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Please tell me how your life is with 2 toddlers as I think DH needs to realistic.

(37 Posts)
lannook Mon 22-Aug-11 11:06:32

We have 2 children, 3 yrs and 2 yrs (15 mo apart) and I find it very hard and it gets me down at times - the squabbling, noise and just general relentlessness of it. DH thinks it should be getting easier and he resents that we don't have time for one another and our own interests. We tend to mooch too much at the weekends (just moved so know no one/things where we are and it is a language neither of us speak). He feels that I am wanting to offload them on him at the weekends to get a bit of a greak myself (true).

I would like to know how you spend your weekends if you have 2 toddlers and it is just the 2 of you looking after them - no family/friends/babysitters etc.

lannook Mon 22-Aug-11 11:07:29

bit of a break that is smile

BirdyBedtime Mon 22-Aug-11 11:14:50

I think your DH needs to be a bit more realistic lannook. Mine are now 6 and almost 3 and it's still quite often a slog. DH and I have no local support and although we now have some friends in the area we don't tend to see that much of them at weekends as quite often they are doing things with family. DCs can be hard work and if you are looking after them all week (which I infer from your post) then you should be able to have some free time when DH isn't working - it's unfair of your DH to refer to that a offloading.

In terms of keeping DCs amused we try to have at least one 'fun' thing planned each weekend eg play-park, beach (not much this summer though), play-date, swimming, visit to castle etc. Then we can bribe them with that while we do the boring stuff (cleaning, shopping, gardening). We do end up spending quite a bit of time refereeing and sorting out squabbles but that's just life with DCs I think.

upahill Mon 22-Aug-11 11:26:29

When my two were toddlers I made every weekend an event and have something 2 look forward to. we would have the day out in a forest or go to the beach,even in winter.. I woud get the UK map out in the week and plan the weekend. I live in the north west so I would look for places up to an hour and haLf from where we lived maximum and go there. if we didn't gave much money I would make up a picnic.

I took loads of pictures and they are really good happy family memoriesit got us out of the house and made us enjoy ourselves. it stopped that cooped up feeling where they are bickering. I loved those times

SardineQueen Mon 22-Aug-11 11:27:09

I think your DH is being v unrealistic.

I have a just 4yo and a just 2yo and when we are all together we do very little of interest.

When we do try to do anything it ends in disaster so we just don't bother.

Even trying to do simple things like housework / gardening that need doing mean one distracting the kids while the other one gets on with it!

What we actually do - go for a walk, go up the local shops, go to visit grandparents, go to the garden centre. That's about it if I'm entirely honest.

I think things will get better when DD2 is say 4, so when she is toilet trained & out of nappies, can talk and understand, and has a bit of sense re not suddenly running into the road or having a tantrum every time we won't let her do exactly what she wants etc

SardineQueen Mon 22-Aug-11 11:28:19

grin great xposts with upahill.

So there you have two different approaches!

I think to an extent it depends on what your actual children are like, how much and what sort of things you can do with them.

TeamEdward Mon 22-Aug-11 11:29:15

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

upahill Mon 22-Aug-11 11:36:46

My thoughts were if we stayed in everyone would get on every ones nerves. Dh would be working all week looking forward to the weekend and then it descended into chaos and I got the feeling he would be looking forward to going back to work. Also if the kids were out it was better for them burning off energy in a country park or on the beach with kites. They slept better as well. We didn't have much money then so we kept it simple. So even though it was busy it was relaxing and we got round to going to places where we had been meaning to go but hadn't iyswim.

upahill Mon 22-Aug-11 11:39:56

Dreadful typos on previous posts. It looked ok while I was typing on the phone!!

I hope you got my jist!!

GilbonzoTheSecretPsych0Duck Mon 22-Aug-11 11:44:07

When mine were toddlers (23 months apart) we didn't speak the language and no baby sitters, not many friends, etc. and I was bloody lonely. The dcs were good but still hard work because they are children. At the weekends dh would take one or both of them shopping to give me a break and we took it in turns to have a lie-in. Then in the afternoon we would go and do something altogether like the beach, a walk in the woods, a picnic somewhere. That way I would get a break and feel like I had support. Your dh needs to realise that life with two kids is hard, monotonous, and lonely. It does get easier but it's a long slog to get there and the only way everyone will be happy is if you work at it together and support each other.

SardineQueen Mon 22-Aug-11 11:45:17

We all drive each other mad if we go out!

Horses for courses I guess. OP don't know if any of that helps!

lannook Mon 22-Aug-11 13:09:56

thank you - I think he is being unrealistic as well though I concede that I lack any get up and go at the moment and therefore things feel like a drag - lack of sleep does not help.

DH wants us to find toddler activities we can take them to (tennis for example) but they are just that bit too young to be left at an activity whilst we do something else.

Things not helped by work colleague's wife getting up at 4.30am and running (training for a marathon) DH is therefore "disappointed" that I show no inclination to do any exercise and lack of time is just an excuse.

