - could that be a contributing factor?
Hello tea! FT work sounds like a challenge with 4. Can the older ones help out a bit more?
Lime dd1 is 4. Tbh i think it is mostly that she is feeling put out tha she is no longer the baby or the only girl. Also i found pg quitw hard this time which has had an impact on all dcs behaviour.
Some days are better than others and today was just hard.
Agree about eldest being a challenge. I worry about ds1. With dd2 i have experience and can feel fairly certain i know what i'm doing but ds1 is always the unknown.
Some days i just feel like i'm just making a mess of it all
tea routine is my only suggestion. Think maybe deep breath and count to 10 re shouting. I'm fairly certain i am to blame for some of my difficukties with dcs as i can get quite stressed and shouty
Haha cross posted lime! the school thing might be part of it as she is an august baby.
To help you feel a bit better if your children are being difficult, my mil said only clever children are challenging. My older boys def were challenging and are now all at grammar school, so there is truth in that.
hope your MIL is right NAR! The future is bright for all of mine if that is true!!!
Hmmm well I'm popping into mention how pleasant a tummy bug is when it hits 4 dc! My lounge looks like a laundry - my mum was staying and came down with it too. All staggered over about 10days. Dh is due home tonight and has been muttering about feeling rough. I've told him to stay away if he is. I think he thinks I'm joking!
Join the discussion
Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.Register now
Already registered with Mumsnet? Log in to leave your comment or alternatively, sign in with Facebook or Google.
Please login first.