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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

AppleCrumples Sun 10-Mar-13 12:52:20

Imip gosh that sounds hard. Yours are younger than mine and all my older dcs are at school now - its the first time in my life i actualky look forward to mondays! I try to get the housr under control on a monday but dd2 doesn't sleep as much now and needs more attention!

I agree about the meal planning this is where i often fail as i sonetimes forget and then its fish fingers again

Oh the arts! Dh let them at the paint yesterday for mothrs day but didn't check where or what they were doing. I amHope now spending my day cleaning red paint out of bedroom carpets! hmm

Hope your dh helps out too and your enjoying a restful.mothers day x

TomDudgeon Sun 10-Mar-13 13:14:45

A place for everything, a time for everything and cutting yourself some slack when it doesn't go to plan are the main things.

Also sorting what you can the night before helps.

Mine are 9, 8, 6 and 3 at the moment soon I'll go back to my neat 10, 8, 6 and 4 which I like because then I can remember when people ask blush

BadRoly Sun 10-Mar-13 13:40:50

I know what you mean Tom - mine will be 11,10,6 and 3 next month which is all wrong. Roll on July when it'll be a smooth 12, 10, 6 and 4 grin

whimsicalname Sun 10-Mar-13 18:19:33

Hello apple. Like many of the posters here, we are in a similar boat - I have 4 boys aged 8, 6, 2 and 8 weeks. Although my husband doesn't work nights, and is here most evenings, he's out of the house from 6.30am to 6pm, and has been / will be away a week a month for the next few months. We also moved to the US, for his job, while I was pregnant, so as well as being away from my tried and trusted support networks, I have turned from a working mum (with childcare, which is the important factor here) to housewife - and there's no maternity leave for a housewife is there!

In the first couple of weeks, my oldest boy turned into a proper little diva (how interesting that there doesn't seem to be a male/ gender neutral word for that!). He'd stomp off to his room, shouting he hated us / didn't ask to be born / never wanted to leave the UK at the slightest provocation (for example being asked to pick something up off the floor) and the 6 year old turned into a proper limp dishcloth, traipsing round the house following his dad and holding onto his leg. I'm not quite sure what has pulled them together, but I think a talking to from my parents who came to visit a month ago might have helped. Do you have an outsider who could ask your older kids to be helpful?

What has helped me feel like I'm keeping my head above water is feeling like I'm on top of things, so for example, I can't bear sitting to feed the baby in a really messy room so I try and keep one room tidy (ish - you wouldn't want to look closely at the carpet or under the furniture) so I can retreat there. I also try not to get sucked into watching crap telly when I'm feeding, so keep a book / paper / magazine wherever I might end up. It's also important to me to be creative, so I have a couple of easy projects on the go that I can pick up and put down. That said, this all went to pot a bit when my husband was away as I usually get an hour twice a week when he takes the boys to tae kwondo.

Anyway, I feel by now I'm rambling. Don't feel like you're failing them - within reason, I think the best thing you can give a child is a sibling, and you have a wonderful family of 4 who will play with each other and entertain each other and look out for each other (and for you) - eventually! I am telling myself this as much as you...

AppleCrumples Sun 10-Mar-13 20:36:40

Whimsicle congrats on your new baby!

Your ds1 sounds like my dd1! I have to keep reminding myself that her world has been turned upside down! Before dd2 arrived she was the baby and the only girl. Am trying to be consistent and calm in dealing with her but... blush

Interestingly i tend to feel better if i am able to sit and feed in a tidy/clean space. At weekends when they are making a mess in the living room it makes me feel like the walls are closing in on me sad

I used to do cross stitch which i.find really relaxing and in the last few days have dug one out and i do feel a bit more sane.

Being so far from home must be hard for you. I'm finding it hard and we'vr been in the same house for the last 10 years! Unfortunatly my family are not nearby akthough my mum came up yesterday and helped me out a bit (in the very early days she came up and took all dcs to park with dh whilst dd2 and i slept)

Hopefully once things settle down and babies sleep.longer it will all get easier [fingers crossed emoticon]

Four4me Sun 10-Mar-13 22:33:55

Aw whimsicle congrats. Eight weeks, so teeny.
Our 8 year old ds2 is quite emotionally peculiar at the moment and our youngest is two. So nothing to do with a new arrival. He is like the eldest (as ds1 has Down's syndrome so is emotionally and developmentally delayed.) I have recently bought the 'Raising Boys' book. So it may be the same with your ds1 rather than the new baby. He said to me the other day 'Mum you are ruling my life!' Think he mention ruining. And I did probably the worst thing and giggled at him.
I remember the days of being pinned to the sofa while the house is destroyed by the others in front of your eyes, all passed for me now so fast and you know what I'm sad about that. So try enjoy. My teeny baby is a walking, talking toddler who thinks he rules the roost (but dd1 has other ideas). smile

ariane5 Sun 10-Mar-13 22:47:33

We have 4 dcs dd1 (11), ds1 (6), dd2 (3) and ds2 (10mths).

