Child with a complete different personality than yourself

Sorry for the novel but I just need a moment to rant and lay out my thoughts.

Ok, my almost 3 year old is the cutest little thing, she is sassy and she has a very large and impressive vocabulary for her age, and she’s just a super busy toddler. And I love her to bits and pieces.

I am a naturally quiet, reserved kind of person. I do like to talk but I very much enjoy sitting in the quiet, reading writing etc. My first born is pretty much of the same constitution. She can sit quietly and play with her toys or color for a decent amount of time, (not for super long lengths cause she’s still little but long enough for me to take a breath). My 2nd born though never ever stops. She never stops talking, she never stops moving, and often times while she is talking she is also balancing precariously on the edge of something, climbing on something, etc. and this is not an exaggeration, it is non stop until she falls asleep. And if she doesnt have my absolute full attention she, in an increasingly loud voice, says ‘mama, mama, mama’ until she has the attention she wants…when she is in the room with me I cant complete any task because I cant even start to focus on it. Until the point I am so frazzled and overstimulated I cant handle it any more. And my firstborn also has a hard time with this because her littlw sister requires so much of our attention that she is not getting the attention she needs either

Both girls usually get individual time everyday where they get mom or dads full attention, I have tried earphones and ear buds just to try and limit the snesory input and regulate myself, but that just increases her volume and need for attention. I can talk to her and tell her mom needs quiet time and she will listen, but then instead of sitting and playing quietly she crawls in my lap and proceeds to crawl all over me, and she’s trying so hard to give me what I asked for she just needs that attention and input. And I am just completely frazzled and at a loss.

It is so hard because she usually is not misbehaving, but Im stuggling to complete my daily tasks without having to constantly get after her. Things like dinner are exhausting because every 2 minutes she gets up because she needs a hug, or I have to catch her because she tipped off the edge of her chair, or remind her to sit in the center of her chair so she doesnt fall off. And I know people will say ‘just tell her she can have a hug after she eats dinner’ etc. But we’ve come to realize that getting that hug or whatever it is, is her way of regulating herself so she can make it through dinner, so I dont want to deny that. Those little things are so helpful to her. But even then, there are times and places where I cannot provide that, there are times where I have to get the laundry done, or make dinner, or Im driving and cant provide the feedback she needs from me. And my oldest needs attention too.And tbh she needs so much feedback to keep herself regulated Im exhausted.

But I dont want her to think she cant talk to me, or that she is naughty because she’s not, Im just pouring from an empty cup and I dont know how to balance her needs with everything else.

If you’ve read this far thanks for listening. If you have any advice or similar experiences Id love to hear them

*I want to add, though, She loves big, she is extremely enthusiastic about life. And she loves to share with you the things she loves and gets so excited about them. She is so passionate, she has the biggest smiles and the most expressive little face. She plays hard and loves hard and we love her to death and I dont want to squash that which is a big reason I struggle so hard parenting her. I want her to keep that passion, that love and that enthusiasm. Sometimes when Im really struggling I cant help but think if she just had a different mother her life would be better, one who had the energy to match her enthusiasm. Mainly I dont want it to come off as she’s the problem, because she’s not. The challenge is mine, Im the one struggling with it.


No advice, but just wanted to say same here. For both of mine. I want nothing more than to sit and read a book. [name_f]My[/name_f] 8yo can sit on a tablet and entertain herself but is combative and very draining (likely has undiagnosed autism/PDA and we’re learning but she LOVES an argument and it’s like I’m living with a 40-year-old lawyer who’s always right about everything all the time even when I wasn’t disagreeing).

The 5yo doesn’t stop. [name_m]Ever[/name_m]. Wants to be with people, out and about, doing something literally all the time. But when you take him anywhere he absconds and climbs and is too excited to listen and it’s exhausting. If we don’t go out he’s literally climbing the walls at home like some sort of freakish mini Spiderman.

And the pair of them get along just about as well as you’d expect of an [name_f]Earth[/name_f] and [name_m]Fire[/name_m] sign. That is, not at all.

