To feel completely out of my depth?(52 Posts)
Today has been hard.
Background: I have two lovely little girls. They are 4 and 20 months. I work part time and the girls are in nursery the three days i am in work. Excellent nursery, all very happy. DD1 starts school in August. DH works full time. Stressful job but he usually gets home for six to see the girls and help with bedtime etc. He’s devoted to the girls and does his share of housework etc.
And on paper it looks fab and I’m lucky and how could it possibly be so difficult? The girls are my whole world. Absolutely adored. But I feel like they are breaking us.
Bear with me because I don’t know how to articulate this.
They just...never stop. It is relentless. I think the age gap is tough right now because DD2 wants to join in what DD1 does and she’s too little so she gets angry and causes fucking chaos. Hitting out, wrecking stuff. Major tantrums. DD1 over craft stuff, aqua beads etc and got tonnes of it for her birthday but we haven’t been able to really do any of it with her because DD2 just wrecks it.
DD2’s temper is a real sight to behold. She’s going through a very hard phase right now where she’s having EPIC tantrums if things don’t go her way.
DD1 is quieter and more sensitive and very, very needy. I’m still lying on her bed trying to get her to go to sleep. It’s saturday night. I haven’t eaten yet. This week we have worked so hard with her at trying to get her to sleep alone and she just won’t. It’s awful.
DH is trying but he’s so clearly miserable. As am I. I will never walk but I genuinely fear he might. we don’t have much help. His family live nearby and are useless (favour the other grandchild bit woe betide me if I raise this). My family are two hours away.
They have fought all day long and DH has moaned at them all day long. I can’t even get upstairs to put away washing. The house is a bomb site. DD2 is so wreckless and accident prone that it’s driving me over the edge. I haven’t showered in three days because DD1 won’t leave me alone at night (won’t entertain DH) and by the time she goes to sleep I’m too tired and it’s too late. Wanted to shower this morning but we were so late getting out the door I didn’t have time.
I know people deal with so much worse but I feel so down tonight.
Have a bath with DD1? Put on some of her favourite songs and have a chat? Get some of those bath crayons? I know this doesn’t help your real issues but at least you’ll feel clean.
I know it doesn't help but you are not alone. Mine is the other way around, my son is almost 4 and having the meltdowns and my daughter is 18m and is like velcro to me. My husband doesn't understand the parenting techniques I try to use and half the time I don't have the energy to be endlessly patient.
I don't have any solutions but I'll stand with you in feeling out of our depth
DD2 is just so moany and disagreeable. It goes right through you.
Im sorry you're struggling.
I know the feeling.
I have 3. A 10 year old who is going through a very didifficult time involving his best friend and being told he is suffering abuse from his step parent (DS1 has informed his teachers, very very bravely but his friend turning to him is hard for him. Poor kid)
DD is 5 and selectively mute, so can't speak out of the home and its as if she keeps all of her voice and excitemnet for us. She is LOUD. All of the time.
Then DS2 is 3. He is whiny and throws strops and we are really struggling to get a grip of his behaviour.
Add to that im autistic, depressed and working a 50 hour week.
Hi OP - I’m in a similar situation. It’s very hard isn’t it?
I’m lucky as I have lots of support from PIL but evenings and weekends are tough.
Have you asked dh family to help at all?
Could you put them on an extra half day or so at nursery to give you a bit of time?
I went to my local family centre & they were brilliant & helped so much with tips, parenting courses etc etc. We only have one DD but she has complex needs & sometimes we feel we are drowning. There is help out there. It’s just finding the right help for your family. Being a parent is the hardest job in the world. Take a step back & see if you can do anything differently. We found that we had to change our behaviour for DD’s behaviour to improve. For example, you say that DH moaned at them all day. Not good for them or him. Maybe try to focus on the positive & ignore some of the negative behaviour ( unless they are hurting each other or causing complete chaos!). Can you take them out & wear them out? DD always sleeps better after a dance class or gym or exercise of any sort. They are so little & they need you to set boundaries for them whilst being able to express themselves. I have had a fair bit of wine so hope this makes sense OP 🥂
This sounds awful for all of you.
