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Advice on dsd staying following sibling's birth

(73 Posts)
LittleLionMansMummy Thu 12-May-16 12:16:13

Dsd is 16 and absolutely wonderful. She lives with her mum but we see her every weekend and she's great with her little brother. We're very close and have always encouraged her to be part of the family. She can't remember a time when dh and I weren't together so there have never been any issues or problems between us.

We've never made the distinction between full/ half siblings between her and ds (5) and always wanted her to feel fully involved. So for example she was the first one I told I was pregnant on both occasions. She came to see her new baby brother the day I came out of hospital for a couple of hours etc. and we've been very careful to ensure she knows she's part of the family.

She has stated that when my second arrives in November she wants to come and stay to help out with ds so he doesn't feel left out etc. She's very excited and her intentions are so good and genuine. I love her to bits for it.

However, I know how I'll feel for a day or two following birth - exhausted, emotional, sore etc. I would fully want and expect her to come and meet her new sibling immediately for a few hours and will definitely encourage it. But it sounds like she wants to be around much more than that in the early days, stopping over etc. and I can't work out how I should approach it. The last thing I want to do is make her feel she's not part of it. However, she doesn't live with us and rarely stays the night any more (her social life is too hectic!) and I am aware that those first days are about finding a routine and trying to settle into normality with all those who live in the household and will be effected on a day to day basis by the change.

I'm someone who likes a bit of quietness to recharge my batteries even in normal situations. I often take myself off for half an hour when we have a house full so I can hear myself think. I love people but need alone time too.

I think I literally just wanted a couple of days to get over the birth, feel a bit more normal and begin to find a routine with feeding etc before she comes to stay for a while but I don't know whether I'm being unreasonable. I have no problem with her meeting her sibling for a couple of hours the day I come out of hospital and I know that dh will be great in terms of getting on and doing things around the house etc. I'm not worried about having to cook, clean etc but it would be a disruption to our normal living arrangements at a time when the family dynamics are changing again and we need to find a new 'normal'.

I mentioned my reservations to dh last night and he understood in one way, but quite rightly was disappointed and also wants her involved and would feel we're excluding her so is uncomfortable asking her for a little space. I feel like a complete bitch for feeling this way and just can't decide whether I need to suck it up, get on with it and tell her she can stay for as long as she likes or whether it's natural to feel like this. I want to see my parents too, but wouldn't want them staying for days. sad I really don't want to ruin the relationship we have with her so am erring toward telling her she can stay and just dealing with it however I can. It doesn't help that it'll be winter and our choices for getting out and about will be limited so we'll all be tripping over each other in the house.

Has anyone else been in the same situation? What did you do? Any advice? Could do without flaming though please, I feel bad enough as it is. I'm looking for advice rather than being told I'm being hypocritical or unfair.

plantsitter Thu 12-May-16 12:18:56

It is tricky; no flaming from me. Have not been in this situation though.

I would want to have a very open conversation about what the first few days with a baby is like and say that she is welcome to stay if she can commit to being bossed around and properly helping, and to understand that you may well be weepy, exhausted and demanding.

In the long term, I think you might be glad you did let her.

TrivLiv Thu 12-May-16 12:31:38

Not exactly the same but my DSD lives with us full time. She is also wonderful!

She was 17 when DD2 was born and she was a godsend. She entertained DD1 (4) and made a real fuss of her. And then one day out of the blue she turned and told me I was doing a great job!

It was a lovely bonding experience for us and I'm so glad she was part of it. This is coming from someone who also likes my space and quiet time. I actually managed to get more of that as DD1 was too busy following DSD like a little lamb.

I can understand where your concerns are coming from, but it might not necessarily be a bad thing.

BlossomMagic Thu 12-May-16 12:31:39

I think those first few days are more about getting through it, than "finding a routine". Also if she can help out with you 5yo then that'll be brilliant as you can look after the baby, establish bf, recover from the birth etc and DH can look after you.

If she were your DD not your DSD, she would be living there. If you want to make her feel part of the family, I think she should be allowed to be around. You can easily go off into a quiet room with the baby and have some time away from her. Alone time is obv not really going to happen with a newborn anyway.

OllyBJolly Thu 12-May-16 12:33:20

I do kind of agree with plant.

You have obviously done a tremendous job of building a seamless blended family and that is so unusual. And she sounds a lovely 16 yo- not sure either of mine would have been that caring at that age.

If this was your own daughter she would be around anyway. I think if you warn her that you will be tired/sore/grumpy/hormonal she might be a huge help.

Congratulations on your baby!

Bananasinpyjamas1 Thu 12-May-16 12:34:56

I've been through the same situation. Mine was a bit different, as my DP still had to work every day and I said that I would not be able to look after any step kids on my own in the first two weeks without DP there. Caused a real stink with the Ex! I was in hospital anyway for a week. One DSD in particular was adamant that she would help out, but in a slightly dominant, bossy and scary way! She was preparing to be a bit of a mother and I had a weary time, trying to ensure that my step children were all the first ones to visit us in hospital, to make a fuss of them, the first people to come around the house and stay with us etc. At the same time I had a glaring step child who kept telling me I was doing the wrong thing as I was trying to get to grips with feeding etc, she made it a battle of wills.

