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Thread: Having more babies and impact on village

  1. #1

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    Default Having more babies and impact on village

    As a number of you would know, I'm in 'negotiations' with DH about having #3 hahaha. But one thing that keeps coming into my head is the reaction I will get from my village.. which is essentially my mum.

    My mum is just fantastic, she's always popping in and giving me a break from the kids, she takes DS off my hands when he's driving me batty LOL, and was great whilst I was pregnant with both of them, during m/s etc.

    But since we have the 'usual' family of 2 kids, and we got both a boy & a girl, I can't help feeling that if I have another, that I'd be pushing my village too far, and that the reaction will be that I wanted another one, I have to deal with it. I have my bad days with 2 (but don't we all? please say we all do LOL) and I do feel if I have a 3rd then I probably would need mum, possibly more.. altho it would be in a different way as time goes on.. DS is much easier for her to look after these days, he helps in the garden etc etc.. not as tiring as a toddler like DD at 16 mths. Plus DS is at preschool 2 days a week etc.

    So I guess my question is.. does anyone else feel like this? Surely I'm allowed to rely on my village somewhat? We don't have to be supermums and do it all on our own do we? I could try to make my village larger, and I think I'll make the effort with other local mums to do kid swaps & things like that.. but how much does this kind of thing weigh into your decision to TTC?

    i hope my post made sense. I know mum would help me out no matter what, but she isn't young, she's 75, and I can't shake the feeling it would be selfish to have another if I rely on her support. Yet at the same time, I should have a village shouldn't I? Perhaps it feels a bit like a one-way village, and that makes me feel bad. Perhaps I do need to expand my village to other mums or something so it's more 2-way with regards to children. I do a fair bit for mum as well, just not kid related.

    OK.. thanks for reading my ramble. Any comments would be appreciated


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    I understand what you are saying. We have told my mum that we are expecting number 3 and she squealed down the phone with excitement - she loves all her grandkids. But after the initial excitement, every time she is on the phone with me now, all she does is tell me how much I will have my hands full, it will be so difficult etc etc etc. And I think - well - I'd like to think that I got pregnant because the universe thinks I can handle it, and I may not have the same faith in myself - but I'm sure I'll be ok.

    We haven't told my IL's yet - because all my FIL will say is "oh well, still early days, anything can happen" and its really discouraging to hear that when you want some excitement. But I can't expect any support from them, cos they don't give us any support now - so I'm kinda used to it.

    We are planning to move away from "The Village" after this baby is born - so I won't have any support. The thought is scary - but kinda exciting and "grown up" all at the same time

    I think if its right for your family - it'll all work out in the end.

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    I'm the type that can cope if I have to... mum went away to the UK for 2 months and I survived just fine.. just that when her help is here.. I tend to use it! LOL. So it's not really that I'd HAVE to have her help, but it is playing a part in my mind that it feels a bit selfish that me having another baby impacts her too. I don't think I'd actually let it stop me having another, but I kinda need to be reassured that it's OK to have some kind of reliance on a village. We have such a supermum mentality these days.. it's hard to let yourself rely on others.

  4. #4

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    Quote Originally Posted by Liz View Post
    . I know mum would help me out no matter what, but she isn't young, she's 75, and I can't shake the feeling it would be selfish to have another if I rely on her support. Yet at the same time, I should have a village shouldn't I? Perhaps it feels a bit like a one-way village, and that makes me feel bad. Perhaps I do need to expand my village to other mums or something so it's more 2-way with regards to children. I do a fair bit for mum as well, just not kid related.
    Yes, you do have to expand your village. If it's just your mum, its not a village mate. And in the nicest possible way, she has done enough for you! You can't play the village card on your mum

    xoxoxo

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    I think about this too Liz. We are lucky to have a really good village (mostly family). But I am constantly aware of not using them 'too much' (how much too much is, I'm never entirely sure). And I do think about what I can expect from them if we go on to have three children. I do think that I could 'push them too far', particularly my family. The ILs would not be at all judgemental (although they all have bigger families) and would help out no matter what.

