Advanced search

What's for lunch today? Take inspiration from Mumsnetters' tried-and-tested recipes in our Top Bananas! cookbook - now under £10

Find out more

Not coping with 3 children - please help I am miserable

(39 Posts)
miserymoo Sat 21-May-11 21:53:20

After just replying on another thread where the OP was about going from 2-3 children I have realised how much I am struggling with being a parent of 3.

I got PND after having my third baby (never had it before) but have got past that now (as much as you ever completely get over having had bad depression). Sadly my marriage has also broken down, so I'm having to deal with that as well.

BUT, even if these things had not happened, I think I would still find having 3 children just too much. I feel as though I am permanently failing my children, all I do is shout and scream at them, the 2 eldest just bicker and fight constantly and it drives me to despair. I can't just leave them to it, as it always ends in physical fighting or the younger one being very upset. I can't spend 'quality time' with the 2 oldest because the youngest (17 months) is now extremely demanding and has hit that stage of crawling all over their games, wanting to 'join in' and thus destroying whatever we are trying to do (if it's a board game for example). The middle one is being a nightmare with food etc etc. It's just the usual stuff that all parents face, but I am failing spectacularly to deal with it. I am just a semi-hysterical shouty bitch and I feel like handing over full custody to my ex sometimes and just running away.

I feel as if I will never cope with having 3 children to deal with at once, whenever I am just with 2 of them it feels like the 'right' amount of children for one adult to have to deal with. When 3 of them are together I just fail them all.

When I was a younger, more smug version of myself, pre-kids, I used to look at a neighbour of ours who did nothing but scream at her 2 teenage sons day in day out. I thought she was such a crap mother, and felt sorry for the kids. She just seemed so unhappy, and the boys never took any notice of her anyway. Well, I have become that woman and I feel like I can't stand a lifetime of this, and that my children will view me as an appalling mother who just shouted all the time.

I can also be very loving to them so have no problem in terms of bonding, or affection or anything like that.

Any advice about how on earth I can change this shit destructive path I am on, or any hopeful stories about crap shouty mothers who became more positive mothers would be welcome.

They are all under 7 years old btw.

crazymoon Sat 21-May-11 22:34:13

hi, just quick hello before bed (otherwise i'll be shouty again tomorrow!) i understand how hard it can be, so determined not to snap at them and end up being a bitch - -but then when the eldest two smile at each other i know they're not too upset, and playing wind up, and they love the youngest to bits even though they find him sooo annoying at times. hard work being ref and cooking tea etc isn't it. not making light of your situation but i'm sure you're not as bad as you think. hope someone else is comes along with more advice later

whodunnit Sat 21-May-11 22:43:37

Hello misery moo.

Yes it is hard bavnig three and there not being enough of you to go around. I feel like I shortchange everyone too. Mine are a bit older now (12,10 & 5) & so much easier as the youngest can join in. I seem to remember finding every opportunity when the littlest was asleep to play games with the older ones. No me-time but that had to go on hold. I still welcome any change in the norm - having an extra friend over, or one of mine going elsewhere, it just creates opportunities to do things a bit differently and let's those remaining know that this is their time. Can you arrange / force the older ones to go on walks with you where the youngest is in a pushchair and so you can have a proper talk/ game/mess around. Obviously these things don't just happen and you have to plan them, also they don't always work out anyway even with the best planning. Can you get your ex to have just one or two of them so that you can spend time with the remainder?

There is no perfect answer - just time and them growing up a bit.

Good luck - I feel for you.

camtt Sat 21-May-11 22:55:06

Hi, I have three - 7,6 and 16 months. I shout all day sometimes, and feel bad about it, and the two older ones fight a lot. I try to put that day behind me and the next day look for the funny side, stop trying to do everything (cleaning for example) and let everybody relax a bit. I can get them to play reasonably well in the garden and the little one will be happy for a good while in the sand pit. Sorry it is difficult at the minute but things can change quickly with young children, hopefully you will feel more on top of it soon

TheSecondComing Sat 21-May-11 23:02:58

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

kaosandkisses Sun 22-May-11 13:18:15

Hello, I can't stay long as off out but I'm crying reading your post as I feel exactly the same. Like I'm failing them and someone else would be better off looking after them than me. I will come back later to see if we can share some wisdom from those times when we do cope. Hang in there and remember you're their mum so you are who they want to be with. That's what someone said to me the other day..... X

