joint custody new sibling? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 15 Old 11-01-2006, 09:48 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Hi all - I'm a mother to a wonderful 3 1/2 yr old dd, and her father and I have been split for 2 years now, with joint physical and legal custody. He and I both live with new partners (and she rocks...I only hope he holds on to her as an amazing SM for my girl!)
My new dp and I are ttc, and my fear is that if we have another child, when my daughter goes back and forth and the new child stays with me all of the time, my daughter will feel less "my girl" than before, and not as much a part of the family. It would kill me if she felt this way (almost enough to make having another seem too unfair).

On the other hand, my dp and I cannot wait to give her a new baby brother or sister. I wonder how any of you bio-moms have handled sharing time with one child (which already breaks my heart when she goes) and having another child full-time. How has it affected your dc? Any approaches to make it easier for everyone?
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#2 of 15 Old 11-01-2006, 10:10 PM
 
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Babe ~ I can totally relate to your feelings! Although my DD was older than yours when we had our baby, there were still emotional issues.

First of all, I don't think that all of these feelings can be completely eliminated, but I think intact households have to deal with it, too. The older child is going to feel a bit displaced no matter what the set-up is. However, I think that there is alot that can be done to lessen the impact. Just the fact that you are concerned about it will go along way towards making it easier for your DD.

What we did was make DD feel like she was a big part of everything. With your DD being 3.5, you will have to make it age appropriate, but there are so many things you can do. Talk openly with her about the positives and the hard parts, too. Whatever you do, don't pretend like nothing will change. It will, but make her a part of the change. She could help pick names, baby things, etc.

of corse, just keep giving her the love and reassurance you already do, and I am sure you can get through it! As she gets older, your actionswill speak volumes -- she'll know you love her.

Good luck!
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#3 of 15 Old 11-02-2006, 03:04 AM
 
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My dss was 8 when we had ds. He goes to his mom's 2-3 days a week. I had the same concerns. It went smoother than you'd expect. In fact, sometimes he liked going over there just to escape the baby-ness (tiptoing around naps and crying at night and wiped out parents) at this house. I was often glad he had another home to have space and be noisy. We obviously are careful to not do big, exciting things when he's not here, but we still mess up (You guys had PIZZA when I was at my mom's?). I don't know if there is a solution. Just be aware and realize that intact families would have issues, too. As they get older (dss is in middles school) it is less obvious that he is coming and going. Sometimes he's officiallly here but is off at a friends or off doing HW. He's busy. I think he sees it as an age thing (little bro is home with the parents while big dss is off exploring the world) rather than a step/blended family thing.
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#4 of 15 Old 11-04-2006, 01:36 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks so much mamas! It's comforting to know others have done it and that your kids are just fine. That mama guilt is just no good, but powerful stuff!
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#5 of 15 Old 11-09-2006, 01:37 AM
 
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I can completely related to everything that has been said. I have 12 y.o. twin girls that have been going back and forth 50/50 since they were 5 and a dsd that has been with us summers and holidays since she was 6. I also now have a ds and dd with new dh.

As for parental guilt - got that too - I always say the only reason I have two cats is parental guilt! (I am terribly allergic to cats, but gave in)

The advice about involving everyone in the new baby seems the best advice you can get. That and reassuring the children that go back and forth that they are always loved. I have told my girls over and over again that they can call me anytime when they are at their dads - day or night, 3 p.m. or 3 a.m. (and they have) I think this reassures them that even though you are apart and with other children, they are still important and you are there for them.


Be prepared for some jealousy. We definitely had that with the DSD the most. I think what has helped in this case is time with just Dad for her. More recently, my 12 y.o. have really needed time with just me. A two hour dinner with Mom can do wonders.

Please don't get the wrong idea - it has actually worked well for us. I think being aware of the potential pitfalls and planning ahead will make for a wonderful experience.

Good luck -it can, and will be, wonderful.
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#6 of 15 Old 11-12-2006, 01:32 PM
 
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With my dd, I have always talked about how lucky she is to have so many people in her life who love her. She likes going to her dad's house because it is something special...just for her...that her sibs don't get to do. I have encouraged this way of thinking...making it a gain instead of a a loss for her.

Eden yikes.gif, working on a PhD in Education mama to Laurelleshamrocksmile.gif (16), Orijoy.gif (6), Yarrowfaint.gif (4) and Linusfly-by-nursing1.gif (1) partner to Brice. 
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#7 of 15 Old 11-13-2006, 11:34 AM
 
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I am so happy to find this thread! My DS is almost 4 and I am pregnant with baby #2 right now. DS sees his dad 2-3 days a week and I am so worried that when the new baby comes DS is going to think we love the baby more because the baby gets to stay with us all the time. I've cried over this several times.

I'm so happy to hear that others have similar arrangements and it works out ok. It makes me feel a lot better.

Zen doula-mama to my spirited DS1 (2/03), my CHD (TAPVR) warrior DS2 (6/07) & a gentle baby girl (8/09)
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#8 of 15 Old 11-13-2006, 01:23 PM
 
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Just a little hello to the other mamas in similar situations! I have two kiddos from my prev marriage, ages 4 and 5. And I am halfway through my first pregnancy with my dh. (His first babe as well) The kids have already told me that the new baby will not go to Daddy's . Well, actually they said that the new babe will not HAVE to go to Daddy's. That is the sad thing in our situation. They love my ex, but they hate the lack of control they have over the situation. I honestly don't think we are going to have issues with them not feeling the love, but with jealousy that new babe won't have to leave home when they do. Again, they really do love my ex, but he has some big time control issues, and they hate not getting to make any choice in the matter, you know?