Take a deep breath.
The house is a bomb site = unimportant. Park that one for now.
It sounds to me like both your children are craving 1:1 time with you.
There's quite an age gap with your kids (although I know a gazillion families with a much bigger one), but it makes them relating as equals quite hard at this age and stage.
Don't try and do things that are small and fiddly/arty with the older one when the younger one is around.
Concentrate on being able to do things together. The weather's beginning to get better, so maybe some games in the garden (if you have one)
Build in some 1:1 time with both where you can.
Lots of reassurance to both about how loved they are.
Take a deep breath. You can do this.
Oh Royal it’s posts like yours that make me feel so guilty for moaning. I know it’s harder for a lot of people and really we are so lucky but I just feel so scunnered with it all tonight.
Cranky they both work full time so aren’t really around during the week. I guess we could ask at weekends but my pride won’t allow it right now. I am so angry with them. I feel like they don’t deserve the time with the girls. They aren’t that interested anyway. Just buy them stuff and put photos on twitter and stick them in front of the tv. They don’t play with them or spend any time with them.
Yeah I’m annoyed with DH today. He didn’t handle them well at all. I felt like he made things even more fraught. I need us to be a team and the truth is while I love him he is irritating the life out of me just now.
Yes DD1 loves one on one time and I feel like she gets quite a lot of it. I think that’s what is behind all the nighttime stuff. But what’s tough is keeping DD2 occupied while we have that time. Nothing interests her for more than 30 seconds then she’s moaning and crying again. I adore this child but she’s hard, hard work right now.
She hates to be left out which I understand. I just can’t keep them all happy at the same time and there aren’t many things I can do with both of them on my own right now.
I have 2 girls almost the exact same ages as yours op, and it is "full on" right now! We have the same issues with dd1 wanting to do crafts and more intricate games, but dd2 is a wrecker and it all ends in tears within minutes, so we've basically had to banish all art stuff unless dd2 has a nap (very bloody rare these days) and I feel tremendous guilt as it is dd1s favourite thing to do.
We've actually just bought a mud kitchen ready for the summer and dd2s birthday for this very reason, they can go outside, create as much creative carnage as possible, and I can just (hopefully) leave them to it! I'm sure your dh isn't going "to walk" like you say, he sounds devoted to you and the girls and is probably just finding the ages frustrating and difficult. It's hard for dad's sometimes when the chidlren push them away and only want mum. Our dd2 is completely obsessed with me and won't entertain her dad for a second if I'm there, but he still loves them both dearly, as I'm sure your husband does, and I'm sure if you told him how you felt he'd be stunned that you'd think he would consider that. My oh has admitted feeling useless sometimes when they only want me, but it doesn't change his love for them, it just makes him try even harder to gain their affections! It's exhausting, but hang on in there. I would try and lay down some boundaries with your older dd with regards to bedtime, and YOUR needs though. She's old enough to understand that mummy needs to go and have a quick shower while she is in bed, and if she lays quietly and calmly you will go back in to give her a cuddle once you're done. You might even find once she gets used to this arrangement she falls asleep while you're showering. I would say addressing the bedtime issues will make a huge difference on your outlook on things. Those few hours we get on an evening to unwind after the whirlwind of a day with 2 young kids is very much needed for our own sanity, and recharges us ready for the next day of chaos.
A great game I let my girls do when I'm trying to cook or just need them to calm down for 5 mins is "chefs". I give them a selection of utensils, pots, pans, etc and small bowls of dry pasta, spaghetti, cereals, and while I'm cooking dinner, they play their own little cooking game with it, as I'm prepping veg, they get the peelings, carrot ends etc, and it keeps them amused for ages. Youngest loves the feeling of being allowed to make a mess, and dd1 loves the creative side of making a pretend meal. And it literally takes 5 mins to clean it up/tidy away.
I hope some of this helps, but if not, just know you aren't alone!! x
Mine are 5 (almost 6!) and 3 (almost 4!). They still drive me mad. They still fight like cat and dog.
