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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

TheBigBumTheory Tue 04-Mar-14 13:11:02

Hi, haven't read the whole thread, but I have 4; my youngest is now 9, oldest 15.

The one thing I wish I could have known when they all were little was that I was far too hard on myself. Looking back, I was doing fine, but at the time I would compare myself to people with less or older children and wonder why they managed so easily. You feel as though you can't complain because you chose to have them all, and you feel you have do do it really well because people might think you can't handle your big family. I used to mentally flog myself for having a messy house/garden..not keeping in touch with people, being grumpy and so on.

Don't be afraid to be quite firm, someone needs to be in charge. Have ridiculously early bed times-for you too. But do delegate loads, children actually like to be useful and feel useful. Imagine you had broken your leg (this happened to me) and think of all the things they could do to help I with a little direction.

BoyBandMumager1 Tue 04-Mar-14 12:43:17

I have four boys (8, 6, 3 & 1) and agree that four children can seem like A LOT at times, so I take my hat off to anyone who is managing with 5, 6 or more.
My best advice is to forward-plan (meals for the week, packed lunches for the next day, get uniforms out the night before etc) and also to train the kids to do those kinds of tasks (even a 4 year old can get his/her uniform ready - with a bit of checking).
There are times when my house is just craaaazy - the amount of noise 4 boys can make is unbelievable! But nothing makes me happier than the few moments that they play nicely together, or cuddle each other, or interact in really positive ways.
I also find that when all else fails a sense of humour can get me through some long days. I've started blogging about our life as a family with 4 boys. Hope it's okay to give the link here:
If you're having a bad day, it might make you smile :-)

jenniferalisonphillipasue Sat 22-Feb-14 22:32:35

I am so glad I read this thread. I have 4 (8, 6,3,15months). I think I may have suffered from PND after my last dd. She is not a sleeper and I have been frazzled. I think I am coming out of it now but I still look around and feel completely overwhelmed sometimes. My house is always a constant tip. I never seem to be able to get on top of the cleaning and washing. The dc do help when asked but don't do a great job. I used to have a whizz round at bath time but now I spend that time helping the older two with homework so it just never gets done.

I am struggling a lot with the arguing too at the moment. My two boys (8,3) take great delight in winding dd1 up who totally falls for it and then all hell breaks loose.

I know that life will get easier and we have been here before I just wish I wasn't wishing my beautiful dd's babyhood away.

AppleCrumples Mon 17-Feb-14 21:05:15

nar i like that! i always say its like herding water..totally pointless!

katie i agree. the speed that my house is turned upside down after school is shocking smile

NAR4 Mon 17-Feb-14 20:42:40

I read a quote somewhere (can't remember where); doing housework when children are growing, is like shovelling snow when its still snowing.

Very true.

NAR4 Mon 17-Feb-14 20:36:08

I completely sympathise with the whole lack of sleep thing. My youngest (11 months) sleeps a total of about 4 hrs a night and naps during the day while I'm on the school run. My toddler is also stroppy and overtired by around 4 and it seems an eternity until bed time.

The last couple of wks I have routinely strapped the baby into the pushchair after lunch, watching In The Night Garden and bribed my toddler as best I can to do quieter activities such as colouring or puzzles. I turn off the phone, take the batteries out the door bell and have an hr as my unwind time. It's not a total break but I have found it helps me calm down and feel less overwhelmed by all the things I need to get done.

Early baths are always good if the little ones start to fall asleep in the late afternoon. It keeps them awake as they love baths. It's also nice to shut the door on the mess in the rest of the house and be mentally distracted by the level of supervision my very lively little ones require in the bath. I have even fed them tea in the bath to save on mess.

I try to cook batches of meals for the freezer when dh is around at the weekend because I find it almost impossible to cook from scratch with the baby climbing everything.

My mil often tells me to do whatever makes life easiest for me and to not put so much pressure on myself. She is right, but it is often hard to remember.

We all find things overwhelming sometimes but it WILL get easier.

