Mother of 4 trying to tread water.. anyone out there? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 16 Old 07-29-2008, 01:42 AM - Thread Starter
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I am not sure where to post this... I am so not in control of my life! I use to be an organized person... WHEW that was before baby number one and then maybe even more so after baby number 2... I have four little ones now, all 7 and under. I love love love my famiy and children but I am just feeling like I cannot keep up with life!
I guess part of it is summer.. I always had aspirations of home schooling but now I cannot imagine how I could have ever pulled that off. My youngest is just 8 months and the rest are 7, 4.5, 2.5...
If I don't have 'projects' ready for my kids then it is a boring day they say or it is one where everyone is fighting and in and out of time outs. If I try to get a project or science experiment thrown together to have some activity for the older 2 the next day, it is hard to do when the baby needs me and the 2 yr old wants attention. I just have such trouble juggling all the age levels. HOW in the world do mothers of multiple ages do homeschooling on such different levels.
I am feeling so guilty for not being more coordinated with all this.. I can barely get the grocery list organized and dinner on the table. Not to even go into that! We have multiple allergy issues so we are mostly gluten / dairy / soy / corn free. By the time I get dinner finished, the baby needs to nurse and I am so wiped out it is crazy.
When I get the kids in bed, I try to organize some semblance of a plan for the next day, but I am also in dire need of some down time so I piddle on things I need to do and end up shoving myself into bed instead of making a plan.
Life is exhausting me lately and I am just frustrated. I am so in need of some mom friends!
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#2 of 16 Old 07-29-2008, 08:44 AM
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Here i am!!!!

I am a totally disorganized, chronicly sleep ddeprived mama of 4.But mine are spread out a little more than yours (10,7,4 and just 1 yesterday).

I have that feeling of being totally overwhelmed most of the time. Most of it is my own fault. i am NOT good at the home management part of being a mom. My 10 yr old is at camp for seven weeks, so thats one down, but my 7 yr old and four yr old are fighting constanly if i don't keep them occupied, and my 1 yr old is into EVERYTHING so needs constant supervision/direction. THe dishes from last nights dinner are in the sink, the bathroom needs to be cleaned and the laundry is piling up once again. The town beach is a usual distraction, but the weather has not been cooperating lately.

yesterday I needed to make cupcakes for dd's 1st b'day... my rough plan was to make them in the afternnoon,around 2ish.... well we finally finished decorating them at 8:30 last night. there was frosting and sprinkles and marshmellows everywhere, the baby was overtired and cranky and the last thing the 4 and 7 yo's needed was a big old cupcake. I was just so dissappointed in myself and so frustrated. Why can't i do this?
i constantly have the feeling that if i just had a moment to catch my breath i could do this... but it always seems just out of reach. i live in perpetual frustration and chaos.

I do have friends, but my closest friend is also a sahm of 4, has a beautiful house and goes shopping all the time..(I am POOR). She's fun to be around, our kids all are friends, but man she just makes me feel like more of a failure.

I get up ever morning thinking TODAY i will be in control. TODAY I will accomplish what I set out to do. TODAY my kids will learn something/do something worthwhile.... then 6:00 rolls around and I'm once again DONE.

So I hear you are not alone.
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#3 of 16 Old 07-29-2008, 10:54 AM
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4 here as well. Twins 9,dd 6, and ds 18 months. I used to joke that I was the white trash Martha Stewart, always cooking great meals, crafting, knitting, sewing painting, my house was clean enough people asked ME for help organizing. Then I got pg with baby #4. And now most of my sentences start ou "I used to....". I feel totally out of control most of the time. Now that ds is getting older I feel a little better, but I am also getting baby lust again. I think I must be nuts

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#4 of 16 Old 07-29-2008, 02:55 PM
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My SIL has 4 and so do my neighbors. And I nanny for 3 kids. Similar ages to those you mentioned. So while I do not live with them, I understand some of what you are going through. My time off usually involves going to SIL's house to help out.