I keep saying I don’t know where they came from. I love them and they have all sorts of beautiful qualities but it is HARD not having a quiet bookworm who just sits and occupies themselves quietly and doesn’t need to go places just like me. Motherhood doesn’t look like how I thought it would which is good in that we have so many more adventures but at the same time – this introvert is next level exhausted.


I taught my children early on, the meaning of the word “insatiable.” No matter how much you give, those little guys are bottomless pits when it comes to attention. Draw boundaries. You’re doing a great job explaining that you need recharge time. Maybe that looks like rewarding the kids when they do a good job leaving you alone for quiet time. I tell my kids I need to sleep, that they need to let me sleep, and if they let me sleep, there will be X after the allotted time. Example: I’m going to have quiet time until 3 pm. I’ve set an alarm. I do not want to see you or hear you, and if you do a good job, we will have a treat/go on a walk around the block. They laugh and tuck into their room (shared) and sometimes that works (haha).

[name_f]My[/name_f] kids are 7, 5.5, 2.5 and 1.

I think your oldest is 3? We never quit naptime, just transitioned to quiet time.

Maybe you’re talking about times other than naptime though? Everyone’s plate is a different size, and mine is rather small, so no judgement! Are you resting well during the times they’re asleep?

I’m so glad you are talking about this. Having children is amazing but an incredible, unrelenting weight. Don’t feel guilty for taking time away! Maybe husband can help you when he’s home and give you some time off?


All 3 of my daughters are similar to yours, to some extent. [name_f]My[/name_f] son is like your first, and I see him getting overwhelmed with his sisters and their energy.

It’s exhausting! [name_f]My[/name_f] girls are a bit older now and have each other now to bounce off, but when it was just my son and girl #1, it was so full on because she just wanted me ALL THE TIME. I spent her first 2 years with her attached to me in some way. Not because she was clingy and shy - she’s not at all! - but I think because she needed that sensory input. She is a big talker like your girl, extremely bright and she does very well at school because she has such a good grasp of language. She is athletic, too, and has found a sport she loves that she can channel all her energy into, which has been so good for her.

One of my twins has a recent ASD diagnosis, and her paediatrician thinks ADHD as well (she’ll be tested for that soon). She also has a physical disability, so energy wise she’s a bit more constrained, but she does have that energy. She’s a bit different because she will happily chatter away to herself (and she does, all day, every day) but when she was a baby/toddler she also wanted me holding her almost all the time. She can be very focused on things she’s interested in, but otherwise loses focus easily and is very quickly frustrated when she can’t do things.

Her sister is a bit quieter (and very sensitive to noise) and not quite as needy of me, but she’s still very demanding (oh, the whinging …)

It’s so hard. I adore them and wish I could be everything to each of them, but I just can’t. I have to admit that I make use of tv/devices to help them calm down and get a little bit of quiet time during the day. It started during covid lockdowns when I had all the kids home and DH was trying to work. The twins still napped so I turned that time into tv time for the older kids; once the twins stopped napping it was tv time for them so I had an hour of downtime during the day. I know it doesn’t work for all kids, and it might not for yours, but for mine it gave them an opportunity to stop moving and concentrate on something else.

They also learned that once I sat down to eat my dinner (after everyone else) that was my time to eat. They all still gravitate to DH’s study where they’ll play uno or something for half an hour so I can eat in peace. I think it’s so important to carve out those times where you get a break, because you will break yourself otherwise.

[name_f]My[/name_f] girls also each have a massive collection of stuffed animals, because every time they need a hug and I can’t give it to them, I can hand them a toy and it usually helps because they can give it a hug.

I just want to say that I hope it does get easier for you as your DD gets older. [name_f]My[/name_f] kids are all at school now and I am finding myself again, finally! I don’t know if your DD goes to daycare or anything like that. I found that once my twins were at pre-school and I had a couple of hours free, my mental health improved and I was a better mother when I was with them.

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@northernlights motherhood is definitely not what I thought it would be, not necessarily in a negative way but it is a real learning curve. Im glad Im not the only one though, I feel like almost every day [name_f]Ive[/name_f] spent all my stored up patience/energy and Im constantly in battery saving mode or something.

