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Does anyone else with a terrible two wonder why they ever bothered having children?

(19 Posts)
whyohwhy Mon 30-May-05 23:47:55

Since ds has turned two or a bit older life has become increasingly hard. DH and I both work, we both have fairly stressful jobs, we have to work to make ends meet and weekends just seem to be a nightmare (not always but they are generally very tiring dealing with tantrums and odd 2 year old behaviour in general)

Don't get me wrong, I love him to bits and also DH but it just all seems so hard. One of us is always exhausted, we row more than we used to and seem to resent each other's spare time if you get my drift. He is not the sort of bloke who goes off to the pub on his own, he is in every night pretty much, I know i have it easy compared to lots of pedple but i get so stressed trying to fit everything in and then when ds it in a horrible mood it all seems so hopeless. I feel so mean resenting it, I should love this, this is what we are on this earth for isn't it? Why is it so hard?

We could probably just about manage on one salary if we downsized a lot, I would be prepared to do that if I thought it would make likfe better but I worry that it would just be worse, I would have to spend all my time being harassed by ds instead of just weekends (god that sounds terrible). It isnt ds as such, it's that I am always rushing from work to home to shopping to doctor to weekends away etc and I just don't seem to be able to cope. I feel like a bad mother, a bad wife and I dont' understand why. Also I owrry that we would have money worries in addition to everything else if one of us did give up work.

sorry I know there is no easy answer to this, I just wanted to tell someone and I suppose hear that others feel like this too

whyohwhy Tue 31-May-05 00:01:37

just me then?

natterbox Tue 31-May-05 00:32:11

My ds is 16m and is defo in his tantrum 2's. I totally know what you mean.

Satine Tue 31-May-05 00:33:51

Definitely know what you mean bout resenting your partner's spare time. It's caused a few rows in our house - we now try to make sure we both get time each week to do what we want to for an hour or so. I have to say my life is easier not working - some days we don't have a schedule, it's very laid back and I don't have that sunday evening feeling but then I do occasionally think that it might be nice to get away from the kids for a bit! But life isn't as rushed. After all you're doing two jobs - one doing whatever you do and another as a mum and housewife.

Chandra Tue 31-May-05 01:58:20

IMO it gets harder but also gets nicer. DS throws some incredible tantrums but at the same time he is more responsive and certainly funnier than before, he is even making jokes already .

I believe that if you down size now you may end up adding more stress to the relationship, there should be ways to make the time you spend with your child a bit more enjoyable. We have decided to ignore the tantrums when there's no justification for them and I can say that though the tantrums have not reduced its intensity they are definitively happening less often. We follow a very simple routine during the week, DH and DS arrive from work/nursery and we sent DS to see 15min of Teletubbies while we finish preparing dinner and talk about our day. Then have dinner and then spend one hour when DS gets absolute attention from the two of us: we read, play or simply try to talk to him. Afterwards DS has a bath and goes to bed around 8ish (we also have a rota specifying which day one has to bath DS while the other clean the kitchen), once he goes to bed we have the house to ourselves, is parents time, we also do things that had not been completed during the day or just relax in front of the TV.

For the weekends we try to go out (then we share taking care of DS). But if we stay in, we take turns of 2 hrs when I take care of DS while DH does something else and then he takes care of him while I do other things. I try to go to sleep while DS is napping at midday otherwise I end up knackered before the end of the day.

It is very important that each of you knows which are your responsabilities and respect the routine, otherwise you end up stressing each other even more because the other one is not doing his/her part as agreed.

HTH Believe me, you are not alone

CountessDracula Tue 31-May-05 16:30:13

You are not alone, believe me!

expatinscotland Tue 31-May-05 16:32:21

We minimise situations that will result in tantrums. Some places are just hotspots - supermarkets, for one. We just try to avoid those places until she's a little older and had a little more grip on her emotions.