KatieN1 Sun 16-Feb-14 23:48:31

Yes it does get easier although in a large family I always find you can go from a state of complete order to total chaos in seconds. Looking after children is hard work. I have five boys and when they were young I often felt guilty that one or more were missing out; the reality was that what they lost in one respect they gained in another. Try to share after school activities with other parents and don't try to do too much. Your children are at an age where they will enjoy dusting, vacuuming and helping with laundry so get them involved. And teach them to tidy up their toys. Have a star chart for being helpful and for being good at bedtimes etc. When you reach a certain number have a family outing, that will encourage them to work as a team which will help loads as they grow older. Winter will be over soon and you can look forward to days in the park. Until then be kind to yourself, don't judge yourself too harshly and don't worry about the state of the house, plenty of time for that in the future. Every time your children laugh is an achievement, you're doing a fantastic job.
Oh, if you have neighbours with teenage children perhaps they may be able to spend an hour every day helping you by playing with the children?

ThinkIMmad Sun 16-Feb-14 23:17:06

Holidays are always worse though arent they? I have 4 kids 5,3,3(twins) and a nearly 1 year old. It gets a lot easier i found having the baby the easiest to get into a good routine with. DS 1 was always a bad sleeper and you can imagine what the twins were like. People tell me i make it look easy but ive bloody struggled i can tell you, ive had support off family workers on 2 occasions i think its only the fact that dd2 is such a good baby so far that ive coped i was petrified to start with but everything just fell into place she kinda slotted into my already routine.

AppleCrumples Sat 15-Feb-14 21:03:43

Was reading this last year when i had a brand new dd2 (dc4) and did wonder then if no4 was a step too far. Mine are 10,8,5 and 13months.

Now she is 13 months and we have survived and itdoes seem easier now, possibly becaise i've hd a full nights sleep now! We have routine and when older dc are at school dd2 and i have lots of time together and at weekends my older dc love playing with her. I

Is almost the best of both worlds.

Organisation, routine and a lax attitude to housework are the way through grin

hallamoo Fri 17-Jan-14 16:01:59

Haven't read the whole thread, but I really felt like DC4 tipped me over the edge. First 2 years were really hard, turns out I had PND (and DC2 didn't sleep for 2 years).

It will get easier. Get your iron levels checked, consider whether you might have PND (I was in denial for nearly a year).

Do you have Home Start in your area? If you have no family support locally, they can provide you with a volunteer to help with practical issues, like looking after the younger ones while you collect the older ones, or do the washing up so you can feed the baby etc.

Things got easier for me when DC3 went to school, just having one at home during the day helped me have some head space.

polarbear4321 Wed 15-Jan-14 18:43:39

I'm with you deglitter bug! As a single mum with 4 DC 16, 5 and twins at 3,some days feel I can't keep on top of things, tantrums, mood swings, the cleaning and the ironing pile for example is a beast but other days seem to run smoothly, I just try to go with the flow as its all I really can do haha otherwise would have probably been sectioned by now lol, hope things get easier for you, we are blessed at the end of the daysmile

sweetkitty Tue 14-Jan-14 18:50:39

Can I join it too we have 4, currently 9.6, almost 8, 5.6 and 3.8 years old. When DS was born DD1 was 5.10 years. We have no family help either.

Yes it does get better. We have 3 at school now and DS at nursery so we went and got a puppy grin

My tips, get everything ready the night before so mornings are less rushed, factor in baby feeding time in the mornings, go to toddler groups etc just to get out. You and your DP/DH need to work as a team. Accept your house will never be tidy again oh and cut down on the after school stuff as well helps.

fuzzyduck234 Tue 14-Jan-14 18:28:21

I have 4 DS and am now excepting DD! Mine are 10, 8.5, 7 and 4 and trust me it does get easier! All my boys do lots of sport and we are lucky to have a large garden so that they are constantly running outside and doing things so that they are very tired by the end of the day. When the youngest were 3 and a few months that was tough constant crying and feeding and not being able to sleep or having a bad dream…. but don't worry as they get older it does get easier! It's a blessing when they go back to school even though its great spending time with them school gives you that time to just sort things out and clear your head! But it will get easier!

randolf Tue 07-Jan-14 13:40:52

Oh God, a house move as well would send me over the edge! Even though the house does seem very small now - how can a tiny baby do that? Thanks for the boost girls, I'm sure things will feel better once the sleep improves, that's probably the key to everything. Me and dh keep saying to each other "We'll get there" but think I'll change my mantra to "the very best years are just up ahead" (Thanks MoominMammasHandbag). Kids are back in school today so if I can just stop the husband from convulsing in his sleep all night and waking me up (along with the kids and baby) I might feel a bit better by the end of the week! Going to attempt to go back to a yoga class for an hour tonight and hope the baby doesn't scream the whole time I'm gone! Fingers crossed...