While her life is utterly crazy as well, here are some things I've noticed she has done to make things easier for herself.
-Have someone help out or take the older 2 kids once a week for an outing (like on the weekends)
-Have things at the house that the kids can go do themselves... They have a blow up bounce house that fits 3 kids (I think they got it for Christmas one year and it was about $100). They also have an outdoor play fort and swings and sandbox.
-The older kids have friends over all day in the summer.
-Have the groceries delivered
-Has a maid come once a week (granted, they own a cleaning company so this they can do. I don't know how much one would normally cost. The lady vacuums, dusts and empties the garbages. She may even clean toilets, I don't remember. I do know it's pretty basic.
-They do video games and movies as well. Not something I would do myself, but I'm not in the same boat.
-Lots of art supplies available.

Other than that you're right, I've noticed if my nieces and nephews are bored they start picking on one another. Something I try to do with nannying is have the kids pick the activities so it's not just my responsibility to entertain them.

Good luck to you all!!!
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#5 of 16 Old 07-29-2008, 03:01 PM
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My kids are older than yours (11,9,7,and 5). This is the first year I feel like I can get anything done. Water was a savior for us when they were small. I would fill up a water table bust out the recyclables and everyone would have at it. Actually water play still works best now! Hang in there. Do you have any older kids in the neigborhood that might want to work as a mother's helper?
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#6 of 16 Old 07-29-2008, 04:16 PM
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I am right there with you. My 4 are younger than yours: my eldest turns 5 this week and the triplets are 15 months. I used to be the go-to girl for people who needed things done well and fast, but now I can't even get an email or phone call returned, let alone keeping the house clean. I honestly feel that every day is a day survived. I don't know how people manage 4 different ages of kids. I find two different ages hard enough (though I do feel sure that it would be somewhat easier if I only had one toddler).

My mom friends are hard to get together with (all of my friends close by have multiples and several of them have 3 or 4 kids, so getting our schedules to mesh is almost impossible). I have actually found that the only way I feel happy about my life is to get out of the house for some me time that I have committed to. During the winter, I took a drawing class once a week and now I am working on a play. It makes my week busier, but because it is something for me that doesn't have to do with running the family, it does seem to help my mood - if not my organization.

mother of Patrick (7/31/03), and Michael, William, and Jocelyn (4/27/07)
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#7 of 16 Old 07-29-2008, 04:17 PM
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Hi! We're getting ready to go pick two kids up but couldn't read without posting! I'm a mom of four also, and often feel stressed to the max! Our oldest is 6 1/2, 5 year old twins and an almost 15 month old baby. I'll post more later.
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#8 of 16 Old 07-29-2008, 04:34 PM
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I don't have four, nor do I have any suggestions, but I do have some sympathy. My niece stays with us every so often and when she does, well, all I do is watch (that is, referee fights) and feed the kids. Somehow having #4 in the house means I can get nothing else done. And with the variations in ages many outings (to the pool, etc.) just aren't safe by myself.

My guess is that you'll be treading water for a few years, but eventually the oldest will be able to be helpful at times and the youngest won't require such round-the-clock care and you'll be back to doing the things you'd like to. Plus you'll have those four great kids!

Mom to John (age 11), James (age 9) & Katherine (age 5)
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#9 of 16 Old 07-29-2008, 05:24 PM
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I think it does get easier as kids get older. I also have 4 children, but the are closer in age than yours. My oldest is 8, my youngest is 4. We did homeschool for several years, but my children are now enrolled in public school and currently home for summer break.

I sometimes feel overwhelmed, it's easy to feel that way when you're being pulled in so many directions at one time. For me, having consistent routines and making plans ahead of time are what keep me feeling like I'm in control of my life. Over the years I have found little tricks that work for me, like whole-house clean up before bed, menu planning, packing bags and snacks/lunches the night before, and having a consistent schedule throughout the week (Monday is library day, Tuesday is playgroup day, etc.).

New signature, same old me: Ann- mama of 2 boys and 2 girls, partnered to a fabulous man.
I'm an unintentional weasel feeder and I suck at proofreading.
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#10 of 16 Old 07-31-2008, 05:36 PM
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I could have written a couple of the earlier posts.

