The intensity of two small children is overwhelming me - any support/listening ear appreciated.

(17 Posts)
Muttonboon Thu 17-Jan-13 07:02:43

I have two children, almost 5 and 3.5 so small age gap. I am overwhelmed at times with (for me) the sheer intensity of two small children. It has got a lot easier (ironically newborn baby stage with no.2 was a doddle) over the last 3 yrs but the squabbling, them repeating things over and over again, me repeating things over and over again, me shouting etc - brings me almost to the point where I could (literally ) cry.

This morning both came into our bed at just after 6' normally only the older one. Dad had to be up early for work so after a few minutes nice cuddle he gets up. Older child wants to be next to me so I go into the middle of the bed, cue screaming from younger one that I had moved her over and she wanted to be where I was.

I stormed out of bed (childish) so pi88ed off at starting my day like this. I feel almost overwhelmed with frustration and long for them both to go to school full time (we are abroad and only mornings for now). The afternoons stretch ahead of me some days and feel me with dread.

I find it emotionally draining. I did not have the best of childhoods and have no contact with my family. My children must often think I am a miserable, impatient, shouting old cow and I could definitely cry over that.

Didn't want to read & run. I'm sorry you feel like this. I have a nearly 3 year old and a 3 month old & I am totally overwhelmed most of the time. It's a lousy feeling. I don't have any advice I'm afraid but didn't want you to feel alone. Someone wiser will be along shortly I'm sure.

merlottits Thu 17-Jan-13 07:14:07

I have a 4.5 and a 2.5 year old and feel like this most of the time. My DH and I both work full-time but don't have any childcare (work our own hours) so I am either at work or have the kids 7 days a week. I also have a 15 year old.

I feel like I could have a breakdown at any moment! No advice just know you're not alone.

BouncyPenguin Thu 17-Jan-13 07:15:51

I hear you Muttonboon. It is really really really hard and not many people want to talk about how hard it is and how crazy motherhood makes you. Mine are younger than yours 3.5 years and 6months. But my 3.5 year old is very challenging on a daily and nightly basis and I lose the plot regularly. I don't know if this is normal as other parents I know only want to talk about how wonderful having kids is. I suspect it is just a facade. I do have a fair bit of contact with my family and my mum is very helpful and lives locally so in that sense I feel lucky. It sounds like you could do with more friends locally in a similar situation. But then I guess that's why we all go here on Mumsnet!

solittletime Thu 17-Jan-13 07:25:11

Can't write much now. Mine have a similar age gap. I Def have days when I feel overwhelmed, but much more when I lived abroad. When you mention your long afternoons it struck a cord.

Do you think living abroad is a factor in how you feel?

Sorry typing on phone in a rush!

Muttonboon Thu 17-Jan-13 09:27:13

Thank you for the replies. Yes solittletime I think being abroad makes a difference for me. I think I would feel more in control of my own life back in the UK, would be making plans to go to work part time etc. Though we would be financially worse off back in the UK and there would be other sresses. However to acknowledge merlottits working full time would be very stressful and I do mot have to do that.

I am not suited to being with small children on my own for long periods - it is not natural and I believe, not good for them or you.

SunbathingintheRain Thu 17-Jan-13 09:44:02

I really empathise- mine are 3 and 5 months and I find things totally overwhelming often too. My eldest now goes to preschool which I thought would make all the difference but the afternoons are long long long.

Someone gave me these pieces of advice which I will pass on-

* quality time to yourself whenever possible, even just half an hour. Eg at weekends, nap times etc. Do something you really enjoy. Get some head space.

*get out every afternoon, whatever the weather.

Any chance of meeting up with other Mums? I 100% agree that being alone with small children for long periods is not natural and I am trying to be more social even though sometimes I don't feel like it. Hope things get better soon, happy to chat (type!) more if it helps.

NeedlesCuties Thu 17-Jan-13 13:57:52

I feel the same as you, OP.

Sadly my DH bears the brunt of my foul moods and I can be a total bitch to him sad

Kids are lovely and beautiful, but just relentless! My almost-3 year old is up during the night and terrible to put to bed, all since the baby was born 5 months ago, of course baby is also up during night too.

dabdab Thu 17-Jan-13 14:04:43

It is hard, but it will get better! I had a 19 months gap between two of my dc - getting out and going to groups / playground / cafe / shop jut to buy 2 items because we had to get out of the house really helped, as did hanging out with other mothers. I also tried to organise my week so we had 2 afternoons where we did a thing, like cooking or junk modelling or collecting leaves to dry and send to granny, etc. It helped when I had a plan, if you see what I mean.

FrequentFlyerRandomDent Thu 17-Jan-13 14:42:41

Oh dear, you are younger me!

I was abroad with two DCs about 20 months apart and a workaholic husband (maybe I am projecting on the husband thing).

It is so tough being always the only one to do childcare. No gran, sister to help. no trustworthy neighbour you can rely on for childcare if only for a break... and depending where you are, some huge cutlural differences on what is acceptable to do a child. I saw a childminder shake a baby to sleep in an ex Eastern block country we were in. I could not bring myself to take a babysitter or helper after this.

Hugs and thanks and brew.

This book helped me.

Any expat childbirth trust where you are? In one of the countries we were in, there was a large expat community so I managed to make some friends to offload/share the joys and pains.

plipplops Thu 17-Jan-13 17:43:49

DDs are 4 and 5 (16 month gap) and I feel your pain. It's not too bad in term time but in the holidays I could happily kill them and then myself sometimes. My main coping strategies are to try and get them out somewhere to play where I can get some headspace (if we're at the park or a good soft play place they play really nicely and leave me alone for a bit). Then try and be conscious of those times, and make a mental note of them so you appreciate them iyswim?! They bicker and whinge all the time, and are constantly picking fights with each other and me, and nagging me for something or other ALL the time.

