...I don't know where else to post this!
Please help me: DS is 3 yr 3 mo, DD1 is 2 yr, and DD2 is 2 mo. I mean no disrespect to those of you who are parenting twins and triplets, to compare my situation to yours! But I could really use some advice though: How in the world do I give everyone the attention they need?? Do any of you have twins close in age to an infant? My biggest issues are: DD1 cries all the time since I have to give her little sister constant attention. DD1 is still nursing, and these days it's up to 6-8 times/day (was nap and bedtime before.) Both she and DS are potty trained, but yesterday DS pooped on the floor (no reason. He just said he wanted to.) He is such a gentle soul, but lately has been hitting so aggressively! DD1 hits a lot, but it's more her "nature" to be rough and physical, which makes it extra hard to know how to handle it. Infant is truly colicky, and also won't sleep for more than about 10 min without being held. I carry her in the Moby, but then DD1 can't nurse, nor can I play with either older kid as much as we would all like/they need. We have help come in to the house a couple times a week, but I don't know how to best utilize the help. DH is very helpful and supportive, but has to work, obviously. Please, can you offer me any tips, advice, anything?? I just want to burst into tears/run away most of the time!! I'm so worried that this is causing permanent psychological damage to the older 2!
I do not have multiples or children close in age, just my little guy, who just turned one and my much older step children, but I nanny for a family who has 3 children the exact same ages as yours and their mother has all the same concerns as you!
First off from the outside help perspective..have them do all the things that are important to you that you just really don't have the time/energy for. For the family I support food/meals are important for them so I do A LOT of cooking for them for the week. Also the Mom, who also is a SAHM I will hang with one of the kiddos and give them one on one attention so she can do something "special" with the other ( special could be going to the library or just eating a snack together and talking) She also has a higher needs babe so it is always her and the baby plus one other kiddo during her special time. She really organizes her time when she has help, like writes a detailed note like 9-9:30 take a shower 9:30-9:45 nurse 10-10:30 snack with Eloise while sitter plays with Sam...you get the idea. She says it really helps her.
As far as the psychological impact on the other kiddos....this is a big adjustment for your family and you are only one person, but please know that this is short lived and in a few years your children are going to love having one another. I was just asking my own Mother about this and how she balanced all her kids. I am the oldest, and I never remember feeling left out or like my Mother wasn't available to me (even though she says this certainly happened when a baby was in the house) All I remember is the joy I got from my siblings and still do. Hope this helps a bit! Hang in there/
Me, mama to 1.5 yr old DS, step mama to two tweens, married to a sarcastic sports nut . We are unschooling! http://twocoolfourschool.wordpress.com/
It's going to be tough for awhile.
You're going to have to learn how to just roll with it, as annoying as that sounds. No, your children are not going to be permanently damaged by this, unless you beat yourself up in front of them.
The blunt truth is you will never give your children as much attention as you would ideally like to, esp. when you have more than 1 (and having been an only child and knowing lots of parents/only children, it's also not true that all 1-kid parents even get to devote as much time to their kid as they would ideally like to either). This is actually not such a bad thing in some respects. The thing is, kids adapt. What can get you stuck is if you are screaming perfectionist crap at yourself in your head, so that you are even more distracted and less "present" than you already are!
It will get better, I promise. But things are going to be hard for awhile. Try to let the helpers do the mundane stuff (housekeeping, ect.) so that you can do the fun stuff, if at all possible. You've bitten off a huge hunk, and it's going to take awhile to chew, but everyone's going to be okay. I found this period of my parenting life to be like the season of winter--hunker down, survive, don't worry about awesome personal growth or tons of new projects, you're going to feel a little stagnant/on the edge. Once I thought of it in those terms, and the fact that yes, spring would come again too, it made it a little less scary to deal with.
(So says the lady whose singleton is 17 months older than her twins. So I had 3 under 2 for about 6 months. Now it's fun, but they're 9, 9, and 10. When the youngest were around 4, wow, the sun came out from behind the clouds. My kids are bonded to me, and to each other, and it's amazing how much your outlook changes when you finally get enough sleep and your kids can make their own breakfast in the morning. But I would say that the first 3 years of all those little kids was...kinda hell. We got through it though. And so will you and your kiddos.)
avismama24 and Tigermama offered good advice. As a mother of multiples, I just want to note that even though we experience parenting multiples, it doesn't mean that we don't understand the struggles of singletons as well. You are allowed to feel overwhelmed and frustrated just like everyone else. :o) I have friends that always feel bad expressing if they have rough days because I have twins. It actually helps to know that struggles arise despite the quantity of children you have, the sex, the birth order, etc. We are all mothers (or fathers) first and foremost!
With that said, sending a big hug your way. It is true that time will indeed help the situation. Which clearly won't make you feel better in these rough moments! I actually had a similar experience to yours before my twins were born. It's a big adjustment period for EVERYONE when a new LO joins the family. Tandem nursing can also be challenging. It sounds as though some of the behavior that you described is very typical when a new sibling enters the mix.
Something that I found useful, which you may or may not find helpful, is knowing and remembering that all of my children really sense my inner emotions and attitude. They can feel the energy that I hold inside ... happy, excited, agitated, frustrated, etc. On days when I feel especially irritated, if I pay attention, my children typically will exhibit behavior resulting from my own feelings. So, for me, I have to make a point to try to calm and center myself despite the craziness that can often fill our days. And that doesn't always happen - I mean, we are human and imperfect ... there are definitely moments of near tears, loss of patience, guilt, (fill in any emotion here)! :o)
I would concur that utilizing help in specific ways may alleviate things a bit. Are there particular things that you could use assistance with? I loved the suggestion of being able to entertain one child so that you can spend time with another, or having someone available to shower, etc. That can be huge. I swear there are times that a good, hot shower can make me feel like a new woman! As far as having a negative impact on your older two, Tigermama's analogy of winter is truly perfect. (I will need to remember that for myself!!) Your children will grow in positive ways from this experience just like you. Loving a family member unconditionally, sharing, patience, etc. Mothers put a lot of pressure and guilt on ourselves for things that are often out of our control.
Keep smiling and know that you are doing an amazing job. Your children are blessed with a great mama that loves them so much!! You will slowly figure things out and feel more comfortable with a routine and daily flow, and your children will too. Be gentle with yourself.
Wishing you comfort on this incredible journey!
Baby triage. Who needs the help most? There will be crying and fussing and you just have to be okay with that because really there's no alternative. My son was very fussy and was a squeaky wheel. I still feel guilty that his twin sister was in the swing a lot more than he was. She was also underweight, partly because I think that she just didn't complain enough for food and I was so overwhelmed that I just tried to keep things under some kind of control and just fed her brother to keep him quiet. You can't feel guilty about these things. They're older now, my oldest daughter seems happy and well adjusted despite the amounts of Sesame St etc that she watched and all the times I told her I just couldn't play with her. The twins are happy and play really well together. In fact, now I'm happy to have kids so close together since they play so well. But the first few months? I tell people it was so overwhelming that I don't remember. They laugh and think I"m joking. I'm not joking. I can't remember the twins as babies really at all. We all made it through. You'll be okay.
Montessori teacher working part time and trying to keep up with the kiddos. DD1 (June 08) DS1 (June 10) DD2 (June 10)