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Super mummy tips wanted on how to survive

(31 Posts)
GoingLoopy Sat 16-May-09 21:17:04

I am a sahm of 3 dcs (dtss 2 years and ds1 4 years). I seem to spend most of my day frustrated, annoyed (sliding into anger and mild aggression) as I try to control their uncontrollable behaviour. Most of the time at least one of them will be grizzling, whining or crying. They fight and torment each other almost constantly and when not they are pushing each other on to do things to annoy me. They never listen to anything I tell them to or not to do and I end up physically restraining them t control them. I want to be a loving compassionate mother who sits surrounded by her 3 content kids reading books (I try and they end up fighting) and walking through the forest together collecting things to do art work with (I end up yelling at ds1 for chasing the dts into the stinging nettles even though I've told him 10 times to stop).
I believe in positive parenting but am pushed so far every day that I don't even know what it is anymore.

BonsoirAnna Sat 16-May-09 21:19:03

Is your DS1 at pre-school yet? Can you get some help? You need time off!

GoingLoopy Sat 16-May-09 21:33:01

Bonsoir Anna, I have ds1 in playgroup 3 mornings (a morning is 2 hours!) a week. We have a mums group who take it in turns to look after each others kids once a week which will give me 2 hours completely free for the next few weeks.
Relieved that you suggested getting help, I'm considering sending them to someone one morning a week, but feel as if I am failing by doing that, I (kind of)chose to stay at home with my kids, and think I should be able to handle it. I feel sad that they are growing up so quickly and that I don't enjoy them, feeling guilty (confused) about sending them to a complete stranger to look after when I 'should' be spending time with them. Also concerned about the cost.

mummymimi Sat 16-May-09 21:49:34

I know exactly how you feel, I am a SAHM of 4 dcs (ds12, ds9, dd3, ds 6 months). I too felt guilty about admitting that I don't enjoy it all the time and that life is not always a bed of roses. I have since discovered that if I have regular time off to unwind I am much better at taking care of my dcs. You have NOT failed if you leave them with a responsible adult.

You wouldn't go to work 24/7 without a break would you!! grin

GoingLoopy Sat 16-May-09 21:51:54

thanks mummymimi !

jemart Sat 16-May-09 21:56:56

I am also a SAHM and have two girls the same age as your children. Being female they are probably not quite as boisterous but they have a darn good go at it!
I usually end up playing good cop to DH's bad cop, the threat of "right, I shall just have to tell Daddy then..." often helps calm the situation.
Sending them to their room and/or naughty step also works. If they do something truly awful the ultimate penalty is straight to bed. DD1 got this punishment the day she smeared an entire tube of bright green toothpaste all over the bathroom and unravelled an entire roll of toilet tissue into the loo......

I find the grizzling/whining/crying in the mornings can be due to boredom, try going out to the park or shops or providing an activity.
I have given my dd's an A4 hardback sketchbook and a box of colouring pencils- less messy than pens or paint, crayons got banned long ago because of graffiti on the piano hmm and does not require constant supervision so I can get on with chores while they are happily scribbling.
If they are grumping in the afternoon it is usually some combination of hungry/thirsty/tired so snacks, juice and a nap are in order.
Oh and limit their sugar intake after lunchtime, else they become evil banshee children.

Do you have a garden? Send them outside to play if you can.

And like BonsoirAnna says, preschool may be the answer for DS1. My DD goes to nursery in the afternoons, gives her an outlet for all that energy.

marmoset Sat 16-May-09 22:06:50

You are quite normal, goingloopy! I'm not quite in the same boat as my two eldest are now 10 and 12 and the baby is 7m but I was a sahm when the eldest were tiny and of course you need to get a break!
Using a childminder or nursery is a great idea. My bf used to lock herself in her bathroom to get a few mins peace when her 3 kids were tiny grin

GoingLoopy Sat 16-May-09 22:12:50

Thanks jemart. I get them out in the garden as soon as possible in the morning. try to change the scenery by going to playground, days out. we are outside most of the day as it is easier.
Tiredness is definitely a problem after lunch as none of them have naps anymore.

