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Come and criticise my parenting skills - I am getting it all wrong this holidays. Massive long rant, sorry.

(12 Posts)
BalloonSlayer Thu 20-Aug-09 17:00:45

I had 3 DCs, 2,7, and 9.

This holidays, we seem to have two options:

We go out for the day, which is great. I get to organise the day, pack all the lunches, get us all out of the house on time, DS2 misses his nap, and then when we get home I have to get the tea sorted (sometimes 3 variations of the same meal - a reason for this) while the older two are on the computer, or arguing, or both. I also have to fit in washing, ironing, organising DH's and my tea etc.

After a couple of days out they (the older two) start to say "Oh pleeeease can we stay in," and I think: wonderful. They start playing really well and then start planning something to do together like a club or a party. Then it all starts to disintegrate. DD (7) is really controlling and wants it things just like that, DS1 gets exasperated and it probably wasn't his idea anyway. Then it's a constant procession in to me: "DS1 said I was bossy" ("Well you are" "No I'm NOT!")
"DS1 said my party was going to be rubbish" ("DS1 did you say her party was going to be rubbish?" "Well she said she hated me...") etc etc. I try not to get sucked in to being a referee but sometimes you can't help it.

If I need to go out to get something like a birthday card, or basic food, they'll want to go to a shop. One has birthday money left, the other doesn't. Cue whining. I lose my temper.

If we pop out for five minutes they will insist on bringing a load of stuff with them, then either:

lose it
spill it
leave it on the floor for people to fall over
expect me to carry it after five minutes
drop it again and again
or all of the above one after the other

I know I should refuse to allow them to bring it but they get it all together while I am getting DS2 into the car and hope springing eternal I think, oh it'll probably be ok this time.

DS1 needs things found all the time and will not take responsibility for anything. He still has to be told to brush his teeth every morning - I am on more than the thousandth day of this now. He has holiday homework, the first part of which I have practically done for him and the second part he is at the moment reluctantly starting, almost at gunpoint. I am sick of the sound of my nagging voice.

Anyway today I lost it and shouted, ranted on at both of them about how all they say is "can we" or "I want" and I am spending all day ferrying them about, taking them out, arranging playdates, buying them things and clearing up their mess and I am sick and tired of never being able to do anything I need to do (eg the ironing) let alone anything I want to do (like read my book) Yeah I know I am on mumsnet.

I feel like utter shit.

I know I am doing it all wrong. I have a combination of spending too much time appeasing them by taking them places and then flying off the handle when they expect me to entertain them. I have friends organised to come round next week.

Part of the problem is I need a bit of space in my head. At the moment I hear "Mummy...?" and I grit my teeth, my voice saying "Yesssss, what?" sounds just like John Cleese.

Kind criticism gratefully received and tips for me - and my lovely DCs - to have a more happy holiday.

Thank you if you have got through this. It's boring I know.


sad sad sad

jessia Thu 20-Aug-09 17:59:25

I wish I knew the answer and my heart goes out to you.
Does it help that I just googled activities +kids +respect +cooperation in desperation at what we are going through? No, of course not, but You Are Not Alone. grin I would like to repeat the MN mantra This Too Shall Pass, but considering your elder two are 3 years older than my two and by the sound of it still no better, I think I'll go and have a stiff drink instead (it's alright, mine are out with DH atm).
Actually my two (4 and nearly 6) are not too bad together (give 'em time, eh?) but I am having similar peer rivalry problems (3 6-year-old girls) with a home playscheme thing.
One thing I have noticed, though, is that sitting down and reading a story with them cuddled up one on each side for 20 minutes takes the heat out of things. Don't know if one can still read stories to 9-yos though.
How about writing up a sign and brandishing it as they approach: "Did it draw blood? Is there a chance that somebody may hurt themselves on it? If yes, carry on and tell me. If not, go and sort it out yourselves." Add optional smilies for comic effect and see if it works.
Sorry, I'm not being much help, am I? grin But at least you're in with a chance - mine wouldn't even be able to read the sign because they can't read yet.
I'm with you in spirit. Make mine a double vodka.

jessia Thu 20-Aug-09 18:00:40

PS, love your slip at the beginning: "I had 3 DCs." Which one have you murdered? grin grin grin

Wallace Thu 20-Aug-09 19:41:58

Mine are 3, 8 and 10 so I know exactly where you are coming from.

