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Families with 4 children

(82 Posts)
DeGlitterBug Fri 04-Jan-13 10:57:53

Please can someone reassure me all will be ok!

Youngest is 5 months, and the others are 3, 5 and 7.5 years. I am exhausted. It's the end of the school hols, plus baby and I have had permacolds for what feels like about 2 months. I am run ragged chasing round after them. Leaving the house is hard. The rain doesn't help. Staying on top of the cooking and washing is near impossible and I ache all over from doing everything one handed whilst holding baby! I seem to shout all the time, and have no time between the essential stream of get this, clear that, wipe the other, feed baby, change nappy, wipe bum, pick up stuff etc to actually have fun and enjoy spending time with the kids. Aaaaaaarrrrrggggghhhhh!

I have lost my voice today, and the night time was a merry go round of feeding baby, changing a wet bed, toddler had bad dream. Dh is knackered too.

Will it get better? Please tell me it will. Currently feeling like having a fourth has tipped us over the edge sad. So few real people have a big family there's no-one in rl to empathise.

I know teenagers will be hard in a different way, so no need to scare me about that thanks wink

MelodyHarmony Sat 05-Jan-13 10:15:30

As I mentioned in my earlier post, I only have three DCs (at the moment) but this thread is full of great tips. I'm seriously thinking about the pocket money attached to helping around the house thing.

DeGlitter I think you are doing a fantastic job already. Some of the things you mention that you do are just brilliant. From the words of Dory from Finding Nemo... Keep on swimming!

amillionyears Sat 05-Jan-13 11:12:56

I actually made the paid jobs seperate to pocket money.
They still got the set amount of pocket money.
I purposely kept the two seperate. And used to say, "does anyone want to work for money?", when I needed some help, or even if it was nearing the end of holidays, and some of them were looking a bit bored.

accessorizequeen Sat 05-Jan-13 13:05:07

I think everyone does it differently, just as long as the kids help out and realise that with more people comes more chores! Although it took me a while to twig myself that I didn't have to do it all (control freak!)

MelodyHarmony Sat 05-Jan-13 13:20:02

Actually amillion, I think that's how I will do it. I am a control freak too accessorize... It's gonna take a whole mindshift to get me delegating more to the DCs.

Thinkingof4 Sat 05-Jan-13 13:38:16

deglitter honestly it sounds like you are doing a great job! I'm currently pg with no4 and mine will be 6.5, nearly 4, and 2 when baby arrives.
You are managing to all sit down and eat together, big ones are getting after school stuff, they all get s bit of time with you at night- if I can manage that when dc4 arrives I think I'll be doing fine!

amillionyears Sat 05-Jan-13 13:55:15

There will be some not so nice patches [especially when some of them or you are ill], but they should still turn out fine!

And sometimes we all learn things as a family,through the worse times, as well as the good.

Lookingforthebrightside Sat 05-Jan-13 14:44:01

Hello all, it sounds like everyone is doing a great job with their broods. I have 4dc 14, 12, 7, 4. Whilst life is busy and particulary so during the Xmas holidays I find that it is not too bad when you get them to help out.

I get all dc involved in doing cleaning on a Sunday morning, between them all they clean the bathrooms, dust/polish and vacuum. This means that when they all head back to school on a Monday I can actually enjoy a few hours of peace without having to go round cleaning up manically after the usually hectic weekend.

I however am clearly a mean Mommy as I don't pay them to do chores, my argument being that nobody pays me and I don't want them to get into the habit of only doing something to help if they get a reward. The fact is we are a large family so everyone needs to pull their weight (if they don't want a permanently stressed Mum)

Also my situation is slightly different in that my older 2dc are not mine by birth. Their mother passed away when they were very young and I then met and married their Dad became ft mum to them both and then went on to have 2dc together so probably not quite a stressful as the rest of you in that I only had to contend with 2 births.

girlsyearapart Sat 05-Jan-13 15:06:57

looking I don't think so you had two bereaved children to bring up that's nothing compared to birth! smile

Lookingforthebrightside Sat 05-Jan-13 15:26:41

thanks girls, whilst the 2 older dc where quite challenging to begin with by the time i had my first dd I had two older children of 4 and 6 which surprisingly did take a bit of the stress out of having a small baby, ie they could entertain her whilst I had a shower, cooked dinner etc so it wasn't so completely 24/7 relentless which really helped.

I always say to friends that to be honest once you have got 3 adding anymore into the mix isn't that bad because unless you have had them really close together (ie 4 under 4) the older ones can be a great help, making the baby toddler stage (slightly) more bearable!

Lookingforthebrightside Sat 05-Jan-13 15:27:37

although I would like to have less washing!

amillionyears Sat 05-Jan-13 16:23:06

Not sure if I made my posts very clear, the paid bit of chores, was for over and above any normal ones.
I didnt make any of it too onerous or compulsury. And can no longer remember at what age I introduced it.

Sabriel Sun 06-Jan-13 16:30:28

I think you are being too hard on yourself. 4 small children are hard work, and the weather we've had hasn't helped.

