Originally Posted by ricemom3
I also would love to hear someone talk more to the concept of us keeping who we are, maintaining hobbies or other intests without feeling guilty. (Big problem for me)
I remember my mom saying that in college (before I was married) was my season for *me* I could do what I wanted when I wanted, and basically live a very selfish life. Now that I've got kids they do take up a lot of time and energy and attention. Of course I also have a spouse who needs time and attention, and I've got a house to clean and meals to cook and a dog to walk...I don't have so much time for me anymore. BUT, if I totally neglect myself, I end up with nothing left to give. It can be hard to find the happy medium, but I have learned to not feel guilty about taking some me time. I have a knitting circle that I go to one night a week. For a while I walked the dog with a neighbor so we chatted while we walked. Before we moved I went to a once-a-week playgroup where I could talk with other moms, and we had a monthly book club too. I allow myself nap time for computer time (and with a newborn it's nursing time on the computer too,
). I have realized what things "fill me up" and I do a little something pretty much every day, because it helps keep me going, and makes sure that I have something to keep giving.
Originally Posted by Arwyn
Have your teens wear your little one, especially when they're doing interesting things like working in the yard, going to a store you normally don't shop at, going to places you normally don't go (skate parks? not while skating, obviously, but to watch), or even just walking around the neighbourhood or doing chores. ...
Obviously you can't force this, without breaking the very relationship you seek to create, but often times siblings find it a fun thing to do, if it's introduced in the right way. They get to do something a little weird, a little cool, that maybe looks a little dangerous or at least daring, and can learn an unusual new skill. It's worth a try, at least.
As an oldest child who was well into my teens when the last few were born...
I heard somewhere the 'you love who you serve' and I have repeatedly found this to be true. When I married DH and adopted my first son he had a lot of anger issues about me--he wanted daddy (DH is his bio dad and had been a single parent since DS was 5m old). This 3yo would throw tantrums and yell "I hate you" and "I want daddy" and so on. He couldn't understand this new person who was changing so many things in his life...let me tell you it's hard to love a kid who tells you he hates you (particularly when you never got to see his cute innocent baby stage) But I also knew we were in this for the long haul so I set about learning to love him and earn his love too...I discovered that the best thing to do was to serve him. I made extra efforts to make his favorite foods for lunch, take him to parks, play games with him, read him his favorite stories, etc. I know that's a bit of a tangent, but the same principle applies to teens and much-younger siblings--if they care for them, they will connect with them. Obviously you don't want to make them resent the little one by asking them to change every diaper or carry the kiddo everywhere, but asking them to help with things (different things) on a regular basis will help them develop a loving relationship.
BTW, I would not ever assume that they are available to babysit...if you want teen sibling to babysit the little one, then hire them as you would anyone else--schedule it in advance, and pay them something for their work. I think a LOT of teens resent little siblings because they have to babysit all the time and it impairs their own social life, you know? But most teens would rather babysit their own sibling than someone elses kids if they got treated the same (ie, scheduled and paid). Don't take the teens for granted--respect them and that respect and love will filter down.