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Does it ever ease up?!

(96 Posts)
okthen Sun 20-Oct-13 19:16:53

We have a 3yo and a 12mo. Today went like this:

4.30am 3yo wakes up (uncomfortable as she has worms)
Wakes 12mo up, he cries (he has a cold and is teething)
Feed baby
All back to sleep
5am, 5.30am- baby needs settling
6.30am all up and hungry
Breakfast, get kids dressed
Can't tackle massive pile of dirty clothes as have to wash all towels, sheets etc because of worms.
8am baby does massive liquid poo. Goes on high chair, his clothes, my clothes
Change his clothes
9am I have bath. 3yo comes in, needs a poo. Wants to get in bath with me, upset that she can't. I get out, wipe her bum.

And so it continues, we crash from snack to meal to more explosive shit, via nose-wiping, tantrum-calming, wrestling the baby away from the 3yo as she drags him round by his neck, dropping everything to take baby for a nap walk as he won't sleep, etc etc.

Now it's bedtime and me and dp are like shell-shocked soldiers staggering off the battlefield. There are literal mountains of washing heaped at every turn, the kitchen is pebble-dashed with grated cheese and pasta, we haven't washed up the lunch dishes, and it's Monday again tomorrow.

Surely weekends won't always be like this?!

I'm sure I don't need to add that I adore these children, and they bring immeasurable happiness to my life. I know we are so lucky, too, to have no big problems eg serious illness to deal with.

But... But, I'd really like to have a relaxing weekend, to sip a leisurely cup of coffee and read the weekend papers (without it being a scheduled 'me time' with the clock ticking...), to sleep all night for weeks at a time. To not deal with shit and nits and worms on a regular basis. To not be screamed at, by anyone. To want to stay up past 10pm.

Parents of older children, will I ever reach this holy land of tranquility, or is it a foolish dream?

KiwiNomad Sat 28-Dec-13 20:44:42

Thank goodness I found this thread as me and dh have been struggling to cope with our threenager and very needy 8 m.o. I feel like we're always snapping at the dd1 (3) as she's started lashing out at her sister, biting, scratching, hiting others at playgroup etc and generally being a nuisance whenever possible to get attention. It's tough as I know she is feeling put out and trying to cope with feeling displaced but she also wants to grapple mine and dh nipples whenever she's near which makes cuddles rather uncomfortable! dd2 is teeting and very clingy to me, constantly wriggling and thrashing around since birth and between the two of them I feel like I'm going mad some days. Snapped at dd2 tonight when she wouldn't stay in bed and was messing around on the stairs and had to pretty much drag/lift her back to her room whilst holding the baby. Felt so bad and mean that I couldn't give her a proper cuddle as dh is at work and dd2 was kicking off. Snuck in after she was asleep for a sneaky cuddle and burst into tears, I don't want to be a snappy, intolerant mum :-(.
Whenever I try to relax for a minute and zone out when dh is at home he accuses me of switching off and not paying him/kids any attention - but I need to for my sanity!!

hooochycoo Sun 27-Oct-13 06:20:56

Totally relate. I've a 4.5 year old and 1.5 year old and the last couple of years (including pregnancy) have been the hardest I've experienced. Good to know there's some let up sometime. The thing for me is the lack of sleep and the washing and housework. If I had a night nanny and a house keeper then I'd be grand I think. On days where I'm rested and out the house all day with a picnic and no agenda then it's ok. Moving close to the beach has been a life saver for me. Whatever the weather I find that the three of us can be at each others throats in the house, but if I just get us to the beach, then everyone chills the fuck out.

princesspants Thu 24-Oct-13 20:01:55

stick threenager - love it. Im going to have that one!

headoverheels Thu 24-Oct-13 15:00:48

Sorry sorry sorry! It does get easier, much easier, sorry I should have made that clear. But it would be even easier if I only had two smile

StickChildrenTwo Thu 24-Oct-13 14:02:06

I could have written this OP. I have 2 boys. DS1 is pretty good and easy to care for but I remember the early years well. DS2 is nearly 2 and is exactly as DS1 once was and it is bloody hard work. It is so tiring and mundane at the same time. I get so frustrated and snappy with them sometimes. They just always seem to need me at the same time and it drives me mental that I never get a minute of time to myself until they go to bed and mercifully they both sleep from 7:30pm-7:30am so I try to console myself with that.