Naughty step used to work with ds1 but it doesn't anymore, now he gets thrown into his bedroom when he really pushes it, but never goes on his own when he is told. Naughty step would never work with the dts, I would spend my whole day trying to make them stay but I still have highchairs that I could strap them into instead. Its just that its constant and as soon as I think I am making progress it all falls to pieces again.

jemart Sat 16-May-09 22:27:09

Do you have any family living near you? Grandparents/Aunt/Uncles etc? All excellent occaisional babysitters, especially those with children who your DC's can play with.
I often let my MIL take the girls out on the weekend. Gives me a break and they get quality time with their Grandma.

MrsMcCluskey Sat 16-May-09 22:30:06

Buy a very big trampoline for your garden

jemart Sat 16-May-09 22:38:32

I did try doing a reward chart for a bit, we drew up a chart for days of the week crossed with things that were considered good behavior e.g. tidy my toys, eat up dinner, sharing etc this was then stuck on the fridge door and DC's could earn stickers to go on the chart winning a prize when they filled up a whole weeks worth.
It does helps to encourage good behaviors but not so helpful for stopping naughtiness, as all you can do is take back a sticker.

Depends how obsessed DC's are with stickers, mine are mad keen on the blasted things.

naomi83 Sun 17-May-09 07:35:42

First of all, never feel guilty about getting help, it makes you a calmer and better mummy! Second of all, are you strict about bedtimes? Bedtime routines help kids calm right down, and if they're all asleep by 7/7.30 then they'll be well rested and less grumpy in the morning. More importantly, you'll get more "you time" to be ready the next day, have a long bath with a magazine and a glass of wine, etc. My third tip would be a once monthy (or weekly if you can manage, but we never can!) date night with DH/DP. Even if it's just a flim or cup of coffee get out of the house together once a week. If babysitters are expensive and you have no local family do babysitter swaps with another family you know with young kids. Get out for at least two hours together, and you'll feel more like a women and less like a machine.

BonsoirAnna Sun 17-May-09 09:01:13

I think, with three tiny ones, you really need a full day off just for you once a week! Don't feel guilty for organising this (maybe a pre-school/playgroup/CM combination?), if you can afford it (or can find other people to help you out). Your children will enjoy being with other adults and/or for a brief period and you will feel totally refreshed if you can have a day to yourself (and don't just do the housework!).

NBM Sun 17-May-09 10:28:35

Don't feel guilty for wanting/needing a break. I have 3 DC, 7,4 and 8 weeks. My 4 year old is at pre - school for a few hors everyday and I have baby booked in to start nursery 2 mornings a week from 6 months because I know I will want a break. I can relate to your feelings of having failed because I have pangs of this but I feel so much better when I have ME time which has a knock on effect on DC! smile

GoingLoopy Sun 17-May-09 20:39:08

Hi all, thanks for the tips. I have to come back to this and read properly, but right now I have two monsters destroying the place. usually strict about bedtime but they slept in the car today so we are struggling!

GoingLoopy Tue 26-May-09 21:35:13

Thanks for your support. We were away last week and I didn't get a chance to reply before now.
Had loads of help from dh last week on holiday and came back feeling a much better person and calmer mother. Unfortunately today it has all gone wrong again.
I took on your comments and have really tried hard today.
A neighbour looked after the boys this morning and I had a couple of hours for shopping alone. They were outside all morning (from 8am). After lunch they came inside for some 'quiet time' (to give the neighbours some peace!)- played with cars, looked at books and ds1 had a dvd. I gave them snacks (fruit, bread and water no sugar)We were outside again this afternoon, ds1 was tormenting dts2 so I got him to do some painting. It started to rain so we went in, made a teddy bear train out of cardboard boxes which ended up in a big fight. played hide he teddy bear which worked for a while. Got them all to help with cooking dinner. in between all this they were fighting, grizzling, dts1 has a bad habit of hanging on my leg crying and wanting to be carried - I don't have the physical strength anymore to carry him around, but hearing him grizzle and cry is really, really wearing. slowly my patience was going. they were sitting on the fireplace, trying to climb inside (its still full of ash) so I took them each down and suggested something else they could do while I finished cooking. Ds1 started hitting me, I told him not to hit me, he continued, I told him again, 3rd time I told him we don't hit people we love, he said he didn't love me and continued hitting. I smacked his bottom blush went into the kitchen, he followed kept hitting me (food was coooking), then I lost it, screamed at the top of my voice, threw a chair across the kitchen.