And HI! to Jillian! How far along are you?

Shelley, mom to dd 5/19/01, ds 9/06/02, and ds 4/01/07.  Lost babe 4/09

belly.gifDue 12/18/12!

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#9 of 15 Old 11-13-2006, 08:07 PM
 
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I'm in a similar situation, as well. I have a 6 and an (almost) 4 year old from my first marriage. My husband and I are expecting another child in December.

I don't worry so much about the children feeling like an integrated part of our family, because they don't spend much time away from our home, and because they're involved in every aspect of our home life...my concern is more for the emotional difficulty that my children may have in being separated when the older two are with their dad.

I hope that this isn't much of an issue as the kids grow up. For now, dad won't have the kids for more than a few days at a time, and neither kid wants more at this point...so it's not a pressing issue.

Cami, wife to a guy and mom to some kids. Expecting someone new in Februrary!â¢â¢â¢â¢5â¢â¢â¢â¢10â¢â¢â¢â¢15â¢â¢â¢â¢20â¢â¢â¢25â¢â¢â¢â¢30â¢â¢â¢â¢35â¢â¢â¢â¢40
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#10 of 15 Old 11-14-2006, 12:10 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jilian View Post
I am so happy to find this thread! My DS is almost 4 and I am pregnant with baby #2 right now. DS sees his dad 2-3 days a week and I am so worried that when the new baby comes DS is going to think we love the baby more because the baby gets to stay with us all the time. I've cried over this several times.

I'm so happy to hear that others have similar arrangements and it works out ok. It makes me feel a lot better.
I had the same thoughts, but I don't think that dss ever felt that way. He is jealous (like I said before) if we go to pizza on a night when he isn't here. The thing I forget is that this is dss' s only life. He doesn't have many preconceived ideas about how it is supposed to be. He doesn't know that he is supposed to only have one dad and one mom and they should all live in the same house and all the sibs should share the same house. That isthe experience of many parents, but it isn't his and he seems remarkabley ok with it all. He particularly enjoys the extra Christmas, extra birthday, etc.

My younger son is always missing his older brother when he is away at his moms. He became facsinated with dh's ex for a while. He'd say, "Mama, I'll be (brother) and you be (exwife)" !!! What a game to play! He started imagining that her house was like Disneyland, the mysterious place where his big brother goes. We get along now, so once in a while I actually bring him there and we hang out a while and he sees big bro's other room, etc. They both enjoy that.
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#11 of 15 Old 11-14-2006, 03:48 PM
 
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Originally Posted by BathrobeGoddess View Post
With my dd, I have always talked about how lucky she is to have so many people in her life who love her. She likes going to her dad's house because it is something special...just for her...that her sibs don't get to do. I have encouraged this way of thinking...making it a gain instead of a a loss for her.
I cant relate since we dont have 50/50 physical, but this is what we tell our "travelling" kids. (lacking a better word right now)
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#12 of 15 Old 11-15-2006, 02:39 AM - Thread Starter
 
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How amazing to have stumbled upon this mini-tribe! I'm definitely appreciative of your wisdom and experiences- especially the reminder that there is no "dysfuntional" from a kid's perpective, only their "normal", as long as they are loved and healthy in their home(s) .
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#13 of 15 Old 11-15-2006, 12:03 PM
 
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Just wanted to add, the day my kids realized they get 2 Christmas' was the best day EVER for them!
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#14 of 15 Old 11-17-2006, 12:32 PM
 
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My dd1 was eight when dd2 was born last year. Dd1 spends 3 days a week with her dad, who is single with no other kids. Things that have helped were totally involving her in my prenatals, tracking the baby's development and DEFINITELY having her at the birth. The baby and her bonded instantly.

I'm not going to lie and say I like our situation. I worry about my girls' relationship and the strain and confusion that sissy leaving causes to both girls. Dd2 really misses her sister, is overjoyed to see her step off the school bus when she comes home and will sometimes go to her bedroom door and cry when she isn't here with us. I wonder if sometime in the future, dd1 will decide that she wants to change her schedule to either be with dd2 more or be with her less since it's just her and her dad at his house. I know things can change over time, but it's so true that this is her "normal".

The other thing that's really helped dd1 deal with a HUGE adjustment to a new sibling is to spend one on one time with her. Could be during the baby's nap, could be a special outing. I still tuck her in to bed each night and read to her for 20 minutes or so too. She is now becoming more of a mother's helper. I don't really want to put her in that position (didn't like my mom doing that to me), but she really WANTS to help with the baby and I welcome their bond in that way too.

Thanks for starting this great discussion.

Me : living with and loving papa and the kids: Dd1 8/97 , dd2 8/04 and my sweet baby ds 5/09 : :
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#15 of 15 Old 11-30-2006, 01:53 PM
 
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My Dh and I are ttc. we have a ds that is 10mo and I have a dd that spends most of her time with her dad 7 hours away. not a great situation to begin with. my biggest concern with having another child is that when she is here that she will not be as close to her other sibs and will feel like an outsider
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