Frog253 Sun 22-May-11 16:01:32

Just wanted to give you my sympathies too, I never thought I'd be the sort of mother that I am, all too impatient and ratty and moany!!
Today is the first day in two years (dc3 is 23 months) that I have been in the house entirely ON MY OWN, tis great!! DH has taken all 3 to his mum's something that I have nagged suggested about 100 times.
Not sure I have too many good tips except try and keep to some sort of daily routine and manage your expectations. Keep as organised as you can as well. Recently DD has been a nightmare getting ready for school in the morning. Nearly every morning we have a meltdown about something such as a particular hairgrip she wants. Have decided that she needs to get all her clothes ready the night before.
Make use of as much free stuff as you can find eg playgroups and meet other adults.
Give yourself a mental star chart eg yesterday all I did was make DD a wordsearch on a scrap of paper, she loved it, she made one for me too. Also regular praise seems to help family harmony even for the smallest thing such as walking home nicely after school

miserymoo Sun 22-May-11 17:55:33

Thanks for your responses everyone, it's good to know that I'm not alone. Just jumped on PC for a quick second, am mad busy today, but didn't want to leave this thread for ages. Will come back on at more length tomorrow!

Sorry you are feeling so low kaos, sending hugs.

TheEndlessArete Sun 22-May-11 19:45:50

MiseryMoo - much of what you're talking about I can totally identify with. And that is without having had PND and a marriage breakdown ! cut yourself some slack !
I came onto 'parenting' tonight because I'm being driven demented by my older two's bickering (baby is 16mths) - I find myself saying things to them that I NEVER thought I'd say - like 'ONE DAY YOU'RE GOING TO FIND THAT YOU'RE MUMMY HAS JUST WALKED OUT THE DOOR BECAUSE SHE IS SICK TO DEATTHHHHHHHHH WITH YOUR BICKERING'!!!!!!!!!!! Still can't believe I said that out loud - (they are 7+4).
So I watch this thread with hope that someone has some answers. I'm looking for two things :
a) hope that it will pass and that the middle one won't spend the REST OF HER LIFE trying to grapple with being the middle one.
b) really practical tips - when you feel like all you want to do is smash someone's head - in that split second, what can be done to help turn the situation around ?

It seems like all the mums of 3 that are losing it still have relatively small DC3s - will it get easier a year from now ??

TheSecondComing Sun 22-May-11 21:21:29

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

SaltNSauce Sun 22-May-11 21:52:12

I have three- 11, 6 and 4 and it is horrible quite a lot. Last year I started on ADs for one thing and another and found that the worst of the self reproach disappeared and I was less irritable and more of a cheery mum.
Every day still has it's hellish parts though and the bickering is one of the worst things to try and deal with.

kaosandkisses Mon 23-May-11 12:12:13

Omg if I could ever get 3 feckin' minutes spare I'd post again......! How ru feeling today?? X

whodunnit Mon 23-May-11 13:23:35

It does get better - I promise!

kaosandkisses Mon 23-May-11 13:47:09

Quick one... I rowed with DP all w'd apart from christening yesterday afternoon where I blubber thru the service then got smashed at the reception. Things feel overwhelming and the knock on effect is massive. Your marriage broke down, you're a single mum, you overcame PND, girl you're a bloody hero! One day at a time and any help you can lay your hands on, grab it. Keep posting. We will buoy you up. Xxx

brandnewme Mon 23-May-11 16:19:43

Same boat patience just doesn't last. I have a wonderful 6 almost 6 yr old and a nightmare 3 yr plus the baby (who's 1). I feel like i ask the 3 year old to do something a million times and he just flatly ignores me. Am making some progress with a sticker chart but by the end of the day I feel like running away.

Adult company with no kids is very important to get a sense of yourself back, and that you're not just a mummy. Do you do any hobbies away from them? Something like yoga would be fab - nice and relaxing...

brandnewme Mon 23-May-11 16:22:33

The constant demands are too much at times......and I don't feel like I can spread myself between the 3 of them, DH (who is fab so I am lucky) and time for me.........Just keep hoping as they get older (and No2 is in school grin) that things will improve!

miserymoo Mon 23-May-11 22:40:22

Hi all

Feeling a bit better today. I like the idea of using a reward chart for myself! A sticker if I manage not to shout for a 3 hour period.

