AIBU to be feeling totally overwhelmed with DC3?(29 Posts)
Ok, totally self-pitying and 1st world problem post warning.
I've got 3 children, 2 from a previous relationship and a 6mo with my OH.
OH got a new job shortly before I concieved. He earns good money but he works really long hours, he leaves around 7:30am and is back anything from 7:30 to 9pm, and even then there's occasionally weekends, nights away and he's answering calls and e-mails at home (he has contacts in China so the e-mail 'pings' start at 3am). When he gets home he's exhausted so eats dinner, watches some tv and goes to bed before starting again tomorrow.
I'm finding it really hard to balance the needs of my older children (eldest is a hormonal teenage girl, middle has behavioural issues), looking after a baby, keeping a house clean, etc. In addition to this I've been trying to set up a small business and I'm starting to think about going back to work and I'm panicing about childcare (neither of us has any family in a 40mile radius). As I type I'm getting more wound up that there's a huge pile of ironing that I should be doing and I'll be late starting cooking if I don't get it done because baby will want to breastfeed beforehand, the bathroom is a mess and the dog still hasn't been walked, etc. How is this going to work around a full time job? OH has suggested that if/when I go back to work I could go part time, but TBH I really miss my work and am a bit upset that he's so dismissive of my contibution to the household.
OK I know I need to seriously get a grip, and that I'm being really selfish because I'm aware other people have it way harder than me and overall we have a relatively comfortable lifestyle, but it's all just really getting me down now and I don't feel like I'm enjoying being a mum or looking forward to anything at all. AIBU or do you think I'm going a bit PND?
Stop ironing. I don't iron anything at all unless it's a shirt or party dress. Fold things or hang them so they don't need ironing.
If you do go back to work it sounds like you will need a cleaner...
I've have tried the not ironing thing. Was told by overtired and irritable OH to 'get some self respect' or hire an ironing lady (there wasn't a shirt ready in the morning and he was not pleased). She came about 3 times, maybe I should insist on it again lol.
Was told by overtired and irritable OH to 'get some self respect'
I don't iron and have bags of self respect. How fucking rude!
He expects you to do his ironing? He needs to get some self-respect.
Your life sounds very busy - its not just DC3 making it overwhelming. Do your older two help out around the house (with making dinner etc) for pocket money? If not, maybe they could. And does your DH actually do stuff around the house too? For a start, he could iron his own damn shirts.
I have a DH who works full time - similar hours, stressful job, on blackberry lots - but when he's home he pulls his weight. We have 3 kids - toddler, nearly 6 and nearly 9. I work full time in a stressful job. I can do my job, and keep all the plates spinning, because DH pulls his weight and is supportive of me (and I of him) and I have help with the other stuff (Ocado for online grocery deliveries, nanny for kids when I'm at work/have to work late and a cleaner who once a week comes and makes my house sparkle). I prioritise the stuff that matters and let the rest go slip.
You sound quite strung out and I don't blame you. I have one newborn, no dog, no other dcs, never iron anything, my mum is here and I am still barely getting anything done beyond essentials.
I think you need to be kinder to yourself and say stuff it to anything that doesn't absolutely need to be done by you.
I assume you've tried leaving him to do his own bloody shirts?
bribe pay the older dcs to do some more housework than they would normally?
Or just get a cleaner, childcare, go back to work and leave everything to work itself out?!
Blimey, I never iron with just one baby, couldn't be held accountable for what would happen if DP said such a thing. Is hormonal DD old enough to iron shirts for pocket money? £1 a shirt? And this is only really a 'first world' problem because in almost any other community you'd get a hell of a lot more support and not be on your own at home all day dealing with three kids and over the top housework expectations.
YANBU and DH is being a bit of a sexist idiot. You have as much right to work as him, and when he's not at work, he should not be 'off-duty' until you are. Give him the benefit of the doubt that it's the stress of his job talking.
It sounds like your expectations are too high and your dp is an arse.
What housework & childcare does dp do at the weekends?
What chores do the older DCs do?
Having a 6mo means you can let housework slide- just do the essentials.
Could you wait a few months before trying a business set up? It seems you are putting more pressure on yourself than necessary. Will waiting 6 months matter?
How is the dynamic between dp and older DCs? Does he parent them or leave it all for you?
Thanks everyone, your answers made me smile and feel a little better, going to call the lady who has done ironing for us in the past and see if she'll call again.
Dinkystinky it's nice to hear from someone who is making it work, just seems impossible at the moment! My friend is off with her 3rd at the moment and her OH is in the army. I have absolutely no idea how she does it.
Not much has happened with the business since I had a 'rush' before Christmas and was completely snowed under. Older children do nothing-except sometimes playing with the youngest whilst I make dinner-that's something that I'm trying to address but sometimes it's just less hassle to get it done than argue about it for hours and then end up doing it myself anyway. Things are sometimes a little strained between me and their dad, so any requests to help are normally met with 'I'll go and live with my dad then'.
