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Please help, how do you cope with 4 without haviing a breakdown?!

(52 Posts)
AppleCrumples Thu 07-Mar-13 14:10:30

I have 4 dcs ds1 (9) ds2 (7) dd1 (4) and dd2 (9 weeks). I feel like the worst and most useless mum. My house is a tip, my dcs are behaving terribly constantly fighting and winding eachother up. Dd1 has turned into a tantruming rude little diva and regularly refuses to settle down at bedtime. Anything we ask of her sends her into a rage (ie please eat dinner, please don't throw things at people etc)

Obviously right now the baby needs a kot of attention. I am ebf and although she sleeps fairly well i am shattered!

I feel like i am constantly shouting and no one is happy or having much fun. The evenings are hard as dh works nights so i am on my own. He tries to help but also needs to sleep before work.

Don't really know what i want from thia, just need to vent.

Someone please tell me it gets easier and how you cope! I love them so much but feel like i am failing them totally! sad

duchesse Thu 07-Mar-13 19:59:55

You've said it yourself: you are tired. This is completely understandable and normal. You are doing tons and have a newborn.

Your children's behaviour sounds very age-appropriate as well! My guess is that you're not coping as well as you normally because, well, you're tired.

We always wanted 4. But the first thing I said to DH straight after DD2 was born was "NO more!". Then after a very long gap we had DD3. She was always wanted and loved, we just didn't have the energy for her earlier. Then, when DD3 was about 2 and started sleeping properly, everything became a lot easier and we started thinking "maybe".

Then it took a monster of a long time (from the time she was 5 till she was 12) to get pregnant. She is 3.6 now, and literally every day feels like a blessing.

When you are less tired than you are now, hopefully within a few months, I think you will start to feel more positive and be able to cope better. In the meantime, can you harness the 3 older ones to do age-appropriate things about the house to help you? Sit them down one by one in a quiet time and tell them you are feeling very tired and need them to be helpful big boys and girls. Ask them to ask if you need anything doing, to offer help if they think you need it. They need such a lot of guidance at this age- they're unlikely to just ask you spontaneously yet they are perfectly old enough to make themselves useful.

My gauge of a day well spent when mine were 1,3 and 5 was whether they were still all alive at the end of the day. If we'd actually done something that was a big bonus! And I didn't have a newborn as well.

This shall pass. And one day very soon you will look at your brood and feel really really glad that you had them. Until then, take it one day at a time.

duchesse Thu 07-Mar-13 20:00:39

Sorry, *when DD2 was 2. That is confusing.

TomDudgeon Thu 07-Mar-13 20:06:24

The baby gets bigger and is less demanding and you get more practised at juggling
It will get easier, I promise

BadRoly Thu 07-Mar-13 20:10:29

You cope because you have to. And it will get better. 9 weeks is very early days and probably when you are at your lowest (ime anyway).

Mine are 11, 9, 6 and 3 now so similar gaps I think. You will all find your places and settle down again. And I found dd1 had a hormonal outburst around 9 which settled down (although us starting up again now she is nearing 12 hmm)

BadRoly Thu 07-Mar-13 20:25:31

Practically - my dh works away and was when dc4 was born. In some respects it is easier because I had no expectations of anyone else.

So, if friends offer to help, take them up on it. But ask them to do something concrete - a school run or take the baby out for an hour or have a selection if children after school one night. That sort of thing.

The house being a tip - get a cleaner if you can afford it. If not, use the children. Mine do more chores than I suspect they would if I only had 2. They can stack and empty the dishwasher, sort recycling, put their clean clothes away and put dirty washing in the laundry pile.

Bedtime is all by the clock and extensions are by negotiation. So dc4 goes up about 6.30, dc3 at 7, dc2 at 7.30 and dc1 at 8. I plug them into the TV and try to spend that 30mins with each one - bath, PJs and story. Although I'm finding the older 2 are getting less interested. I don't have a lights out as I've explained that I want them in bed so I can watch my TV/do my stuff. Although I remember that baby dc4 didn't really play by the rules early on grin

BadRoly Thu 07-Mar-13 20:28:34

Oh I misread and though dd1 was the 9yo, sorry!

almostanotherday Thu 07-Mar-13 20:35:10

I have more than most DC and I found routine is the best way forward.