Horrified at my behaviour and we have decided 1) I urgently need real time off and if the woman I found doesn't work out I urgently need to find someone else. 2) I need professional help (hoping a triple P teacher can help) to work out where I am going wrong . I am terrified of the future with 3 boys I don't feel I have any control over. I think I am doing all the right things but nothing seem to work at the moment and the more control I lose of the kids the more control I am losing of myself.

... long but I needed to get this off my chest! I'm sure I'm not alone and there are others out there that know what I'm going through. keep thinking it could be much worse, but this is my life and my situation that I am living in.

samsonthecat Tue 26-May-09 21:50:16

You sound really unhappy. Do you have any hobbies that you look forward to each week? I find that knowing I go out to band practice 2 nights a week gives me something to look forward to. Is there something that you could start going to regularly where youcan be you and not just mum?
I really understand how hard it can be I have a 4 year old and a 2 year old. However I find they are worse when I shout at them. I have a sticker chart for DD1 and find with her it is really effective to give her a sticker when she has done something good rater than punish the bad. eg stickers for asking nicely, eating meals nicely, beeing kind to sister, doing as asked the first time etc.
Hope some of this helps.

GoingLoopy Tue 26-May-09 22:01:27

yes, down on myself and my situation - dh thinks I have delayed pnd! I have 3 boys, twins are 2 years. I run, but don't manage to get out very often but am trying very hard to go when I can, it really helps to wind down. Have only been a SAHM since November and have been looking for a course or small business idea since then but the time and energy isn't there at the moment and I just can't decide on any particular direction.
Sticker charts wouldn't work with the DTs, hey are just not that clued up yet and I never had much sucess with them with DS1, but perhaps will try again for general behaviour rather than something specific as I have done before... Could start with that tomorrow....

samsonthecat Tue 26-May-09 22:13:18

Can you try to go for a run every night once the DCs are in bed? Can you leave them with your DH? Is DS1 starting school in Septenber? That could help a bit so you only have the twins to deal with for the most part of the day.

GoingLoopy Tue 26-May-09 22:25:23

Things should get better in August - ds1 starts school (5 mornings) and the dts go to playgroup (twice a week). I have to survive until then though and I'm still worried that I have no control over their behaviour. I may be better when I have more space from them and I can look a bit more from the outside of where I am going wrong. I try to run when dh gets home, but it depends when he gets home. I'm working on that, at least its easier now it summer!

phatcat Tue 26-May-09 22:30:57

Loopy take a look at the 123 Magic technique - author is Thomas Phelan, see book reviews on Amazon. There are several mumsnet threads recommending it too. It has really helped get our kids fighting under control. I have really lost my parenting mojo in the past over the fighting issue and I really sympathise with where you are coming from. And don't hesitate to buy in childcare - whatever it takes to keep you sane!

poshtottie Tue 26-May-09 22:34:27

goingloopy, have you spoken to your HV?

I have been struggling with ds 2.10 since dh is away working. She gave me a book called "The incredible years" it is a trouble shooting guide for parents.

She is coming over next week to have a chat. I feel better just knowing that I have off loaded my concerns though she assures me it is normal two year old behaviour.

samsonthecat Tue 26-May-09 22:40:25

August isn't that far away. I think you're right about having some space from them making it better. I work 2 days a week and it is quite nice to be away from the DDs to be honest. Even just to have a wee in peace grin

I also worry that DD1 is out of control sometimes but to be honest I'm sure a lot of parents feel like that. I had a really good chat with some other mum friends recently and it was really funny to hear what other people think of each other. For example I have never hered some people shout at their DCs. They were really surprised that I perceived them as calm and coping really well when they obviously think they shout at their DC a lot and are not calm. I hope you get what I am saying - you re not alone its just that you don't always see how frazzled and stressed most people are, they keep it at home.
I hope you have a better day tomorrow, I'll check back in to see how its gone.

poshtottie Tue 26-May-09 22:44:05

The HV also told me about the "Webster Stratton parenting course" which is offered on the NHS. Its run over 12 weeks for around 2 hours a week.

GoingLoopy Tue 26-May-09 22:44:28

Thanks for the tips again. Good idea to talk to HV. Phatcat, I'll have a look at the book, trouble is at the moment I think I am so deep in my mess that I can't step back enough to look at the situation IYKWIM, I'm not sure if its too late for books and I need other help first - it may be something like the tone of my voice or body language that is making me so helpless with them, I think only someone looking from the outside will be able to tell me.

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