Do you have any friends there with similar age kids to arrange some playdates (for me very rarely in my own house but I'm happy to take someone else's kids out if they'll return the favour)?

I also definitely second trying to find something that you love to do when they are at school, if only to give yourself some identity and hang out with like minded people where it's not all about being a mum.

belindarose Thu 17-Jan-13 20:01:55

Me too. DD 3.5, DS 6mo. While pregnant this time, I was terrified about the newborn stage, leading to antenatal depression. In fact, the newborn bit was an absolute breeze in many ways.

I hate to admit it, even to myself, but the baby is no trouble at all. Not even the hourly night waking is a massive issue really. But DD drives me crazy. She's brilliant with her brother and hasn't shown a scrap of resentment towards him, but I can see her jealousy coming out in lots of ways. Today, for example, she decided to 'be' him at tea time. So everything he did, she copied. Dribbling, flicking her spoon, keeping her fingers in her mouth to eat, making (perfectly mimicked) baby noises. He loved it, of course, but it's such a difficult time of day at the best of times! I know she really wants my attention, sees he's getting lots of it at mealtimes and wants it too.

It's so hard. It feels like every nice thing I do with her is spoilt by a tantrum or a bad mood. It isn't true though, we have lovely times, but I'm remembering the bad bits at the moment. Lack of sleep isn't helping of course. I do bedtimes on my own - DH isn't back from work - and she makes it so difficult. I can just have the baby almost asleep and she deliberately squeals or otherwise disturbs him. Then her bedtime is noisy and not the calm, loving time I want it to be.

Branleuse Thu 17-Jan-13 20:09:18

There is just under a year between my two youngest. They are now nearly 4 and 5 and tbh, its only really now coming into its own. I wouldnt have wished that first year or two on anybody. Its very hard, but it will get easier.

At the moment youre in a cycle. You havent got time to recuperate, so youre already defeated before you start. I dont know what to suggest. Wine maybe?

whatdoithinknow Thu 17-Jan-13 21:58:56

I'm struggling too:-( Belinda u sound just like me except mine are 2and 1month old but similar in lots of ways. Wine is not helping I don't think either. Help!!!

solittletime Thu 17-Jan-13 22:01:16

Muttonboon, sometimes acceptance is the first step.

I struggled for so long when abroad with a newborn and toddler. Then I accepted it. I accepted that I lived in a country where I had no properly 'old' friends or close family. That of course I was bound to feel trapped when it was constantly at least 30 degrees with what felt like 100% humidity so going out for big parts of the day with a tiny baby was impractical.

Locals would spend most of their time with family. Weekends felt like they would go on forever.

I don't know what kind of country you are in, developed, underdeveloped, hot, cold ...

But if there is any way you can get some sort of childcare just do it, without guilt. I started off with a nanny who would come over. Since I had nowhere to go I would literally just drive to a cafe with a book or see a friend for a few hours. Then I found a voluntary job.

Then I got super lucky and got a part time admin job and found a lovely local daycare.

But I would def recommend trying to find a solution so that you are not always on your own with the children at home for ages. It's good for them to have a change from you too.

Now I'm in the UK, can barely afford to get to the end of them month and our tiny flat is a fraction of our big expat house. But in many ways life is so much easier.
Yes I work and rush around doing nursery runs, shopping, straight home to clean and cook.

But I also have options and friends etc...

Don't get caught up in the expat guilt (ie- I have a lovely house and plenty of spare money so have nothing to whinge about). It is really really hard to be abroad sometimes.

Accepting that and feeling that actually you are doing quite well considering circumstances will go a long way to making you feel better.

I spent two years feeling miserable and overwhelmed, as well as guilty for not enjoying this 'amazing' expat experience. Now I look back and think blimey, actually I did really well considering how isolated I was.

I'm sure you doing a great job. All that time you are spending with your children will pay off in the end, even if it doesn't feel like it now!

Are there enough expat families to start a little rotational playgroup? Taking it in turn to host?

Muttonboon Thu 24-Jan-13 12:38:10

Hello, sorry it has taken me so long to reply...

We are in a european country and I like it very much, however I would have more options if we were in the UK.

Frequent I already have that book to add to the pile of other parenting books i have only half read smile

Some of it is the logistics of two children so close in age, they are in effect twins in some ways. So we go to kindergarten and it is two children to help on/off with snowsuits, boots etc, both wanting at once. I am never able to concentrate.

No the xmas holiday is over we do have activities most afternoons we have an hour to do either gymnastics or dancing or I take them swimming or we have a playdate (ghastly word).

I want to work part time when they are both at school, even if voluntary work. I worked out last week that in a 40 hour "working week" I spend. maximum of 5 hours with other adults, 3 of which is in my language class.

There are a lot of expats in the neighbouring towns and I could make more effort but effort is the word......

Muttonboon Thu 24-Jan-13 12:44:46

solittletime you are right about the "expat" experience. I am not anywhere exotic so it is just a regular place with the mental stimulation of learning. new language, the fantastic opportunity for the children to learn a new language (both as good as their native peers now). But whereas I would be working part time if we were in the UK and would have so many more options for work there (economic situation notwithstanding, I feel I would have options). Here it is going to be tough for me to find a part time job so now I do get each morning on my own and I go to the gym (not as frequently as I should for the cost) and I go to my language class, it is isolating and I just think I would benefit from more social interaction.

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