It is really hard work, I won't lie Iam exhausted. I try to be organised, write lists etc but I manage to do something wrong/forget things every day.

At the moment I keep trying to tell myself that as long as dcs are fed, clean, don't have headlice (we had BIG problem with them few months ago and I think we single handedly kept hedrin in business) and are happy then I'm not doing too bad.

Our house is a tip (ok, its a shithole really but dh hates me swearing), we have massive piles of washing to wash and another huge amount to fold/put away. Everywhere else is cluttered.

I write a list each night of what I need to do the following day and try to actually do it. We also have a clipboard on fridge with dcs hosp appt letters in date order on it, a family calendar with same appts on and all clocks in house are ten mins fast so that we are tricked into being early rather than late (doesn't always work!).

It is difficult but manageable (just).

Good luck op

whimsicalname Mon 11-Mar-13 00:03:29

Thanks four. my 8yo has actually always been quite peculiar, it just manifests in different ways at times.

I hadn't appreciated your daughter wasn't your eldest, apple. perhaps there's a spot of regression going on, so she's behaving like a 2-3 year old, but with the vocabulary of a 4 year old. Blimey, a terrifying prospect. By comparison, my 2 yo (who is close to 3) has insisted on wearing a babygrow / onesie thing (with wellies, natch, to complete the outfit) for days. Curiously, I remember my 8 yo doing exactly the same thing when DS2 was born.

in a way, we were lucky to move when we did as we have gone from a reasonably sized but psychologically squished (in that it was tall and thin, opened straight onto the street, no garden to talk of) terrace to a hilarious suburban pile (typically American really) in a very leafy area, so we purged prior to moving, and have less stuff in a larger house so the clutter hasn't got on top of us yet Ariane. No doubt it's only a matter of time.

AppleCrumples Mon 11-Mar-13 11:34:34

Thanks all. I'm glad i started this thread now as its reassuring to realise things are pretty normal here smile

whimsicle i think there is some regression with dd and we are trying to encourage her to feel special as the big sister (ie by reading her school book to baby). Just trying to remember that it is still very early days!

ariane its the clutter that seems to.get all over that drives me crackers - and don't get me started on the washing! Dd2 only does exploding poos so i am constantly having to change all her clothes! shock

Today things feel better. Older dcs all at school so just me and baby and she has slept since her last feed so i have tidied, hoovered, washed up and emptied the washing machine (& refilled it) grin

Hope everyone else is having a good day

girlsyearapart Mon 11-Mar-13 11:52:03

Adding myself into this thread! My 4 are 5.5,4.5,2.7 and 15 months.

Three girls then a boy.

I have also started back to work for the first time since dd1 was born though its not regular hours. Most three days a week least none.
Dh works mainly nights and leaves around 5 returns 12-2 ish and works most of the weekend.

I agree with things being organised as much as possible the night before. School uniform out - everyone apart from the baby carries their clothes downstairs in the morning.

Dd1 is the stroppiest and ds is the most tiring.

I sometimes set myself challenges ( I don't tell the kids!) and recently did a No Shout week as i felt I was getting more & more shouty.

And like a previous poster I am honest with the children that I need them to go to bed so as I can get some time for myself.

BadRoly Tue 12-Mar-13 22:26:25

How's today been Apples?

I am ready to bury dc4 under the patio! Testing does not even start to describe him at the moment - even challenging is not hitting the mark grin but he is sleeping now and looks like an angel...

AppleCrumples Tue 12-Mar-13 22:58:04

Aw badroly they all seem so lovely when asleep smile

Today was ok. Dd2 slept well last night and i was only up once. Dh is off tonight so he's helped. Just seems easier when theres 2 of us dealing - i've even managed to wash my hair shock

Arithmeticulous Wed 13-Mar-13 10:42:17

Mine would be lovely if they would just sleep hmm Also DC1 is surfing towards an ASD diagnosis with a side order of anxiety and it's affecting all of us.

whimsicalname Wed 13-Mar-13 19:19:41

I second (?third) that! I nearly had a melt down last night when it was 9.30 and only one was asleep. Typically the least troublesome one at that!

frenchlion Sat 16-Mar-13 21:07:15

Mine 4 are now 13 (oldest) to 4 (youngest). I can't say for me it has got easier. They fight so much I am at my wit's end. I have a friend with 5 and hers are so nice and polite. I am really down about them at the moment.

Not saying this to panic OP: But the people who say it will get easier - my question is how?! What's the secret. Cos it hasn't got easier for me.

