Jona's picture

Am I in the wrong?

My dh and I have had ss9 and sd8 live with us for the past 6 months. I also have a 16 month old to look after. Being a sahm I do majority of household duties. This started to get too much for me so after speaking with dh about it we agreed that a chores list would be appropriate. So after putting this in place things seemed to be going surprisingly well... Until the novelty of it wore off. Now everytime I ask them to do their chores there's a huge debarkle and the process gets dragged out all afternoon ( especially with sd as she is very lazy)....last week both the kids were ill (but apparently not sick enough to not go to the park and see their friends after school) after they got back it once again became a big ordeal to do the chores and because i had been clashing with my sd all week my emotions got the better of me.. I strictly told her in a angry tone that if she didn't do what I was asking then she would be punished. She ended up going to her room upset and when dh came home from work she asked him if she could call bm and he told me I was too hard on her cause she was sick. I told him if she's ok to play with her friends after school she's well enough to do her chores. He then replied saying I had no compassion... Wtf??? So now I have no idea how to act around these kids... I'm always asking them to do things and they never listen and back chat. My dh does get my back when he witnesses it but if he's not around and I tell him what's happened I'm either nagging him or being too sensitive. It has made me upset and when I tried to talk to him about it he said that I was over analyzing for no reason...What are your thoughts...


Delilah's picture

Urgh I love these types of

Urgh I love these types of situations! I know many SM's who have these problems and the only thing that has worked for them is one of two options:

a) disengage
b) make DH accountable for all things they fail to do for whatever reason. So when DH comes home and if sd hasnt done x, instead of getting angry about it and expecting him to do something, when clearly he refuses to do just that and accuses you of behaving inappropriately. Put a massive smile on and say sweetly "hun, can you go clean/do x as its a mess." Say it as a statement, NOT a question. Then when he asks why it hasnt been done or why he has to do it "I dont know, sd was meant to do it." Then walk away and let him get on with it. Whether he asks her about it or not, thats his problem and not yours. So long as you dont have to do the work and be treated disrespectfully by them all.

The thing is, the only time DH is going to actually *care* about this is when HE is the one who has to manage the consequences of his children's laziness. So do that, and do it with your best actress smile and without any form of annoyance. Then pour you and DH a glass of wine and tell him its ready for him when he is done. Dont make YOURSELF the bad guy, make his kids, so opt out of nagging or painting a target on your back.

LRP75's picture

^ excellent advice. You

^ excellent advice.

You shouldn't be the one enforcing the rules for his kids, he should be.

When HE is the one who becomes uncomfortable with their behavior, HE will do something about it. Make sure he gets really uncomfortable. And under no circumstances are YOU to do whatever chore those kids didn't do. EVEN if it means that you have to stare at and smell an over-flowing garbage can for 2 weeks. I am not kidding. This will go a LONG, LONG way in teaching these people how to treat you. You can either teach them that it's ok to treat you like a slave and that you don't expect them to pull their weight in the household, or you can teach them that you are stronger and better than that, and consequently, teach them how to be a productive member in a household.

Leave it up to your DH. Make sure HE is the one who is hurting from their behavior.

"Hun, the trash needs to be taken out."

"What do you mean? Wasn't SD supposed to do it."

"Yes, she was."

Then walk away.

When the trash still hasn't been taken out:

"Hun, the trash needs to be taken out."

Then walk away.

I wouldn't broach it a third time. I would, like them, act like I don't see the over-flowing trash can. Just keep piling the trash on the top, or open a new bag, set it on top of the can and start filling that. Under no circumstances are YOU to take that trash out.

I will never understand, nor tolerate, people in my home acting like they can't see the same mess I'm looking at. I am not the only person in my home that has EYES and can SEE that the sink is filled with dirty dishes. Just eff'ing do the dishes already! What's the big deal? Why do I have to ask? Sh*t.

I don't cater to crazy.

LRP75's picture

Actually, I lied. About the

Actually, I lied. About the time that the trash started to stink, I would probably put the can in SD's bedroom so that SHE can be the one to look at it and smell it.

I'm not kidding. I am that kind of a b*tch.

I don't cater to crazy.