I have not even mentioned being with both of them every afternoon (little one with me in the morning as well) and I struggle to know what to do with them in the afternoons and I am dreading winter............

SardineQueen Mon 22-Aug-11 13:30:29

Oh lanook I know exactly how you feel. Sleep deprivation is a killer, it's so hard to get motivated to do stuff when you feel like that.

Your DH is being totally U thinking about finding activities where you can leave them both and go off and do your own thing. Some places have creches I know but not everyone wants to use them with smaller ones, and other places don't take them til older.

If he is comparing you to marathon running types he is being out of order.

You need to talk to him and make him understand how tired you are and how hard it is etc.

Do you do all the night-time stuff or does your DH do any?

campergirls Mon 22-Aug-11 14:02:32

It may be different where you are, but in the UK very few activities geared at young kids allow the parents to leave them to it while they go off and do something else. Only paid childcare, in fact! Sporting/music/craft-type activities invariably, IME, require an adult to accompany the child. Set your DH to researching kids' activities, and maybe he'll realise he's being unrealistic.

OTOH, if you could afford it, why not pay for a bit of child-care so you can have a break? You say you don't have baby-sitters, but is finding them totally out of the question?

Also, your DH is clearly being unkind in comparing you with a marathon runner and finding you wanting. But - you do sound a bit low, and exercise is a great mood-booster. Why not try a bit of 'yes, you're right, I need to be more active. You look after the kids while I go for a run/swim/whatever'?

MeMySonAndI Mon 22-Aug-11 14:10:53

Lannook, most families that split, split when the children are that age (when the woman is overwhelmed with so much work, while the husband is sulking because he has fallen down in her list of priorities).

So, it is about finding a balance, where he helps more (or even pays for some babysitting) so you can have time for each other.

3 and 2 yrs is a very difficult time, I found out my child needed far more attention from the time he got mobile to around 5 years old. You can do as much to make things better but he has to pull his weight too.

I remember years ago there was a super nanny program where the couple had a child that demanded attention all the time, wouldn't sleep etc etc. The parents said they didn't have any time to themselves. After Supernanny, they got the time they needed, but by then decided to split as they no longer had anything to talk about. Don't leave it for long, there are things that cannot be fixed up once they are broken.

If your husband doesn't listen, I would go as far as saying that a visit to Relate may be of help...

Egg Mon 22-Aug-11 14:20:51

Mine are 5, 3 and 3 and the fights and arguments are relentless. I am a SAHM and dh does also take them out sometimes at the weekends to 'give me a break'. to be fair I am normally cleaning or some other dull chore while they are out but it's nice to clean in peace!

Fortunately the twins are now at pre school and will be doing 2.5 days a week from Sept. Ds1 is at school so all in all its a LOT better than it was. However when they are all at home it is full on hard work and if I leave them alone for more than 2 mins an argument will start. Esp with ds1 and ds2.

Agree with upahill, getting out usually means an easier day, despite needing organisation and planning, once sorted the day itself runs more smoothly. Can mean they are even worse once home again though. The summer holidays have been mixed so far, but the worst days have definitely been the ones where we have no plans.

MuddlingThru Mon 22-Aug-11 14:52:20

My DC are 6,4 and 3 (16 month gap followed by 22 month gap). It is tough as they do still need so much attention. At the weekend we try and get a balance. So DH has a lie in on 1 of the days and I have a lie in on the other day. Once we are both up we would probably aim to get the kids out and about jointly so that they run off some energy and we don't all go stir crazy. In the afternoon we again split it so that one watches the kids so that the other can get on with a task/has time to themselves and then swap.

It does get easier. The older 2 don't need so much attention now, eg they know to stay on the pavement, can take themselves to the loo, can go round the playground by themselves. Also you don't have to plan round naps, meals can be more flexible, etc

talking2myself Mon 22-Aug-11 14:53:26

Hi, I find it tough too, especially when they were younger like yours. I expect DH to do more than he does when he's here on the weekends. Either I think he should be doing more chores or that he should be spending more time with the kids. But I try to keep a lid on it because I know how tired I was at the weekends when I was working full time.

We're trying to keep on a budget so we usually find cheap things to do at the weekends. Like this weekend we walked to a forest trail for an hour of exploring and then home for the rest of the day for cartoons/games. Sunday we just stayed home and the kids played in the garden.

I think it will get easier when your youngest is over 3. That's about the age where mine started playing together for longer periods of time. Thank goodness!

Cheria Mon 22-Aug-11 15:00:42

Would you like to say where you are? Maybe some of us expat MNetters would be able to help out - even if it's just someone local to have coffee with / rant to smile

I've only got one and have no friends or family within about 500km of me. It's really hard sometimes, and is definitely a factor in our consideration of having another one. Not that that is going to help you.

Pigleychez Mon 22-Aug-11 17:53:03

Mine are just 3 and 15mths (21mths apart) and can relate to how you feel. I think we all feel like that sometimes. Only last night I was moaning to DH that I wanted to see the Inbetweeners movie but we have noone to babysit and no family nearby. Sounds silly but a couple of hours out would be bliss! It really is me and the girls 24/7.