Jodiesmum Fri 03-Jun-05 09:37:35

Could you work part time? I know it's not always an option but it's great if you can. I work 2.5 days per wk and it's the perfect balance for me - just when I'm getting bored/stressed out/ exhausted in one situation it's time to swap for the other. And I know it sounds weird but my capacity to cope with my two DDs (one of whom is a massively stroppy terrible 2) seems to go up when I've been around them for a day or so. I often think if I was only home at weekends, I'd never get into the swing of it somehow.

Hausfrau Fri 03-Jun-05 10:15:59

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Junermintz Tue 21-Jun-05 06:52:49

I have a 2 year old son and WOW - he just keeps on getting more obnoxious with every passing day! I am the worst about following that "be calm and ignore it" rule. I just yell and tell him to close his yapper and TRY to be someone who is pleasant to be around!" I feel like a nut! Lately, it's not even fun to be around him. I also dread the weekends because my son ruins our normally peaceful home life. I miss my sweet little angel! Sometimes, I go sit on his little bed at night and wish he would be sweet again.

WHEN DOES THIS END?

Fio2 Tue 21-Jun-05 06:56:42

it put me off having any more children

Aragon Tue 21-Jun-05 06:58:21

Glad it's not just me who feels like this alot of the time. Told my DH last night that I felt I had no "me" time anymore. He said "but that's motherhood for you" Grrrrrr!

DS is a sweet little angel but a definite 2 year old with very fixed ideas about what he does and does not want to do and , oh boy, does he make his feelings known.

Sax Tue 21-Jun-05 07:39:22

Horraahhh, more people with the anti terrible twos attitude! Mine is a real pain atm, pushing all the wrong buttons - dh said the other day hes not sure why we had children as we had a nice life before this but att I did have to aggree. (mine are 9m, 2y2m and 4y8m). But its the 2yr old whos the worst by far - the naughty step really isn't working, slapping on the hand doesn't work [he just looks at me] so I am pretty much at a loss except that means hes not very disciplined.
I shall look over this thread for tips if thats OK.

MaryP0p1 Tue 21-Jun-05 07:49:14

Not just at TT's whenever I or they are having a bad day. Sometimes I think I should have stuck to other peoples children (much much easier) but then they say or do something so cute and lovely I forget. I find a definate bedtime is a godsend because there is an end to the day that I can count down to......

You think TT's are bad wait until you have a teenager!

Sax Tue 21-Jun-05 07:53:01

I did even mention this morning to dh that if my 2y old wasn't so endearing in between I may have even killed him by now LOL.

MaryP0p1 Tue 21-Jun-05 08:04:36

I know the feeling.

Sax Tue 21-Jun-05 08:04:48

btw - figure of speech of course that I would have killed him, don't worry theres not a murderer on MN, just an exhausted Mum like the rest of you!

KiwiKate Tue 21-Jun-05 12:02:29

Check out www.drphil.com - he has some excellent parenting advice.

Try to be consistent. Inconsistent discipline seems to produce worse results than none at all (because they KNOW that at some point you will cave). Choose your battles. Don't make an issue of inconsequential stuff, but if you do draw a line in the sand STICK TO IT.

Our DS (2.2 yrs) has time out (in a very boring place - an old stripped down cot, or the bathroom). No toys or other distractions there. He only comes out if he smiles and (if appropriate) apologises. First time was a tantrum of the universe, and he yelled everytime we went in to try and get him to apologise. But we put the ball in his court "you can come out whenever you want. You just need to stop crying first. And say sorry". After the first time, we've only needed a few time outs (lasting about 30 seconds to a minute each time). But if the behaviour persists he goes right back.

Also, if he wants something he has to give us a smile first (even if it is a bit forced). No smile, no treat.

We NEVER "reward" bad behaviour. Any inappropriate crying or tantrum means we go right home (even if we are in the middle of shopping, or a kid's birthday party or visiting friends) and into time out. The only exception is if we are out having a family meal at a restaurant or other family treat, then either mum or dad sit in the car with DS, who is strapped into the car seat and ignored, other than being told his behaviour is not appropriate for a restaurant (if he calms down and apologises and promises to behave he can go back in, but only gets one second chance). We don't go home then, because we don't want DS to ruin the meal for everyone. Only had to do this twice.

