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3 under 4 and overwhelmed

Answered 1 year ago

Hi everyone! I have 3 kids: 3.5, about to turn 2, and 12 weeks. I know I need to lower my expectations some days for what I can get done, but my house is constantly in a mess and I can barely stay on top of the daily chores that actually *need* to be done (dishes, cooking, cleaning the bathrooms, that kind of stuff). I'm very fortunate in that I don't need to return to work and my husband puts no pressure on me to get these things done, but I cannot help but think myself lazy or incompetent for not being able to keep these things under control.

I actually dread birthdays and Christmas because the extended family is very generous, and it's lovely of course but we have so many toys already...

I feel like all of these are deeply first world problems, but I'm going a bit spare. I don't know if I have a question (recommendations of realistic schedules to try to tick off some cleaning things, maybe?), I'm just feeling like I'm not coping as well as I should.


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ANSWER
1 year ago
I have 3 kids but more spaced out than yours which makes it easier. I think some of the answers here are a bit unhelpful. It really depends on what your baby is like as to how much you can get done, plus theres a settling in period as the other kids get used to having a new sibling. And you may still be recovering from pregnancy / birth at 12 weeks. I don't have any answers except to say yes its accepted that 3 under 4 is hard and you may just have to hang in there for a few months. Ma ybe take any offers of help you can get.

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1 year ago
Totally agree with this. I had 3 in 4 years. My youngest is 9 months and I’m only just starting to find my groove again. I was still experiencing pelvic pain at 6 months post the birth of my 3rd. Hang in there OP it does get easier, but be kind to yourself.

ANSWER
1 year ago
I would start by writing down exactly what needs doing. Important to less important eg.

My day goes like:
Make beds
Vaccum & dust
Mop
Dishes
Wipe down kitchen benches
Washing
Hang out washing or put in dryer if you have one ( I dont so on rainy days I hang in front of heater, well n o t right in front obviously fire hazard but enough to be safe)

Then its bathroom and toilet.

Not always in that order but I do this daily or if Im super busy I atleast ensure the kitchen and main areas are done. Always vacuum daily in my house. I like a clean tidy home or I feel stressed out. Thats just me. You need to work out what is best for you.


Windows and outside monthly, who has time or energy?!


Start with a list and tick it off. It soon becomes a habit but with three wee ones maybe you can space it out in lots. Or maybe hire help one day a week for main things you just cant get done eg bathroom toilet kitchen or washing etc.

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1 year ago
Thank you for your list, if possible could you do a more comprehensive one? I'm struggling being an ADHD person and Its so hard to articulate a plan for this stuff.

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1 year ago
OP, I’d you have ADHD maybe you should speak with your doctor. There are medications to help people with ADHD

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1 year ago
For a more comprehensive plan just google cleaning schedules. There are heaps for free printables around the place. If you’re on Facebook check out the mums who... pages. The mums who clean has a great editable cleaning list in the files section, very comprehensive including daily, weekly, monthly, yearly tasks.

ANSWER
1 year ago
I had a very similar situation. Similar age gaps and same problem. Husband didnt mind but I felt lazy. Drowning in toys. I had it all under control until the third one came along. Didnt help the third one wasn’t easy baby and even harder work as a toddler.They are all older now, eldest are at school. The youngest one is easier to manage. I have got my sanity and control back. The first few years as the mother of three has been a blur. If I could turn back clock I wouldn’t stress as much about the house keeping and definitely lower expectations for the time being. I had a depression and not having control made it worst. It was a vicious cycle.
Make sure you get as much sleep as possible.Wake up, have a shower, get dressed, make your bed, put washing on. Break up jobs into smaller jobs and tick them off, less overwhelming.
I set up portable dryer in the spare room, so there was no preassure to collect the washing as soon as it was dry from outside and didnt matter if it rained.
SI did lots of cleaning at night, non noisy jobs like putting washing away, moping, cleaning bathrooms, etc. I try to have kitchen cleaned before bed time. We rotate with husband, one of us cleans the kitchen and the other one does baths with the kids. Meal planning is a must. I was flustered and disorganised. Meal planning saved us heaps of monies and time. I didn’t have to think every night what to cook. Up until now I make huge pot of Bolognese sauce every 2-3 weeks and freeze portions for when I couldnt be bother with cooking. Meal planning so you cook once and eat twice. We do big grocery shop once a week and one or two small ones to top up fresh fruit, veg and bread.
Be ruthless with the toys. Donate or pack away. Rotate them. Make sure each toy has a home and teach kids to put them away. Easier to find toys if there is a storage system and some kind of organisation. My family struggled to understand the concept of “too many toys”. They are getting better now with amount of toys they gift. I have noticed my kids play better if they have less toys around them. Teach them to play with toys in allocated places.We have toys free zones in the house. They can bring couple toys in there, but they take them with them once done playing.
Before we had third child we weren’t very strict with routines. We have pretty strict morning and evening routine now. We have worked on it over time and it has changed depending on situation and kids ages. They know the routine and it makes life easier at those busy times. I fuction better in clean and organised environment.
Obviously sometimes we slip and get busy and its a chaotic mess. We start over.


