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I can't cope.

(28 Posts)
DeleteOrDecay Fri 13-Oct-17 01:00:05

I have 2 dd’s age 4 and 2 and I just can’t cope at the moment. It’s generally fine whilst dd1 is at school. Dd2 is a handful but I can manage when it’s just her. It’s when dd1 comes home from school that all hell breaks loose.

It seems like the minute my back is turned, they are doing something they shouldn’t, climbing/jumping on the sofa, climbing the cats tree, using their chairs to stand on and reach things they shouldn’t, fighting amongst each other, screaming at the top of their lungs (not great when dp is sleeping after a night shift).

I can’t handle it. I can’t even make dinner without some huge drama. Doing dd1’s reading practice is impossible without dd2 clambering all over me (even if I set up a separate activity for her to do). I end up shouting more than I’d like because nothing else seems to work, but then I feel crap because shouting doesn’t work either. We have ‘the step’, I give warnings, I remove privileges such as tv/tablet, nothing works. Sooner or later they are back to doing the behaviour I asked them not to and have subsequently punished them for. It really sets off my anxiety, which obviously doesn’t help matters as it makes me uptight as well.

I do sometimes take them to the park or soft play after school for an hour which helps, but it’s not possible to do that everyday.

I’m starting to dread the afternoons. I never wanted to be the grumpy, shouty Mum. But here I am. I appreciate that this is all normal behaviour which is why I feel like I’m failing.

Battlescar Fri 13-Oct-17 01:07:26

You're not failing, it's insanely hard work. I hate being a shouty mum too but there's only so many damn times you can say 'don't do x,y,z' whilst you're trying to do a million other things 😕
It tough, be kind to yourself x

CuckooCuckooClock Fri 13-Oct-17 01:11:43

You're not failing.
It's really tough when they're determined to be mischievous.
I think all of us have times when we're more shouty than we'd like to be. You don't have to be perfect. Be kind to yourself. X

CuckooCuckooClock Fri 13-Oct-17 01:12:57

Weirdly similar x post

DeleteOrDecay Fri 13-Oct-17 01:20:56

Thank you. It’s getting to the point where I’m dreading after school time. It’s definitely the hardest part of the day. My youngest is extremely defiant and mischievous as it is but she also copies her older sister a lot (who has developed a bit of an attitude lately).

It’s just frustrating when non of the consequences seem to work. It literally goes in one ear and out the other and most of the time they are totally non-plused by it. They lost their tv time today (well, yesterday now) and they still insisted on messing about when I was trying to prep dinner. I find myself just wanting to hide away when it gets too much.

It’s worse when dp is on nights as although he has ear plugs I don’t want him getting woken up which has happened before. It’s so hard.

Battlescar Fri 13-Oct-17 01:25:04

I really get the wanting to hide away feeling- it gets so overwhelming especially when you feel like you've tried everything and they are still carrying on. It's exhausting.

DeleteOrDecay Fri 13-Oct-17 01:29:35

I get the hiding away feeling a lot to be honest. When dp is around I am able to go upstairs and lie down for a while which helps me calm down and regroup, but 2 weeks out of 3 he isn’t around due to his work shifts.

I just feel like I’m doing it all wrong, you know? Like they’re acting like this because they’re bored or something and I should be doing more but I’m so mentally drained as it is.

Hoping it gets better as they get oldersad

Midge1978 Fri 13-Oct-17 19:34:08

It sounds like they are just feeling energetic and needing an outlet. Are you able to extend your walk home from school to include a green area or let them go in the garden and get it out of their system? Alternatively you could try wearing the 2 year old out more during the day so she’s too tired to wind her sister up!

Seriously though don’t be so hard on yourself and don’t be afraid to use relatives or after school clubs once or twice a week to give yourself some breathing space and a chance to get things done.

chloechloe Fri 13-Oct-17 20:36:26

It's exhausting isn't it? I have a 2.5 yo and a 10mo and 4 pm to 6 pm is horrific! Last week I wanted to go in the garden and scream!