I know that OH is stressed at work- but sometimes it doesn't mean that I'm not! lol, seriously I'm trying to be as supportive as I can, but find myself fantasing about running away and leaving them all to it
You're doing a sterling job Purpledaisy but something has to change as you're miserable right now and that's not fair. Talk to your DH (at the weekend when hopefully less stressed for you both) about how you're feeling right now.
The older two - and DH - need to pull their weight at home. Your older 2 can definitely help with dinner prep/packed lunches for next day/putting laundry and stuff from the dishwasher away/loading machines - and should do for pocket money/rewards. No argument - they don't do it, they don't get that day's reward. Two days of not doing it - reduction in pocket money. Should reap rewards eventually.
You definitely shouldn't be ironing his shirts, and if you drop the shirts there probably isn't much left that actually really needs to be ironed. Why can't he do them at the weekend? Or yes, get someone in to do them or send them out. DH usually drops his off/collects them on the way to and from work (though we are in central London which I appreciate probably makes this easier).
Your teenager, at least, and probably your other older child too should be contributing: dog walking was often a teenager's job in my family (unless it's something you particularly enjoy), and she could surely help with cooking prep as well? Both children should be able to help with e.g. tidying, loading the dishwasher. Can you have a proper family meeting and agree a rota?
Are you already doing grocery shopping online? It's a faff the first time or two but then saves LOADS of time. With Ocado (and probably others as well) you can even have a reserved slot and if you totally forget to do anything they'll still deliver what they reckon you probably want, based on your usual orders!
In your shoes I would be looking forward to going back to work too! Have you found a nursery/childminder etc?
God, you poor thing. Sorry but your DH sounds like a sexist pig!
This is easier said than done when you've got a lot on already, but I would recommend taking some time to sit down and work out how to make your life a little easier. It's so normal, and easy to get so wrapped up in stress that you are unable to see the bigger picture.
* Can you do your shopping online and have it delivered? It is possible to do an online food shop with one hand whilst breastfeeding on the sofa?
* Can you outsource the cleaning, if only on a temporary basis (a couple of months) to give you a bit of space?
* Forget about the business just now - try and get the daily stuff in order first, rather than heaping more on top of yourself.
* Can you sit down with your older children separately and rather than outlining chores as chores, explain that learning how to do basic household tasks, and getting the hang of it now will make their lives so much easier when they move out. Not to mention it would be a huge help to you because you have so much to balance. It's okay to be human in front of your children. Ask them to do one thing regularly - hoovering, or the laundry, or anything. It might help to approach it from a "this would mean the world to me" angle.
* If they give you the "I'll go and live with dad card" then take them at face value! It's so OBVIOUSLY a guilt trip to panic you into submission. Be calm and collected and ask them with total sincerity if they would genuinely want to live with their dad, because it would be very painful and sad for you, but if that's what they REALLY want, then you could see about making arrangements. Watch how fast they back peddle. Teenagers are such little shits!!
* You need to speak to your DH as well. He can't keep doing what he is. It's fine to work a job like that when you have no family, but when you do, you can't just expect your wife to run the home whilst you get on with your important man job. It's not the 1950's. He needs to work out what he can feasibly do, but continuing as he is simply is not an option.
Will try bribing/paying the older children. I's not worked before but maybe I didn't give it long enough, or maybe I need to sit them down and talk about how much I'm struggling and what they would be able to do to help for rewards before I designate. Oldest child is currently on lockdown- she behaved appallingly last week so she's had her bedroom stripped of tv, stereo, posters, etc. Even her hair straighteners which she is most upset about!
Have been meaning to give online shopping a go, had forgotten how much harder it was shopping with a LO, so thank you for that idea.
No we haven't found any childcare, I've suggesed we start looking but theres been some discussion about whether I could work nights. One of his colleague's OH's is a CM which he's suggested we could try but I've never met her and it's 8 miles away! However nice his mate is it doesnt mean I'm leaving LO with a stranger lol
If my DH told me to 'get some self respect' because HIS shirt wasn't ironed I'd be telling him to get a hotel room. Seriously
I'm a SAHM to a
very nearly 5 year old & a 2 year old & it's hard. I'm currently being investigated for ME & coeliac disease so get very tired a lot so I don't clean, cook or iron much & guess what? The kids are fine & the world keeps turning.
Online shopping is definitely the way forward. We wouldn't eat otherwise. And I wasn't suggesting that stress was an excuse for your partner acting like a dick, just that hopefully it was an aberration rather than his true colours. Looking after babies is more exhausting than working outside the home IME, so you have an excuse to make a few off the cuff remarks of your own.
You can't do it all. No one can and its a waste of emotional effort trying because you're bound to fail.
You need to take up help wherever you can get it, ironing help, cleaning, older kids and Dh can all take some of the strain from you.
Sympathies OP. I have 3 (10, 5 and 2) and it's hard. I found the jump from two to three DC to be the hardest adjustment of all and no, YANBU at all to be 'feeling totally overwhelmed with DC3'. At all.
My DH works similar hours to yours though to be fair is always very supportive and hands-on with childcare when he is around - it's just that the demands of his job mean that there's a real limit to how much he can actually do. I am a SAHM, our eldest has some SEN, our toddler is in mad-full-on-toddler mode, our 5yo is laid back and sunny natured but never stops talking...it is full on, and feels relentless sometimes.