The best thing I found with my two is divide and conquer. When DH and I are home, one takes eldest, the other takes youngest so each boy is getting some 1 one to one time.
With the shower, plonk eldest in front of the telly, put youngest in the play pen or in a safe room with a baby gate and have your shower. Why couldn't hubby deal with them while you had a shower? Take it in turns to have a shower.
With craft stuff, leave it until the youngest is having a nap or in bed. If your eldest won't go to bed alone, try a later bed time, even just 30 minutes after the youngest goes to bed. Making a big deal out of being the big kid etc. Give her that attention in that time.
Also, hang in there. It does get a little bit easier. Well to have a shower at least.
What Fatted said.
Divide and conquer. Even if granny sticks one in front of the telly, that still gives you some time with the other.
Eldest child has some time for craft etc after youngest one is in bed.
If youngest objects, well, tough. Maybe a little bedtime film from you tube...There are some nice ones free, designed for bedtime. DGD is allowed them when she's ill.
Take care of yourself. Of course have a shower. If no one can keep an eye on the youngest, have her in with you. But don't keep putting yourself last. You are vitally important so be nice to yourself.
IME, parenting is shite when they’re that age. It drove me insane. I practically clicked my heels with joy when they started school. Like you say, it’s just so bloody relentless.
Not everyone enjoys this stage, so don’t feel bad that you don’t. The good news is, it definitely gets easier as time goes on and they get more independent. My youngest is now 8, and I thoroughly enjoy hanging out with both of them. We can have interesting conversations and don’t have to watch Peppa Fucking Pig. It’s great.
No advice I'm afraid, just sympathy and solidarity.
Going through a similar time right now with just turned 2 year old DD and 11 month old. Ds.
DD is relentlessly exhausting, emotional and clingy, ds is a velcro baby, won't leave me alone for a second.
DD doesn't want ds interfering with her play, but ds won't leave my side. DD has started to push him over out of frustration.
The moaning and crying never ends, literally ever, if it not one it's the other.
Ds still feeds 1-2 times a night, and DD is also up intermittently most nights recently.
Currently awake as Ds has been crying on and off for 2 hours, nothing working to stop him, not even brining him in with me.
They are breaking me and dh right now. I have never known such exhaustion.
They say it gets better apparently, but I am yet to experience that. I pray it's true for all of us!
It does help to hear that others find it hard. I feel like slightly less of a shitty parent.
DD1 went to sleep at 11 so I had a shower then. Feel better for it. She came into our bed during the night so crap sleeps all round
Also at the moment they go to bed around the same time (7pm). DD2 tends to go to sleep but DD1 gets a story and we have a wee chat so on a good night it’s usually 7.30-8 by the time she’s asleep. Is this not ok?
OP, do you think your older DD might be experiencing some separation anxiety? The fact she only wants you and you aren’t allowed to leave her at night... what’s she like at nursery?
I found this stage of parenting relentless and exhausting, I’m sure you’re doing a great job.
I don’t know. She’s totally fine at nursery. A little shy going in but genuinely seems to love it. She has a little group of friends and talks about it a lot.
She will also stay with my mum and dad quite happily but we don’t see them as often as i’d like.
I'm just a bit ahead of you. Ds 5 and 2 1/2 now and it is starting to get easier. I too was at breaking point 6 months ago. older child desperate to do crafts and practice reading/writing etc but every time we tried youngest would have to be involved, would snatch pens and have a tantrum. Also no grandparent support at all. It is bloody hard and relentless. But now youngest is 2.5 it is easier. He can be distracted with a version of what older is doing and the tantrums are starting to decrease. I genuinely think the ages you are at is the hardest.
We have a slightly larger age gap and honestly, divide and conquer is the answer a lot of time because they just aren't at the same stage.
So at that age the younger might go to.softplay while the older stayed home and did stuff. Then swap the next day. Or one would consider family with similar aged kids.while.other was.at home.or elsewhere.
Staying at home all day, the four of us, was juat completely impractical
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