I've never been so tired and overwhelmed in my life than on the days I am home alone with both of them. The need to be switched on and constantly having to micro manage how they interact in case DS2 gets hurt or hits out at DS1 is so tiring. I remember when we just had one thinking surely it would be less intense and maybe easier if there were 2 as they can play together. I think I was rather naïve to ever believe that! I am not someone who can just let them get on with it. I long to be one of those easy, relaxed mums but it's not me at all. I am uptight and anxious and feel the need to protect them both from each other constantly which I know isn't doing any of us any good but every time I do back off or have to leave the room someone gets hurt! But, that said, they do adore each other and are just starting to play for very short periods of time although I have to watch them like a hawk .

Anyway, just wanted to add my sympathies and I am hopeful it does ease up as they get older. From being around age 4 DS1 became pretty reasonable and good company. On my own with him and he's fab. Throw DS2 into the mix and it all goes horribly wrong! I found the baby and toddler years hard going with one child but with 2 it has nearly finished me off. You really could not pay me to have another baby! Obviously I do love them and worship them but I am just so tired and snappy now. It's not fair on any of us. I want them to grow up a little bit and actually get to do the slightly more interesting parts of parenting rather than just constantly fire fighting.

This too shall pass apparently! It certainly did with DS1, just can not wait for DS2 to get past the toddler and threenager phase!

Tiredemma Thu 24-Oct-13 11:30:22

My DS2 (now 10) was the one that broke my spirit literally. Just wouldnt give me a moments peace- I cant even say 'from the moment he woke up till the moment he went to sleep' because he actually never slept for longer than an hour at a time (until he was three).

He really put me off having anymore children.

Quite by 'surprise' I found myself pregnant again this year and the 'fear' of having a child like DS2 actually sent cold chills through me, and I have to admit to spending a lot of time thinking negative thoughts about the unborn baby, I had just got my life back, and now it will be 'taken' from me again etc etc. I couldnt bear the thought of another child like DS2

DD is now 6 weeks old and so far has been the literal opposite of DS2 - im in a state of bliss. DP did say last night though that maybe DD will become the 'monster' at three (when DS2 became 'angelic')

Its all a challenge- every part of it.

juneau Thu 24-Oct-13 10:00:39

You couldn't pay me to have a third child. It is literally one of my biggest fears. I think I'd have to terminate (though I absolutely hate the idea), because I simply could not go through it all again. Now that we've finally got through that initial bit with DS2 I feel like a weight has been lifted and we can start to look forward again and make some plans that might actually be fun. The past few years have been almost solid drudgery. People who go on and on having babies I think are completely mad.

HenD19 Thu 24-Oct-13 09:28:37

Nooooo! headoverheels! The end of tunnel light is extinguished.....

headoverheels Thu 24-Oct-13 07:26:36

I'm another who has 3 and finds it a LOT harder than 2. It's worth it in that I love them all to bits, but I don't think it's a case of putting in the hard work and chaos earlier in order to find it easier later on. IMO 3 will always be harder than 2! (although I agree that 2 is eventually easier than 1 due to the playing together thing). Mine are 4, 6 and nearly 8 btw.

I also agree re feeling guilty about my DD who is the middle one. DS1 had 2 years with my full attention before the others were born, and DS2 gets lots odd time with me now the other two are at school (he goes to pre-school in the mornings), but poor DD never had any regular time at home alone with me.

HenD19 Wed 23-Oct-13 23:01:52

Yes I suppose this will all seem worth it as time goes on but it doesn't make each day easier and makes me feel guilty for not enjoying it. If I try and relax with my expectations I would enjoy most of life more but it's so hard to let go of what I imagine a good mum to be. I want to play with my DC rather than sorting washing etc and make lovely home cooked, healthy meals and tasty cakes instead of stopping my DS and DD arguing about who the baby is smiling at......the list goes on and on...... I suppose that I mostly want order rather than the stuff of your original post.