Some days are worse than others but that constant noise/moaning/arguing/pestering can be very draining!

Our weekends tend to be pretty busy with swimming lessons etc but we try and do things together at some point for a bit of family time. Even if its just a stroll round the local park, little play on the swings, feed the ducks, have an ice cream. We go to the park a fair bit its lovely for DH to play with them in the park too.
There are days though when what should be a lovely day out is a complete nightmare but hey ho! Thats kids for you smile

Agree that your DH need a reality check. Cant you leave them with him for a day then he will get a taste of what its like. Thankfully my DH is WELL aware of how frustrating it can be! As for his collegues wife... Well Bully for her!!

Also agree that they need to be older to be 'left' at any activites. DD1 does go into Ballet alone but I have to wait outside the room Battling a wriggly toddler.

Pigleychez Mon 22-Aug-11 17:58:32

I'll admit too to being guilty of letting DH take the lead more at the weekends and taking advantage of the extra pair of hands. If I dont then I'd never get any respite at all. Thankfully he doesnt seem to mind ( or at least hasnt moaned about it yet!) grin

pipkin35 Wed 24-Aug-11 11:01:57

I do think your DH is being unreasonable. Mine are 16 months apart and the same ages as yours so I can undertsand. Our weekends go a bit like this: We take turns at the weekend to have lie in. In boring more detail: Last wend - OH stayed up late on Fri, so I got up at 7am with both kids. He then gets up or I send kids to 'wake him' around 9.30/10am, depending on how 'easy' I'm finding my morning! The older one watches kids TV quite happily while munching breakfast and I have to playdoh/paint with younger one. The next day cos the kids got up later - 8am, I'd had enough sleep so actually got showered/dressed but didn't go downstairs til 10am as my 'lie in' - just did pottering/admin/bit of reading upstairs - kids thought I was still asleep so didn't disturb me. OH then wanted some time, so I offered him the option of entertaining the kiddies further or doing an hour of housework - sorted.

I must admit, I'm not a housework person - I only squeeze in about an hour at the weekend. We do a daily quick hoover - we have to cos they're like lil monkeys when they eat - what I'm saying is, when I have them all week I don't ever try and do any housework. OH washes up when they're in bed and I then cook for us. Everything else waits really. They do squabble loads though which is relentless and super exhausting.

We have no family/babysitters/playdates etc...and it is so hard. Finding this age a real struggle.

So, after lie ins etc....and vegging at home might head out round 12ish - maybe have bit of lunch out altogether and take 1 kid each sort of approach - libary, soft play, park, forest/river walk, swimming - just OUT - I find it SO much easier being out rather than in. Easier now that 2.4 yr old can often do without a sleep in the day. But, I am also dreading winter, too many rainy days. Even if we go for a walk, that can last a good hour or so if we aren't 'trying' to 'get' anywhere IYKWIM - taking it at their pace with them having a bucket each to collect all sorts of useless shit treasures works well.

Are your evenings your own? Both kids are normally in bed by 7.45pm so then it's me and OH 'turn' - watching boxsets of DVDs, reading to each other or playing a game rather then turning TV on.

Some evenings (maybe twice a week) I might get 30 or 45 mins when OH gets in at 6pm (on weekdays) - then I might do something but be back for bedtime - go for a walk by myself, or a coffee - just for the sanity! I do the food shopping once a week and love it. I go alone around 6-7pm, OH has the kids - he doesn't drive so him doing the food shop would not be an option. I used to find food shopping the dullest thing ever and used to do it online, but now it is such a welcome break! grin

lannook Wed 24-Aug-11 15:45:41

thank you again. DH is expressing his frustration and we have agreed that we will plan more at the weekends - even if we plan to stay in the garden - sometimes we are both wanting to get on with something and expect the 2 of them to amuse themselves for too long.

I have found a very good book (not more books everyone will groan) that is called "how to behave so your toddler will too" and I have got DH reading small sections so we both think about our behaviour and what we are expecting from the children.

I guess I sometimes know I am lazy - not inclined to take them swimming (too hard on my own) and not doing stuff. FIL will make reference to them being bored and it winds me up because I feel he is saying I am lazy - why don't I do more with them and he is right. so both DH and I have not got the get up and go at the weekend and I guess he is finding fault with me when we are both guilty of it.

upahill Wed 24-Aug-11 16:09:32

I said quite a lot in my post earlier on about how I made every weekend an going out weekend - now I'm not sugggesting you do that and I accept it does sound manic BUT if you make plans and arrangements, like I said, it helps create happy moments and even though your kids won't remember you and DH have a reference point- 'remember that day when we went to...'

I have hundreds of photos from 2005 that I have taken on days out like this on a permanent slide show on the computer. Every now and then I'll go into the room and different pictures will flash up and they always make me smile.

Sometimes the kids will ask about them 'Tell me about that photo again mum, where were we?

Good stuff!

upahill Wed 24-Aug-11 16:10:08

BTW I'm sure you're not lazy. Toddlers are demanding and tiring!

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