@kapaza we’ve done the same with naptimes, we now call them ‘quiet playtime’ as my oldest has outgrown naps (she’s 4 now!) and my youngest is at that stage where somedays she’ll nap and others she wont. But I (and them) still need that quiet time, and often times my youngest will lay down and nap during that time. But I think really thats whats been so difficult is I feel like [name_f]Ive[/name_f] tried every trick up my sleeve, but nothing seems to change. We-ve tried , schedules, giving her tasks to do (she really thrives on praise and positive attention so giving her tasks where she can be succesful helps but at this stage she’s too little to complete most tasks by herself, but old enough to realize when I didnt give her the complete task which really angers her, and also old enough to know when Im just giving her ‘busy work’) I think its just a stage her and I are going to have to work our way through, and I do think it will become easier when she is truly able to be a little more independen. [name_f]Ive[/name_f] recently started talking to my husband about this and how much Im struggling with this and he has stepped up and is trying to be more aware of when Im getting overwhelmed., and step in to give me a break. And Im also trying to be more aware of when I need a break and making sure that I tell the girls before I get to the stage where Im too overwhelmed to parent calmly, but thays definitely a skill that needs to be learned!

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Yes! That sounds a lot like my LO. She is definitely not shy, however she is attached to me all day, to the point where I am constantly knocking her over because she’s holding on to my shirt while Im doing dishes or she’s standing right behind me. We definitely use some screen time for breaks as well, and outside time now the weathers getting nicer. My oldest will be starting school, which I am both greatly looking forward to and also a little sad about. Part of the sadneas is with her I used to be her first choice, whenever she was sad, or needed snuggles I was always the one she called. But since my 2nd little one has just needed me so much, she now calls for dad first, which breaks my heart just a little bit, though Im so so grateful that she has her daddy to call for, and so thrilled at the relationship they’re developing. So her heading off to school where I wont get to see her as often, is a little bitter sweet. However I also think it will be so good for 2nd born to have that one on one time for most of the day. And as my 1st heads to kindergarten, my 2nd will have a year where she will get a lot of one on one before she starts preschool, which I hoping will be super beneficial to her as she’s never really gotten to be one on one for long stretches of time over an extended period.

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I’m afraid I don’t have the solution, but I know what it’s like. I have 6 children, so there’s bound to be at least one extroverted, sassy one :wink: With us it’s E. (3). Six children are exhausting anyway, but E. can make things… Much more exhausting. I love him to bits, don’t get me wrong. He’s sweet and caring, always happy - unless he’s being dramatic :sweat_smile: - but he needs lots of attention and can be loud and clingy. Basically, he’s everything I’m not.

It’s not only exhausting for me, but also for my more introverted children, especially B. (4) and V (1). There are times we have to “separate” them and make sure they’re in different rooms so everyone’s needs are met. Usually, in those moments, one of us takes E. outside or to another room so he can get all the attention he needs and can be as loud and busy as he wants, and the other ones don’t get overwhelmed. This isn’t always possible though. A while ago I noticed we had this pattern, when my husband and I are both with the children, where I payed more attention to the introverted ones and he “dealt” with the more busy, extroverted behavior. That’s not how I want it to be, because I don’t want any of my children to feel like I favor some of them, or don’t love others as much. But we haven’t figured out a way to deal with it better. I’m autistic and need my quiet time, but in reality it isn’t always possible.


[name_m]Just[/name_m] adding that I have been equally frustrated by this :raising_hand_woman:t2: I don’t really have much to add other than I have tried waking up before my lo to have some time alone :sweat_smile:


Thanks everyone! We’ve just really been struggling these past couple of weeks, and being able to just write it all out really helps me work through whats going on inside my head. And it also helps to just to know Im not the only one who struggles with this whole motherhood and parenting thing (which should be assumed but just hearing someone else say they struggle is reaffirming)


@LibelluleClaire I’m sorry you’re finding it so overwhelming, but it’s also lovely to hear how H is doing!

I find C (just turned 3!) utterly overwhelming too. He’s a real sweetie, but loves to explore and do things for himself, and honestly when he gets tired he’s not sweet at all. He’s like the girl with a little curl in the middle of her forehead nursery rhyme :sweat_smile:

Just tonight I asked him to go loo before bed but he decided the toilet bowl needed a clean, so I spend a couple mins trying to get some clothes out the washing machine and into the dryer to find him holding the toilet brush and toilet bowl water flicked all over the toilet walls, the floor, the toilet paper…
He likes to find any powerpoint that we’ve forgotten to put the protector back into and plug things in it. To swish his fork and bits of food around in his water cup at the dinner table. Definitely not my personality.