Sounds like there are lots of us struggling with 3. Hopefully it does get at least a bit easier when they the DC get a bit bigger, god I hope so.

I do get time to myself which I try and make the most of, but I need to do some major attitude readjustment in myself when I am with the DC. I just seem to have such a short temper at the moment, I am already at the end of my tether within 10 minutes of waking up. Poor DC, it's really not good enough is it.

I think part of the problem is the constant noise, it's like torture. Hopefully as they get older the noise will reduce a bit.

Deep breaths for the onslaught tomorrow ladies smile.

whodunnit Mon 23-May-11 23:17:56

Noise drives me nuts too. The back door and a lock out ( for the kids not you) can help in moments of crisis. I would love wooden floors but the lack of noise absorption would not work for me.

I also have a rule where they can only shout to me from another room if they have their leg trapped and can't come into the same room. I just don't respond unless they come into the room I am in. Interrupters get a right telling off, especially on the rare occasion me & DP are having a proper conversation ( littlest has a terrible sense of timing that drives both me & DP nuts.)

brandnewme Tue 24-May-11 06:59:03

Well after a night of the baby being ill and awake half the night and No2 having nightmares and sleeping with us i'm not in the best frame of mind - i'm shattered and such a busy day ahead. God knows how I'm going to cope.....

TheEndlessArete Tue 24-May-11 13:09:07

How is the day panning out brandnewme? bad nights are dreadful. The most effective way to get my older two out of their bickering is definitely distraction 'oh look, is that a pink helicoptor I can see ?', but most of the time I just don't have the energy to do that. Today (inspired by this thread), I'm trying it a bit more and it is definitely making a difference.

How are you getting on miserymoo ?

CointreauVersial Tue 24-May-11 13:26:46

It gets easier - honest! When DD2 was born I already had two under-4, and I can barely remember the first year, it was a blur.

I certainly went through the stage you are going through, probably when mine were similar ages to yours, and I felt like I did nothing but shout. I also smacked a few times, which I felt awful about. I felt these great rages bubbling up.

But they are now 11, 10 and nearly 8, and, while there are still challenges, they are different ones, and I don't feel quite so swamped by it all. The older two don't get on, and will always wind each other up, but I spot the signs and separate them quickly before things escalate.

My number one rule is generally "divide and conquer" - if you can find a way of dealing with them one/two at a time it is so much easier. Ignore/distract the other two. For example, getting into the car, I would always strap in the youngest first, then worry about the next one rather than try and do them all together. If a fight is brewing, immediately remove one or both of them to separate parts of the house. Of course, that's not so easy as a single parent.

I also made a conscious effort to calm down, deep breaths, and not react to niggles and blow things out of proportion (i.e. don't sweat the small stuff).

It will pass! We now have lovely moments as a family, sitting round the dinner table laughing away at something together, you'll get there!

brandnewme Tue 24-May-11 14:24:35

A good day so far - thanks for asking. I think partly because I've not had the energy to argue I have been calmer. I'm trying to be realistic about my expectations and explain and talk more to the kids to reinforce what i want from them. Crazy no2 is at nursery this afternoon so that helps and the baby's had a sleep grin

I've tried making jokes out of stuff too Cointreau and that's helped - thanks for the help and reassurance it will get better. I know all a phase (until the next one!) but it can be a tough one!

brandnewme Tue 24-May-11 14:26:44

How's your day miserymoo?

brandnewme Tue 24-May-11 14:29:48

And we can't be crap mums - or we'd not be on here trying to get advice on how to make things better....we'd just be carrying on and screaming without a thought for the dc's grin

See - me doing some positive thinking!

quickchat Tue 24-May-11 20:28:59

Im just lurking here. Im a amatuer mum of two grin, 4 & 17 months.

Im just wondering mums of 3.....

>hides under desk with hard hat on<

Is it because there is 3 or is it just the age of the youngest 1 or 2?

So I suppose what Im trying to say is, did you never find you had similar days with 2 that you can have with 3 or is 3 the straw that broke the camels back?

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, watch threads, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now »

Already registered? Log in with: