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Anyone out there in this situation? Still finding it hard to adjust to living with many people after 4 years.

HopelesslyOptimistic's picture

If anyone has been in this situation, or can relate somehow, I would sincerely appreciate some support and advice. I went from being a 32 year old career oriented woman, who never had anything but herself and her life to focus on... to being a mom, and step-mom all in the period of one month! I still have not adjusted after 4 years and find myself craving more and more, time to myself.

When I made the decision to move in with my boyfriend 4 years ago, I was already 8.5 months pregnant(and lived in a city approx 80 miles away). I had always lived alone (since early adulthood) and had nothing more to focus on than me. I had a great career and made really good money. I got pregnant, and thought erroneously, "Hey, I can do this. Even if I decide to stay by myself, I make enough money to support us and I can do this alone." But, when I was about 8 months pregnant, I started to get scared. I wondered if I could do it alone. I knew inside I could, but the reality of it was getting closer and closer and this was going to be my first child. I had never been a mom before, let alone a single mom. And having grown up without a father myself (my parents divorced when I was 2 mos old and my father only kept up visitation with us for 3 years, then didn't come around again til I was an adult) I was bent on my daughter having a father in her life.

I ultimately made the decision to do the following at 8 and a half months pregnant: 1- Relocated back to my home town, out of the city I currently lived in. 2-Moved in with my boyfriend and his 4 kids (he has them 50/50 with his ex)3- Had a baby a month later 4- Became mom and step-mom within a month, 4- After my maternity leave, commuted two hours to my job one way, 2 hours back home (worked 9 hours while I was there) 5- Come home to a newborn who I felt like didn't even know me, and to 4 other kids who seemed to be everywhere I wanted to be... alone. 6- Ended up quitting my very much-loved job after 9 months of commuting 5 days a week because I felt like my newborn daughter didn't even know who I was and I was missing out terribly, 7- Became stay at home mom 8- Cook, clean, do laundry, chauffer kids, and now have a daughter about to turn 3.

The trouble internally started just after I had my daughter. I lived in chaos. Everytime I just wanted some time alone with her, whether to breast feed, or just rock her or anything... there was ALWAYS someone else around. I couldn't even sit in my living room and breast feed her for fear there someone was going to come busting thru the door, or start ringing the bell and one of the kids was home from school, or decided to walk down from their moms, or came home from a friends (it was summer time so they weren't in school during the day). When they were there, it was constant pestering (can I hold her, can I give her a bottle etc.) If I went to our room to spend time alone with her, I got flack from my boyfriend that I should be spending more time with the other kids too and they wanted to see her etc.

3 years later, it's still the same. I am still a stay at home mom for 2 years now, and I get up in the morning when my boyfriend goes to work... I find myself praying she just stays asleep awhile longer so I can have time to myself, but inevitably one of the million people in the house will make some loud obnoxious noise, and she wakes up, or my boyfriend goes in to see her and ends up waking her up, or someone slams the door and she wakes up etc. Is something wrong with me??

I love spending time with my daughter during the day, but summers around the corner again and the kids will be off of school... and here constantly. I find my heart just beating so fast... my stomach is always in knots. I worry I won't ever be able to be alone at all. I've talked to my boyfriend about it, and all I ever feel like is that he thinks I'm "falling short". I constantly have to hear how HE NEEDS someone who can "keep up the pace", who can "support him". He is an aspiring musician, on top of his day job, and all he ever talks about is how "he has to get in the basement to work on his music" Every night it's the same thing... he gets home from work, rushes thru dinner (if he even has any) has some obligatory conversations with the kids (how was school etc) then around 8 or 9, he's run off to the basement where he will stay until he's ready to go to bed. He works hard... most times 7 days a week. I know this is just his need to be alone and focus on himself too, but when did I become responsible for EVERYBODY?? I have to put the kids to bed, make sure everybody brushes their teeth, did their homework etc. I tell him this all the time "I gave birth to one kid, NOT 5!" I would never choose to have 5 kids myself, because I know how I am. I LIKE BEING ALONE!! I enjoy ME! But when I moved in here, I didn't know I was suddenly going to be expected to be EVERYBODY's MOTHER! I love my daughter so much, but feel like I never really had the chance to bond with her like I would've if I hadn't constantly had interruptions from day one home from the hospital. I had never been a parent before, let alone parent to 5 practically overnight. My bf says he understands, but when he gets home from work and decides he needs to go to the store for something, and I quickly volunteer (needing 10 mins to myself) he gets mad, like i shouldn't feel that way. Somewhere along the way, I have lost everything I ever was, and became someone else that I don't even know.

Am I being selfish? Should I just "get over it" and stop being angry and resentful? This is only the primary issue... all the sub-issues like 1- Every time I go to get something of mine, hairbrush, pony tail holders, shampoo, lotion, shoes! they're gone. Someone has taken it, not put it back and now I have to hunt all over the house looking for it. My bf's youngest daughter who is 9, is constantly taking my jewelry, make up etc. When I tell him I know she took it, if I'm even lucky he says something to her, she lies, then miraculously an hour later it shows up, but in a different spot than where it's supposed to be. I can't take it anymore!! They love me, I love them, but how much is too much?? I bake for them, and cook for them, and play games with them, and my bf always says how much they love me. But, why can't I just enjoy my family, instead of feeling like this?? Please help.


myna's picture

Smile Oh, I see how will my life end... You need to get out from there. I don`t know how do you do finantially, but I would leave the whole big family for at least two or three weeks and go somewhere on vacation totally alone. Being whole time in the house and the noise is the worst. Leave everything, book a trip and go away for a while. It will clear your head and let you decide is it better to be a working single mom or going back to the whole package. I`m still enjoying my three months away and can tell you I`m seeing the whole thing in new light