FOURBOYSUNDER6 Tue 02-Apr-13 22:34:42

I could have written that post op !!!! Sounds like our house and how I often feel !!! It has got better now weaning started ( no longer have to duck flying cars thrown by tantrumming toddler when bf ing!) and I feel like I can cope better when slept ok ish .... Good luck x

AppleCrumples Fri 05-Apr-13 21:24:40

Frenchlion i wonder about when it will get easier my friend has 4 boys and they are lovely and her house is always clean and tidy whislt my house is a mess despite constant clearing up and the dcs just seem to fight all the time. I keep telling myself its because hers are older and have bigger age gaps but still...

I worry that the problem is me not them and when i catch myself shouting i always worry that it makes it worse!

Disclaimer: is hols right now so there is no break and a lot of routine gone out window sad

LimeLeaffLizard Fri 12-Apr-13 23:04:56

Hello Apple! Hope you are doing a bit better now. Easter holidays are a bit of a challenge. I'm shattered!

The weather hasn't helped, I think we can put a lot of frustration down to that. Hopefully it will get easier when the weather warms up and we can send kids outside to play and leave the house without tracking down 4 lots of gloves / hats / coats etc.

AppleCrumples Mon 22-Apr-13 22:21:11

Oh Lime only just seen your post! Hows everything going?

Bad day today sad they just won't listen! Dd1 is currently my biggest problem as she refuses to do anything asked of her however reasonable! A lot of it is attention seeking but even when we make a real effory for her as soon as something doesn't go her way she kicks off. Frankly no consequences seem to make any diference <and breathe>

On the plus side dd2 now goes to bed early evening and i have a bit more time in the evening. The peace is lovely when they are all asleep smile

Am sure things will get easier. I just need to breath and let some things slide

I'm trying to channel that Radford woman from 16 kids...shes always smiley and unstressedas i doubt my seemingly constant nagging is helping blush

TeaMakesItAllPossible Mon 22-Apr-13 22:38:21

<marking place for later when I get a minute>

4DS 12, 11, 9 and 3. About to return to FT work after 5 months off and dreading it. I neeeeeeed advice on structure and planning. How not to shout. How to carve a bit of space for me. Getting through a day without shouting and WTF wink to do about getting homework, showers, dinner and encouraging parenting done in the short window at the end or beginning of the day.

<and breathe>


LimeLeaffLizard Mon 22-Apr-13 22:38:30

Hi Apple! Good to hear your update, though sorry to hear DD1 is challenging you at the moment. Is she the eldest and how old is she? Sorry I have forgotten (though I seem to remember your age ranges were similarish to mine).

I find my eldest (ds1) is sometimes a challenge because I have no previous experience of how to deal with one that age! With the younger ones, at least I have some knowledge to draw on. People ask how DD is doing (the baby) - but of course 4th time round it is relatively easy because I know what to do with her!
DS3 is driving me nuts at the moment. He is very good natured - lively and funny - but he constantly trashes the house. Yesterday he spread toys everywhere downstairs - a complete mish mash of everything he could lay his hands on, and it took ages to clear it all up (looked like it had rained lego). Ironically this happened when DH and I were trying to tidy up / sort out upstairs! Then today he did the same thing again in his brothers' bedroom - all the soft toys, books, bedding, dressing up clothes - everywhere! He has also damaged DH's ipad and smeared butter systematically over the entire kitchen floor.

I love watching 16 kids... I like the Radford family although I can't imagine having 4x as many as I do... how she stays so calm I don't know! The woman with all the beauty pagent daughters also seems really happy all the time too.

LimeLeaffLizard Mon 22-Apr-13 22:45:44

oops sorry just noticed that you put your DC ages in the OP. Do you think your DD1's behaviour could be due to the fact that she isn't the baby anymore? Also, if I remember right she is in reception? My DS2 is one of the younger ones in the class and is still knackered by the long (for him) school week - could that be a contributing factor?

Hello tea! FT work sounds like a challenge with 4. Can the older ones help out a bit more?

AppleCrumples Mon 22-Apr-13 22:54:26

Lime dd1 is 4. Tbh i think it is mostly that she is feeling put out tha she is no longer the baby or the only girl. Also i found pg quitw hard this time which has had an impact on all dcs behaviour.

Some days are better than others and today was just hard.

Agree about eldest being a challenge. I worry about ds1. With dd2 i have experience and can feel fairly certain i know what i'm doing but ds1 is always the unknown.

Some days i just feel like i'm just making a mess of it all sad

tea routine is my only suggestion. Think maybe deep breath and count to 10 re shouting. I'm fairly certain i am to blame for some of my difficukties with dcs as i can get quite stressed and shouty blush

AppleCrumples Mon 22-Apr-13 22:56:37

Haha cross posted lime! the school thing might be part of it as she is an august baby.

NAR4 Wed 24-Apr-13 21:55:47

To help you feel a bit better if your children are being difficult, my mil said only clever children are challenging. My older boys def were challenging and are now all at grammar school, so there is truth in that.

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