AppleCrumples Thu 07-Mar-13 20:40:10

Thank you all! Is reassuring to know it will probably get easier!

Duchesse you are right i am tired and that makes things harder. I am trying to enjoy dd2 as there will be no more babies (and she is a 'bonus baby'). Ds2 often does washing up for me - bless him he will offer to 'give me a break' (so its not all bad).

I just feel guilty for making things harder!

I have decided to start a reward system for help and good behaviour.. I've got some jars and marbles and good behaviour will earn marbles worth 10p each, am hoping this will help things to be more positive!

Tom rationally i know that! I remember things getting easier as dd1 got older, slept better and i could get a break! Yesterday was just a blip i hope

Badroly i think this is true at 9 weeks all the adrenaline from the birth is gone and its a long time since i last slept through a whole night, it just catches up with you doesn't it?

Today was better instead of fightibg the boys spent the evening finding daft nursery rhymes tube to entertain the baby!

duchesse Thu 07-Mar-13 20:44:35

Oh, that sounds good Apples! So they all ended the day alive AND happy- Result, I'd say.

AppleCrumples Thu 07-Mar-13 20:45:31

badroly and almost routine is what i want. We've always kepr to one in the past but things were allowed to slide whilst i was pg as i was pretty unwell (and not entirely happy to find myself pg) so i feel like now i am having to reign everyone back in!

Am sure things will be easier if we can get bedtimes back on track!

AppleCrumples Thu 07-Mar-13 20:48:18

X posted! Badroly that bedtime routine sounds good. I like the idea of each one having their own bit of time and attention smile

almostanotherday Thu 07-Mar-13 20:52:28

Yes I regularly have to re jump start our routine again when we let it slide, I find school holidays really knock our routine slide ways and that when I have regin everyone back in again.

You will get there, just start by making a few small steps in the right direction and gradually get a full routine up and running but don't forget about a bit of 'me' time for yourself in the routine even it's its just 10mins to have a bath.


BadRoly Thu 07-Mar-13 20:53:23

It is so hard trying to get back on track, especially when you just feel drained. But remember that being a good mum isn't all about doing 'stuff' all the time - giggling over YouTube videos is just as good as eg junk modelling/making crafty stuff.

I don't know how it would work for you but when it's dry, just staying at the park for an hour after school helps smile

Meal planning too then online shopping, but of a pain at the start but easy once you get into the habit.

Does your dp get home at a readonable time to do all the morning stuff with the dc so you can lie in?

BadRoly Thu 07-Mar-13 20:56:50

Almost - it is hard work the first week or 2 after holidays!

As for shouting all the time, I notice that I get shoutier over a period if time then have to reign myself in. I think once I am aware of it, I can try and stop myself strokes back of hand counting down from 379 wink

Four4me Thu 07-Mar-13 20:58:15

Congrats op! It certainly does get easier with a little time. Mine are now ds1 -9, ds2-8, dd1-3 and ds3-2. By far the most challenging one is dd, she is a total diva dolly!
Our routine is key (which works well for ds1 as he has sn). I am always preparing ahead, especially when dc4 was teeny like yours.
ie pjs ready in bathroom at some point in the day when I get a sec.
Set table for tea before school run esp when baby would need a feed as soon as we got home.
Easy meals that I knew they would all eat with no fussing.
Going up for bath and bed early, giving myself loads of time for them to soak while feeding baby (sat on floor). In fact i'd forgotten I had a bouncy chair in the bathroom to put him in while getting them ready for bed.
School kit ready the night before.
I used lots of electronic babysitting in the early days!

