Hypothetical bedroom question...

(32 Posts)
WakeyCakey Mon 06-May-13 22:30:08

I have posted here many times about my DSD 12. Most recently because of her eating problems.
Mumsnet has helped me resolve many issues but this one is more of a hypothetical question.

DP and I are TTC our first together.
We live in a 2 bed house with no plan of moving in the near future at all.
The house is a new build and designed with one master bedroom and a second designed for two children.

DSD has reduced the amount she sleeps with us to one night a week, she comes over 3/4 nights but as we live a 2 min walk from her mums she would rather sleep there to avoid the constant back and forth for school stuff.

Anyhow if we are lucky and have a baby would it be fair to have a baby in her bedroom (after the first 6 months obviously) with such a huge age gap or would it be terribly unfair considering she will be a teenager? Or does it depend on the sex of said hypothetical baby?

Cloverer Mon 06-May-13 22:31:05

For the one night a week she stays it would be better to have the baby in your room. Chances are at 6 months it will be going to bed at 7pm and waking in the night, still needing feeds - so no really practical to share with a 12 year old.

I think she is more likely not to stay over.

gallicgirl Mon 06-May-13 22:35:00

I'd try to arrange the bedroom with an area for baby and DSD so DSD feels she is welcome. However, on the night DSD stays, I'd have baby in your room.

MortifiedAdams Mon 06-May-13 22:35:02

keep.the baby in with you on the one.night per week she sleeps. Or move.

WakeyCakey Mon 06-May-13 22:41:47

Thanks, it's what I thought. She doesn't know that we are TTC as I think she is old enough to be truly disgusted by the notion of it grin.

She loves staying and she's a complete daddy's girl so she spends a lot of time here just not in her room.
We spent a lot of time decorating the room to be hers ands king it a safe haven for her.
She calls this her home and that's how I always want her to feel because it is her home.
Just looking for ideas.
Unfortunately moving is out of the question unless we live further away from DSD's mum which we don't want to do

PurpleThing Mon 06-May-13 22:44:12

Depending how things go you may have the baby in your room for longer than 6 mo if s/he still needs feeding and wakes up crying at 5am everyday. Teething, illness etc can mean they are unsettled for a long time.

I really don't think it would be fair for an older child to share with a baby/ toddler. They would have to have all their stuff out of reach, never mind put up with being woken. I wouldn't like to share a room with someone who poos themselves either (sorry).

Plus you have the additional step-parenting issue that you don't want to feel you are replacing or pushing her out.

Is there any way you can partition the room to make two or extend?

BrienneOfTarth Mon 06-May-13 22:49:46

I would think that it's fine for the second bedroom to be the "Children's Room" but that as and when your next DC comes along and starts sleeping in their own bedroom, it will be an exciting treat for said little DC to come and sleep in mummy and daddy's room one night a week. This should be fine until at least the age of 5 or 6. Whenever we have guests DS(3) comes and sleeps in our room so the guests can have his room, this causes no issues.

Once young DC is 6ish of course DSD will be at least 18 and relatively unlikely to be staying the night with you on such a regular schedule, so it will no longer be an issue.

needaholidaynow Mon 06-May-13 22:56:15

Another question is, how will the bedroom be decorated?

Will it be decorated for a baby or a teenager? Just to add more complications to the mix, what if your baby is a boy?

It is so so hard, but I do think that due to the fact that she would rather sleep at her mum's, she already has a bedroom at her mums, and your baby has to share his only room, then I would be inclined to redecorate the room for a small child as he is there all the time. I really don't know, it's a difficult one!

allnewtaketwo Mon 06-May-13 23:12:31

Thing is, it's all very well saying keep it as DD room and move baby in with you, but that's a very short term solution. IMO that would mean that DD has 2 bedrooms and your own child won't even have one bedroom. It's a practical reality that children have to share rooms when space is tight. And that is more so true when one child isn't even there most of the time.

needaholidaynow Mon 06-May-13 23:17:38

I agree with allnew

DSD would have 2 bedrooms and your child wouldn't have one. This is the same with my situation. DSD has 2 bedrooms but my DS doesn't even have one as he has to share with DSD. It's something I just have to grit my teeth at for now.

gallicgirl Mon 06-May-13 23:28:09

Meh, a small child only needs somewhere safe to sleep and play.
A beautifully decorated bedroom is lovely but not entirely necessary for a toddler. My 2 year old has her own room but its not a child's room. We have other belongings in there and she plays in the living room.
Given the circumstances here, I think initially the stability of the teenager is important. After a year or two you can review the situation.

allnewtaketwo Tue 07-May-13 06:36:46

So what do they do in a year or two? They will have exactly the same situation.

allnewtaketwo Tue 07-May-13 06:38:37

What on earth does "stability" have to do with needing to have your own room? Small house + more children = shared room. Has been the same for millions of families for hundreds of years

MrsHoarder Tue 07-May-13 06:55:16

Ds roomed in with us to nearly 1yo, and didn't need moving out then. So the op could easily just keep baby in with her until 2 years in the future. By which time maybe it would be ok to discuss sleeping arrangements with a 14yo dsd or have saved to move/extend.

