Decisions about children with SO

darfawndaMarch 8, 2010

Ok, here is the situation. I am engaged to my SO who has a DD7 that lives with us every other week (50/50 with BM). She is a great kid that listens well and is far from spoiled or materialistic. My SO would love to have another child both for himself (he loves being dad) and also for his DD. I had never really had the desire for kids, but I became a nanny for some great kids right before meeting him and then my sister had a baby recently which got me thinking about the possibility. I realize also that many of (what I view as) downsides to having a child already exist in the situation of me becoming SM, so suddenly having my own baby feels like much less of a lifestyle change (sort of like I'm being eased in to it every other week).

I do worry however about a few things that I assume some of you have experience with:

Age difference/sibling rivalry - If we have a kid it will mean an 8, 9, 10+ year age difference, plus SD is an only child in both BP houses right now. Also, BM is most likely never going to have another child unless she dumps her fiance and marries someone with a lot more money (she works part time retail and he works a min wage job). Will this cause problems? She may have a few years before puberty to adjust, but when the teen years hit I worry about the feelings of jealousy and other irrational teenage emotions that might be aggravated due to a toddler being in the house.

Schedule/emotional management - How do you manage a schedule with a full time demanding infant and a somewhat self sufficient half time SD? I worry about it seeming that I care more about my BC. Also, I honestly think I will love my BC more than I will love my SD. Even though I know my SD's BM loves her to death and she has no need for a SM to "fill the gap" I worry that if I do love my own child more (since I am their only mom) I might become that evil step mom....

The BM - She tends to get jealous that we can provide more for SD. Bigger house, more gifts, etc. She gets mad at BD sometimes and uses shopping trips to try to buy SD's love which is so completely unnecessary (that little girl LOVES her BM, which I think is wonderful even though her BM feels insecure). She creates problems when it comes to holidays or special occasions and I worry that us having a child together will just make it worse.

I guess in general I feel open to the possibility of us building a family together and am happy that my SO wants to have a baby with me. We have discussed how having a child together would mean having one set of rules for all of the children (age appropriate of course) and he has been very open to allowing me to be active in the parenting of his daughter (he of course is the main disciplinary though). I feel good that we are working as a team on the parenting front, but I'm still incredibly nervous about taking the step of having a child when having a SD seems pretty scary on its own! Any thoughts or personal experiences with this type of thing would be helpful. Thanks!

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welcome here! those are all very valid questions, it is great that you considering all ups and downs of having children instead of just having kids without even thinking what that means...

I am not able to answer to too many questions and I think some other ladies on this forum, who have young SKs and BKs at home, will be more helpful.

I can say just couple of things. People often talk about children jealousy or rivalry but i am yet to meet anyone in real life who has that. unless your family is dysfunctional, which it does not sound to me, you should not experience that. My daughter was ecstatic when her dad had a baby, DD22 is 12 years older than her brother. My nephew is 12 years older than his sister and he was very happy and also very helpful. But when my brother first brought the news to his son, he looked somewhat apprehensive just because he was shocked LOL, but it turned out OK.

Also I think one day we will be gone and kids will only have each other. If she is the only child, she will have no one.

As about BM. Well, I am a BM who does not cause any problems, but when my ex started having more children I did worry a bit that he would start ignoring DD or giving her less attention. Turned out I worried for nothing, he treats all his 3 children the same. I never told him that I worried, but I sure did. Maybe if you decide to have more children your fiancee could tell his ex that it does not mean ignoring hsi daughter, it means she will have a sibling. And isnt it great!

I do hope you decide in favor of having a child!

    Bookmark   March 8, 2010 at 6:23AM
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My two boys are five years apart and have different dads -- I am BioMom to both. And there has been no jealousy. With an age difference that big, I think the 'typical sibling rivalry' is avoided.

Now it's likely the older child will be annoyed by the baby's constant demands for a while. But you can agree with her on that -- Baby's too young to realize it and it's absolutely true. Give her the chance to pitch in as much or as little as she wants and really play up the 'Big Sister' deal, and you might find you have a very loving and nurturing helper.

You're right to anticipate that having your own child might change the way you feel about your step. But if you anticipate that, work to avoid it, and are able to build a nurturing relationship between the older girl and the baby, you might be surprised. It's easy to love someone who loves our children.

