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HM86's picture

Hello all... I’m new here! I’m looking for a place to chat and get advice. I feel like I’m struggling every day with this step mom role. And I hate when people, especially my husband, tell me that I knew what I was getting into. Does anyone ever really know what they are getting into? Does life ever go as planned?

Anwyay, I was a single mom for years before meeting my husband. I had my daughter at 18 and finished college and then went to nursing school. I’ve been a nurse for almost 8 years now and during all this, I had a few relationships that didn’t work out for one reason or another. Then I met my husband, and honestly, he’s the best. I feel lucky every day to have found him... or rather that he found me. What I don’t feel lucky about is constantly having to deal with his past.

My husband was married not once, but twice before me and has two children with his first ex wife and one child with his second ex wife. My daughter is the oldest of the bunch. She will be 14 this month. His daughter is 12, and his boys are almost 8 and the youngest just turned 4. For the most part, I get along great with the older two. Their mother parents very similar to myself and I think the kids can respect that. They are also older... but also extremely loving and easy to work through difficult situations with. The youngest is where I struggle.

He turned 4 in March, but in many ways, still behaves like a 2 year old. He baby talks, throws fits, is hard to understand, whines constantly, and doesn’t listen. My husband struggles to parent him and often looks for my support and intervention, but I don’t want to do it anymore. I just don’t want to listen to any more whining or screaming, I don’t think I can do it. For the record, he is not a bad kid, actually very smart. I’m 99% positive his behavior is a result of parenting... or a lack of parenting when he was younger. His mom babies him and so does my husband. On top of the challenges that come with having a 4 year old who acts like a two year old, my husband expects me to love him and accept him the same as the other kids. I’ve tried every which way to build a bond with this kid and at the end of the day, I love him and I want what’s best for him, but I would run the other way if given the chance. What do I do? I feel guilty for wanting to step back, but also value my sanity. My husband doesn’t understand and it seems that when I’m have a bad day with him, my husband babies him more. 

The feelings of anger, frustration, and resentment just build and build. I don’t feel like I have anyone to talk to or anyone who understands. I work very hard for this blended family, often putting my needs last. I buy clothes and birthday presents and plan parties and trips to the zoo... I make sure we have groceries and sunscreen and everything to make this house run smoothly. I do the laundry and keep the house clean. I enforce rules such as bedtimes and snacks... otherwise it would be a free for all. I just feel like all the weight is on me and I don’t want to carry it anymore. My husband is great sometimes, but other times just wants to do his own thing and gets frustrated that I don’t want the responsibility of all 4 kids sometimes. 

We share custody of his 3 and it feels like I’m just playing house 3-4 days a week and then it goes back to normal. I hate the feeling. The things he gets excited for are the things I resent. How do I fix this? I’ve changed my whole life for his schedule with his kids... no more spontaneous vacations or even nights out. I have to approve my schedule with him AND his ex wives because everyone has a say. None of this is what I had planned for my life. 

At the risk of writing a novel... I have to share one more struggle. I want to have another baby. I was 18 when my daughter was born, I had zero support from her father, and I missed out on so many of those precious moments because I was young and still in school. I desperately want another chance to experience motherhood with support and in a positive light. My husband had a vasectomy after the 4 year old was born and wants nothing to do with another baby. I honestly didn’t think this would be an issue for me. I’ve been content with my daughter for years, but now that my life has changed and my schedule is accommodating to a family and I’ve signed up for 14 more years of sports games and school drop offs, I can’t stop thinking about adding another baby to our family. 

I feel like my husband expects me to just love and embrace his kids like they are mine and that should be enough. But it’s not. It’s not the same at all. His kids have mothers... and good mothers too. I don’t want to be their mother, and even if I did, I couldn’t be. I’m not involved in decision making, I’m not involved in scheduled, some days I feel like I’m a complete outsider. I feel like I’m struggling in more areas of this family than I’m not! I don’t know what to do or where to turn. I hope I didn’t bore you all with this... it’s my first attempt at writing this down and I guess I had a lot to say. Any words of advice are more than welcome. 




tog redux's picture

"My husband is great sometimes, but other times just wants to do his own thing"

This kind of thing frustrates the hell out of me. He had three kids with 2 different mothers, he doesn't get to "do his own thing" when his kids are over. They are his kids, he should be doing 99% of parenting, with you picking up the odd 1% where it suits you. He chose to have these kids. He chooses to have 50/50 custody - HE NEEDS TO BE THE PARENT.  Don't take the responsibility on for him.

