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Struggling childless stepmom

GoldenStepMom's picture

My husband of 5 years (been together 7) has three boys. Ages are 13,16, and 19. They aren't terrible kids and, for that, I know I'm lucky. 
We have them twice a week over night both times and all day on Sat. Problem is: I dread when they come over. They hog all common spaces, don't shut up, and eat everything in site 24/7. Basically just annoyed by them. I see many other ppl on here are dealing with much more terrible situations. I feel like I don't even have the right to complain. However, I am currently really struggling. Maybe there's something wrong with me. I have been sitting in my closet crying and reading posts on here for the past hour. We have them ALL weekend this weekend after not having them for a while due to COVID. They arrived Friday and are here until, well, who knows today...they get to choose. 
It was a dream with them not coming over for weeks and now the dream bubble is popped. I think the vast difference is causing me to have a breakdown. 3 days is always dreaded/intense for me anyway, and it seems so much worse this weekend. 
I make a huge effort to cook them well balanced meals that they enjoy (I HATE cooking) and they are eating 1-2 hours after....well I mean asking me or my husband "what's to eat". Bio mom lets them eat whatever, whenever at her house. Mostly the 19 year old, actually, who's also a vegan, is most annoying. This also means I must find special food for him and cook him special vegan meals in addition to regular meals for the other 2 boys. Did I mention, I hate cooking?! Also, said Vegan, was a druggie for a year and a half and cause extreme hell in our household less than a year ago. I do realize I have some resentment against him for that. I call him "KING insert name here". He talks constantly about himself, his likes, argues if you disagree, and is super entitled. He's actually probably 80% of my "issue" with the kids. He's barely passing school and is lucky to graduate this year, due to lax schooling for the past month because of this terrible virus. 
I got on here today to try to gain some sanity. I treat the kids well, put on a smile when they are here, but behind closed doors I'm a complete mess. I get upset over things, I tell my husband, and he just says "I'm doing my best, they're kids". Most days They are here I'm ok. It's the longer period of times that really "get me", I think. My husband is really wonderful and I feel bad after I "freak" to him on instanced like this weekend. I can't control it though.  To make matters worse...I am a Childless woman. My husband doesn't want any more kids. He "WILL have a kid with me if I decide that's the right choice for me". But, I feel forced to remain childless. I think he's made having a baby sounds so awful and undesirable I'm scared to death. And, I think I transfer my negative view of his kids and think my own biological kid would make me feel the same. (My friends do tell me it's completely different when it's your own kid, though). This decision is on my mind daily (I'm 36) and may be making me crazy...? I Donno. 
I can't help but wonder if that's magnifying the dislike I have for his kids being here. I have to be responsible for them....cook their meals, wash, clean up after them, yet I cannot do it for my own child. My husband does help some (probably way more than most) but let's face it, tyipical gender roles still exist and I'm the "mom/woman" in most scenarios. If I don't cook he will default to ordering food or we go out to eat (pre-COVID). I'm not ok with that either because it's so dang expensive with 5 "adults." (Ps- My husband pays his ex approx 2k in child support each month.)  

My husband says that "we're almost done"... his youngest is going into 8th grade so "only 5 more years". This is what he says to keep me from having a kid, I think, cause in 5 more years we'll be "free". Will we really be free? I think not. 

Sorry. I kinda just rambled. It felt good to get my emotions out. 
Help me.  Am I crazy? Any advise? Is this normal?  Is there anyone out there with a similar situation? I promise I'm not a terrible person. I have a lot of love in my heart.


Lady.Tremaine's picture

So I'm going to try my best by breaking this down

- adult stepson is a vegan

And that's all fine and dandy but he's an adult meaning he or his father should have options to eat in the house. It's not on you to go and buy extra crap for him. If you serve a meal as a family give him an option ( mashed potatoes are easy to make vegan ) and thats it. His lifestyle , his choice, his issue


-The kids being in all common places

Can dad take them on a hike for awhile on your weekends ? Great bonding for them great house time for you.

