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Good idea or bad? Caring for ex's new baby (my child's Half-sibling)

Poll Results: Is it a Good idea or a bad idea to care for your ex's new baby, which would be a half-sibling to your child?

This is a multiple choice poll
  • 63% (7)
    Yes
  • 36% (4)
    No, please explain why below.
11 Total Votes  
post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 

My fiance and I have been together for almost 2 years. We are a blended family, together we have 3 children, I have an 8 year old and he has two children ages 6 and 4.  We have my son full time and we have his part time.  He has joint legal and physical custody of his two children.  We have his children almost every weekend and for the whole summer full-time and every holiday as their Mom always works holidays. We take them anytime she needs us to.

 

His Ex is pregnant right now and is not married and not in a relationship.  The father to the new baby does not want the baby; he even offered to pay for an abortion.  He wants to sign away his rights. She is disappointed about this but still wants the baby. 

 

My fiance and I realize the new baby will be a half sibling to his children and we would like to keep them together and help her out.

So we have offered to help her, by caring for the baby on weekends when we have his two children so she can work.  

 

My questions are: is this a good idea or is it a bad idea?  Would this be confusing to our 3 children?  Are we just setting ourselves up for  heartache as she could put an end to us watching the baby at anytime?

post #2 of 16

I can't say whether it is a good idea or a bad idea, but I don't think you should avoid doing it because it might one day not work out. There are lots of parents who watch other people's kids and the child grows to be "part of the family," and it is sad when that relationship ends because the family makes other childcare arrangements or the child goes to school or whatever. But that doesn't mean it wasn't worth doing in the first place. Besides, you stepkids will still see their sibling when they are with mom, so it's not like they will lose their sibling, they would just spend less time together. 

My thought would be to approach it like a business decision-- is this something you are interested in doing? What would you put into place so that you still have some predictability and know ahead of time what the schedule is going to be. Who is going to be responsible for pick-up, drop-off, providing food, etc and how will that work? How much notice do you want if there needs to be a change, and how much notice are you willing to give if there needs to be a change? How would you handle it if there were times you couldn't take the baby (like if you are going on vacation or have plans that aren't suitable for a young baby)?

 

Depending on your relationship with mom, your ability to communicate, etc, it could work out really well, but it seems prudent to be up-front about any concerns and how you both see the arrangement working. 

post #3 of 16
Thread Starter 

Yes, I think you're right, we all do need to talk about the plan more.  I really didn't think about going on vacations but your right,  we would like to take the children camping and it would be difficult to bring along a newborn. And I didn't think much about who would pay for the formula, or if she would provide it to us diapers while we watch the baby or clothes.  She never breast fed her other children so I don't think she will this time either, formula is expensive and the cost of diapers can add up to. 

 

We have thought about what we would need to buy to take care of the baby, and we would need to buy some baby items.  I'm a real bargain hunter and often can find used items at a good price, so I'm sure I would be willing to purchase items I find at a good deal.  And I have a sister who has a 5 month old baby and she can loan me some items for free for the new baby.  

 

We are able to communicate well between us all.  We both have good talking relationships with our ex's, we don't fight with her at all.  I think we should get together and talk about our plans more.   I am slightly worried that others in my family may think the arrangement is strange, and wonder why we would be willing to do this. But we love children and I know how difficult it can be, being a single Mom with a baby. We are able to help her and would like to. 

post #4 of 16

It depends on how much leave from work she's taking, how she's planning on caring for the baby, etc.

 

I agree that when the child is older and his/her siblings go over to your house, you should consider inviting the younger sib along with. But that might have to wait until you're past the baby stage.

post #5 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by amanda4848 View Post

Would this be confusing to our 3 children?  

No more confusing than the situation they're already in.  I don't mean that to sound snarky - I'm serious.  My husband and I have a good relationship with my ex and his wife.  My husband and ex have taken their sons camping together.  My ex's wife hosted my baby shower.  Sometimes we celebrate holidays together - not just the kids' birthdays, but Thanksgiving and Christmas.  Is that level of interaction, cooperation and support weird?  100%.  Do our kids probably wonder sometimes, if Mom and Dad can get along this well, why are they split up and why do we have step-parents?  Probably.  Would it be better if we had shied away from doing any of these things, to observe what other people consider "normal" boundaries for blended families?  Of course not!

 

 

Are we just setting ourselves up for  heartache as she could put an end to us watching the baby at anytime?