The only thing we have manged to do without arguing all holiday is swimming.

Ds1 (who by the way also needs to be reminded/nagged to do the simplest thing" referred to me as "the dictator" blush

One thing I do is that after supper one of them has to be ds2's "Best Friend" (take turns) and have to take him upstairs/outside and play with him so I can get cleaned up after supper, or just sit and have a cuppa. The other walks the dog grin

I don't really agree with television in bedrooms, but dd had spare Tv and DVD player in her room afetr a sleep over, and it stayed there for about a week and it was fantastic sending them all up to snuggle in sleeping bags on dd's floor blush

wb Thu 20-Aug-09 20:01:30

You have my sympathy.

No direct experience your situation myself (yet)but my SiL has a 'tattling book'. If one child wants to complain about the other they have to do so in writing - saying what happened, how they reacted and what they think should be done about it (her kids are 12 and 7). She introduced it at the beginning of the summer and reckons it has cut complaints by about 95%.

BalloonSlayer Thu 20-Aug-09 20:10:01

Thank you so much both of you for your kind words.

I think a thousand small irritations combined today to make me blow my stack. (eg; took them to McDonalds for lunch. DS2 fell asleep in the car on the way home. When we got back (From Lunch At McDonalds, this is relevant), I was trying to keep him asleep so I could pop him in his cot. I asked the other two to keep quiet while I did this. So DS1 asks in a foghorn voice: "What are we having for lunch?" and wakes him up. That sort of thing sends me into orbit.)

DH came home early and has been really sweet too. I don't deserve it though because if my DCs are grasping and always wanting to be bought things in shops it's my fault.

DD is the worst and has only just become like this. She used never to spend money, now she just has to have every bit of tat she can find. I am worried we will have to have an extension built to house her notebooks. We went to a park at the weekend we had never been to before and on the way home she asked: "Is there a shop?"

The funny thing is that both the elder two get on really really well. Everyone remarks on it. And they adore their baby brother. So I do feel as if I am over-reacting when they argue - it's nothing compared to other siblings.

Anyway, should not rant all the more. Thank you for making me feel I am not alone grin.

BalloonSlayer Thu 20-Aug-09 20:11:36

ooh, wb that sounds like a good idea.

DD will enjoy coming out to buy a special tattling notebook (out of my money) hmm

mrshibbins Thu 20-Aug-09 21:48:28

BalloonSlayer I love you!

your post made me laugh out loud, especially the John Cleese bit. I recognise myself totally, and the trail of mess, dropped and lost things, uncleaned teeth and whingeing (and I've only got one 8 yr old to cope with...)


applepudding Thu 20-Aug-09 22:17:50

Balloonslayer - I think you will have everybody's sympathy here!

I'm beginning to dread the 'M' word (m-u-m....) and like mrshibbins, I only have one 8 year old to deal with!

nappyaddict Thu 20-Aug-09 22:24:26

My cousin has children 7,7 and 9 and they are exactly the same. They have something called a negativity box. Every time someone says something negative about someone else they have to put 20p in the box. She also says what helps her is pretending she is being filmed 24/7 and she finds she is much calmer then.

jenwyn Thu 20-Aug-09 22:38:57

More kids - thats what you need grin

That was my saviour during the holidays .I imported other kids -cousins ,neighbours,schoolmates etc. Changes the dynamic of the inhabitants and -best of all-earns you credits for getting time out for an afternoon later on.

Tryharder Fri 21-Aug-09 00:12:56

John Cleese bit made me laugh as well. grin

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