    My mum is my main help. She looks after DS while I work, which is currently one day a week. Until recently it was two days, and I found that with mum also working two days, and both of us having busy lives it meant that we didn't really spend any time together. I think me dropping back to one day will mean that we have maybe one day a fortnight when we are both free to go out and do something together, or just for me to go over there for lunch or something, which is nice. Also, when mum had DS the two days I really didn't like to ask her to do any other babysitting for us. Occasionally she would, but I didn't like to have her do it all the time. She is only 55, but she still gets worn out! My PIL are great with having DS now that he's a bit older, so that is helpful, though I tend to only ask them when we're going out in the evening once in a while. My SIL and her family love to have him, but they live 40 minutes away, in the opposite direction from pretty much anywhere we'd be going! One of my step-sisters is very happy to have him too, but there are a few reasons (family politics ) why I don't like to do that too much, so he only goes there occasionally.

    SO, I think about what I'll do during my next pg, during which I'm assuming I will be as sick as I was last time. My mum will help, but can only do certain days. My PIL will help, but although retired they also have weekly commitments. Also, they are about 70, and I'm aware of not asking too much of them. Beyond that I don't really like to ask anyone to do much on a regular basis. Now, if we decide to have a third child, that will be interesting. Chances are I would be sick while pg again. That means two children to care for, although we can assume that DS will definitely be at kinder, probably more likely school by then. Maybe even our second child will be at kinder. My mum mightn't be working then. So that all helps in some way. BUT, my stepdad is currently 73. Not that he acts it ATM, he works a 50 (at least) hour week, and they have a busy family and social life. But the reality is that at some stage my mum may well be busy caring for him, and have less time to dedicate to us. Or not want to have noisy kids in the house all the time with a sick and/or elderly husband. That might be next week, it might not be for 10 years, it might never happen. But it's a distinct possibility. There is also the reality (although I hate to think of it ) that mum will be on her own at some point. Again, that might not be for a long time, but who knows? I know that if she's on her own she would spend alot of time helping us out (not that I am wishing for that AT ALL).

    So there are alot of things to think about. My dad and stepmum currently live interstate, but who knows, they might move back to Melbourne, and live close enough to help us out! I have some good friends with kids, and as they all get older we might be able to help each other out a bit.

    Liz, I totally get where you're coming from, particularly in regards to your mum's age (and age of the kids!!!). I think that you will be able to cope, even without much help from your mum. Given that your current kids will be older, maybe at school/kinder etc, you will have more time on your own (with your pg belly, and then baby of course!). Help, particularly from family, is almost always welcome, but many survive without it. Yes, they probably do it harder than those who do have help, but they survive. I'm sure you would too

    ETA I just realised how long this is!

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    I am insanely jealous lol.

    Personally I dont think you should go into this with your mum helping you out in your mind - just in case. Of course the extra help if and when available is appreciated, but it can't be demanded as such - I don't think that is fair.

    Unfortunately I am in the situation of having no family support whatsoever here - and whenever we visit our family NOONE ever takes my kids off my hands for a few hours - hence me being jealous My friends here have also got little kids and sometimes cant cope with 1 so I am guilty because I dont think it is fair to inflict my 3 on anyone for a couple of hours Do you have friends like that??

    And I am exhausted - in all honesty, stuff gets done, kids get to where they have to be, they are clean, fed, clothes washed - but my house leaves a bit to be desired, I see past the mess somedays - but I have to for MY sanity. My husband also travels and is away 2 - 4 nights per week - and whilst I know this is the life we have somehow chosen LOL, I hate that my family never offer to help - and we now have my MIL and my dad and step mum who have retired!!!

    So accept the help when it is offered, but dont expect it to increase with your family size IYKWIM.

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    So accept the help when it is offered, but dont expect it to increase with your family size IYKWIM.
    Mmmm, see if anything, I expect to decrease with our family size. That probably doesn't make sense at all, but I know what I mean LOL. Sort of like, the more we have and the older we get, the more we should know what we're doing?????

  8. #8

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    Yeah, well that's what it's feeling like. I do have a wider village, but I don't call on it with regard to the kids much if that makes sense. The few times the kids drive me nuts she helps out, even if it's just sitting in the back room with them while they play. She does her knitting or whatever while they play. I take those opportunities to go and get my washing in in peace etc.