Sure, potentially.  But you could deal with the same heartache if you were watching someone else's baby, or if your DH's ex discontinues the babysitting for some practical reason and not for spite.  If you're willing to do it, and she's willing to let you, it will certainly help the kids bond with their sibling.  I'd say do it and deal with what happens later, when that comes.

post #6 of 16

Of course there is potential for heartbreak.

 

And I don't think that it's a terrible idea.
 

post #7 of 16

We are in a similar situation, but because dad's wife has a teenager from a previous situation, we don't offer to "take all the kids" usually but because he is our girls' half brother, we celebrate holidays together when we can so that the baby will have all his family together. Our relationship with their dad and his wife isn't too great, she's pretty conniving and hard to deal with, and he's easily the flakiest person I've ever met, but if we had a better relationship with them I could see us looking after the baby more. He's also breastfeeding so it's not like we can take him overnight or anything.

post #8 of 16

There is always the potential for heartbreak where children are concerned. Only you (OP) know the ins and outs of your (you, your fiance, his ex, your ex) relationships with each other, so nobody else can really say whether it's a good idea or not. But, I certainly wouldn't shy away, just because you might have to change things in the future.

 

I loved my ex's nephew with all my heart when he was little...and then I didn't see him for several years after the break-up. It was hard. I'm still glad we were close when he was little, yk?

 

Heartbreak comes with caring about people, but I think it's worth it.

post #9 of 16

I agree -- sure, there's potential for heartbreak. And no, it's not a terrible idea.

In my mind, the sibling of your child is also your family. If you can spare the love, time, and money, I think it's a beautiful idea. I think the main thing is you'll need to be consistent throughout the child's life.

I was briefly in a similar situation -- my ex's wife was pregnant and they were going through a divorce -- complicated story, I know. The ex's wife (my son's stepmother) and I got along really well. When they were divorcing, we talked about letting my son and his half-sibling have a relationship. She wound up having a miscarriage, so that didn't happen.

post #10 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by Storm Bride View Post

Heartbreak comes with caring about people, but I think it's worth it.

luxlove.gif  Well-put!

post #11 of 16

I would do it.  And I think you are wonderful for considering it.  Other posters have already made a lot of good points.  But I say if you have the resources to care for the baby on the weekends, then it sounds like a sweet thing to do.  Sure you can come up with a time limit and all that if you need to. And her situation may change in the future, but I think kids are resilient and that they would be ok.  I'm sure they would still see their sibling other times.  But me and my ex are still close, and I know that we would do this for each other if it came up.

post #12 of 16

I am in a similar situation. My exh and I separated and while waiting for our divorce to be final he got his gf pregnant. We have always been close (me, my DP, him and his now ex-gf) but I would regularly watch his son from the time he was born until 2 weeks ago when they moved. We spent hoildays together, had family game nights, the whole shabang. My girls really appreciated the time, getting their whole family together, getting to be involved in their little brothers life. It really worked for all of us. I never hesitated for a second to help take care of the little man, I love him dearly and don't regret it for a second.

post #13 of 16

We are in the same situation. My fiance's ex is pregnant with another man's baby (the reason for their divorce). He has 5 kids with her. The father is no where to be found, and looks like she will be on her own with this baby. I feel bad that the poor innocent baby would have no father in her life, and I know my fiance would want to step in. I never thought of offering to care for the child while she works. I think that is a good idea, honestly.

post #14 of 16

I think it's a fabulous idea, especially if you have the resources and get along well ith the mother of the baby.

 

My sister has three kids. The first two share a father and the last kid has a different father. The father of the youngest has never been in his life (has actually only met him once at 6 weeks old).

But the father of my sister's two eldest kids never once took the youngest on a weekend. Never once bought a small christmas gift for him or anything. I always felt that was wrong. I mean, it is the mans right...as this kid was not his. But I always felt it wold have been the right thing to do would be to show respect and caring for the siblings of your children...even if they are not biologically related to you. They are the family of people who are special to you.

 

Will he be angry at the father of his siblings when he thinks about not having a father? Probably not, because it isn;t on is radar.

Is he jealous of them having a father? Yes.

Would it have enhanced his life to be able to also go on weekend trips? Probably.

post #15 of 16

I have a friend who cares for her husband's ex GF's baby several days a week. It allows the sisters to all be together, they are very close (the older girls are 11 & 5), and even though they are step sisters in this case, they have a beautiful bond. I say go for it, if the logistics work!

post #16 of 16

I think it is amazing for you to offer that.  There could be complications, but there are complications in life.  If you feel comfortable in your heart, go for it! 

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