Are they maybe vying for your attention and tired at the end of the day? What if for the first hour you're home, you stick a timer on and explain that you'll play with them both whatever they want but thereafter you have to go and put the dinner on? Maybe if you give them some undivided attention at the start they'll be more wiling to amuse themselves for half an hour afterwards?

Also have a few easy dinners each week - try and batch cook so some nights you can just reheat things or try and prep earlier in the day at home. On really bad nights we have porridge and fruit for dinner!

alwaysstressed Sat 14-Oct-17 12:02:18

I cant cope either, I finish work at 2pm and maybe an hour or so before im due to leave to pick dd up from childminder I start getting severe anxiety at the thought of collecting her soon.
She's apparently great at the childminder but from the minute i get her in the car until her bedtime she basically screams and crys, everything is a fight!
Im on a level 10 anxious wise constantly, I can feel my heart beating out my chest.
I just wish away the hours until her bedtime, I hate my days! Weekends are worse coz I don't have work to go to for a break.

Eastie77 Sat 14-Oct-17 14:18:10

OP I read your post and nodded along with a grim sense of familiarity. I have a 4 year old DD and 2 year old DS. Yesterday I found myself shrieking and almost crying after picking up DD from school as I was trying to cook dinner with DD running around causing mayhem and DS crying on the floor at my feet and trying to bite my legconfused This is par for the course most days unless I give DD the iPad which I try to resist although it does give me some respite. However DS now tries to wrestle it from her and a screaming match ensues so that longer works. Aside from this she only likes watching Horrid Henry (which I hate) or Peter Rabbit so even TV is of limited use as if those shows are not on she is not interested and instead throws epic tantrums and causes chaos by encouraging DS to engage in dangerous behaviour.

DS is a force of destruction and often becomes very clingy at around 5pm making even the most basic tasks impossible.

I feel like a bit of a fraud posting as I only do the school pick up 1 or 2 days a week. Our childminder provides wraparound and picks up DD from school the other days and DP usually then collects them as I work late.

However the 1 or 2 days I do are enough to send me over the edge. I feel as if I can handle one of them on their own but not the two together. Of course CM tells me that DD is an absolute angel for her after school. Her teacher actually laughed out loud when I said DD throws horrendous tantrums and said she would only believe it if they saw video evidence as they have never witnessed this at school where she is as good as gold.

You are not failing. And it will get easier (I have to tell myself this every daygrin).

DeleteOrDecay Sat 14-Oct-17 14:22:20

Thanks for the replies everyone. It’s so reassuring that it’s not just me. No one talks about this side of parenting in real life and you never see DC’s acting out on tv shows (unless it’s one of those supernanny type programmes).

SecondHandSnake Sat 14-Oct-17 14:26:22

This all sounds depressingly familiar. No advice. Just grim solidarity.

Rheged Sat 14-Oct-17 14:46:25

Me too. Everything is a drama at the moment. I sometimes sit in my car outside the childminder savouring the 20 seconds of peace before I collect them and all hell breaks loose. Literally as soon as the year see me one or both of them stat complaining or crying or both. It’s incredibly stressful. I’ve tried lots of different things but the only thing that makes it marginally easier is feeding them as soon as I can once we’re home. Even though the childminder gives them a snack, they are usually very hungry and behaviour deteriorates.

Padfoot1 Sat 14-Oct-17 16:37:19

If you feel you're always telling them off what about doing the opposite and use sticker charts? You can print off something online and get some cheap stickers. It really works rewarding good behaviour than punishing bad behaviour. Rules, routine and rewards. Stick it out and hopefully that may help? Online you can also print a routine for after school (try Twinkl they might have a freebie one) to be followed by them it's visual so easy to use for them

Padfoot1 Sat 14-Oct-17 16:44:14

Minidoghugs Sat 14-Oct-17 17:06:25

You say getting them to the park after school helps and this sounds familiar from kids I know who are much better behaved after a chance to run round outdoors. I know it sounds a bit simplistic but I do think simple things can make a difference with kids. Maybe you should change things round and prioritise making this part of your routine if at all possible. Kids like a routine and the chance to burn off some energy. Even if it's a bit rainy I would take the wet weather gear unless it's really bad. I know it will be harder in winter but you should be able to have at least half an hour.
Also I agree with getting a really quick easy dinner you don't have to fuss with and have this soon after you get home. You can spend more time on dinner when your dp is home (or he could cook while you are at the park or do the school run while you cook).
After that I would try to focus on play and only do things like reading book with your eldest if you think it will go well. Again you can do more reading when your dp is there.

