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Kyooty/Mary

I hear you!!! I didn't have those braiding hair moments with my sisters either but I was the oldest and the only person in the whole house with a room of my own during a few points. Spoiled? no not me, heheheh. And they still seem to think I'm smart too. shhhh

Shelly

I have 4 sons. All of them are in one room....we tried other things, but the oldest just could not keep his area clean enough, so now he shares with his brothers. 2 sets of bunk beds and life is good. My boys are close, despite the oldest being 10 years older. They have their moments, but are very close. I am so thrilled too. I grew up being the oldest and a lot older too. I am not close to my siblings--I have 4 sisters and 2 brothers. My brothers never shared rooms, but my sisters did....I can remember their fights when they were small...wow! 2 of them would gang up on the other ones and still do as adults.

Kim

It sounds like you're figuring it out, though. Look, upending the entire house to accomodate two people - dedicating a room open to the entire big family to just one person - those are big decisions. Of course it took a while to come to those conclusions. I'm not saying ego wasn't involved, but I don't think it was the whole story, either.

Nicki

In the grand scheme of things, I think we are all just winging it, and there is nothing wrong with that. Maybe there are those families out there where things just fall into place nicely, but I think most of us are in the same boat and having to manage different personalities and issues and lack of space, etc. in order to make sure that everyone survives to have a shot at being good adults. :)

Beth

My sister and I shared a room too, and fought like demons- even through college! We would get physical, destroy each other's stuff, heck, we even upended furniture! It wasn't until I got married and moved out that we became friends. It took distance to salvage our relationship. Now we are finally close and can laugh at how miserable we made it for the rest of the family! It's a great idea to do that now.

Nicole

We just separated our four and six year old girls. It is so much better now. And my son went to stay at his day's full time.

Both were hard, but necessary for growth. I'm glad we made the changes, but they were painful; I miss my fantasy too.

Headless Mom

Wow. That's a big change, yet one which I think will go a long way to a little more harmony.

You ARE a good mom. You are doing the best with what you know/have, and you love those kids FIERCE. That's what a good mom does.

Tara

A good mom recognizes the needs of her kids and you did that. It is so hard to know what to do sometimes, but this sounds like a good decision. Your oldest has a couple of years until college, right? Then things will probably change again. And again, still.

Becki

If it makes you feel any better: I attempted, at the age of five, to murder my fourteen year-old sister, with whom I shared a room. (I was eating sugar out of the sugar bowl in the kitchen when an older cousin came in and told me to stop because "sugar is poison." Said cousin watched in horror as my sister then walked into my kitchen, and I said sweetly, "Here, Shelly, have some sugar. It's GOOD! It's FREE!")

That sister declined the sugar, and is now my best friend in the world.

It's hard to share space. You did what was right for your family. Bigger families have grown up happily (eventually) in smaller houses. I admire the creativity of your solution.

Anne

Oh how this speaks to my heart! I have a daughter who is both wonderful and difficult beyond description! I'm seriously tempted to give her her own room just to defend the other girls, but then I'm so very worried about "rewarding" her difficult behavior. The solution will require much more thought and prayer.

I admire your humility and creativity and hard work!

Sher B

Oh MY. I love this post. Validates my life too. My mother did not even try to foster a friendship between me and my sister. Hence, we do not even talk in adult life. I so-o-o-o-o want my 2 girls to be BFF's and am trying everything I can think of to foster a friendship between them. I want them to talk on the phone when they are older. I want them to celebrate holidays togethers with their families. etc. Nice to read about another mother who wants the same.

Haley

Stupid hard. Agreed. Hugs!

JMB

One of the most difficult challenges that I have faced as an adult is forging a "new" relationship with my siblings. We are no longer a family that lives under one roof and defined by our age order. I've lived outside of my childhood home longer than I lived with my siblings in the home. As a parent of four children, I've tried to take a long view of sibling relationships. Just because you don't like someone at 14 doesn't mean that you won't like them at 44.

Kimberly

I shared a room, heck, even a bed at times, with my little sister, for a decent part or our childhood. She's was a tad messy, and by that I mean she was a slob. My inner and outer neat freak wanted to put her in cement shoes and throw her in a lake. We are about as different as different gets, and we still have a tendency to grate each other's nerves to the max, but it took her moving clearly across the country and the both of us having kids to become truly close the way sisters should be. If only we has the means to be separated earlier, even if it meant different rooms, things may have worked out earlier. You have the room, you have the means, you have the need, and clearly you have the strength. What you think is best for your family is better than what anyone else would come up with because you know every nook and cranny of life in that house. Congrats on figuring it out thus far! I truly hope it all shakes out for them and everyone else in the end!

suburbancorrespondent

So much of this is personality-driven, don't you think? My youngest two girls are close in age, but they are so different! They still share a room, and maybe that will continue to (sort of) work as they get older. But I know how hard it is to let go of the ideal to make room for the real. And it makes you wonder how much influence we really have as parents on the relationships between our kids. Not much, I'm thinking. Mostly, we just need to get out of the way.