All I could think was "don't have another baby, don't have another baby ..." and then you got to your last paragraphs.

Please don't bring another baby into this until your husband understands that HIS kids are HIS responsibility, not yours.  Don't tie yourself down to being Baby Mama #3, please don't.  That's not wise thinking at this point.

HM86's picture

We have discussed this so many times... I think part of it was my fault. I was overly enthusiastic and excited in the beginning and I naturally took on more than I should have, so as I try to regain my sanity after realizing I can’t (and don’t want to) be responsible for everything in our home, I’m sure it feels like I’m pulling away to him. We have conversation after conversation and a lot has changed since we first met and since we’ve been married. His youngest was a toddler when we met and was going to bed with milk, didn’t have a bedtime, was nowhere near potty training, and had never heard the word “no”. Now, he sleeps through the night (in his own bed), has been potty trained for a while now, and my husband really does try... he’s just not consistent with the whining and screaming lately. He also used to want to sleep in and leave the little one unattended and I about lost my shit on that subject so now he gets up. I still feel like it’s a long road ahead!

SteppedOut's picture

I don't mean to sound harsh, don't take it that way... I'm just a to the point person.

It sounds like your husband sees you more as a nanny with benefits than a life partner. You take care of his kids when he's "not feeling it" - but gets mad when you don't want to take care of HIS kids? You plan everything, shop, clean... and can only assume you pay for at least half of the household expenses... when, really his fair share is more than half.

And WTF you have to clear your schedule with his ex wives? Hell no. 

This marriage sounds incredibly unfair, no wonder you are frustrated and burnt out. 

Have you discussed any of this with him? You are going to have to have a come to Jesus discussion with him. Draw hard boundries. If he is unwilling to listen or change... then you have 2 choices: you change the way you feel about it, or you change the situation, possibly including divorce. Do NOT waste your life on someone that doesn't care about your feelings and your happiness.

As far as wanting another baby, you did know that he had a vasectomy when you married him and that he didn't want any more children. But, everyone is entitled to change their mind and of having another baby is something you really want to do oh, so maybe this relationship isn't for you in addition to all of the other issues.



HM86's picture

I agree with your statement about my husband seeing me as a nanny with benefits... sometimes that’s how I feel. We do have frequent conversations about these things, and I usually end up feeling more understood and valued after. I don’t think my husband intentionally wants me to feel the way I do, he’s never been in my shoes. He is receptive to ideas and does listen. I am thankful for that. I just feel overwhelmed sometimes... like do I really have to repeat things over and over again? Or is it really rocket science to understand how I feel and why? I know men are dumb, but goodness. I mean... my birthday is Tuesday, so today, we had my family over for a cinco de Mayo dinner and he sat in his chair on his phone most of the time. Then as soon as cake was done, he turned on a super hero movie for the 8 year old downstairs and hardly said goodbye to anyone... now I’m frustrated upstairs because I feel like he wasn’t even a part of my day. Am I wrong for thinking he should just get it or do I really have to tell him that he’s an idiot? 

Oh and as far as clearing schedules, I don’t mean my everyday schedule, but vacation days or anything else.  We can’t go on vacation unless the bio moms agree to keep the kids. What’s most frustrating is that I have to go through my husband to clear vacations or extra days with the bio moms, but he makes decisions about keeping the kids more or less in regard to bio moms schedules without me. We just had a huge fight about how hard this is! Last weekend, I had made plans to take our girls shopping for shorts as they needed summer clothing. My daughter and I woke up Sunday morning and got ready, his daughter is usually dropped off at 9. Well 9:30 rolled around and she wasn’t there, so I asked and he said “oh her mom isn’t dropping them off until later today because they had a party”.... ok well thanks for letting me know! Then I was stuck between disappointing my daughter by cancelling the shopping trip or disappointing his daughter by going without her when it all could have been avoided with simple communication!!

CLove's picture

schedules - I am a planner and husband and BM are not. But then I also do not have bio kids of my own. Everyone here would say, to just keep your schedule with DD, and let the rest fall where they may. But I am always frustrated at the lack of coordination. And its pretty much a given that I will never be asked nor considered wrt any involvement in existing custody time/schedule coordination.

I can imagine its frustrating.