Cut yourself some slack you are doing fab for the heady days of sleep deprivation, enjoy those newborn snuggles while you can. My last tiny baby runs off when I ask him for a kiss 'noooo way mama'!!!

almostanotherday Thu 07-Mar-13 21:01:42

I have just started work (this week first job in 17yrs) and I am having to start a whole new routine morning and evening so I have warned DC school and teachers that there maybe a few hiccups in the first couple of weeks but all I can do is learn what/where/if anything goes wrong and change our routine to suit as I'm only part time we will have two different routines and all I or anyone else can do is try and learn from any all of the mistakes made.

almostanotherday Thu 07-Mar-13 21:07:01

Forgot to add the best thing that helped me was arranging a few shelves by the front door, not only for shoes.
the top shelf is used for school bags, pe bags, my work bag and once made packed lunches get added. Younger children's coats hang on the side of the shelves so they can reach, hang up coats and put them on with little/no help.
Our shoes are on the shelves below the bags, all school shoes on one and trainers below.
This way I have everything we need by the front door ready to go as we go.

AppleCrumples Thu 07-Mar-13 21:32:40

Almost thats a fab idea, when dh has some time will get him to do shelves in hall smile

Btw congrats on new job! Hope you are enjoying being back at work.

badroly sometimes dh is a bit late and misses morning routine altogether but mostky he is a great help to get everyone out. At weekends he will let me lie in a bit.but he also works weekends sad

The park is a good idea as there is one right by school.

I do try to catch myself re shouting as i think it all escalates then.

four thanks. Dd1 is hard as she seems to think shes in and is a proper diva but then she was the baby and i think we babied her as she was meant to be our last! blush

I actualky have a spare bouncer upstairs so dd2 can watch bedtime. I think i just need to get organised smile

AppleCrumples Thu 07-Mar-13 21:34:30

Oops that should read dd1 thinks shes in charge!

almostanotherday Thu 07-Mar-13 22:01:37

Thank you, it's my first ever proper job smile feeling very proud of myself.

I really like my shelving, no more running around in the mornings trying to find everything. I just need to remind nag mine to put the things actually on the shelves not dumped on the floor next to shelves grin

Four4me Fri 08-Mar-13 14:07:56

Almost I think we need some shelves as it looks like we have been burgled when we get in from school with coats, hats, gloves, shoes and bags everywhere. Well done with work. There will be no more babies so getting back into my profession is my next challenge!

Apple hope today has been a good one.

Viviennemary Fri 08-Mar-13 14:11:55

I couldn't have coped so I admire you. I think routines and times for meals for the older children is quite a good idea. I read a book once it was quite helpful. Time Management for Manic Mums.

AppleCrumples Fri 08-Mar-13 16:00:43

Four so far so good! Have actualy managed to get dinner on before the school run which gives us some breathing room so having a brew with dh whilst dcs entertain themselves and baby plays on her gym.

Only problem is our totally unreasonable dd1 currently having a tantrum in her room as we told her off for ripping a photo! Not looking forward to her teenage years! smile

Boys out to transport museum tomorrow witu cubs/beavers so should be ok hmm

Almost hope work going well. You should be proud as its a big step after so long. Am quite nervous for when i need to get a job as its been 6 years at home.

imip Sun 10-Mar-13 07:48:55

Op, I could have written this post many times in the past year, and possibly will still for a little longer....

4dds 6, 4, almost 3 and 13 months. The past year has been hard, and I think the lows have outnumbered the highs unfortunately. I have has niggling health issues and dd4 has just given me the best night so far, waking only every three hours throughout the night!

I do find the days run easier if I get dinner out of the way while dd1 and 2 are at school. In the past year I have the shelf at the front door, big basket for hats etc, two huge coat racks, a pidgin hole cupboard for shoes. It has made life easier and cleaner. But I am constantly shouting and nagging to get the dds to put their stuff away. And I have come to realise that the path to sanity lies in putting a lock on the art cupboard (which is actually a whole floor to dealing cupboard)!

Dh is usually not around in the evenings. I find tea time the hardest as I struggle with the lack of adult company to stop me getting too shouty. No dd just wants to sit down and eat, they want to go to the toilet, a drink, random standing up and running about. I have tried to make dinner earlier and that has helped, but I am sure I am not alone in this thread saying that dinner is usually late because I struggle to cook with 4dds in the early evening.

It's gotten easier with dd turning one. And this weekend I think has been the nicest for a while. Nicest being easiest!

Personally, I know I need to get better at food shopping (online has it problems) and meal planning. That level of organisation seems too allude me. And to be less shouty blush.

Good luck op, I think it is all a case of swings and round about s. some days are good, some days are bad....

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