It's hard, Kathline. I have 3 challenging kids myself. I am sorry that your partner isn't helping.
I remember being in tears many years ago, because I was trying to go a yoga video, and my toddler came and sat on my leg while I was trying to lift it.
Here are some things that I tried that might help.
1, There was a school nearby, with a walking track and a playground where I could keep an eye on the kids.I could walk a mile a two with the little one in a stroller, while the older ones played.
2. As for not listening, here are some tips
- make it clear what they have to listen to. There are things that are required and things that are not. "Let's make snow angels" is optional. "Don't put that fork in the light socket" is not.
- state expectations, so they know what they have to do. "We are going into the grocery store. We will use are inside voices and stay with the cart."
- star charts. Even with very small kids you can do this. Each child gets a chart on the fridge, with their chores on it. I did it for a week at a time, and there were pictures for the pre-readers. A picture of toothbrush for brushing their teeth. A picture of a shirt for them dressing themselves. Older kids had to do their homework, and pack their backpacks for school the night before. Once they got enough stars, they got a prize. Something little, but fun, like getting to pick a movie, or extra computer time, or an extra story.
- one word commands. "Homework." "Bath." For some reason, there is less discussion if you just say one thing.
This will pass. The kids will get older, and more independent. But right now, you are exhausted and stressed. Do you have any neighbors or family members that can help? Can you find a Mothers Morning Out, or some kind of parenting group?
You can send me a message if I can do anything to help.
"There's treasure everywhere." Hobbes, in Calvin and Hobbes