DS now knows very firmly where our boundaries are, and what will happen if he crosses them. We do not have many rules, but the ones we do have are explained. He gets a chance to redeem himself. He is told what the consequence will be if he keeps it up. He then gets the consequence.

He can predict the consequences of misbehaving with 100% certainty. We make sure he knows what he is doing is wrong and why.

We always do it in an empowering way eg "You choose, do you want to stay in the restaurant with everyone, or do you want to sit in your car seat? If you want to stay, you need to behave. If you can't behave, you need to sit in the car". He always gets a "You choose ..." option.

And ALWAYS back up the other parent or other caregivers. In our house we have a saying "Whatever mommy says, daddy says the same thing" (and vice versa). No divide and conquer here!

It is still a challenge, and he still pushes the boundaries. But now when we say "do you want to sit in the car" or "do you want to go to time out" - he will usually choose the other option (as in "no time out, sleep please" - ah, music to my ears). This also takes the stress off you. It is DS or DD's choice. If they behave well, they get a positive response. If they misbehave they get the punishment. So the ball is in their court, not yours. It also helped me to be calm when disciplining (because it took the emotion out of it). Being calm myself, made DS calmer.

Of course maintaining the discipline is stressful, but it is already paying off HUGELY, and is much less stressful than tantrums.

Also we give as much positive encouragement as we can, and do try and redirect his attention if possible. But somethings are just not tolerated (like kicking pregnant mommy in the tummy! or screaming in a restaurant). Also, we try to give him as much control over his environment as possible (makes them feel useful and like they are contributing). So for stuff that makes no difference to us, he gets to decide (eg. what clothes to wear, what to eat in a restaurant, even what clothes dad should wear on the weekend!!).

Hope this helps someone. We rely a lot on Dr Phil's advice, and it really works for us. Not sure if you get Dr Phil on TV in your country (we get him here in New Zealand, and video tape all the programs on parenting, and tried out his suggestions and found them to be pretty amazingly effective).

Good luck

KiwiKate Wed 22-Jun-05 03:52:45

Another thing that REALLY works, is letting your DS or DD know that you UNDERSTAND. eg. "I understand that you don't want to go home from the pool right now, but it is time to go so we are going" (I also encourage and explain we will come back another day). Or "tell me with words (or signs or pointing etc), I can't understand when you cry like that". When I first heard this I thought it was nuts and would never work. But it is brilliant. I first get DS to stop crying, then get down at his level, look him in the eye and ask him to repeat what he is trying to say. Apparently, part of the tantrum issue is control (see my earlier post), but part is trying to learn to communicate, and when they feel heard a lot of their frustration goes away.

Also, remember that they are learning their communication skills from you. If you yell, they will yell. They are only doing what they see you do. When mine yells I tell him "we don't yell in our house. Go and calm down and when you are ready to talk nicely, I'll listen" (Of course, this only works if you can set the example of not yelling - at the kids or your partner or others). Of course it is very difficult not to yell when they are driving you crazy (so time out can be a time for me to decompress as much as for DS). But I figure that I cannot expect a 2/3year old to be in control of himself if I cannot be in control of my frustration. Since I stopped yelling, my DS hardly ever yells (maybe about once a month or so). Then I just remind him that he needs to calm down, and that I cannot talk to him when he is like that. BOY what a difference (to me and him). Also, the "calm down" time for him is down to literally about 5 secods (at first it took AGES for him to stop a tantrum or yelling session). If he continued to yell, then I'd get on with something else and just keep repeating to him, "I can't understand you when you yell". It also helps if you can try and avoid or minimise stress situations (if you are able to do shopping when they are fresh and not tired).

And then also I give HEAPS of praise and encouragement when he does well (eg. leaving the pool without crying or keeping it together when he is tired or we are in a boring place, I tell him what a big boy he is and how proud I am of him).

Good luck! You can turn the cycle around, but remember that the kids learn their communication skills from you. So you need to set the example you want them to follow.

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