Sleeping Arrangement Chaos
I finally took the plunge and joined an online stepparent forum, because I cannot seem to find another successful outlet for the range of stepmother-feelings I experience.
I would like to begin by saying I have a deep sense of care and responsibility for my stepchildren. But, I do not love them as if they were my own. And I think I am terrified to tell my partner that. His daughter, 9, and son, 5, (whom he shares 50/50 custody with their mother) are his world-- there is absolutely nothing that could ever change that fact, and I have known that since the beginning. When we first started dating, I had limited interaction with the kids. When I did see them, it would be in some sort of adventerous fashion where we had plenty of opportunity to laugh, connect, and share new experiences together. It was simple, it was fun. Eventually, my partner and I became serious and I would spend several nights a week at the house. At this point, I did not see myself as their stepparent, I was there to build my life with their father and they were coming along for the ride. A little after a year into our relationship, we decided to move in together. It was a transition for all of us, but especially the kids because my partner allowed them to sleep in his bedroom every night. Since I had officially sentimented my place in the bedroom, he decided to allow the kids to sleep on the living room floor, since the living room is where him and I spend the majority of our evening doing homework or watching the television until we go to bed.
The kids have their own bedroom, full of toys and clothes and two warm beds. The kids stay with us every Friday-Tuesday morning. Instead of having the kids sleep in their bedroom, my partner tells them to make a bed on the floor of the living room every single night. This has been happening for the last year, and it bothers me deeply. Firstly, my partner and I both work full-time jobs and attend college full-time. Most weeknights, we go to bed around 12:30am as we are up completing assignments and catching up on each other. The lights stay on and the tv plays in the background, something we are both accostumed to. On Sunday and Monday nights, we have the same routine, however the kids are "sleeping" on the floor as we have the lights on, tv playing in the background, and are catching up with each other. I think the arrangement is completely inappropriate. The kids aren't falling asleep until midnight, and they're up playing with our three dogs and flipping tv channels until they finally crash. I am beyond tired of our family room becoming the kids' bedroom every night. I also feel like we are failing as parents by not putting the kids to bed in their own bedroom. I no longer want to contribute to the bedtime fiasco, so I have been clocking-out after dinner and spend the remainder of my evening alone in our bedroom until he is allowed to come upstairs (when his daugther finally falls asleep) after midnight.
If my partner were on the same page as me, he wouldn't allow his 9-year old daughter to dictate everything, especially something as important as bedtime. How should I go about bringing this up to my partner? I feel like I have no authority in how the kids are raised, but I cannot bite my tongue on this any longer. This situation is driving a wedge between us, and it's also effecting his elementary-aged children.