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Losing it... please advise how I should approach this?

(23 Posts)
FTstepmum Mon 04-May-20 16:46:35

Quick backstory...

- I'm a full-time stepmum to 4DC
- Ages G5, B8, B9, G12
- DSS 9 has ADHD and other issues
- Married DH under a year ago
- I moved from Manc to North Wales
- BM left them 5 years ago
- I'm now a SAHSM due to Covid19
- In middle of full house renovation
- DH is very supportive and loving

However.... I am not coping well now we've entered the 7th week of lockdown. I want to hide or scream into a pillow a lot of the time.

I love my SC so much... but I am finding their behaviour and attitude so hard to handle at times.

We live in a very small, overcrowded house (constantly covered in building dust) and there's no place to escape the constant noise, moaning and pestering.

Things that are irritating me most are:

- Their noise... Oh my life... their noise!!! We live remotely with no close neighbours, so they're used to being as loud as they want. But it's chuffin awful! Screaming, shouting so much! Tell them to be quiet and they don't/can't do it.

- Our children make a huge stubborn fuss when asked to do very simple chores and will often say no to doing them.

- My poor DSS 9 has a black cloud over his head and he sucks joy out of any situation. Constant moaning, sulking, anger, disrespectful to my DH, bullying my DSS 5.

- DSS 12 is avoiding doing the work that is set from school, saying that it's all optional and doesn't have to be completed.

I'm comfort eating to cope, stupidly. And I jump at every chance to do the weekly shop just to get out.

Does anyone have any advice on how I should approach this?

My DH says they're just being children and I'm doing well. But it's driving me crazy and I want to hide away.

OP’s posts: |
Kel9 Mon 04-May-20 16:54:58

Yes... I feel you!

I only have 1 and a step son. I’m a key worker so I work full time but I am also going insane 🥴

The whole juggling act and having no time alone is a friggin nightmare. My son who is 7 is so full of attitude just now and won’t take a telling... no matter what I do, I’ve set up behaviour charts, tuck shop You name it.. it’s never enough.

I can only imagine how you are feeling. At least you can come on here and vent it out. Get the kids down early some nights even if that means tv, iPad or whiskey (jokes) lol and have time out. You and oh take turns each night as to who goes to the kids if they decide against going to bed.

I also recommend screaming into a pillow xx

FTstepmum Mon 04-May-20 17:58:30

Thanks Kel9 - your response is a real comfort!

Having no children of my own, I'm still adjusting to being an overnight "mum" to our four... 10 months into that craziness and then CV19 turns up the heat a few notches. Talk about baptism of fire!

Still, I count my blessings - I'm furloughed at the moment, so don't have your added pressure of paid working too.

Thanks again xxx

OP’s posts: |
Icantstopvbaking20 Mon 04-May-20 18:10:04

Can you and DH sit down together and work out a timetable for the children, generally kids like some structure to their days. Then present it jointly. Good luck

Harriedharriet Mon 04-May-20 18:21:47

First - they are behaving like most kids in lockdown. It is a nightmare for all of them.
In our house we have allowed dd (12) to come off the school rotation. She picked a subject she loves (History). Her English work is now woven into this project. She has three novels (Classics) set around that time & coming at it from three different points of view. She is drawing maps, population study, cultural norms, food recipes, differences in language and so on. She bloody loves it. Fully engaged, is reading, writing and doing some serious research. She still has to do maths with the school. It is working so well we are now going to do it with dd2. Can't face the slog/fighting with the school work otherwise.

SandyY2K Mon 04-May-20 18:41:00

I can only say you're one hell of a brave woman to have taken on 4 children.

Kel9 Mon 04-May-20 18:47:09

Oh it’s soo hard!! Especially when they are not your own. You’ll feel there’s only so much you can do or say to them! Hopefully this won’t be forever!! I like to have a glass of wine to relax when he’s down and a bath. Make sure you get that time xx

Longtalljosie Mon 04-May-20 19:07:51

Can I just give you a massive medal? And an assurance that it is completely fine to feel at the end of your rope? All mums do - and you are definitely a mum, step or otherwise.