I have 4 also, ages 7, 6, 4, 2. We homeschool, and just today, I about to go postal after we finished our school time. After much talking (and prayer more importantly) my husband and I have come to the conclusion that I am doing too much. Duh! We just have to prioritize and choose the most important battles as moms (and dads). Sometimes, that means eating store bought food, gasp and letting the kids watch TV for a while. For me it also means letting go of my foolish pride in the fact that we eat only homemade food and do only educational things. It is so hard to objectively evaluate what is really best for the family. I have always been one to need alone time which rarely is possible at this life stage. I am MUCH nicer as a mom and a human if I get it though. Some of us introverted types just need to hear NOTHING for a while so we can regenerate for the next round of motherhood.

I encourage all of you moms in this situation to prioritize and to find a way to take time out to do something you enjoy for a while. Your kids will thank you!
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#11 of 16 Old 07-31-2008, 08:32 PM
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My two eldest were just diagnosed learning disabled. It affects them very severly across reading, writing and math. Oneof my dd was also diagnosed as OCD with anxiety disorder. For years I have fought tooth and nail to make homeschooling work for our family, but I have decided that in order to get the help they need, and the sanity I need they are going to school at least for a while. I am exhausted. I am literally at the end of my rope. I only hope school helps improve ou life.

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#12 of 16 Old 07-31-2008, 09:47 PM
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Originally Posted by smilnmom View Post
Not to even go into that! We have multiple allergy issues so we are mostly gluten / dairy / soy / corn free. By the time I get dinner finished, the baby needs to nurse and I am so wiped out it is crazy.
When I get the kids in bed, I try to organize some semblance of a plan for the
I could have written all these posts but only have two children. With everyone having food sensitivities, we're grain/dairy/soy/fresh fruit /nut/vinegar/many vegetables/complex carbohydrate/almost all oils free. We used to be egg free but ds seems to be tolerating it better. There can be no easy meal. I can't imagine 4 children with our genetics. DH is working 7 days/week and evenings after he gets home. Our children each can take hours and hours to fall asleep and are often up and waking the entire house up many times a night (I'm finally not woken up 14 times a night anymore).
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#13 of 16 Old 08-01-2008, 02:04 AM
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I have four here. 5 year old twins, 3.5 year old and a 15 month old. I just take it one day at a time. My oldest three are close enough in age that I do the projects I don't want the baby getting into while the baby is napping. As far as dinner, with all of them home this summer, I have had my DH do A LOT of dinners on the grill. During the winter I used my crockpot a lot because everyone tended to play better together in the morning.

Grocery shopping... One of the local stores has a kid's club (aka free babysitting) which I put the older three in and just the baby and I actually walk the store.
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#14 of 16 Old 08-01-2008, 03:02 PM
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The monthly Moms of Many thread in Parenting Issues is for all you mamas. Come on over
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#15 of 16 Old 08-01-2008, 04:26 PM
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I wanted to sympathize because I think all mama's have times when they feel they are not handling things well however many kiddo's they have. My old LLL leader (and good friend and mother of four) used to joke that women always have one more child than they can handle. 1st one - I love being a mama, I want more, 2nd dc- This is wonderful, they'll be such friends, look at that baby, I want more, 3rd dc- I can handle this, I want a big family, 4th (or whatever number) What was I thinking, I adore this little one, but suddenly life is out of hand. Some women are overwhelmed with the first and that is the end. I only have one birth child, but I raised my steps through their teen years and am now raising a grand as a sibling to my birth child and whatever the configuration at the moment I love my life and feel like I'm out of control and not doing a great job. I think it is part of the package.
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#16 of 16 Old 08-03-2008, 11:27 PM
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Another mom with four - eldest is six, and babe is almost 14 months.

I sometimes roll my eyes at how much I have to do - but you know what -reading some of the posts about allergies (would put me over the edge), health issues, learning issues etc. and it really is a piece of cake. (I know how good I have got it ...)

However - I work full time out of the house so have a big support network - nanny & cleaning service so I just play on the weekend (well almost - I have a lot of laundry which I should be doing right now) with the little ones.

I wish I was more fun ... the nanny is awesome - but I was burnt out when I went back to work (a lot of other stuff going on with a reno and a move ... but still easy peasey compared to some) so wasn't a fun mom (a mightn't ever be).

I keep saying it will get easier once the baby isn't quite as dependent (but then feel sad that I wish him to grow up ... OK far from easy peasey but it is all relative.)

A ramble - I feel it greatly but wouldn't change a thing. Burnt out regardless ... sometimes I dream of just one more.
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