Good luck with the new set-up. But, if I were you, I'd put doors on my office and stick a couch in there to sleep on when my husband was snoring too loudly!

Maureen

Raising kids is stupid hard! Amen!!!!

Soni

All I kept thinking while reading this was "What a great idea!!". You are so a good mom! Give yourself a big ol' pat on the back, if you can with those tired muscles. There is NO WAY to force friendships between children. I have a younger brother and an older sister. My sister and I fought all the time and still would, if she hadn't moved out of the country. My brother and I have always been closer but now that he is married, that is evolving.
My husband, who is the youngest of 10 (with only 12 years between him and his oldest sister) had to share a room AND a bed, almost his whole childhood. He is only truly close to 3 of his siblings. He explains it this way - if you put 10 people in a room, there is a high likelihood that not all of them will get along. Just because they are siblings does not mean they have to like each other.
Finally STRONG IS THE NEW SKINNY!! Being strong is so much more important. GO YOU!!

MelissaS

Stupid hard, yes! And the biggest series of repeated blows to the ego! I struggle every day when my 9 yo and 3 yo sons go at each other. I'm not supposed to take their fighting personally, so says the therapist. But it gets me at my core every time!

Who cares if your house is not a show room! Houses are made to be lived in and used to the extent of the family needs. Why do we feel the need to "save" rooms for visitors?

Nikki

You *are* a good mom because you're changing your home to meet the needs of your family. You recognize that your girls *are* headed in different directions, and they need space to do that in. Good for you!

My house is pretty traditional right now, but my little ones (boy is 3 girl is nearly 2) have made it clear that they absolutely will not sleep unless they're in the same room, so in the next few weeks I'll be setting them up in a shared bedroom with the spare room as a play room.

We're moms, and we do what needs to be done for our families. So you don't have a formal dining room? Psssh! I've always preferred buffet-style, sit on the floor in the living room Thanksgiving dinners anyway! ;-)

swlikeablegirl

Being stuck in an elevator with someone indefinitely wouldn't necessarily make you BFFs. You'd get through it (or at least one of you would), but being in that elevator wouldn't change your personality. And if that collides with the other person's - or your needs are at odds (they need to chirpy talk nonstop and all you want is silence & coffee) - no amount of proximity is going to be helpful. You're looking at their needs instead of your ego. Good for you!

I shared a room with 3 sisters as a child, then 1 sister as a teenager. When our needs aligned, we were good. When they didn't - things came to blows more than once & it was really scary. A little space could have prevented some ugly memories I have of my sister. BUT - regardless of what was going on at home, she always had my back outside the house. And as adults with our own lives, I respect my sister more than I do a lot of other people. A little space hasn't changed that we're still sisters. You can't tie a knot in a rope to form a strong bond when you're tripping over the line.

FWIW, I didn't have my own room until I had my own apartment all to myself at age 22.

And Norman Rockwell died in 1978. No one gets to live life in a Rockwell painting anymore.

Cindy

I had to separate my twin boys. Best thing I did! Their night time routines were so different( one needed light to read by and quiet, the other needed dark and CD's playing) . So glad I did. They became much better friends, like they had been before because I separated them.

Becca

I feel so very random commenting on this.

I grew up with four sisters. My older sister was 6 years older, and we never got along, we were just completely opposite. I played with my next two youngest sisters a lot, not really with my youngest sister because she's ten years younger.

Fast forward to today: I'm closest to my oldest sister, my youngest sticks to me like glue whenever she's around me. Due to some unusual and frustrating events, I am no longer that close to my other two sisters.

So my point is this: your girls will have to decide when and if they become good friends, and it's up to them to keep or make the friendships. It might not be until they're older and on their own that they realize what all they have in common. Maybe separate space will be really good for them.

UKCraftySal

First point: you ARE a good Mum. You're an amazing one, who spends huge amounts of energy and time making sure her kids have what they need emotionally and practically. Don't lose sight of that.

You may well find the girls get on better when they are not sharing a room, and they can choose to spend time together when they want; we all know how kids (and adults!) hate to do something just because they are told to, or because it's "good for them".

I shared a room for the majority of my childhood (I'm one of four kids, three girls and a boy). I was desperate for my own space, and asked and asked if I could move into one of our two guest bedrooms. I was always told no.

Eventually, I asked for my own room for my 15th birthday present.It was what I wanted more than anything else in the world, and I was so happy when my parents agreed. So I understand their longing for their own space, somewhere they can shut the door and it's theirs.

Of course your kids will need to learn how to share space with others, for the rest of their lives (as you said), but I'm sure you've done the right thing for them now. It doesn't reflect badly on your parenting; the opposite in fact: you have been a flexible enough parent to change your stance on shared rooms when it was the best thing for your daughters.

I hope in time you will be as happy with the new arrangement as they are.

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