How did you manage DSC and new DC?(32 Posts)
My DP has a 4 year old from a previous relationship. He is with us eow. He is a lovely boy and I have a good relationship with him.
When he is with us we do so much with him, it's so full on as we are trying to make the most of the little time we have with him. Especially my DP, he puts his heart and sole into making the weekend fun, active, interesting, full of learning and laughter for his little boy. This is obviously great. However, now that we are thinking of having our own children soon I am really concerned about how this would work. Would my children essentially only have their Dad eow (when dss isnt with us)?! Im struggling to see how it will balance but maybe I'm worrying for no reason and it will just "work". I'm concerned that our children will miss out maybe particularly in the early days and I'll be left holding the newborn on my own eow ;-)
I guess DSS would be at least 5 if we are successful having a baby.
Would love to hear of your experiences with this!
When I got together with DH, DSS was 11. We discussed having a child together, and there were many reasons why we decided not to, but one of the significant reasons, is the point you've just made. DSS's access weekends (EOW) were so intense, the access rota was very strict and often unrealistic in terms of logistics, and I fear a 'new' child would have been very much on the back foot.
DH is a lovely guy, and would NEVER have sidelined a new child intentionally, but the circus that surrounded DSS would have rendered it inevitable.
I always used to think that when a man started a 'new' family, there was a risk of the 'first family' children being pushed aside (which is very wrong) but it seems the reverse is more likely to happen, often due to guilt and/or a manipulative ex. Meaning the 'first' children are prioritised (frequently to the detriment of the 'new' children) to ease his conscience. Parity doesn't seem to be acceptable in these situations!
Thank you so much Petal. Your post made me quite sad, although I'm sure the choice for you not to have children has been the right one. I really couldnt imagine not having my own children (if I'm able). I really crave the feeling of having my own child, although I gladly do everything I do for my DP I do find the "stepmother" role almost completely thankless. Im not sure if I'm im the minority feeling like that. DSS is a great little boy but I struggle to have any (??) strong feelings towards him. That sounds awful as I do everything I can to care for and look after him when he is with us but there is little emotional connection there (on my part).
I dont have any friends who are step parents and really appreciate you sharing your situation. Ours too often feels like a circus! Thank you again.
I am also SM to a 4yo and have been in her life for the last 2 years.
I do feel like I have an emotional connection with her as she has never known any different. Although I haven't got children of my own, I think that I would treat them all equally. I have experienced a lot of my 'firsts' with her.
Like you, we have always put a lot of effort in to the activities that we do together to make the most of the little time that we have with her. I have always worried that if I were to have children with DP then they may feel sidelined and like we only do 'treat' things when DSD is with us. When DP's contact time was increased to a whole weekend EOW and half the holidays, we decided together that we would cut back on all of the treat days and try and slot DSD into our day to day life as much as possible. This meant to us that when we decided to have children it would be a natural transition to less treat days as we wouldn't be able to afford it as much and could resemble a 'normal' family as much as possible.
That doesn't mean that all we do is sit in and watch dvds. We still do lots on the weekends that we have her but have made the more extravagant days out less frequent and stick to the park, picnics, painting, baking etc.
I have also worried that she would struggle if we were to have children as it would mean that she would have to share our attention and would get jealous as she is so used to having ALL of our attention when she is with us. We noticed she was starting to get jealous of the attention my baby nephew gets. Recently we have decided to start encouraging her to 'self play' to help with this, it is something that kids would do naturally with an RP as an RP can not devote their whole time to a DC. So when we get in from days out to the park etc, we will tell her to go and play for a while so that we can 'sort out dinner' or something like that. This does seem to help and she is getting used to not having her at her beck and call constantly.
Thank you so much 1of, your post was really interesting and has made me think I should start thinking of ways to make this transition easier (rather than being scared of it!) The self play sounds like a great idea. DSS is OBSESSED with his Daddy :-) I can see it being really hard for him to share his attention as, like you say, we are 100% focused on him when he is with us.
Do you feel your DP would - unintentionally - try to overcompensate for the missed time with his DD and then your children might miss out? I think I'm probably being unnecessarily negative and need to change the way I'm thinking!
I don't think you need to worry, your dss only has his dad 4 days a month. Your children would have him all the rest of the time. I think it's fair enough that he is the focus of those 4 days. But maybe transition to less of a packed weekend. Time at home with his dad watching tv, washing up is important too.
Thanks Lunar, I agree re the packed weekends.
I guess our children would really only have him 8 days a month looking at it that way (with weekday working hours etc) but I totally understand what you mean. DSS will always be a priority, absolutely, I guess him being the "focus" is what I am thinking about. Is that right that our children could be sidelined half of the weekends with their Dad? I guess I don't see that as fair on them but I think we just need to think of ways to make the most of it. We'll have 9 months to get some ideas :-) Thank you for your post.
