A loved one contacted me recently about a problem she was having in her home. She too has a blended family. She too has an older big kid and a baby of her own. Her husband left her big kid in charge of the baby while he ran an errand. My loved one was at work at the time. Later that evening, her big kid said that the baby was crying for her father when he left. The big kid let the baby cry at the closed bedroom door. The baby was lying on the floor at the closed bedroom door. The big kid took a picture of the scene and showed her father and my loved one.
My loved one was understandably upset. She didn’t understand why her big kid didn’t walk her baby downstairs and try to soothe her. She asked the big kid and her response was that she was trying to go back to sleep. My loved one was none pleased that her child was left to cry on the floor at the closed bedroom door while the 17 year old just laid there.
I understood all too well how she felt and what she was feeling. Neither of us raised our big kids. They aren’t where we would like them to be in regards to caring for their younger siblings. Both of our big kids have younger siblings in their mother’s homes that they were allowed to treat and behave towards in ways we would not have allowed. Our big kids now treat our babies the way they treated their in-house siblings. I think they treat our babies even more undesirably.
As mother’s, we aim to protect our babies from ALL alarm. This includes our big kids if they display attitudes and behaviors that we deem unbecoming. Had her big kid’s behavior come from any other person, I believe her husband would have put his foot in their behind but because said behavior came from his teenage daughter, there is leeway given. We, wives and mothers of the baby, do not understand this leeway. We wives and mothers of the baby, have to temper how we respond to our husbands to keep peace with them. We want to implore that that behavior is unacceptable. We want to prevent our big kids from EVER watching our littles again.We have identified a threat to our cubs and, as mothers, want to stomp it out but we have to balance this instinct with maintaining harmony with our husbands.
I have not found a resolution to this. I have not found an effective way to communicate with my husband that produces the same urgency to address bad behaviors to my baby that occur when he is not home. As with my loved one, such infractions occur when he is not present. Big kids stay in line when Daddy is present but (can) show claws when he is not. I have not found a solution on how to change it so my big kid respects me in what is and isn’t acceptable behavior between siblings in our household. In my home, Bella doesn’t want anything to do with baby Grace and has limited her interactions with Jazmine. She doesn’t seem interested in my girls and I am fine with that. I didn’t desire that. I thought Bella would continue to care and want to be around Jazmine like she did 7 years ago but that didn’t happen. My Bella wants her father. Period. I have no problem with that but her desire comes with her treating me and my girls marginally. She does not embrace the whole so we can all coexist. She has created barriers and division under the “quality time with father” banner.
And there it is. That is the state of affairs. I hate that is is common in blended families. I hate that their is no go-to solution to change it. I think it will remain that way until the next season of Bella’s life. I wish there was a way to figure this out and make it right but….I have yet to come up with anything. So, as Mommy of Jazmine and baby Grace, I stand sentinel, protecting my cubs against all who would do them harm. Since the big sister position is a powerful one in a siblings life, I am WATCHFUL of Bella’s interactions; keeping eyes and ears open for her projecting her feelings about me or her father and I, verbally or even physically towards my girls. Mama ain’t havin’ it.