    OK, this will sound bad, but I'll say it anyway LOL. I don't ask her to drop in all the time, she just does, and this gives me a bit of a break, just coz it's a change for the kids, to have someone drop in etc. She's not necessarily 'doing' anything, but it does help. It's only a few times that she's taken DS coz I'm ready to throttle him LOL. She doesn't do nappy changes or anything like that, just provides us all with her company Which is all I really feel I need from a village anyway... Even with a newborn, she doesn't necessarily help with the baby, but rather she reads to the toddler or something. It's not hard yakka that I'm asking of her.

    Like I said, I do feel like there are others I could call upon if I needed to, but there's a reluctance there, coz I don't really need much, so I just deal with it, and with mum always here, she just helps take the pressure off a bit.

    Hope that makes sense. I'm not ungrateful for mum's help, but I don't necessarily 'need' it. All the same tho, she comes to mind when I think about having another. Altho, during first tri I DO need help, I'm a hopeless couch potato when I've got m/s LOL. But it's usually only with regard to feeding the family, so I could call upon others to help with that if need be. i don't have fussy eaters, so anything to put in the freezer would be appreciated from anyone.

    You can't play the village card on your mum
    Now see... is the village a card to be played? Who can you play it with?? This is why I feel like the village doesn't work these days, coz it feels so much like using people. This is probably the first time I've referred to mum as my village, but only so I could put it into a context that people could relate to, and ask if they consider their village when planning more kids. It's been a natural thing we've fallen into, I haven't relied heavily on mum, yet she's always around to help. I'm not demanding she help with the grandkids coz she's my village or anything.

    PMSL.. i'm sounding defensive.. but I'm not really.. I just don't think I really 'get' the whole village thing. Maybe I do have a village, and don't really realise it, because I've got some kind of formal definition of village in my head LOL.

    ETA: ok. the one thing I have asked of her is that she come to swimming with us. I probably could do it on my own with both kids, but her sitting on the sidelines helps immensely when it comes time for us getting dry & dressed! This is the only point at which she sometimes grumbles LOL, and if it really did annoy her I could always take Kayla for her lesson while DS is at preschool, but it just works at the moment to have them have their lessons at the same time. And I think deep down she enjoys it, but she does feel tired sometimes. But we don't ahve regular days that she looks after him or antying, so I'm not demanding any support that way.

    And I don't think I expect the support to increase necessarily, no doubt it would be just the same, her sitting and watching the kids, but it only makes sense that if there's 3 instead of 2, there's bound to be more to it. But yeah, the older two will be at school & preschool before we know it, so I guess in essence things wouldn't change THAT much. I do think the main thing would be the pregnancy. That would be where I would be actually asking for specific help. But i can make sure I ask for help from others too (and get my PIL's to pull their socks up too LOL).

    Mmmm, see if anything, I expect to decrease with our family size. That probably doesn't make sense at all, but I know what I mean LOL. Sort of like, the more we have and the older we get, the more we should know what we're doing?????
    LOL - I kinda think that too. That if I'm going to have 3, then that's my problem (which it is!) and I won't have a right to vent about coping with the kids LOL.

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    Ok... I'm determined NOT to put you off having a third! Because I love my third little one and he really does make our family feel complete... I think I would have gone crazy if I couldn't have had just "one more". Now, to answer your question: honestly, yes, having had a third has kinda isolated us even more... mainly because there's an unspoken rule that you don't ask another family with kids to look after your kids if you have more than they do. Well that's how it seems to me. I could be wrong about this. So we basically don't leave our kids with anyone anymore. A sitter might come to us... but we pay. We don't have my mum to help out... she lives interstate. Oh and her reaction to us having a third was "OMG you are breeding like rabbits".... yep, nice... but she has never been supportive of anything so why start then? But you are miles ahead of our dismal situation so i'd say go for it!!! My youngest is nearly 3 and time really has flown... before i know it he will be past the super challenging phase and maybe I'll feel ok about leaving them all with other people... it's mainly hard to do this when your children are very young... once they can communicate then people seem happier to take them on for you.