I have thought about this as well as I would like my own child in the future. I have a 5 year old DSD and she is an only child. She does not share well, she doesn't play well with others and she is very clingy to the point where she rarely wants to play on her own. When we have her my DP also makes it 100% about her to the point where I get sidelined so I also worry as you do.
I talked to him once about possibly having children in the future (I think he's happy with his one :/) and about being concerned it wouldn't be special for him because he already has the first family etc. He said if we ever did have them, it would still be special. I'm sure it would be the same for you!
I know it's different but if you consider a "normal" family, every child after the first is no less special. And any new baby requires more attention than the normal children, that's perfectly normal. I think should you have children, you should find a balance between your children and his, as they are both part of your family. You never know he may be thrilled to have a little brother of sister and want to spend his weekend with the baby.
Also I don't believe say, your step child, should be put before your child together, or vice versa. They are both 50% his childen, he can't ignore one set for a weekend, and you can't ignore his either. It's unfortunate that families split and these set ups happen but it wouldn't be fair to your children either to be put second.
I think Petal made a good point in saying that often it's actually the first families that are put first due to guilt and drama with exes. As if you start a new family together that is probably going to cause some friction with the ex. But what can you do?
On a positive note, a baby can be a powerful sign to a step child that their Dad and you are a family, that they have a sibling, it is a direct connection to you. It can help bind you. However, this can set off reactions in ex and kids who may resist that. I found my step kids were closest to me when I had a baby.
How are your children going to suffer because for 52 days of the year of which there are 365, their father spends a bit more time with their brother on 52 days of the year?
Your kids will get him 365, your SS gets him 52 days of the year.
DSS is obsessed with his Dad - because he sees him very little. Is that wrong?
He will learn to share and not be the centre of attention all the time and it will be hard, the same as a non blended family. He will probably love his siblings and the whole family will need to make sure all the kids feel involved and that will need a bit more effort for a child who sees so little of his father.
I completely disagree with the whole treat thing, my Ex does it with my two but includes all the children, drives me insane. I have pointed out that they are going to his house to be a family and do family things - abit of time on their own with their Dad but also, shopping trips, cleaning the car, gardening etc should be done as usual.
So yes, eow, a few hrs should be given over to DSS and his Dad having some alone time but not the whole weekend.
Sorry if I find harsh, but this is a v personal subject for me. My DCs have to share their Dad, so the treats are for all the children and they get no one on one time with their father. They are now old enough to voice their dislike of the situation and will point out that being able to cuddle on the sofa with Dad, for 2 hrs once in a blue moon is not depriving the other kids in the family of anything. They have him every night, not just once in a while.
I think that's the main thing. All the children should be seen and feel equal when they are with you and like a family.
I don't feel like any children I had would miss out with my DP but it would worry me that DSD may feel resentful if all her time spent with her dad involved other kids (and me!) it's always been important to me that she has time just with him as well and think that should continue even if we had children together. Although as a PP said step children may feel closer when they have a brother / sister at the house. Some one to play with other then adults!
Suppose it's just finding the right balance for your family. Everyone is different and every situation. From what I can tell parenthood is never easy and this would just be another challenge for you and DP to overcome together.
Thank you Annexx, that's really helpful. I agree neither child should be put first and I do everything in my power to make DSS feel happy and secure and loved when he is with us.
Bananas - this is so good to hear and I really hope this is how it works for us. DSS is a lovely caring little boy so hopefully he would warm to a sibling :-)
Lookluv - I was asking for people's experiences as I have no personal experience of how these things work in reality. There is, of course, absolutely nothing wrong with DSS being obsessed with his Dad. It's adorable and I like to think I have done a great deal to help support and nurture that relationship. I agree that all children need some one on one time with each of their parents, that isnt my concern. Thank you for your insight, its really useful.
1of - I completely agree and thank you again.
I have 2 x DSDs and we now have a DS. I worried about the impact on the DSDs exactly as you are, but was totally proved wrong - the girls completely took to DS the moment he arrived and the three of them are now thick as thieves when they are together. DS has made us much more of a family unit than we were before.
Of course they all fall out periodically like siblings do, but at a basic level they really get on and find each other hugely amusing.
No you were concerned that your future DCS wil have their weekends disrupted because of you DSS.
If you are lucky and with the good work you have done so far with your DSS, then it will not be a problem.