My eldest IS a lot more like me, constantly reading, thinking about science questions, or off in her own world. But we think she’s also not-yet-diagnosed autism/PDA like @northernlights is dealing with (though my girl’s only 5) or maybe inattentive ADHD. Getting her ready for school in the morning feels like I’ve lived a thousand lives as I have to remind her to start wiping her bum etc etc as she starts thinking or reading and forgets that she’s meant to be going to the toilet or getting dressed. And then I hear from school how her behaviour’s so great there only to have a 30 minute desperate crying meltdown from her if I encourage her to use the toilet before we leave school grounds, followed by her trying to control my walking pace to EXACTLY match her scootering pace back to the car. And I hear “just leave me alone” in a fake American accent (we’re in NZ) at least 10 tomes a day at the moment :upside_down_face:

Parenting is hard, it feels like as introverts maybe it’s even harder. I’m at my highest weight as I keep comfort eating as a way to handle my own constant dysregulation/overwhelm :confused:

Trying to find better ways to calm myself and look after my own wellbeing, and to remember to focus on all the parenting positives!

I mean it’s pretty cool that Mr 3 is trying to help out by cleaning the toilet? :joy:

Also, if you want a laugh, I don’t ever remember saying this to C but clearly must have in one of my less-than-ideal parenting moments (probably when he was being the horrid part of the nursery rhyme and yelling or throwing things at me)… as we walked into school for pick up today, he decided to chant “Leave mum the hell alone. Leave mum the hell alone.” on repeat. So that’s some awesome parenting right there that he’s heard that phrase from me or his Dad :woman_facepalming:

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[name_m]Ah[/name_m] I love hearing about your littles! [name_m]Even[/name_m] the challenging bits. It really is the age though, isnt it. We’ve had a good couple days, so Im feeling a bit more confident in myself. Though I feel like everytime we start getting into a routine and things feel like we’re moving forward, little miss decides ‘eh no’ and throws a wrench in the works just to see what will happen.

But I do think we’re figuring it out generally speaking, this phase has just thrown me for a loop because W never went through such a challenging phase ans I wasnt expecting it. I do think a lot of the guilt and anxiety comes from the fact that when she’s being super challenging I can see how another mom/personality could manage the situation easily, but Im just not that type, and so I feel so bad about it. But I try to remind myself, there are things that I handle well that someone else might not be as comfortable doing.

And Im 100% with you on the weight and repeating things phase, I am definitely a stress/comfort eater and also have the bad habit of ‘oh the kids are in bed, time to have treat’ As for H repeating things, luckily we havent had a situation yet where H has repeated something too embarassing, but most of it I have no idea where it came from. H’s favorite phrase right now is ‘mom, status report’ and the other day she was playing with her stuffies and I heard her say ‘aw arent you a cute little hellion’ I dont even use that word, so I have no clue where that came from

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I just want to say I’m sorry you’re dealing with possible PDA as well, but I’m glad to meet someone else here who might be. I’m in a few Facebook groups for it but this whole experience has been somewhat isolating. There’s always been “something” with my daughter but any time I bring it up, because she is so high masking, people can’t see it and it’s explained away as giftedness, anxiety, headstrong child. She wins awards in school for her good behaviour while being unbelievably rude/sometimes downright mean to her brother and us at home. This past [name_f]Christmas[/name_f] holiday was awful and I came across PDA in [name_f]January[/name_f] around her 8th birthday and I’ve never seen anything that fits her so well. She’s still undiagnosed but we’ve adapted a low-demand parenting style and it’s made a big difference. We went from having hours-long tantrums about shoes every single morning before school for three years to (mostly) smooth mornings – though we do have to keep on top of her still. Meanwhile my son started school this year and can be up, dressed, and eating breakfast within 5 minutes.

Sorry, not to take over the thread! If you ever want to chat feel free to drop me a message. It’s exhausting.