DontmindifIdo Tue 07-May-13 06:59:42

Well I don't think you need to redecorate the room, but definitely put new baby in the same room, perhaps with a travel cot in your room for the first 2 years on the nights dsd stays.

If dsd doesn't keep much stuff at yours and normally walks home, then she might stop staying over, but the baby being with you is not a long term solution, mind you, she's 12 now, if you have a baby next year, she'll be 13, you could put baby in with you the nights dsd stays until dsd is 16 easily.

WakeyCakey Tue 07-May-13 07:05:27

It's not a money issue at all. We can't physically extend our property and don't want to move as nothing else has come up in our village recently at all!
We want to stay in the same village so that DSD has the same friends and neighbours and school bus.

It isn't a problem at the moment and it is more me worrying than anyone else. She has a niece and nephew and she is very full on and overbearing with them which is a reason that I wouldn't want her sharing a room but then she will have grown up a bit and hopefully become a bit more easy going.

I think it's strange because as a child I shared a bed with my sisters when we didn't even need to share a room but we were incredibly close in age 11 months Between each of us. As opposed to 13 years for instance

MrsHoarder Tue 07-May-13 07:09:59

Loft conversion? could make a nice "teen hangout" with a futon if she's rarely sleeping at yours by then.

DontmindifIdo Tue 07-May-13 08:59:15

I don't htink there's much you can do about it then, she'll have to share. You can't move and only have 2 bedrooms.

Keeping your baby in your room for the nights DSD is there until they are 2 or so would be the best bet. If it's only one night a week it should be ok to do - and DSD will be a lot more mature by that age.

There's something else worth thinking about in all this, are you intending to have more than on DC? If you then want a second for you/third for DH, then keeping both in your room just so DSD can keep one big bedroom to herself is not going to work.

A loft conversion might be an option, but they tend to be expensive.

Petal02 Tue 07-May-13 09:41:09

It’s a practical reality that children have to share rooms when space is tight. And that is more so true when one child isn’t even there most of the time.

Very good point.

This would mean that DSD would have 2 bedrooms and your child wouldn’t even have one.

That’s hardly fair, is it?

I think initially the stability of the teenager is important

Would the teenager suddenly suffer from instability if she has to share a bedroom? Strange how this “instability” never seems to be a problem in bio families.

Are you intending to have more than one child? If you do, then keeping all subsequent child in your room, just so that DSD can keep one big bedroom to use once a week, is not going to work

Another very good point. If someone only stays over at your house one night per week, then surely you can’t keep that bedroom “on hold” for them, meaning that everyone else has to share the one remaining bedroom? That’s ridiculous!!

UC Tue 07-May-13 09:57:50

I would be inclined to "park" this issue for now. You said you are ttc, and once you do, you have 9 more months to sort this out. You may find that your DSD finds or even suggests a solution herself. At least once you are pg, you will have a reason to bring this up and discuss it with her. As others have said, the baby would be in your room for a while anyway, which would give you at least a year, if not 18 months or so from when you fall pg to sort this out and make decisions. A lot can change in that time, so I wouldn't get yourself too worried about it at the moment.

purpleroses Tue 07-May-13 10:17:16

I'd do nothing for now. Initially keep the baby in with you - you may well find you want to do this for at least a year as it's in many ways easier for night feeding.

You'll need somewhere to store the baby's stuff, so you could make DSD's bedroom into a shared room in terms of the baby having some stuff there, but leave it sleeping in with you until such a time as it's sleeping well through the night.

Then it moves to DSD's room.

I think UC is right - that DSD may well suggest a solution herself - of her living solely at her mum's but still seeing you all regularly. Once she's at he age that she no longer needs "looking after" as such - ie her mum can go out and leave her without a babysitter, and she's starting to be more independent, she may well find it easier just to have one bedroom at her mum's. Especially as she's so close by.

Things are different in stepfamilies - in that the first child is much more likely to feel pushed out or replaced by a new baby. But if you let them participate in the decisions you make, they may be find about it.

My DC's dad lives in a really small flat (1.5 bedrooms) and had a new baby a while back. They've jiggled things round but my DD is now sharing a bedroom with her dad, stepmum and baby brother. It's really not good - DD isn't getting much sleep - and we've recently all agreed that the DCs will stay over at their dad's less often. I'm a bit peed off that he hasn't managed to get himself a big enough house to have them all, but the DCs are both utterly accepting of the situation, and just want to find a practical solution that works for everyone. They don't seem to feel pushed out, and I think that's mainly because nothing's been initiated in advance - they've been involved in the decisions about who sleeps where. My eldest is also 13 and now able to be left without a sitter in the evenings or after school - which does mean that the need (from my point of view at least) for a clear rota of when they're with their dad has reduced.