I'd watch and wait for a while to be sure Dad is the one you want to spend the rest of your life with. And if he is, get married first. There's just nothing like a permanent commitment to help solidify a relationship and build a stable home and family.

    Bookmark   March 8, 2010 at 11:38AM
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"With an age difference that big, I think the 'typical sibling rivalry' is avoided."

I think there is a lot of truth to this.

My SS is almost 8 years old. When he was 5.5, his BM had another baby. EVERYONE expected SS to be jealous/act out, etc. but it never happened. He loved his baby sister from day one. She is 2 years old now, and he's really never had any bouts of jealousy or rivalry with her. I think the big age diff. between the two of them is a big factor in why.

My DH & I have been TTC a bio-child together for over 2 years now and have recently moved onto international adoption. (We have 2 kids between us, both almost 8 yrs old.) By the time we bring our baby home, our kids will probably be 9. The baby will be an infant under 12 months of age.

I cannot tell you how EXCITED they are. I really think it is such a great age to have another baby---the kids are old enough that they've got school and friends and their own activities, so my guess is the *jealousy* will be minimal, if even at all.

I think your SD will be the same way. It sounds like she's a well-adjusted child, and her dad plays an active role in her life. I think that is important, and the fact that she is with you 50% of the time will lead her to have a great sibling relationship with this child. (I'd be more concerned about jealousy if she had limited time with her dad and saw you having a baby as a "replacement" for her.)

Ditto Sweeby about making sure this is the guy you want to be with, etc.

    Bookmark   March 8, 2010 at 2:48PM
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Thanks for the initial responses as they really help to ease my mind. I am definitely all for taking my time and making sure this is the right relationship before adding the commitment of a child. I've been married before when I was very young and was so grateful that we never had kids to keep us tied to one another for the rest of our lives. I've actually been going to see my therapist monthly to help me work through the emotions of so many changes in my life and I told my fiance that I wanted to wait a year before making any wedding plans. I'd rather focus on what is really important (our relationship) vs. planning a wedding. We are both in our late 20's, so I would prefer to decide on having kids by 30, but mainly was feeling pressure about SD getting older - but it sounds like you all agree that it shouldn't be a concern!

Sounds like I need to start working on a 5 year plan with my SO to get through wedding plans, financial planning and then possibly expanding on our family. One step at a time! :)

    Bookmark   March 8, 2010 at 6:43PM
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I think with that much of an age difference there shouldnt be much sibling rivalry. I also think parents can do a lot to cut down on sibling rivalry. No comparing of kids. Treating all kids with love and fairly -- which doesnt mean equally. My siblings and I are close because my parents did all that.

    Bookmark   March 8, 2010 at 9:02PM
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"Treating all kids with love and fairly -- which doesnt mean equally."

Well said -- How can you possibly treat two kids 'the same' when they're 10 years apart? Or even when their personalities and temperaments are very different -- Yet I hear all the time how parents try to do that...

    Bookmark   March 9, 2010 at 10:06AM
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"Treating all kids with love and fairly -- which doesnt mean equally."

That is the key to keeping jealousies and sibling rivalries down. My son does experience jealousy from his much older half brother and older nephew. However, there is major dysfunctionality in that family and in truth, DH has not necessarily treated them all fairly. My DS7 does get the lions share of affection, resources and so on.

I agree with all above though, in healthy situations the older kids usually LOVE the idea of a baby brother or sister. Just be careful not to lean too hard later for babysitting as that will not be appreciated. My SD36 is still quite bitter that she had to babysit her younger brother, SS30 a great deal.

You are wise to be thinking through these issues now. I certainly didn't and have paid the price!

On BM, if she is jealous now, and the new baby gets more love, attention, toys clothes etc from you and your SO watch out! Especially if a new, nicer, larger house is added. That is your wild card. But, if she thinks her kids are being treated fairly when the baby comes, she should be OK. If she thinks the new baby has a silver spoon and hers have plastic, keep your flak jacket on!! This is a good time to get your potential skids college funds going. Sounds a bit much but all BMs want to know their kids are protected when the new baby or babies come along in a second marriage. Their fears are legitimate and universal.

For all of the issues posted on this board, having a baby (or children later) in your life is a wonderful thing.

    Bookmark   March 9, 2010 at 11:21AM
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