-As far as having another kid

I'm in the same boat. Do what feels right for you. Part of me would love to stay the younger childless stepmom but another part of me wants a kid of my own.

There's really no right answer there to be frank. Also you are a damn sweetheart because you have been cooking and cleaning for no have been catering to these kids for no reason. I think you need some you time. The kids can make their own food when over . Relax and let DH handle it. Read a few books. Enjoy life  

SteppedOut's picture

Yea your husband needs to be doing all this work. Seriously, he doesn't want a child with you AND expects you to take care of HIS kids (and adult)? 

How are you not resentful as hell? 

GoldenStepMom's picture

Thanks for responding! I feel better already knowing that people understand where I'm coming from on this stuff. 

Regarding Vegan - I do our grocery shopping so I feel like a terrible person to be like "oh sorry we don't have any vegan items". Also - he will not eat vegetables, really, unless disguised. I always have salad items, fruit, and frozen veggies. For example, I made him a special salad without the dressing and cheese we were using and he took two bites. He did eat the vegan burger patties that don't look or taste like veggies. He lives on starches, beans, and honestly crap processed food. It's crazy. If I was his bio mom I wouldn't be allowing these terrible health choices. 
I am tempted to just stop cooking, but then we will spend so much money on eating out, as my husband doesn't like to or want to cook! That is stressful to me too since we are still paying BM 2k per month! I want to avoid any expenses on them that we can. I feel stuck. 

Common spaces - all they want to do is play video games and eat. You try to get them to do anything else and it's compliants the whole time. My husband doesn't force much on them since he doesn't "see them that much." He feels guilty. So, for me, it's the closet. Lol. For real. I'm still sitting in here almost 2 hours now. Isn't especially hard right now with the virus restrictions. There's no where for me to go escape. I have dog walks and that about it. 

kid of my own - I am torn. Like you said, being only the young step-mom sounds somewhat appealing. And really my hisband has freaked me out about baby's/small kids being so hard. But I also feel like I may be missing out by not having my own kid. It's a very tough spot to be in and an impossible decision. Either way I choose someone may be super resentful - wether me or him. My husband and I are super, super happy (when the kids aren't here). I hate to ruin that. 

@ladytremaine -if you don't mind me asking, how old are your step kids? Do you have any of the same issues? How do you handle meals and other responsibilities with the kids? 

SteppedOut's picture

He should be doing ALL THE WORK FOR HIS KIDS!!!

Did you combine your income with your husband's? If so, I suggest separating. You don't have to have combined finances....particularly when one person has 3 kids and the other has 0. It's just not fair.

Lady.Tremaine's picture

- if forced veggie tots are a great option. But this still isn't your problem. My sister was a vegetarian and I have up red meat. If we visit our parents for holidays we do not expect them to cater to us.

-common spaces - your partner needs to make outdoor activities for them if they lay about. Once things open up maybe a theme park ? Maybe a movie ? You need space

-trust me , same here. I'm not really "sold" on a kid but I'm unsure about a kid with my spouse. 

My stepkids are 4 and 7 which honestly helps my with your vegan adult step. There's always a few dishes served . Don't like pork ? Fine eat your mash/ noodles and veg.

I mainly wanted to give you advice because dietary restriction is no excuse and I have the same ( kid or no kid ) battle in my head.

hereiam's picture

I make a huge effort to cook them well balanced meals that they enjoy (I HATE cooking)

the 19 year old, actually, who's also a vegan, is most annoying. This also means I must find special food for him and cook him special vegan meals

Well, this jumped out at me, as it is not your responsibility to feed them, especially the vegan 19 year old. Who, by the way, is not "just a kid".

I have to be responsible for them....cook their meals, wash, clean up after them

No, no you don't. Who told you this?

You are not responsible for taking care if these kids, period. One is not even a kid.