Your DSD will be at least 14 by the time you'd have a 1 year old starting to need their own room, and may well be happy to move to more of a single residence and relaxed visiting arrangement by then if you leave her to it.

catsmother Tue 07-May-13 10:21:50

The bedroom issue, not altogether surprisingly, is a perennial issue on the step parenting board. And someone always suggests "move then" - or words to that effect, like just upping and moving is an option anyone can avail themselves of without a second thought. hmm Quite apart from affordability which is a huge and unavoidable concern for many families as is negative equity for quite a few too, you also have to think about jobs, schools, dependent relatives and so on. In any case, the OP here has clearly stated she can't move right now so all she does have to play with is a 2 bed house.

Personally, I agree that a small baby can of course share its parents' room for many months. However, having had to do this by necessity myself for almost 14 months, I can say that by the end of that period, when I was finally able to move - thankfully - to a larger place, it was a lot easier to settle an older baby/toddler down for the night in their own space. I certainly wouldn't wanted to have continued that set up - if at all possible - past that age, as it was relatively difficult to access your own room once the baby had gone down, or indeed to feel uninhibited IYWIM with a by-then alert little person there too. I know the OP's saying it's only one night and of course we've all stayed away from home and shared with a baby or kids but if it's one night every week I'd be a bit worried about perpetually shifting the youngest from one room to another if they were a remotely poor sleeper - as mine was - because the change of scenery could well lead to them taking longer to settle etc.

So .... that leaves the issue of how to include everyone and not step on toes. I agree that for the older child, sharing a room wouldn't have to be the end of the world necessarily. While the youngest is still primary age I certainly wouldn't worry about the sex of the child either. Okay - I "get" that the older child may want privacy and there might be the issue of "pestering" from a younger one, plus the safety concerns of keeping all potentially dangerous teen stuff like scissors, tweezers, straighteners, lotions etc out of reach, but that sort of issue should be able to be sorted practically with high shelving, lockable cupboards/chests and the co-operation of the teen. As someone said before, it's unlikely that a very young child would spend that long in said room playing as most of us just wouldn't want them out of sight for too long in case of accidents so to them, at least initially, it would be more about a place to sleep than anything. Maybe the only thing would be whether or not the teen used their room much of an evening after the baby/toddler went to bed ...... but really, I think maybe you can spend too long analysing stuff like this as loads of families do have to share and they find a way round it one way or another. I once knew someone who had 5 boys, 2 girls, in a 3 bed house, with the gap between oldest and youngest boy being 15 years - yet they all managed (with lots of bunkbeds) and were a very happy family.

Alternatively, you might have to think out of the box a bit. As someone else suggested - a loft conversion might be the answer, or even a garage conversion if you have an integral garage. Similarly, do you have a self contained dining room and/or conservatory. It might be possible to turn either of those rooms into another bedroom on a weekly basis ...... perhaps redecorating it with SD's imput first off, something which would be equally acceptable for a dining room or a bedroom, and then move the table etc into the garage/shed/hall (as appropriate) when she stays over so it's definitely her room. You could get a really funky futon plus a big chest for all her stuff, maybe bedside lamp and other small personal things like cushions, beanbags etc which could either be stored elsewhere when she wasn't there, or even pushed into the corner of the room.

parachutesarefab Tue 07-May-13 10:38:28

Hard on DSD if she loses her room, hard on hypothetical new DC if they have to move out of their room every week. And lots of potential for a small person to meddle with big sister's things.

Turing dining room / garage / shed (solid home office type) into a bedroom is a good suggestion, as is a loft conversion. Or could you split one of the rooms? We turned a double into two singles. First we just used furniture as a screen (older DD walked through younger DDs bit to get to her room, so she had more privacy) - now we have a wall, and a new door (didn't need a new window, as there were two, but you might).

Look into options now, but wait and see what happens.

Petal02 Tue 07-May-13 10:43:01

I'll probably get shot down for this, but converting the house to accommodate someone who only stays one night per week, and lives 2 mins away from their main home, does seem rather excessive ........

theredhen Tue 07-May-13 11:36:22

I completely agree with petal although I know it goes against current opinions. If dsd prefers to sleep at mums house, then I really don't see why a room should be kept available at dads house if they don't have the space. Get a sofa bed and chest of drawers in the lounge for when she stays over. Make her welcome but dont start off your dc life by putting him/ her behind your dsd. he/she is entitled to a bedroom just as your dsd is. Give your little one his/her own room when they're old enough (a few weeks old in the case of my ds).

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