It sounds as if you have a lovely relationship with your DSD, and she genuinely feels included which is great. However, I do feel that in the early weeks, the mother, you, must TOTALLY take care of yourself and your baby as number one, it is a huge upheaval and your own bonding, feeding, and sleep need time and space to develop. If your DSD lived with you all the time then it would be more normal, but your DSD will not know this, and will be needing a lot herself if she is to stay over, which is not something that you can give.

This is an occasion where other people are not necessarily going to understand. But there are priorities, you and your baby are above your step daughter in the early weeks, and it would be good to be clear now to your DP that much as you love that your DSD wants to be involved, that it would be a lot better all round if she was given short visits, but the most important ones. She could be the first around, she could be given the job of telling some people in the family, she could be given the job of finding some outfits and presents, and buying food for you with her Dad, She could be the first, after you and her Dad to hold the baby. Make a big deal out of smaller visits and give her definite little jobs that are special, but staying for days when you and everyone will be really, really tired will mean that neither of you will have the time for her that she expects and it's just setting her up for disappointment.

Stardust160 Thu 12-May-16 15:39:33

She only wants to help with your other child I think it shows maturity of her part and I think you should be really proud of her for that. As Trix said her DSD was a godsend for her and was abig help. If you treat her as part of the family and one of the kids then there's no reason she shouldn't be there. If she was your DD she would be there regardless so what's the difference? By requesting your space then you in affect treating her differently. You wouldn't send your 5 year away would you? Why treat your DSD any different? You simply can't compare her to your parents she is and should be one of the kids. The fact of the matter if you've worked hard to include her then I think this might send the message that you don't see her as a permant fixture of the family but one that visits.

I ensured with both my pregnancies my DS who is from the previous relationship had family time and had that time with us not going to away to his dad's which he valued.

Lunar1 Thu 12-May-16 15:42:59

Where are you sending ds, could she stay with him to help look after him. Then there is no distinction to be upset about.

LittleLionMansMummy Thu 12-May-16 18:36:17

I suppose the difference is if she was my daughter she would already be living with us, therefore it would be 'normal' having her here all the time. It's hard to explain really. She's not a full time member of the household, which does impact on the dynamics a bit with a newborn.

I am very lucky to have her though and she is very mature and I know will be very helpful and understanding etc. I don't want to jeopardise our relationship or hurt her feelings and I know ds will love having her around.

I think I may just need to warn her about how I might be feeling after the birth as plant suggests.

Bananasinpyjamas1 Thu 12-May-16 19:35:56

Tbh, well meaning as some of the posters are - I would completely ignore the 'you wouldn't treat her that way if she was your own child' views. Look, your DSD is not a fragile teacup that will break if you and DP are kind but manage this well - she isn't your child and that is a HUGE difference.

And managing it, isn't to pretend that the madness of the first few weeks of a baby and a step child who is too young to have any idea about how ratty you and DP may well be, how tricky it could possibly be. If it was your own child then it would be easy to get across that they needed to leave you alone for a couple of hours as you slept and their Dad made tea, as you'd been up 5 hours trying to feed the previous day. There are too many factors that could go wrong. And if you have a lovely relationship - why risk a load of tension?

navylily Thu 12-May-16 19:46:23

Presumably she'll be at school or college in the day won't she in November? So even if she stayed you'd have a quiet time in the day with both her and DS out at school.

Could you think of some really useful things for her to do so that she feels helpful and involved and you get as much peace as possible? Eg, can she take and fetch DS from school? Cook? Hold the baby for a bit whilst you have a bath? I think a lot of mums to be would jump at the chance of a helpful pair of hands when there's a 5 year old as well as a baby to care for.

Could you make yourself a quiet sanctuary space in your bedroom where others don't come in, and you can get peace there when you need it?

Akire Thu 12-May-16 19:53:36

She sounds great, she's plenty old enough to take the others out for walks or park, help sort meals and cups of tea. Hold the baby while you go to the loo!

It's probable going to be busy with other family and friends popping in so its not like it's her or complete peace on your own.

Make the most of a few years she be very handy babysitter for the 3 of them!

Bananasinpyjamas1 Thu 12-May-16 20:02:00

OP - if you'd have said in your post that you were comfortable with your DSD staying, then all would be well. But you are not. And the reasons are fine, reasonable and valid. It is important that your DP backs you up on this.

LittleLionMansMummy Thu 12-May-16 20:09:40

That's true navy I was thinking that earlier. I'd actually be happier with her popping in and out (she has a front door key) to college and back again etc. I just have an issue with us all knocking around the house together all day. She also lives in a village 15 miles away so I wouldn't want dh spending his paternity leave picking her up and dropping her off, but she's fine with getting the bus (we live in a city).