This too will pass though I suppose......

okthen Wed 23-Oct-13 22:44:41

Thanks for your honesty Hen. By 'worth it', I suppose I meant: do you believe that in years to come, things will be easier and you will come to consider the chaos and drudge of the early years to have been worth it, in order for you to enjoy the calmer waters that you will (hopefully) find yourself in?

I'm certainly not in the 'treasure every precious moment' camp. The precious moments are plentiful, but my OP was rooted in my own mild panic that if these are apparently the most magical and best of years, why do I find it so bloody hard?!

HenD19 Wed 23-Oct-13 22:20:22

moobcross one of my reasons for having three was not having regret in the future about not having three. Not sure if that was a good enough reason? DC3 has completely changed the dynamics of our family and I feel like it has changed me as a mum. I used to be so patient and I now lose it at least once a day. I suppose it's probably as I'm so much more exhausted.

I think you need to decide if you can care for your older two whilst being exhausted? Is your DH/P willing to get even less of your time? Can you cope with living in chaos?(I hate losing things and messiness but am slowly having to get used to it) Are you ready to have less quality time with your DC and let them get on with it on their own and watch a hell of a lot more TV? Are you prepared for loads of extra laundry? Could you cope without having a minute to yourself? Can you handle heightened sibling rivalry? Can you bear to put another coat and pair of shoes on for the school run??!......just a few of the things that I wish I'd thought about..,.,poor Dc3 who I do love lots and lots!

HenD19 Wed 23-Oct-13 22:09:31

okthen there has to be a light at the end of the tunnel as I may as well give up now and run away! Not sure of what you mean by 'worth it'? Mothers with older children often tell me to 'enjoy these precious days as they'd fly by' which just adds more pressure as I'm only enjoying off bits of it and will I have regret?

princesspants my middle child acted like a middle child before he even was one! I think I'm still grieving for the fact that I can't spend as much time doing things with DC2 as I did with my PFB. And now DC3 is here I'm beating myself up even more. An extra load of jobs so less time to spend with more children.....

Allegrogirl Wed 23-Oct-13 20:48:59

BerstieSpotts I have a challenging one who was always 'spirited' and energetic but was reasonably easy from 6 months to 3. Since the threenager stage it's been a constant challenge. Luckily for me I had DD2 just before it all kicked off (much later and DD1 would have been an only). DD2 is less complicated and easier to deal with. I now have proof that it wasn't my parenting at fault. Actually DD1 can be lovely and great fun but very strong willed, lacking in attention, impulsive, emotional.

My two are now 3 and 6. Sometimes they play without me for an hour at a time and it is wonderful. Luckily they adore each other 90% of the time. Makes up for the hellfire toddler and cling on perma feeding newborn stage. I do wonder how the hell I survived.

princesspants Wed 23-Oct-13 20:48:14

bertiespotts Don't be put off with a bunch of tired mums having a bad day!
Even though im having a tougher time than usual just now id never have wanted to stop at one just through fear. Your DS is 3. 3 is a very Shit age!! My DS was lovely until he hit 3 and my DD, well, got much harder grin when she hit 3. It is a real 'testing the boundaries' phase and IMHO the hardest age.

henD It's middle child syndrome isn't it! Also, age 3 as im just saying. I feel so guilty that I haven't put into DD the effort I put into DS1. Mainly because as he went to school, the time I should have had with her is now filled with DS2. I don't know if you feel the same with your only son but I feel sad that i haven't got proper time with my only daughter. Am I ruining our relationship from here on in? Probably not, but the guilt eats me up.

Would I have 3 if I had my time again. Yes, most definitely without a doubt. I love the dynamics and seeing my little gang together. I grew up with just my 1 brother and it was dull. My kids look like they have more fun!