HM86's picture

That’s totally how I feel! I’m a planner... I plan dinner around our schedules with sports and everything else. My husband is a police officer and often gets called in last minute for court so that’s a lot to deal with on top of the changes in schedules that could be shared with me!

Monkeysee's picture

Agree with tog 100%. Your H needs to take responsibility for HIS kids, not doing his own thing & leaving you with 4 kids on your own.

His expectations are unreasonable as well, it’s not possible to love someone else’s kids exactlyblike your own, especially when one of them is a whiny brat who’s being babied by both his parents. I’d want to run the other way from that too.

If you want another baby & your H doesn’t, he’s likely not the right man for you. Tbh he sounds like he’s got a lot of work to do before he even becomes a good spouse to begin with, let alone having a child with. 

I honestly don’t believe it’s possible to be a great partner if you’re a bad parent, especially in blended families where one spouse has less/no say over what happens with the kids. It’s impossible for dysfunction within the first family dynamic to be isolated & not bleed into the marriage itself. Hold the bar higher for what you’ll accept from him, you deserve better.

DHsfamilyfromhell's picture

My son was a bit difficult when he was little. It turned out that he had glue ear and couldn’t hear very well, and once he could hear a bit better, teamed with some daily trips to the park to wear him out, he improved a lot. He once kicked me when I went to pick him up from school. Turned out he was hungry, hadn’t eaten his school dinner, so I made sure I had an apple handy when I picked him up from then onwards, and he never did it again. He had an awful wind up streak though lol. He is now twenty and a lovely young man and we get on well, it does all turn out alright eventually.  Sometimes whining is whining, sometimes it’s not. Add to that if they aren’t you bio children it’s probably not as easy to tolerate

Exjuliemccoy's picture

Welcome to ST. I hope you spend some time surfing posts and feel comforted by the fact that your feelings are normal and common. We're pretty blunt on this site, and the majority of posters have some degree of dysfunction in their situations, but you won't find more truth anywhere else.

Steplife is soo complicated. And the more kids, exes, and previous marriages, the harder it is to find the right balance and feel we have any sort of control over our home, our lives, our finances, ourselves. Calling it an adjustment barely scratches the surface. There's no templates for this lifesyle, and there's a serious lack of practical, non kidcentric help out there for stepparents - particularly for Step moms.

Blending works best when the adult couple is on the same page, everyone knows what their role is and isn't, and everyone stays in their own lane. There's a separateness that must be maintained in second/third marriages or blended situations, because each half brings their own assets, baggage, and responsibilities. Finances and division of labor are totally different in this kind of partnership, and you have to be able to stand up for yourself and say NO when necessary. Good boundaries are essential with so many moving parts.

If you feel things are out of balance or are uncertain of where your responsibilities begin and end, stick around. There's a lot to be learned from other members ' experiences.


Step-girlfriend's picture

A few things. You mentioned you have talked to your DH about this before, and you feel more valued afterwards. But why hasn't anything changed? It's time for you to really make yourself a priority. Say that you can no longer handle doing X, that you really need his help, and then stop doing it. STOP doing it. No is an answer. Skids bday is coming up? "Hey DH, maybe you want to start thinking about what to do for SS's bday!" And then let him plan it. Do the kids have chores? You shouldn't have to be cleaning the house on your own. SD9 does most of her laundry here. Have the kids help. If you don't already have a chore chart, make one. Give your DH chores too. I realized very quickly that if I had to clean the house alone, I would lose my shit. These are not your kids, and you should not have to be the primary parent for kids you didn't give birth to. Don't feel guilty for taking a step back and expecting him to step up.

Next, the baby thing. I understand that you didn't really expect to want one, but...your husband does not want one. He had a vasectomy to make sure he couldn't have one. Honestly, I wouldn't expect him to change his mind. I can say you knew that going in, but if Step-life teaches us anything, it's that things and feelings change, and you can't always anticipate the changes. You may need to make peace with the fact that he doesn't want another child, and he will not be the person to give you one. And then decide if you can live with that. That being said, 4 kids is a lot of kids. It's already overwhelming. I couldn't imagine adding another one to the mix.

Last, having kids should not mean the end of vacations and nights out. We make sure we do those things together, and I do them alone. I go on wknd trips without my SO, and I go out with friends. Take a night off and go do something, and also do those things wtih your DH. Adventure and Excitement keeps the spark alive more than anything else. Make it a priority!