ANSWER
1 year ago
I have 4 children (8 weeks, 26 months, 4 and nearly 6) My house is filled with toys, ie looks messy all the time. Kids won’t remember the mess, they’ll remember the fun things you did with them.

I get it’s frustrating looking at the mess all the time, I find it stresses me out if I concentrate on trying to clean all day. So if just do a bit each day and try to be with the kids. Make them happy....one less stress!!

Good luck. It’s tiring.

ANSWER
1 year ago
I lived a similar experience, but my youngest is now 4 so im almost on top of things, but it’s taken me basically 4 years to get here, i just prioritise like this, not in any particular order:

Keep everyone alive
clean warm beds for everyone
Dirty Washing in basket every time
Aim for one load of washing everyday
Clean kitchen before bed (can your husband take on this job?)
BASIC meals, nothing too complex, stuff you dont have to think about.
Shower for Mum everyday - kids can be more flexible, dont stress yourself out trying to bath them everyday
Chuck some bleach in the toilet
Add one other thing/job you think you need to do (could just be, walk to the park)

Consider yourself an amazing goddess of awesomeness if you achieve all that in a day, otherwise just aim to do three of those things and feel like an amazing goddess of awesomeness then too.

About the unwanted toys and stuff from the family (i have also been there) get brutal, throw everything out you dont want, even if great aunt betty bought it for babies birth.. And start telling people you dont want anything else, like ripping a band aid off it’ll be a bit hard, but you have to do it, that being said i still have a Granny who keeps buying stuff (crap :/) so i often just throw it out or donate it the next day. No guilt.

Good luck, im sure you are doing great anyway, just keeping those kids alive everyday, fed, cuddled, cleanish and providing them with a clean cosy bed is plenty! ❤️

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1 year ago
I agree with this. ❤️👍

ANSWER
1 year ago
You haven't burnt down the house kids are still alive babe so that's a win in my book 💜

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1 year ago
Lol - i love this right now, gave me a much needed smile

REPLY
1 year ago
You're welcome lovely lady. Keep your chin up xx

ANSWER
1 year ago
I’m not meaning to sound rude, but did you consider the challenges when you made the decision to have a third with a smallish gap between them? It’s an honest question, I wanted a third, but I like a tidy, relaxed home and being able to enjoy my children without being overwhelmed all the time so I made the decision to have two.

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1 year ago
Perhaps her 3rd was unplanned?

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1 year ago
Yes, perhaps the third was unexpected. In which case, most people would make plans for how a third would fit into their lives, what support is needed, ways to deal with 3 children under 4yrs. I.e., plan out how you would manage the days, look at hiring help or daycare etc etc. OP has said that she doesn’t have to work and that money isn’t an issue so she could have considered these things during her pregnancy. Alternatively, she can now make arrangements for additional help.

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1 year ago
Isnt that what she is asking? And instead of helpful suggestions people seem to be picking on her.

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1 year ago
Not everyone thinks a tidy house is important. Having them closer together means they will be more relatable as they get older.

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1 year ago
Yes, I understand that not everyone cares about a tidy house. You also overlooked the part where I said I like a relaxed home and enjoying my children instead of being overwhelmed! Also, having children close in age does not mean that they will necessarily be closer or “relatable”. What a silly cliche.

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1 year ago
This has no relevance to her question.. she has 3 regardless of accident or not. So give her tips.

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1 year ago
I think it is also not relevant. That is indeed a question for both parents not in response to the mother asking this question. Why does it fall on the mother? It takes two to tango and men are often left out of any questioning on this topic which I find sad considering many of us are likely raising girls here

ANSWER
1 year ago
I feel the same, although i only have 2 girls. 5 and 3. Both are absolute tornados and my house is covered in toys and crap. So over it. I think we just need to only do the important things and try not to stress. I am also going a bit spare, especially since we are back in lockdown and home schooling

ANSWER
1 year ago
Don’t they say parents of three children are the most stressed? There has been research out there to prove it....

ANSWER
1 year ago
Hey OP. Please take it easy! I cant imagine how you do it with 3 kids.

If you can afford it, consider a cleaner to help ease the stress.

If you can't, be kind to yourself! Husband is great - he doesn't mind.

Regarding toys, our families love giving my daughter money. I didnt ask but they give money and say let her buy what she wants. So I ask them if it can go towards extra curriculum and toys? They say yea.

So I take my daughter out and give her 50% to spend. Take a pic of it with her for them. The rest goes into a bank account. I tell them thanks for the swimming lessons! But in reality we gave put it aside for her. She has more than $4.5k now.

My daughter knows when it's birthday and Christmas time, we sit together to donate toys to charity too.