BerstieSpotts Wed 23-Oct-13 20:44:06

Oh I did DEFINITELY have a threenager, he's 5 now though. We've just moved to Germany and I don't speak German well enough to invite other kids over without their parents which kind of defeats the point grin Maybe I should network a bit more vigorously with the other expat mums, the ones I've met mostly have younger children.

okthen Wed 23-Oct-13 19:29:39

So you have a threenager too, eh, bertsie? I felt super smug about how un-terrible my dd's 'twos' were- but Three is much more challenging! I agree that play dates are the answer. I share pick-ups with other mums from preschool, and can honestly say that the days when I have extra three year olds with me after school are easier than those when I just have dd and ds. 3yos are absolutely hilarious, brilliant and entertaining- but also such hard work that I frequently break out into a sweat.

MuffCakes Wed 23-Oct-13 18:17:09

Playdates are your answer bertie, ask his friends round a lot and they will play together while you can do their tea, well sit down MN and eat chocolate wink

BerstieSpotts Wed 23-Oct-13 17:56:51

Gah, if I had had babies with someone decent instead of my shitty ex, then I'd probably have had the nice first 2-3 years, got pregnant again before the hellfire of age 3, had an utterly crap 1-2 years as dealing with both of them and then been fine by now!

Or maybe I should have got pregnant before I left like I had a fleeting thought to blush - then again, the awful newborn + unmanageable preschooler/toddler part would have come just as I started struggling on my own, so I'm not sure that would have been great either!

I think DS was sent to test me...

BerstieSpotts Wed 23-Oct-13 17:48:04

Yes! Exactly that, going out and doing stuff is fine, bar the odd bad day (which is generally a remnant of at-home behaviour anyway) "doing stuff" at home generally fine, but just normal being-at-home with him one on one drives me nuts. Luckily it's only about 4 hours a day at the moment because he's at kindergarten until about 2 and then DP gets home at 5 or 6. So, I tell a lie, it is actually getting better.

MuffCakes Wed 23-Oct-13 17:40:07

bertie if it's any help I really dislike one on one with my dc unless we are actually doing something as I cannot cope with the intenseness and constant attention they need.

Now taking my ds out for a fry up while dd is at her dads is lovely and we natter away, going shopping with him is lovely but jheeze at home he wants me to sit with him, play with him, he follows me around and wants to talk to me argh. Where as normally they talk to each other and sit with each other and don't tend to ask anything of me apart from if they can have this or that to eat. I would find one harder then 3.

BerstieSpotts Wed 23-Oct-13 17:34:57

I always get all paranoid on these threads, because I loved the first two years and genuinely did find it a breeze most of the time. I used to stress a bit about sleep when that went bad and DS went through a phase of eating NOTHING but I generally enjoyed spending time with him and the rewarding parts far outweighed the drudge, although of course that was there as well.

Then since he turned 3 it's gone from bad to worse TBH sad I've come to the conclusion that I'm either depressed or just an utterly terrible mother. What's worse is I constantly feel guilty that he's an only child and/or fantasise that it would be easier or more interesting if I had more than one child, and hence, I want more. Plural more.

Maybe we will. I don't know if it's utterly insane to even consider it or if it will be the thing that helps me to enjoy it again. I never saw myself as a parent of one child, which is not to say there's anything wrong with that, it's just it's not me. It's very intense.

stillenacht Wed 23-Oct-13 16:41:48

Ah thank you okthen and moobcross xx

It is relentlessly hard. Literally the only improvements over the last 10 years is that DS1 is so independent now. He has grown into such a mature boy (despite his brother being such hard work and they have never played together, not oncehmm) DS1 had to grow up pretty damn fast but compared to his peers he is like an adult now. DS2 is now 'functionally verbal' and can ask for things but thats as far as language goes.

Add my work (slave...sorry, teacher) to it. My life is bleeding nuts!shock

notwoo Wed 23-Oct-13 16:19:06

Definitely no plans for a 3rd here.

DH and I were talking about this yesterday and saying that whilst we often get those massive surges of love for the children it rarely happens when they are together - only when we have some one to one time with them.

I'm just looking forward to a time we can be a bit more of a cohesive unit rather than having to divide and conquer all the time!

AllDirections Wed 23-Oct-13 16:12:54

I was coping reasonably well with two but three has completely tipped me over the edge.

Same here sad

It has got better over the last year (DD3 is 6) but I'm not sure that I'll ever fully recover from the last 5 years.

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