So often on this forum you see Step parents complaining about the disruption the step children bring and when you put it into context of days in a year, it is so small, yet seems to cause so much anger and resentment,
I found that yes, in the early days you will be left on your own every other weekend with the baby. Essentially it is you who will suffer, not the children! Your little one wont notice for several years if daddy is paying more attention to their brother whilst he is with your family, and will probably just be excited to see him. As long as your DH is sensible, and moderates what he does with DSS (ie, doesnt just ignore little one and take DSS for treats all the time) there is no reason why it cant work out fine! Sadly, my DH is not always so thoughtful, but it is me, not my DS that feels hard done by! It is something you need to be prepared for, that every other weekend means that you have to work a little harder, but as long as you can accept that, then there is no reason that it should impact the children too much. That is what i wish someone had told me before i had a child with a man who had a "first family" and accepting this would have saved me a lot of stress and tears! Sorry to sound all doom and gloom, but wanted to give you another point of view!
My DSS was 8 when our DD was born. He visited every other weekend and at no point did either of the children get preferential treatment. DH loves them the same. You will be too knackered after giving birth to care that much about days out at weekends anyway.
Peppa - that is amazing to hear, how great for your DS to have two fun big sisters, you must be very proud.
Lookluv - I am not some kind of a wicked stepmother character now and do not intend to be should we be lucky enough to have children. It isnt about "disruption", perhaps I did not explain very well. If we had a choice we would have DSS with us 100% of the time. We do not have that choice and so I wondered how others had managed this reality. I appreciate your experience of step parents may not be positive but please do not tar us all with the same brush!
Plumpy - thank you so much for your point of view, I really appreciate it! I hope things are getting easier for you now and I bet you have done an amazing job.
Tatiana - that's great to hear and I'm sure you're right re lack of sleep!
My DSD was 13 when we had DS. Her mum bought her to the hospital to see him when he was born and we also had a bump photo shoot done which she took part in.
My exH was a nightmare - we lived in a 2 bedroom house and the second bedroom was my DSD's. SHE suggested that we paint it a different colour as DS lived there and she visited eow and wanted to help choose a colour that was nice for both of them, but my exH refused. We went out when my DS was 3 weeks old and we (me and DSD) had a lovely day at a car museum but when we got in the car to come home, my now exH complained that I'd fed the baby too much and we might as well have not gone out!
Even though I have split from her dad, I still see my DSD and we go away together. Her and her brother adore each other.
In a 'together' family, it’s quite acceptable for a new baby to bring changes to the household - different routines, maybe a move around with bedrooms etc, and no one bats an eyelid at this, it’s just part of family life.
But different expectations seem to apply with blended families; anything which may impact (even temporarily) on the routine of the non-resident child is frowned upon - which makes me question the term 'blended' because in my experience, very little blending actually takes place; whichever arrangements were in place when the parents first split up seem to have to remain set in stone, irrespective of any other life events taking place.
There have been many threads from pregnant step-mums, wondering what on earth to do if their baby is due on an access weekend. In a 'together' family it's quite ok for siblings to be despatched to other relatives when labour starts, but it’s very contentious to suggest a non-resident child should be similarly despatched, or (god forbid) delay/change an access visit.
I hadn't been with DH very long when I had a minor operation, and my admittance/discharge coincided with an access weekend - and DH's biggest panic was that DSS's normal pick-up/drop-off times weren't altered, and I will never forget that he literally sprinted out of the hospital because he didn't dare ask the ex for any sort of 'variation' that weekend. Everything in our lives was geared around maintaining the access status quo at all costs - no element of flexibility would be considered, and it would have been VERY difficult to bring a 'new' child into this.
Petal02 I find that very unfair of your DH. Switching a few days/times around in rare circumstances for things like operations should be totally viable. As someone else mentioned in together families this is done often when needed. And if my partner missed me going into labour because he was on the bus picking his daughter up instead of requesting a rearrangement I would not be happy. Not once in 3 years has he requested that, even when he father died. As such I would hope the ex would be understanding and the same for anyone in that situation...
I was a step child as well so I don't say these things due to a lack of care. I would have understood if I couldn't go to my dad's for a day or two or it had to be rescheduled in emergency circumstances, or not being able to be at my mum's etc. I cared a lot more about playing with my siblings, friends, toys than I did wanting my parent's attention. The main issue is parents squabbling over who's turn it is to be a parent.
Annexx I agree with your comments, however the problem with some men, is that they're so terrified of upsetting their child, or the ex, or both (and therefore jeopardising contact) that common sense goes out the window. DH is a really decent guy in every other respect, but when it came to DSS, his desperation brought out some unpleasant traits.
I had a similar experience when I was taken into hospital and DP didn't even visit me due to it being a contact time. It can be very lonely sometimes.
Def not tarring everyone with the same brush and not saying you are going to morph into evil stepmother
- just trying to put come context in to the discussion. I have heard too many times that eow takes up too much of "their" time.
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