    Also, on the other side the coin... virtually no one has asked me to look after their children since I have had my third. I guess they assume I am already over burdened? Maybe they are right... but like I said, we don't have much of a village anyhow. It's kind of a catch-22 situation: you need to be able to particiapte in a village to have a village but by the time you have several children it gets too hard to participate... I think in an ideal world people really should participate in their village BEFORE they need it.... like when they are still single and child-free.... but how many single people want to be stuck at home babysitting when there are "people to meet, places to see" etc. THAT'S the problem... we need our villages when it's too late to create one. Just my experience. My single friends rarely have looked after my children... and it's not as if we haven't helped them out when they needed it... it's just that on the whole they are too "busy" to care for my kids... they are too busy trying to find the right partner so that they can have kids of their own I guess... and maybe THEN they too will quietly wonder where their village is?

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by Liz View Post
    Yeah, well that's what it's feeling like. I do have a wider village, but I don't call on it with regard to the kids much if that makes sense. The few times the kids drive me nuts she helps out, even if it's just sitting in the back room with them while they play. She does her knitting or whatever while they play. I take those opportunities to go and get my washing in in peace etc.

    OK, this will sound bad, but I'll say it anyway LOL. I don't ask her to drop in all the time, she just does, and this gives me a bit of a break, just coz it's a change for the kids, to have someone drop in etc. She's not necessarily 'doing' anything, but it does help. It's only a few times that she's taken DS coz I'm ready to throttle him LOL. She doesn't do nappy changes or anything like that, just provides us all with her company Which is all I really feel I need from a village anyway...
    .
    That sounds lovely hun, she must enjoy just "being" with the kids and you too - that is love!

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    Bath, that is exactly what I was trying to say about families!!!!

    Gosh, I think we're lucky that we did invest somewhat in our village before having our own children. We have done plenty of babysitting, and overnighters, over the years . It's probably why I don't feel bad about asking those people to have DS now.

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    Actually it's just the right time for you to build up a village!

    Now, remembering that a village isn't free babysitting, it's about being a part of something related to you and the community you live in. So with DS heading off to Kinder/Pre-school, he will be off making friends and you will meet the mums and have chats at pickup/drop offs. Pretty soon he will be saying "can xx come to my house and play?" and you say oh yeah, great! Then its his turn to go visit (and you get free time!), then you discuss with the other mother how much stinking housework you got done without him there, then she says the same etc etc etc.
    One day you may be held up and won't be there in time to pick up DS and you know you can call on someone to watch him for awhile and you breathe a sigh of relief and smile because you have your village to help.

    You get me? Then all through Primary School there will be after school playdates, birthday parties and you will end up getting to know lots of other parents and you will end up really clicking with at least one of them. Then they are old enough for 'sleepovers' YAY, and you get more time. Then you do a sleepover at your place, then maybe YOU might be called to pick up xxxx after school 'cos mums gone into labour, and THEY smile because they have their village for help.

    THEN - 5 years down the track DS is at high school at he wants to go to some party that everyone is going to, but your not sure about it. Then you find out its a xxxx's place and even though you haven't seen his parents for awhile you remember that they were pretty strict and not likely to serve alcohol...or at least have their phone number to give them a ring and find out without a problem at all. OR you are just not sure to allow him to do such and such and all the other kids are allowed to, its wonderful knowing you can call another parent involved and discuss it. Feel me?

    I don't think having lots of kids discourages participation, I think it broadens the scope of the village and the opportunity to make more connections, having built relationships back 17 years ago when DD1 was little - I still have some of them now! It's fantastic
    I am building more village now DS is at Kinder, and will make more when DD2 goes.

    Its actually one of the main reasons I stay at home (broke off my arse) because I have the time to build this up and get to know those kids and families in DS's lives. Lifelong stuff!

  13. #13

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    Aah - have to spread the love lulu (I don't remember giving you any lovin!! PMSL) Awesome perspective on building the village. Was almost crapping myself thinking I never invested in anything! Not kid related anyway LOL. I'm happy for people to start investing in their own village with my kids tho LOL. And I'd be more than happy to help them out when they have their own!

    Yeah... haven't really spoken to any mums yet at the preschool.. do you really stop and talk at the gate?? Everyone seems in such a rush, can't really see opportunity for a chit-chat. Alhto we were early on Tuesday, before they opened the doors, so we were all hovering around.. maybe I need to use that time, when the parents are trapped there waiting for the teacher to open the door and take their child LOL.

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    It might be a different set up. Is Tallon at a childcare centre type thing? Cos if so, there is never time to even meet another parent....