StepAside's picture

Hmmm, given your scenario.. I

Hmmm, given your scenario.. I believe things left out would start disappearing. Stepmothers can ride the clueless bus just like everyone else.

Smooth seas don't make great sailors.

smdh's picture

Tee hee... Conversation in my

Tee hee...

Conversation in my house

SD: "Dad, do you know where my xyz is?"
Dh:"No, where did you put it?"
SD: "I don't know"
Dh: "SMDH, do you know where SD's xyz is?"
SMDH: "hmmm, was it where it belongs?"
crickets.
Dh: "SD, SMDH asked you a question."
SD: "um, no?"
SMDH: "Hmm, that's too bad. If everyone put stuff back where it belonged, nothing would be lost."

Goes on with my day..3 hours later..

DH: "did you put her xyz away?"
SMDH "yes."
DH: "Where is it?"
SMDH "she may see it again someday if she can prove she can be responsible"

FormerAAGirl's picture

"Stepmothers can ride the

"Stepmothers can ride the clueless bus just like everyone else."

Ba ha ha!! So true, SA, so true Smiling

hismineandours's picture

It's hard to completely

It's hard to completely disengage when you are "in charge" of the household. I struggle with this as well. I do a variety of things to try and help with these issues. I do tell dh alot of times when things are not done. He does address it. Your dh was wrong in telling you that you are overreacting. I cant imagine dh telling me that a child should not have to do an agreed upon chore as their sick, but well enough to go to the park.

I also "make things disappear". If ss14 leaves clothes or something laying out in the living room, kitchen-I eitehr throw it in the trash or throw it out on the garage floor. It depends on my mood and how valuable the item is on where I throw it. One of the things I try and get the kids to do is pick up after themselves. My ss14 has an EXTREMELY hard time with this. His supper plate from last night is still sitting on the kitchen counter this morning. So guess what? He's cleaning the entire kitchen when he gets home from school. Eventually he will get the point that it's easier to clean up his plate then clean the entire kitchen.

My arsenal of weapons also includes 1)not buying him snacks he likes. I do all the grocery shopping. If ss14 pisses me off and doesnt do what I like-I buy him NO snacks (he really really likes to eat) or I hide the snacks down in my room where he can't access them. 2)doing his laundry last. We have a household of 6 people. So to do his laundry last sometimes means he has to wait a week for clean clothes. 3)Not getting him what he wants. I am the only driver in the household. SS currently needs a pair of new tennis shoes. You piss me off? Sorry no shoes for you. He is currently wearing my son's hand me downs. 4)Not taking him where he wishes to go. Again, as the only driver in the house-this can be a powerful tool. 5)My answer is always no. If ss14 isnt doing what I want, if he asks me to go somewhere the answer is always no.

It helps obviously that my dh is on board with the above items. Since I am the one (that despite working full time and dh not working)who does the majority of the household work, "runs" the house so to speak, I get full say in what happens there. If dh tries to give me any disagreement, I offer to fully back off and let him do it all. He usually sees the wisdom of my point of view after that.

Some of the above tactics I share openly with ss14. I tell him why I am saying no or why I am not doing it. Other times I never actually say anything, and he never knows when it's going to happen. He didnt get to go on a field trip the other week-as he had been pissing me off for the past two weeks with his attitude. It would have entailed me getting up early and driving him to the school while I needed to get ready for work-so an inconvenience for sure. I just didnt get up that morning. I told him a few days later why I didnt.

Would I do this to my own kids (which I have 3)? Its hard to answer. They never push it so far and generally do what I ask. I think that I would. Sometimes when they've come close to the line, I've done things similar (not let them go to a bday party, not taken them to extracurriculars as the last minute). The difference is those things seem to have a BIG impact on my own kids and they usually step quickly back into line.

Jona's picture

Thanks for all the

Thanks for all the advice...after talking again with dh he talked to both of them and said if nothing started changing around here there would be punishments. my ss9 was very obedient, whereas my sd8 had an attitude but got it done.. It's amazing how much more I love these kids when they pick up after themselves and do what they're asked to do. I'm expecting it to be short-lived though as it always is, especially with sd8 with her huge attitude problem...the backchat and constant whinging is really getting under me skin!!