FTstepmum Tue 05-May-20 13:46:40

Thank you all for your encouragement. It helps, a lot.

So, just to clarify, all the stuff that's getting to me (with the children's behaviour and attitude) is pretty typical for most children?

I'm so new to this, I don't really have any reference other than our four!

Also, can I ask if it's "normal" for children to want to watch TV or play video games over playing outside in the glorious weather? I fear our two eldest are addicted - they'd watch it all day if they could. Is that typical too?

OP’s posts: |
MangoHat Tue 05-May-20 13:52:08

As you live in North Wales can you get to a beach? I think for daily exercise with 4 children you would be ok to drive to a beach and set them running around. It would be more socially distant than 5 of you trying to go for a walk along a residential street. Alternatively chuck them out in the garden, give them a picnic and don’t let them in. They might moan but once deprived of a screen and given fresh air it’s amazing how children suddenly adapt and enjoy being outside. Make sure you can be chilled out if they get wet or muddy so old clothes, towels at the door / in the car.

Also if you married last year and their mum hasn’t been around for 5 years, how had their dad been before before you came along? This shouldn’t all be on you!

FTstepmum Tue 05-May-20 14:09:08

Yes, we live really near the beach. It is utterly gorgeous here (esp. compared to Manchester!)

But get this... they don't like the beach! WTA...? We're going for mountain walks instead.

My DH looked after all 4 children entirely on his own for the four years beforehand (he did it all before his EXW left them too - she wasn't interested after they passed the tiny baby stage and went back to work soon after each birth)

He's a total superman and he is so hands on and supportive. It's the children's behaviour and attitude under lockdown that's doing me in... but I get the sense that it's not an unusual complaint!

Thanks again for your replies xxx

OP’s posts: |
MangoHat Tue 05-May-20 14:54:19

No. Just no. You cannot accept kid nonsense about not liking the beach or whatever. Many kids will tell you they don’t like doing stuff as they prefer (or think they prefer) to sit indoors watching TV.

But you are in charge. You turn off the tv and say right today we’re leaving the house to see what’s out there. Take sticks to draw in the sand, spades to dig, let them run into the sea if they want to get stupidly wet, look for shells, seaweed etc, make beach art. Take a flask of hot chocolate or cartons of drinks and some biscuits. We live near the beach and the kids always want to bring a ball. Within about 5 minutes they have forgotten the ball as they are so engrossed in finding stuff and messing about. I’m not suggesting by the way that this is a day trip. It might be an hour of daily exercise but go prepared with towels and drinks and a pot to put interesting finds in.

MangoHat Tue 05-May-20 14:56:57

I’m saying all this as they need exercise and fresh air and the chance to run off energy and look at a horizon not a screen. The little ones will parrot the big ones but just ignore moping and push back!!

Starlight1243 Tue 05-May-20 15:29:40

Wow op you sound brave judging by the timeline you said the mother left 5 years and he was on his own 4 years and you got married after a year. You sound lovely but it sounds you took on quite alot fairly quickly its adjustment for the dc and yourself without adding lockdown in the mix. Could you ask you're dh to take some time off to help

FTstepmum Tue 05-May-20 16:03:27

Yeah, nothing could have prepared me for it... And because I'm an optimistic type, I wore my rose-tinted glasses good and proper before I came here!

But despite the reality, I have no regrets. I love the children as if they were my own. They are hurting and I'm more than willing to be there for them and DH.

He is a dream and helps so much during the day when he should be working. And he's 100% there from tea-time until bed. He makes me so happy.

And thinking about that, I don't have much to complain about. But, I will be metaphorically camping outside all 3 separate school's gates the night before they go back!

Thanks all. You've been a great sounding board. Xxx

OP’s posts: |
MeridianB Tue 05-May-20 19:01:01

It sounds like you are doing brilliantly, @FTstepmum

As you have no reference points you are being super hard on yourself, so try to be kinder to yourself and don’t seek perfection.

Your DH is lucky to have you, so any difference you can make is a great thing. I’d be tempted to do as many small things as I could to help and hold back for now over schoolwork, unless you and your DH have an agreed, team approach.