    In Vic we have sessional Kindergarten from age 4 (sometimes 3 if you choose). DS goes 3 days for 3-4 hour sessions, it appears 90% of the mums are SAHMs - its hard if you have to work cos the times are all different.
    We have a coffee catch up once a month at the kinder, and do working bees and sausage sizzles etc to raise $$$ for new shades etc etc etc. Always kids running about and siblings crawling over each other..and someone running late without their hair brushed lol

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    Liz: yep I do the chit chat thing while waiting for my 5yoDS to emerge from his class. So I guess that's a bit about what Lulu was talking about. And I know it's not just all about free baby-sitting... but it is about resource sharing... time, energy, company etc. And I guess with me resources are fairly limited... but I offer what I can... it just seems that very few people take me up on it. I'm quite paranoid that as soon as other parents find out that I don't drive that I am discarded as a potential villager because they worry that I will always ask them for lifts for my children and that I can never reciprocate. I actually make a point of NEVER asking for a lift unless it is offered. I'm the kind of mum that will walk in rain hail and a heatwave if nobody offers a lift. And why shouldn't I drive anyhow? (they must be thinking)... silly inconvenient phobia... I should get over it I guess.

    But Lulu I obviously have something wrong with me... I must be really untrustworthy because I offer other parents opportunities to help like "I'll have your child over for a playdate during the school holidays" (because they are a working parent and this might help them out financially)... but no, people don't seem to want to impose... but it makes me fairly paranoid... I mean... is there something wrong with me? And if nobody will accept my help then how can I then ask for it?
    I know I don't drive a car... but if their child lives near us (ie across the road in one case!) then their child can at least walk home from school with us!

    Ah I dunno... this is dredging up a lot of paranoia and sadness for me.... sorry Liz.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Arimeh View Post

    We are planning to move away from "The Village" after this baby is born - so I won't have any support. The thought is scary - but kinda exciting and "grown up" all at the same time

    I think if its right for your family - it'll all work out in the end.
    If you end up where I end up then we will have to be each others village...

    for us my family was happy for us when we had DD2 but its never the same excitment that you get from when you were having your 1st and 2nd.... MIL has never warmed to DD2 but thats her loss not ours as she is missing out of a wonderful kid...

    I do wonder what they will all think if and when we fall UTD with #4 as people openly tell you your crazy, but at the end of the day its your life as long as your both happy with the decion then go for it, by the sounds of it your mum is a super mum anyway...

    BTW BHL only wanted 2 so it can be done they can change their minds and he hasnt looked back, now like I said we are going again TTC#4... GL

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    My mum loves all her grandkids - all 20+ of them! LOL. Ok, so she wouldnt look after them all at once, but she'd damn well try! She has been taking care of three under 5 recently as my poor sister has been in and our of hospital with some unknown viral infection (I believe today its pneumonia. Last week it was something else entirely - my dad has it too and so far for him its been pleurisy and a blood clot in the lung. Maybe one day they will work out what it is). It seems like a lot of work, but thats what the village does. I have a huge village - just none of them within 3 hours of me. I think you will find that you will cope amazingly well - and sometimes, just having that second person there with you for a visit is all you need for that day.

    Then of course - in the end, this is yours and your DHs decision. I am sure your mum will still love to be a part of yours and your kids lives either way. Its what we mums do.

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    Oh and Liz I forgot to mention that I totally understand what you mean about the benefits of having someone just "drop round". My FIl used to come and stay with us for a week here and there after my MIL passed away. He is 75 so we would never ask him to babysit but just having him around the house was so settling for the kids... he would sit by their sand pit and listen to their "stories" for hours on end... and gently guide my teen DD toward speaking better with the boys, and not being so cheeky with me... all he had to say was "hey, listen to your mum now" and i would smile inside... it was JUST the ticket!!! It was such a symbiotic relationship... but now he feels too uncomfortable travelling He lives across in Sale (several hours away). He rings me almost once a week for a chat... which is a bit harder for me because the boys tend to play up a bit when i'm on the phone... so i miss this once positive aspect of my village. Oh and FIL had 5 children and was always supportive of having larger families... the more I think about his contribution to the family the more I realise what an asset he has been.

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