Igottastartthinkingbee Sat 14-Oct-17 17:20:45

OP I spent a lot of yesterday (DDs 3rd birthday) in tears. I'm finding her so hard at the moment and when DS is back from school is often not much fun. I also end up shouting a lot which has little effect on the youngest one and the eldest often doesn't deserve it, but he gets the brunt of my stressed state. I'm totally wishing DDs life away at the moment sad feel like a crap mummy.

Igottastartthinkingbee Sat 14-Oct-17 17:21:38

Sorry OP none of that was useful was it! Just sounding off. Hope you find comfort that you're not the only one struggling.

DeleteOrDecay Sat 14-Oct-17 17:32:02

That’s on sound away! I like hearing others experiences because it helps me realise im not alone. Although I do appreciate the advice I’ve been given too.

LadyGagarden Sat 14-Oct-17 17:44:01

Hi OP, I felt very much like this. Mine are 9 and 6 now and I’m here to tell you there is light at the end of the tunnel! Looking back, I wish I had used my slow cooker more. Honestly if you can shove the food in when Dd1 is at school then after school you can go to the park or sit with them and read etc without worrying about making tea. Also, don’t feel guilty about letting them watch tv. I felt like I had to do loads with them but looking back, at that age and at that time of day, all they really wanted to do was chill. Give dd2 lots of attention in the day and that should help too.

thewideeyedpea Sat 14-Oct-17 17:48:13

2 and a 4 year old here too, I could of written your post. Most days I feel like I'm drowning (& shouting far too much). I cope by working full time smile I also have a 9 year old and it does get easier as they get older I promise. You are doing a great job, don't be hard on yourself.

SingingSeuss Sat 14-Oct-17 17:54:29

When they have to be 'good' at school all day they do come back and let off steam in their safe place. Park/ chucking put in garden is a good start for those days you can. When you can't there's absolutely nothing wrong with sticking them in front of the telly when you need to get dinner on and can't be right there to nip the fighting in the bud. Also pre making and freezing meals massively helps me. It sounds like you're doing great though, and it gets easier. Mine are 3 and 6 and it's improved a lot flowers

notquitegrownup2 Sat 14-Oct-17 18:06:43

I feel your pain OP. I had two super-energetic toddlers. We lived outside whenever possible. Yy to having wellies and brollies and walking home from school whatever the weather.

Yy to a slow cooker, or to organising supper earlier in the day. Pasta/carrots/peas can be cooked and kept in the fridge, and take 20 seconds to reheat. Spag bol can be reheated. Nice soups or stews ditto.

The best tip I ever got from MN was to organise a mini timetable whilst at home. Not to get all of the toys out but to choose an activity for 30 minutes then have a "Tidy up time" before trying something else.

I used to have an indoor sandpit for wet days - I used an old baby bath. That worked well. And on bad days, I would run the bath and stick them both in it before tea with a few toys (You can plant a cushion and a cup of tea ready for you into the bathroom.) They can always have another bath after tea if you want. It kept mine contained and happy in one room at the witching hour, as we used to call pre-supper.

Do you build a cave/den under the dining table for them, with cushions/teddy bears/books in? I wonder if you could set up a game of that being a safe space where you can hide from the giant who lives outside. But once you are inside you have to be very very quiet, or the giant will hear you. You can then "Fe, fo, fi, fum" whenever things are getting too noisy?

And do you have playdough in the kitchen, so that they can cook some, whilst you cook their supper? There are some great recipes for making your own playdough, so that you can make big batches. I think I've still got a bag of playdough cutters somewhere if you want to pm me, I could send them to you (if I can find them).

Hope some ideas help a bit. Best of luck! This is a phase and it will pass.

notquitegrownup2 Sat 14-Oct-17 18:07:12

Ooh, that was long. Sorry!

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