Do you want kids? I mean, really want kids? If so, that's a different conversation.

I have never wanted kids and my husband never expected me to take care of his. Your husband should be taking care of his own kids, period.

MissK03's picture

Can I ask how old your DH is? Is the real cry for own child what's really happening? (I wrote a blog about my story recently) As I may have skewed my SO.. he does say the same things like "I'm almost there" when it comes to being "done" parenting. 
I am with the other posters as what should come from the 19 year old. If he doesn't want what you cooked.. he makes his own, can't pick up after himself.. DH does it.. and so on. 

I also fear this about my SS16. Time is starting to crunch and college is NOT in his future, no goals are set, etc. hopefully this kid joins the military. 

GoldenStepMom's picture

My DH is 46. I'm 36. I don't know if I want to have a kid. I always thought I would have kids before I met him. I think he's pursuaded me no to gently over the past 7 years. But other than the breakdowns I have because of the kids we have an awesome relationship and I'm scared to change that dynamic by choosing to have a baby! 

I'm so sorry about your SS16. It's stressful. And the more unmotivated a kid is the longer they will stick around leaching off of us. What will you plan to do if he just works a min wage job with few hours and sticks around. I'm about to be in that situation. 

MissK03's picture

But do you want one is the question. Same position so I understand. (34 and SO is 43) 

I don't really talk to my SS16 anymore. My SO barely likes talking to him half the time. I disengaged from him. Granted sometimes I can't control myself and blow outs happen. He is an entitled, forever victim, can't take blame..etc. He does though have work ethic but career wise.. no idea. I keep telling my SO the seed for after high school needs to be start getting set BIG TIME! Even a career in a trade I don't see because he wouldn't be able to do the schooling behind that. (He barely passes wood, auto in high school) I'm really hoping military is in the horizon. It would do him so much good. To what actually is going to happen... I know my SO will not allow him to do nothing (aka work part time minimum wage) and expect to just lounge around eating our food and playing video games.    Time will see what happens. 
Its a year away and I'm scared for the future though no doubt. His other two will be college bound and successful. No doubt there. 

Monkeysee's picture

Do you have shared finances with your DH? If you do, you should consider separating finances, then leave him to feed his ‘kids’ however he sees fit. It is NOT your responsibility to feed these people, the 19 year old especially is old enough to cook for himself. They all are, really, though the 13 year old would likely need some help. 

The fact that your DH is brushing this off as ‘they're just kids’ is a red flag... they aren’t just kids. One is legally an adult, one is nearly legally an adult, and the other is a teenager. All of them are old enough to contribute to the house, these aren’t infants or toddlers running around. You’ve got a DH problem big time. 

Having your own kid is the biggest issue I saw in your thread though. Your DH clearly doesn’t want another baby, and you seem like you do. If you stay with him & remain childless, are you going to be ok with that a couple decades from now? Or will you resent & regret not having a baby of your own?

I’ve got an infant, having your own baby is nothing like having skids. Not even sort of the same thing. If your DH is telling you having a baby is horrible, then he’s either telling you that to convince you not to want them, which is wrong, or he just doesn’t like the baby phase. But it’s not all horrible, I love having a baby around, and I would never tell someone who’s considering having their own not to do it based on my own experiences. It’s such a personal choice, your husband is wrong to try to manipulate you that way. 

If you want your own kids, I’d be reconsidering this relationship. Honestly, if your mental health is as bad as you’ve described where you’re crying in a closet when they’re there, you should be rethinking it anyways. Your husband needs to step up, stop doing his job for him, and if you want a baby find a way to make it happen, whether with him or someone else. 

GoldenStepMom's picture

Our finances are separate, which I felt was important due to him having kids. We split costs to even things out. For example, I buy the groceries and he pays when we go out to eat. It generally works...when the kids aren't here. Recently they are eating A LOT more. Teen boys. I make a meal they eat some of their plate and then they are looking for dinner #2 at 10pm and #3 at 2am. 