By the time your youngest isn't so tiny and if the weather ever improves, things will seem much brighter. Our first 4 were all born within 5.5 years and things were hellish when they were very small. But things improve so much as they get bigger and don't need so much hands on feeding, cleaning, dressing and holding.

FWIW we enjoyed having 4 teens grin

DeGlitterBug Sun 06-Jan-13 17:08:30

Well my plan to spend the weekend bribing incentivising them to help didn't really come off, as I sort of didn't get round to it blush. However, they have each cleared away a bit of their own stuff after meals, and dh has done a bit more housework than usual this weekend, which has made a difference too. This morning I only had 3 of them, and on Friday afternoon the toddler and baby both slept for an hour at the same time (praise be!) whilst the eldest was out playing with a friend. These 2 events made me realise just how incredibly hard it is stretching me alone between 4 of them simultaneously. Take one or more out of the picture temporarily and suddenly everything's bearable. So, I am eagerly awaiting the return to school, even though that brings it's own challenges grin. Now I just need to shake off this cold and remember to shout a bit less.

I do appreciate the opportunity to moan. I think I remember with my first baby having days where I felt like collapsing in the corner screaming "What have I done?!". This time that feeling has been back, and I just worry sometimes things will never get any easier, so it's good to know they do and others have survived.

DeGlitterBug Sun 06-Jan-13 17:09:26

Psst Sabriel, I'm looking forward to having teenagers grin, I think they'll be real characters. I also like staying in bed until lunchtime wink.

MelodyHarmony Sun 06-Jan-13 17:46:17

Something I wondered the other day DeGlitter... Is it worth you seeing GP to check whether you've got PND? I know baby isn't newborn but a friend of mind didn't have it diagnosed and treated til her third was 8 months old. She'd sort of been muddling through but never enjoying any of it and in despair at most if it. She only needed a short course of anti- depressants, they helped within days and then six months later she was able to slowly come off them with no side effects.

Just a thought...

DeGlitterBug Sun 06-Jan-13 18:48:39

Thanks smile. I don't have pnd and I score fine on the questionnaires. There's a big difference between finding life hard and clinical depression wink. After all, having a baby (with or without other children) is hard!

notnagging Sun 06-Jan-13 18:54:30

Another thing that has changed my life is my slow cooker. No more standing over the stove! Has made such a difference & freezing food. My 5 month old is permanently attached & I would not have been able to function without itsmile

NAR4 Sun 06-Jan-13 19:47:54

I think the night feeds are a bit of a killer when you have several other children to look after during the day. Being tired and ill puts everyone on edge and makes it all seem much worse than it is. As soon as baby sleeps through the night things will seem A LOT easier, but don't wish their life away, they are only babies once.

I def recommend getting out the house with the children. Activities like the giant soft play at sports centres, span the ages really well and wear the children out while you enjoy a more relaxing time with the baby, in an environment that is safe for them to all go off on their own. I know this can be expensive with several children, so maybe use it as a bit of a bribe for them to help do little jobs around the house, and go once a week or fortnight.

I do agree with notnagging that they all need little jobs to do each. I have 4 (expecting number 5) and they have to take turns to unload the dishwasher, put away their own washing (that goes in draws), which I leave folded in their own piles, take their plates and cups out after meals, clear their own toys up and their own rooms. Doesn't sound much but it does save me a lot of housework because all those bits add up to a lot when you have several children.

I'm afraid the washing never gets better really unless you can get them to do their own, I'm still working on this one and my eldest 2 are teenagers.

Smudging Sun 06-Jan-13 19:57:40

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Smudging Sun 06-Jan-13 19:59:05

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

notnagging Sun 06-Jan-13 21:34:11

Me too smudging! If its not dirty enough it doesn't get washed! smile
They have a drying rack each in their rooms. They get a load each each week & dry it in their rooms. They put their own washing away but I help the youngest too.

TameGaloot Sun 06-Jan-13 22:04:39

I found co sleeping my no 4 saved my sanity
Meant he could feed without me getting out of bed, getting cold and woken fully.

FedupofTurkey Sun 06-Jan-13 22:21:50

Watching thread with interest as i'm going from 1 to 4 this year and looking for survival tips!

ohforfoxsake Sun 06-Jan-13 22:34:39

1 to 4! grin

Agree with co-sleeping.

just do whatever you need to to get you through the day. smile

Debs75 Sun 06-Jan-13 22:35:44

I have 4 but mine are spread out. 16, 13, 4 and 2. Having such a big gap was the shocker as I had completely forgotten what a newborn baby was like. I survived on no sleep for months. DC4 was a surprise as well so we had spoilt dc3 a bit so she is super clingy and it is a struggle getting the younger two to bed at a reaonable time. Was 7.30 for dc4 as she is dropping naps but 9.30 by time dc3 was asleep.
I remember when dc4 was tiny the joy if they both had naps together. It wasn't very often as dc3 would only sleep in the car by then.
For us the worst times are mealtimes, inquizitive toddlers and not enough room for 6 plates. Bedtimes are bad still especially with four of us squeezed into a damp small bedroom.
The teenagers don't help much either as dc1 is at college and we hardly ever see her and dc2 is disabled.
It can and will get easier though

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