I know a tech expert who always jokes that his children’s view of the quality of his parenting is directly related to the quality of the WiFi signal at home. grin

HeckyPeck Wed 06-May-20 21:28:58

I can only say you're one hell of a brave woman to have taken on 4 children.

Agreed! I would not be able to be a stay at home step mum for any period of time and I only have one step kid!

Hope it all improves soon OP.

midwestsummer Wed 06-May-20 23:05:02

OP it sounds like you are doing a sterling job.
Nothing you have described sounds that unusual but that doesn't mean you have to put up with it.
Sit down as family and work out a basic family schedule including school work, chores and screen time. Make it clear that screens only happen once chores and school work are done.
Try and create a list of places that the family wants to walk, that includes you and then bundle everyone up every day and take them, grumbling or not.
( my dc always grumble when they leave their screens but adjust when out and about)
My Ds with ADHD also has anxiety and he has counseling for this, currently online, which helps.
If you and your DH are on the same parenting page strategy wise and you work with the dc to set up family structures and rules hopefully it will be good.

FTstepmum Thu 07-May-20 11:46:35

Thank you! Your kind, supportive and helpful posts have given a huge boost to my morale.

So far today, all four children have been pretty well-behaved and I'm feeling less on-edge.

Thanks again - I hope you're all managing in your own worlds. Xxx

OP’s posts: |
Magda72 Thu 07-May-20 17:47:24

Op I've no advice but just wanted to say that while I've no sc I am going crazy stuck at home with my own 3 (14, 18 & 23) & my 23 year old's gf! I moved house just before lockdown (downsized - oh foolish me!) & have no floors (no one laying floors), minimal furniture (deliveries all stopped) & no blinds/curtains - fittings all stopped. I can't unpack properly as I've so little storage furniture; there are boxes everywhere, all 4 are eating ALL day long & we are under siege from the dust from the exposed concrete.
I work from home but the room that is to be my office is being used by my sons as one is doing final school exams & the other is completing an MA - I have to work at my dressing table!
I appreciate that much of the above is first world problems in the midst of a pandemic but it's making day to day life very difficult & I am truly on my last nerve & really struggling with stress/anxiety.
You are NOT alone & just try to remember that you are going a great job & this WILL pass - it has to lol.

FlorenceTSC Fri 08-May-20 10:18:39

Everyone, if we're clapping for the NHS every Thursday night, I think we should clap for @FTstepmum today!! There is not clapping hand emoji on Mumsnet, so let's give her some starstarstar

First of all, as said previously you are very brave and you sound like a great (step)mum to these children. They are very VERY lucky to have you.

With regards to the screens and not wanting to go outside, oh dear, I think we are all struggling with that! This generation of children is so obsessed, it is difficult to get them off the screens. I sometimes joke and call them a lost generation! Ha!

Also, I see that you mention one of the boys has ADHD. My stepdaughters have autism, the older one more serious than her sister, and she is a loud child. When she's excited, she screams rather than talk (i.e. talks VERY loud) and sometimes it can be very intense. Do you think maybe some of the other children have issues like ADHD or ASD? Because from what you say about other behaviours, it could be the reason why... And yes, children with these disorders are very anxious and can be quite depressed. It is tough, but you sound like such a loving woman, I'm sure you manage to give him a big snuggle and comfort him.

Your husband seems great too, very hands on with the kids and we can tell that you are a dream team!

I said in another thread that this coronavirus + lockdown situation is getting on everyone's nerves, it's very draining and as we're not used to being on top of each other full time of course it seems like it has all turned to hell! Keep that in mind, and hopefully things will ease a bit soon.

Take care!

FTstepmum Sun 10-May-20 00:39:43

Thanks Florence, that's so kind of you. smile

I've been so buoyed by all the caring support on this thread. I've made some changes - hopefully I can keep them up.

I've stopped eating my way through the very difficult times (I had been shamefully sneaking off to the bedroom to snaffle choccies and biscuits)

I'm now deferring the tackling of the children's behaviour to my DH, and supporting him when he does.

Two good steps, I reckon.

Xxx

OP’s posts: |
FlorenceTSC Sun 10-May-20 16:20:33

👍🏻

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