My family knows this happens and they don't mind.

Sorry I just blabbed on. You get the gist haha

But please, take some time off (if you can). Have a coffee by yourself and work out your list(as people suggested).

Ill just say enjoy the chaos. Kids are kids xx

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REPLY
1 year ago
Yes. This. Relax. Do stuff when you can. I tidy once a week- it’s toys, nothing dangerous or deadly so having a mess is OK. Grab some storage tubs and rotate toys, they don’t need everything out at the same time. You have three kids and need some time to yourself as well, be kind to yourself.

ANSWER
1 year ago
You asked so here it is after a long sleepless night you wake up and drag yourself out of bed. Make your bed straight away. Then get yourself a coffee. Relax for 5 minutes before everyone wakes up and demands start. Those 5 minutes are needed. When you have your kids taken care of, get dressed and then start with putting a load of washing on, then doing the dishes. Wiping down the kitchen putting things away. Then move on to kids rooms and beds, dusting, then vacuum. By this time you should be able to hang out the washing. Then tidy up more before spending time with the kids etc. Have another coffee. Then tidy more and food prep dinner etc. Hava lists of all the chores you still need to do and cross them off one by one.

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1 year ago
Cant be me thorough as each house runs differently. Beaides some days if u only vacuum and tidy up so long as house clean and tidy thats the main thing! Kids toys are okay to have a few out its a home.

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1 year ago
Whenever someone judges my parenting skills (I have teens) I just say everyone’s alive, I’m fantastic. Definitely lower your expectations, relax and enjoy. My kids are teens and independent now so I miss the little ones but I know it’s hard work.

ANSWER
1 year ago
Tackle one room for major cleans and just focus on daily things, vaccum, mop dishes washing clothes and tidy up. Get the older little one to help put toys away and use rewards like stickers. No time too early to teach them to help mum and put their things away. When baby is alseep try to tackle dishes and washing.

ANSWER
1 year ago
You really should be able to get some basic cleaning/tidying done each day. Also, try cooking and freezing meals. Isn’t your 3.5 year old at kindergarten? Surely you can get a big done on those days??

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1 year ago
Depends which state she is and what time of year they were born. In SA and WA most kids are 4 at kinder.

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1 year ago
Even without kinder, basic cooking and cleaning shouldn’t be a problem! Women all over the world do it everyday with 1,2,3,4, 8 children or more!

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1 year ago
I don’t mean to sound harsh but the reality is that parenting is busy for most of us. OP - be kind to yourself and ask for help if you need it.

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1 year ago
^Yeah sure. I have 3 kids and I work and study as well but I was just answering the kinder question.
My kids are a bit more spaced apart in age than OP and I can see how it could be hard going if she has issues with her baby like reflux or soemtihng. Just because other people have it harder doesnt mean she isnt going to find it tough. She was merely asking for suggestions how to organise.

ANSWER
1 year ago
OP, I’m sure you are doing a great job. Just cut yourself some slack. Also, ask your hubby for help if you need it.

ANSWER
1 year ago
Just allocate one hour each morning and one each afternoon to doing chores. It’s really not that difficult.

Also, donate unwanted toys to those in need or ask family to make a donation to a charity instead of giving toys.

None of what you are describing sounds difficult. If you are struggling, and money isn’t an issue maybe you need to hire a nanny or similar.

ANSWER
1 year ago
Honestly return whatever presents you don’t want and exchange it for something u want or need or get a voucher to use at a later time. The kids are so small they don’t know who gave what or what they’re getting. We have a lot of family so bdays and special occasions my kids would get a lot of presents I’m talking 20-30 presents while they were little they would play with 3-4 things and not even remember the rest. Take back what you don’t want/need or re gift it on.. and I’m someone who used to feel bad and would keep everything but I got drowned in toys and clothes and it wasn’t being used. Now I focus more on having a few nice good things than 50 crappy things... a lot easier to clean up too

ANSWER
1 year ago
Start with one small thing at a time. My first thing I did when my kids were all really young was a washing schedule. It was easy, achievable and meant that at the end of that first week I was feeling accomplished. Like day 1 baby clothes, day 2 mum and dads clothes, day 3 towels, day 4 kids clothes, day 5 sheets, day 6 whatever is in the basket, day 7 rest. Then I moved on to other achievable tasks - kitchen cleaned before dinner so it was a 30 second wipe over, sweep dining room and kitchen floors and washing up to wake up with a clean kitchen. Pick up toys with the kids, get them involved. Have your kids toys organised. People used to think I was crazy but if my children wanted a truck they grabbed out that box, if they wanted LEGO they grabbed out that box. I went to bunnings and got shelving and boxes and everything was by category. Once they had finished it was only ever a small box of toys to pick up rather than the tonne they would have pulled out looking for a few things. Get into the habit of making your bed every morning if you don’t already. You start your day with an accomplishment that way.