Yeah. I hate when he tells me "they're just kids; that's what kids do". I'm like NO, take some control and tell them they don't get to just eat whatever whenever. We can have rules. 

Thanks so much for your insight on having your own kiddo. I find what you said about it being totally different than step kids very helpful. How old are your step kids and how has having your own kid changed the family dynamic? Was your husband on board with having the baby or did you have to push it?  Did you always know you wanted to have your own child? 

Monkeysee's picture

I always wanted kids of my own, I made it pretty clear to DH when we first started dating that not having my own kid(s) was a dealbreaker, so we never fought about it because he knew I wouldn’t budge on it. 

My skids are 7 & nearly 12. Having my own baby made things better between us to be honest, I’m older (late 30’s) and was worried I’d never have my own baby, it took a while to get pregnant & I was stressed about it, so for us not having that stress has made things a lot better. That and I love being a mum, I love the responsibility of having someone to care for, it’s an unconditional love I’ve never had for another human. 

With my skids, I leave nearly everything to my DH. They aren’t my responsibility, I don’t love them unconditionally, and if I’m being truly honest our lives would be simpler & likely happier without them. I absolutely do not feel that way about my own kid, she’s an absolute joy in my life (and I’m sure my skids are for my husband as well, but they aren’t for me).

My skids aren’t even that bad most of the time, I don’t have it bad like a lot of posters here, it’s just not possible to love someone else’s kids like your own. 

And you’re right about your DH’s attitude towards his sons, no, that’s not ‘just what kids do’. Yes, kids eat a lot, but a vegan that doesn’t eat vegetables?? A 19 year old that refuses to cook his own meals? That his & BM’s fault for raising him to be an entitled little d*ck who thinks it’s everyone else’s job to care for him like a toddler. That absolutely is NOT just how kids are, that’s how his spoiled rotten children are because they weren’t/aren’t patented effectively. 

ndc's picture

Two things.

1. Stop cooking for the vegan. He can eat what you make or fend for himself.

2. I am a stepmom who recently had a first baby. Let me tell you, there is no comparison between a skid and your own child. I love my skids, but it is not the love I have for my baby.  If you want a child, have one. 36 isn't that old. Don't take the skids into account - your child will not be like them. Do not give up having your own child - if you want one - because your DH would rather not. He HAS his children, and you've put up with them. If you give up having a child when you really want one, you will resent your DH and it will not bode well for your marriage.

strugglingSM's picture

If you really want a child, you need to have a serious talk with your DH. If he does not want to have a child he needs to be clear with you, so you can leave him and find someone else to have a child with. That might sound extreme, but I think the resentment of having to deal with his children if you don't have a child that you really want will destroy your relationship. He has children, you don't. Stepchildren are not the same. He can't tell you how terrible it will be unless he is willing to say that he wishes he never had his own children, which doesn't seem like it's the case.

GoldenStepMom's picture

He actually does tell me he wished he never had kids!!! He agreed to one kid with his ex and then she tricked him via not taking her birth control with the other two. It's pretty messed up. He's a great dad. I think he just says that to try to convince me not to have a kid. He loves the kids and they are super close. 

lieutenant_dad's picture

This whole mentality that men get "tricked" into having kids needs to stop.

If your DH only wanted or agreed to one kid, then he had options to only have one kid. Condoms are 97%+ effective when used correctly. Vasectomies are far easier to come by than tubal ligation. Abstinence is also available.

I'll buy that someone may be tricked once, but by the third? No dice. The man just thought it WOULDN'T happen, or he regrets that he had kids (or had kids with BM). That's fine, but awfully cowardly to not say "you know what, I didn't really want them, but I didn't want to take precautions even more, so I have two kids more than I wanted."

Wicked stepmo.'s picture

Definitely stop feeding the 19 year old he is an adult. Only buy what groceries you would normally buy.  If DH feels SS needs special treatment let him be responsible for it. I stopped buying SDs special groceries and SO only lasted a few weeks before he realized how ridiculous it was to spend all that extra money each week.