You have had some great advice here. Yes your DH is being an arse and needs to be a lot more supportive! Outsource what you can afford to (ironing, cleaning, do online shops, can you find a local dogwalker?). Ditch the stuff you could actually live without (only iron what you have to). With regard to meal preparation, I find if i can get bits and pieces done throughout the day it helps me feel a bit more organised for the evening - so for example when older two are at school, if toddler is having a
rare moment of quiet time playing with something I'll chop veggies and put them in a tupperware box in the fridge, for example, so that's one less thing to do come the evening.
Re getting DC involved - my eldest one can be very resistant to me giving him verbal requests for help (has aspergers/ADHD and struggles to process info plus has that whole pre-teen strop fest going on at the moment too) but I find writing stuff down gets a lot more of a positive response. I use a white board to jot down 'tasks' I'd like him to do and this can work well.
If your BF baby will take a bottle - I found giving DC3 a bottle of formula around 7pm helped him settle more predictably in the evenings which made a massive difference too.
It is hard though. Having three children is hard, and having three with large gaps brings a different kind of challenge to having three close together.
Seriously op it sounds as if you need some help and a break. You can't do it all. So diffo work on your older kids helping out a bit and dividing some chores. It won't kill them to help their mother. As for your oh, it does not come across that he appreciates you. I had awful PND and if my oh spoke to me like that because I did not iron his shirts, I would find it hard not to leave a iron imprint on his face or burn his shirt because I was just too tired seriously even if he does not start ironing his own clothes himself (which I personally think he could do) then at least have a chat with him about how overwhelmed you feel and could use some support from him etc.
Oh dear god. I have three with a four month old DC3 and I am getting nothing done. I haven't washed my hair in three days. If your OH, who I will charitably assume was stressed ad thoughtless rather than a total knob, needs ironed shirts, it would probably work out easier to have his shirts dry cleaned. You get a good deal for bundles of five normally, so maybe cheaper than the ironing lady? Everyone seems to do it in my office.
Have you got a jumperoo? My older DD loved being in hers to watch me do stuff around the house. DS not so much.
I do any cooking in the slow cooker or if I leave if too late for the slow cooker, I shove something in the cast iron casserole dish, get it to a boil then turn the gas off and shove the lid on. Then I can ignore it while I endlessly jiggle the baby or feed her and just whack the heat up ten minutes before I want to eat. The toddlers are eating a lot of brown food though.
I cannot wait to get back to work. Stressed about childcare costs. Wildly excited about being able to think, drink tea and pee when I like.
Bit of an update just incase anyone might be interested.
Last week I sat the older children down and explained how I was feeling. I might have cried a little bit too, which wasn't my intention but seems to have done the job. They are far more helpful. Don't get me wrong it's only little things like running the vacuum round or walking the dog, or this morning middle child brought me a cup of tea whilst I was BF (we had a snow day), but TBH it just means a lot that they are trying. Eldest has been much less moody at me and has asked if we can go to get our hair done together at weekend (actually wanting to spend time with her mother!). I sent the ironing out for someone else to do. Best £20 I've spent in ages
OH was a bit more defensive about how hard he's already trying and how much (money) he puts into the household, how he's taken on two children that aren't his, how I should say if I'm struggling before I get to this point or how is he supposed to know. That was Thursday evening, Friday morning he called from work, he said he hadn't realised just how much stuff had been geting on top of me, and that he'd booked a hotel for us for the weekend so we could spend some time together <3 He helped me clean the house.
However this week with him it's back to the same, LO isn't sleeping much so I'm shattered and this morning he launched into when am I going to smile more because it affects him when I'm being miserable, why am I surprised he spends so much time at work when it's not exactly fun being here, he spent all this money on taking me away and I'm still not bloody happy and he doesn't know what else he can do. Now to explain, he might have a point, I have been a miserable cow recently and I'm starting counselling tomorrow assuming that this is PND. But how do I convince him that me being unhappy isn't actually an intentional attack on him?
I don't think you have PND. I think you're struggling and absolutely understandably! I have a 3yo and a 1yo and we live overseas so have no family within about ten hours. DH works long hours and it is TOUGH. However, if he'd ever complained about ironing, I'd have cut off his shirt sleeves!
I don't iron anything, hang straight or tumble dry. DH takes his shirts from work to the cleaners on a lunch break once a week. I rarely see him in a suit as he runs or cycles in and gets showered/changed there.
I have a lot of expat friends in a similar position and some pay a nanny or babysitter a couple of afternoons or days a week so they get some 'me time'. Arguably all leisure time should be shared, but given your other half's hours, it sounds like you can't even commit to a class in an evening or something. That's really hard.
Go back to work and sort adequate childcare. Unless your DH earns millions, he needs to step up and take half the responsibility for this too - drop offs and pick ups etc.
If having ironed shirts is so important to him, he can do it. Or he can find someone who he can pay to do it (note, this is NOT the same as telling you to find an ironing lady). Tell him 1955 called, they want their sexist attitude about women's self-respect and housework back.
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