When my daughter was 13 and was full of sass. In one of my not so great sarcastic parenting moments, I told her that I need a baby who loves and appreciates hanging out with me. Not knowing I was being an extra emotional wreck because I was already knocked up. When we told her I was pregnant she literally stayed in her room for 3 days straight. We only saw her when she needed to eat, use the washroom or went to school. Not too much different than her usual teenage behavior but I just knew she was not sure of the idea. Her tone of voice and body language spoke volumes. She spent most of my pregnancy disengaged.
We tried to keep her life simple and without new pressure and she still chose to keep to herself. She would chime in about the ‘no way’ names and she didn’t miss a midwife appointment. She would sit on the chair slouched over with her headphones on probably off or on low. She got to miss school and she made it clear that she was only joining us for time out of class. Whatever her reason I was just happy she was joining. Growing up an only child this was going to be a huge adjustment for her and for me too. That 9 months was rocky between us. Possibly due to the fact that she was 13 and I was pregnant. Those two things together are not good for anyone’s mental health.
I was set for an induction two days before KK’s grade 8 graduation. So I had this vision to have the baby go home and off for grad we would all go. NOT! I ended up needing an emergency c-section it was the worst delivery I could have imagined. I knew I needed to somehow still throw myself together for KK’s grad. I probably should have stayed in the hospital another night but begged to get released. We decided that my NYA (not yet husband) would stay home with Little Momma as she was too new to be around all those people. Somehow I drove myself to her grad and watched her walk onto the stage. She looked like the most beautiful princess. Right after she exited the stage I left immediately to get home. I was in tremendous pain and a mess but I was happy I got to be there. I know KK was disappointed and wanted me to stay but I just couldn’t. I quickly learned that parenting these two opposite age spectrums was going to be another test of my all-over strength.
People often assume having an older child means built-in babysitting but that is certainly not in our case. I think it depends on the temperament of the child and age. I think if we planned to have a baby where KK was under 13 she would have been the best helper but at 13 she just wanted to do her own thing.
We knew that we were not going to push her to assume parental responsibilities but that didn’t mean she wasn’t’ going to have to be more responsible. She often confused expectations of her own age-appropriate expectations to parenting duties. Anything that included the baby she would tell me she didn’t have to do it. From dishes which included a bottle to tidying up possible baby stuff off the floor etc. Chores in most teen households are a struggle but a baby is an easy scapegoat. Her go-to sentence when trying to get under my skin was “I didn’t ask you to have a kid!” Learning to be a part of a large family is still a work in progress.
When KK found out about me being pregnant with Zacharoo she was ok with the news. She said she wasn’t surprised. She was a little more involved. She wanted to know the sex so we found out together. She understood her role clearer as a daughter and a sister and she was more confident she wouldn’t lose her place. When she learned I was pregnant with Poopsie she was like “what’s one more!” She was mostly concerned about where they were all going to fit and wanted to confirm he would be the last and we were finally done! Poopsie was born just in time for prom dress shopping.
KK now loves her siblings. She leads a busy schedule but always makes times to kiss the kids and tuck them in. She is always there in an emergency to help or watch them but 3 kids is a lot for even us parents to handle.
It has been a struggle for me to balance 3 young children’s needs and showing a teenager she is equally important. She has had to learn that their needs are different. The little ones depend on me to do everything for them and she needs me mostly to guide her and be there for her. Unfortunately, they need my attention on two different schedules. My little ones during the day and my big one usually wants me at night. I am so exhausted all the time. I literally put my little ones to bed and finally fall asleep to her walking in the house and needing mom too. Some days I try to chat about her day and some days I just cannot. I am still learning how to balance the needs of 4 kiddos but I am trying my best.
Do you have kids with a huge age gap? Or are you planning on more with a huge gap? I would love to hear how you older children reacted and or how you think your child will react please leave a comment below.