As far as having a baby. If that's something you have always wanted to do. It is an amazing experience. You cannot compare being a stepmother to being a mother.  Its completely different when you bond with a child you conceive and carry.

SecondNoMore's picture

He should be handling everything with the kids. To expect a woman who brings no kids to the relationship to handle his THREE kids is ridiculous.

And this is not the man to have kids with, by the way. I would say having a kid with a guy in his mid-40s who hasn't been a dad yet can definitely work... but having a kid with a guy in his mid-40s who has already raised three and really didn't even want those kids is another thing completely. His energy for that is gone, as evidenced by the fact that he's outsourcing some of his responsibilities to you. If you have a kid and he is indifferent or not helpful, you will resent him for it and you will end up either stuck in a miserable situation or as a single mom back on the dating scene after a divorce. Read through the stories here. 

BethAnne's picture

If I were you I would sit down with my husband and ask that we implement 3 changes right now now.

1. He needs to do the grocery shopping the weeks his kids are with you two, he can also cook for them or he can pay for take out. 

2. He needs to give you some free time while they are at the house all the time with these lock downs. I would suggest that the boys must spend an hour or 2 in thier own rooms during the day and an hour or two outside getting exercise or maybe dad can play a computer game or some thing with them for a short time so that you can focus on whatever you want to do in peace. That will give you a break from them each day and time to re-energize.

3. I would also either start trying for a baby asap or forget about it altogether. Discuss it together and see where you both stand. 

As a 35 year old who has been off contraception for a year and still hasn't concieved, I would not recomend putting it off any longer than you have to. If the thought of not having your own kids is too hard to swallow right now and your husband is unwilling to commit to that step then I would seriously think about moving on from this relationship (and maybe looking into freezing your eggs). You talk about hoping that his kids will be less hassle in 5-10 years and you sticking it out in the mean time, when you could be out there finding someone else who is better suited to what you want in life.

You CAN imagine your life without your husband, you lived many years without him before you met him and I am sure that you were pretty succesful and doing just great without him and if you were on your own in the near future, I am sure that you would soon be doing better than ever before. 

Sometimes love can fool us into thinking that there is noone else we could be with that would offer us as good or better relationship when we know logically that that is nonesense. 

Winterglow's picture

Changes #4 + 5

Draw up a list of chores for them to do. There's no reason they shouldn't be contributing to the house they're living in.

Stop doing things for them. No more laundry, special meals, tidying up after them, etc. They can do all of that themselves or your DH can do it for them.

lieutenant_dad's picture

If you think you really want kids, don't let him persuade you otherwise. If you want them and he doesn't, that doesn't make you a good match.

Speaking of a good match, relationships are about quality, not quantity. A relationship that is great 90% of the time is still a bad relationship if the other 10% involves abuse, drugs, or other tensions that cause someone mental anguish.

Also, gender roles don't have to be a thing. They're a thing because people decide to act on them. You have ZERO obligation to behave like their mother. You have ZERO responsibility to them just because you're female. You and your DH need to come up with a share of household responsibilities, but his kids aren't part of that household pot. Those are HIS responsibilities that HE is responsible for 100% of the time. YOU are an ADDED responsibility to hit plate, not a crutch that he can offload some of his responsibility onto. He already came into your relationship with something he was 100% responsible for, and caring for you is *in addition* to that.

Finally, the 19 year old is an adult. If he wants vegan meals, he can get off his arse and make them. If he wants to live a lifestyle not conducive to your home and lifestyle, he can get a place of his own that he is responsible for. Your home is your domain, in collaboration with your DH. The kids follow your mutual household rules. Period. End of discussion.

Your DH does not get more say in your household just because he has kids. If this were a team sport, he's not the coach while you're the player. You both are players in different positions with different responsibilities to the team. Don't let him or yourself convince you otherwise.