I would expect the house to be busy with everyone the day I come home and then to have a few quieter days. Discussing it with dh earlier, we think we'll explain to her that it's going to be busy and quite overwhelming that first day so we'd love to see her for a couple of hours if she's not at college. Then we'll suggest that she goes home that night and comes back again and stays if she'd like. But I'll probably say that I'd prefer her to treat it like her home than a visit - pop in and out, see friends, have some time with ds, continue some normality which I think ds will appreciate and make her feel at home too and giving us a little time and space when she's not in the house. She really won't be any trouble, I know that - I just need to make sure she doesn't take it personally if I'm a little snappy or crave a bit of peace. I know she'll understand, she's a good girl.

Lunar1 Thu 12-May-16 20:26:53

If you really have to do it this way make sure your dh takes her home. Seeing you with her dad and half siblings together while she is sent home on a bus alone would be horrible for her.

LittleLionMansMummy Thu 12-May-16 20:36:23

I didn't say I'd send her home on the bus, I said I didn't want dh to spend loads of time doing shuttle runs. If she comes over I've said I'd be happy for her to stay. She regularly gets the bus from her home to our city (for shopping with her friends) or to friend's parties etc. I mean if she's coming here she should do exactly as she does at home - treat it as her house and come and go as she pleases. I don't know which of that translates as 'fuck off home on the bus, we don't want you here'.

Akire Thu 12-May-16 20:36:58

I would be very prepared for her to be upset by this, I can totally see your point of view but from a 16 being told yes your welcone, treat this like home, yes you are such a great help but no we don't want you staying over.... Dosnt quite add up. Will it really make a difference if she goes home or 9pm or stays over at goes bed at 1030? Presuming you be more likely off to bed long before that between feeds.

LittleLionMansMummy Thu 12-May-16 20:51:40

Akire I've said that the very first day, when it'll be busy and overwhelming, she may like to stay for a couple of hours. The days after that she can come and go as she pleases, including stopping over. I wouldn't be sending her anywhere at 9pm, but if there's a bed for her at ours then I wouldn't expect dh to have to drop her home in the evening instead of staying.

HelenaJustina Thu 12-May-16 20:51:47

If I were you I would:
Take her for coffee and cake and tell her a lot of what you said in your first post. What an amazing young woman she is, how much you love the relationship she has built with her brother, how that says a lot about her as a person, how much you value that.
Then chat about how you will feel I the early days. If she wants to come and help with DS she is absolutely more than welcome, you will really appreciate the extra pair of hands and someone to lavish attention on DS will really help while you get acquainted with your newborn.

The staying overnight thing is really up to you, but I would be inclined to let her. This is your 2nd, it is completely different to having your first baby. If you want to stay I bed and bond then do that, let her get DS lunch, take him to the park and have a few cuddles. Involve her in the newborns first bath perhaps? But make it clear how much you would like her to make DS her priority.

But I'm not you, you need to do it your way smile

LeaLeander Thu 12-May-16 20:59:02

I think you will bitterly regret it if you exclude her at what can be a bonding time for the ENTIRE family. She has made a loving, enthusiastic and kind suggestion and to imply that she will be more in the way than of help would be a real slap in the face. And one not soon forgotten.

People manage to have children and "establish a routine" when there are more than a couple of other people under their roofs, all the time, all over the world.
Don't forget this is not just YOUR baby, it is a new member of the entire family and her sibling.

She will be the child's older sister for life, in fact she may well be in its life for more years than you, as the future unfolds. She is not some distant "step" relative, and as such has an interest and (in my opinion) a right to share fully in its arrival and its first few days. Surely you can accommodate that as an investment in the entire family's future?

theendoftheshowshow Thu 12-May-16 21:00:33

In all honesty with your second it is totally different than when you bring that pfb home. Life just goes on. You do all the stuff you did before just with a newborn in tow. I can't see that having your dsd there will make much difference.

LittleLionMansMummy Thu 12-May-16 21:04:51

You're probably right theend and tbh that's what I want, for life to go on. But that first day of streaming visitors is the one I'm most concerned about. After that I'm more relaxed.

Stardust160 Thu 12-May-16 21:08:49

Lealander is completely right you seem to cast her aside as if she's not part of your immediate family because she isn't your blood and doesn't live with you. She is still your DP blood. What do you expect her to do take over with your baby. Saying she's welcome and it's home it one breathe but then on another you don't want her there. She will feel very much excluded. As I said would you treat your DS in this manner. She should be equal to all the children in this family. She only wants to help with brother to give a hand most would snap their hands off.

Stardust160 Thu 12-May-16 21:09:55

She isn't a vistor she is your DP daughter your step daughter she shouldn't be put in the same categories as visitors

HelenaJustina Thu 12-May-16 21:10:02

Then knock all other visitors on the head, but let her come and stay.

The first people to meet my DC (after DC1) were their siblings. We left everyone else until later. Our parents, my siblings, all waited until at least day 3.

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