Thinkingofmyfabfour Mon 06-Jan-14 19:22:48

Snap randolf! I have 5 month old dd, and 3 boys aged 6,4,2. Still up lots in the night and dd just will not co-sleep with me, don't know why.
Just to add to the craziness, we have decided to buy a bigger house, so will be putting ours on market in next week or so!! Oh, and my car has packed up so looks like we will have to buy another sad not great timing after Christmas!

MoominMammasHandbag Mon 06-Jan-14 17:28:20

I have 4DCs. Four in primary school is a real joy I think, so lovely to have your own little gang; hang on in there OP the very best years are just up ahead.

Quickly draws a veil over the horror that is a houseful of teenagers.

ilovesmurfs Mon 06-Jan-14 17:19:20

Ooh just reading this, I was 5madthings, have namr changed. Life is def easier, my youngest just turned three and stsrts pre-school this week. But I am broody as hell!

Lots of plans for when dd is at pre-school so hoping being busy will help eith broodiness.

I had an extra for kids today, so my five age 14, 11, 9, 5 and 3. And anothrr four ages 3, 4, 5 and 6. Crazy but duprisingly fine!

NAR4 Mon 06-Jan-14 17:08:28

As soon as night feeds have stopped and the youngest is potty trained, life will seem a breeze. Babies are very time consuming and tiredness makes everything seem too much to manage.

You will survive. After all, you did the last three times.

randolf Mon 06-Jan-14 14:04:46

Hi there, I read this post a year ago when I was expecting DC4 and it's always stuck with me. I now have a 5 month old - others are 6,4,2 and I am feeling exactly the same as you DeGlitterBug!!! A year on, can you tell me that things are better?? Please give me some hope....

notnagging Wed 09-Jan-13 16:55:04

My mind says I'm not done but my body is knackered. I'm 34 & most if my friends are just starting. I have 5 boys & no girls though.

Sabriel Wed 09-Jan-13 16:49:15

We had 4 in our twenties, then had DC5 in our mid 40s. Seemed like a good idea at the time hmm

The broody feeling was always there until DC5 hit 3 yo. When she was born I did think seriously about having another when she was 2 or 3 so she wasn't an only, but then other things took over and we weren't in a position to have any more. Then once she'd got to about 3 I just realised that actually I really don't want another child. It always felt like someone was missing before, but it doesn't now and I feel done.

NAR4 Tue 08-Jan-13 13:14:23

My Dh is the same, in he says no more but isn't sure enough to get the snip. Maybe you will do what we did and have a large gap and then some more. I had my first 3 by my early twenties, so could never accept my Dh saying no more. My fourth wasn't planned but I was thrilled and to my surprise so was Dh, so much so that he actually agreed to another to keep them company due to the large age gap (never thought he would go for that one). Feel like my body has fallen apart during this pregnancy though, so it might put me off yet (unlikely though).

Oldest is 16 now and I have mentioned to Dh that we are young enough to have a couple more when our oldest 3 go off to uni, but he was sensible and pointed out the cost. We'll have to see.

fluffygal Tue 08-Jan-13 12:56:20

I have 5 dc- 7,6,6,5 and 2. To get housework done we ALL do a room together, going from room to room until the house is done, makes it so quick and kids quite enjoy it as we make a game of how quick we can get it done together.

Also recommend just getting out of the house, no matter what the weather. We would go stir crazy otherwise. Sitting down and doing set activities help too. Having a husband who does his fair share is what really makes it bearable, could not cope otherwise.

5madthings Tue 08-Jan-13 11:41:40

Oh god don't say it never goes away!

I am only 33 so have a few more years yet. Think we are done but my boys keep asking about us having more, I told them to ask do, he is fairly adament no more....tho not enough to get the snip!

NAR4 Tue 08-Jan-13 11:39:19

For me the broodiness never went away in the 11 year gap between my third and fourth. Now pregnant with number five and although it has been a truely horrid pregnancy I know that it won't put me off having another one. Dh has said def no more children, but I live in hope.

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