HopelesslyOptimistic's picture

Thanks, Myna. I thought the same thing, and mistakenly "joked" to my bf that I needed a vacation. Well, let's put it this way, he's been trying to save money for a year now to go visit his best friend in Atlanta... Unfortunately, we always end up dipping into his vacation fund, and then I have to hear how he's never going to be able to go on vacation. When I "joked" about me needing a vacay the other day, of course all I heard was "Vacation? You? Ok. I only work 7 days a week, and can't even save money for my own vacation, but I'll give you money so you can go away for a week or so." Obviously he was being sarcastic, and then I feel guilty just for saying it. The thing is, I know he understands, but as much as he wants me to be "stay at home mom" I feel I don't get any respect for it. he tells me how "when I go back to work, he's going to show me how it's done" Everything I do, he implies in some way he could do it better! Once in a blue moon he'll thank me for dinner, or whatever, but mostly, he just thinks I should be doing this anyway, so why does he have to thank me?! This is "MY JOB" after all...

Sita Tara's picture

Yes I did...

I think in my case it was b/c my SD was so extremely dependent on having my constant attention. Though she proclaimed I paid too much attention to her, she often went out of her way to telegraph whatever she was up to that was wrong until I finally had no choice but to correct her.

I was so used to having every other week to myself when I met them too, and then no solitude/privacy etc. I didn't mind nursing in front of anyone though, but I'd done it twice before so when BD4 came I was a pro at subtlety.

I definitely suggest going to counseling. I shut down quite a bit b/c I couldn't deal with no break from my SD (we got FC and BM decreased her time to nothing now as she just moved out of state the same time H announced he was leaving me, as well as then moving across country a month or so ago around the time H and SD moved out.)

If you want to stay married go to a counselor and get help for how to find balance. may detach to the degree I did to try to keep your sanity, and as soon as I succeeded in that part, my H left me for someone else.

Spacehopper's picture

I have 2 questions.
Who is the father of your child, and isn't he giving you any support?
The mother of the 4other children, is she helping to raise them financially? Your boyfriend sounds like a loser, sorry. You started with a good job and good money, and he's working to raise HIS 4 kids, and won't even help to give you a break?? You are looking after HIS kids!
He knows exactly what he is getting, you are taking care of his kids for free, and you aren't asking for anything in return.

Where is your family? Do you have any supportive friends or family you can stay with? Too often, women end up in situations, or blame themselves, when actually they need to be proactive and make things happen for themselves.

The vacation idea is a good one, but if your bf won't make it happen (and I think he wont, he cant save, and isnt earning enough, why the hell are there 4 kids?!!??) and why are you with this boyfriend? Are you scared of being alone? You mentioned not having a father for your daughter, but he sounds like he isn't there anyway. Better get out now, and at least you have a good chance of finding someone new, and having the life you want!

HopelesslyOptimistic's picture

Spacehopper: My bf is the father of my daughter. That's why I made the choice to relocate/move in with him when I was 8.5 months pregnant. After commuting 4 hrs total everyday for 9 months, I just couldn't take it anymore and he had always thought it a good idea for me to be home with our daughter anyway. So, I quit my job and became stay at home mama.

In answer to your other question, he does support me. Everything I get is from him, and honestly, he's usually pretty generous. I think that's why I feel guilty for feeling this way, because I'm not contributing in a monetary sense. Sure, dinner's on the table almost every night, and the laundry gets done, and the housecleaning etc. I help all kids with homework, and listen to them about their day. I get them to bed and everything else inbetween. I'm with him because I do love him, and he is my daughter's father. He's a good, kind man, but has tunnel vision. In his mind he works 7 days a week (and he does make good money), and should be able to "focus" on his music endeavors when he wants everynight. He thinks that being home is the easy part, and that how could I be tired after just taking care of my daughter all day. She's not quite 3 yet, and I love taking care of her. He always makes it sound like I'm literally sitting in front of the tv eating bon bon's all day. The problem is, back when he was with his first wife, he was out of work for awhile (due to an injury) and he cooked, cleaned, "took care of" the kids, and "still managed to play my music for hours a day". His terminology for taking care of the kids is different than mine. I do alot with my daughter. She might as well be in school. Besides all the extracurricular activities, I do her numbers and letters everyday... stories and crafts and what not. I don't just sit here on my butt! I just don't understand what he doesn't get about needing time to myself just for a bit everyday...

cain8cody12's picture

No you are in no way being selfish. I too moved in with a man who has 2 children. I have two myself but they are almost grown and no longer need 24/7 attention. My suggestion for you is the back away. You have one child that is your responsibility and 4 that are his. He may have to learn to back off on his alone time to take care of his responsibilities. Everyone deserves time alone to do things that interest them and to have some sanity or just plain quiet. I seriously think you should allow him to see that you are not the queen b and he will have to step up to the plate.

HopelesslyOptimistic's picture

meesh: I'm so sorry to hear about your job. That's terrible. I lost one once too, and it really does have an impact. I think that's why me voluntarily giving up my wonderful career is so hard to swallow. I had worked really hard to get back to that and then just gave it up. But, it wasn't just the commuting, it was truly because I was missing out on my daughter. I didn't even think she knew who I was, and I cried everynight when I would get home and find her sleeping. As for the "i work you don't" comments... all I can say is UGGGH!!! I hate those! I get them from him all the time! "I work 7 days a week. You get to sit and play with our daughter all day long. I'll trade with you in a heartbeat." I could go on, but you get the gist. The thing is, I don't just play with her all day... in fact try as I might to have a fulfilling day wtih her, alot of times I feel like I never even spent any time wtih her at all! I was too busy making sure the house was just right, and everything was picked up, and the dishes were done, and the "gourmet" dinner's ready for everyone when he got home. By the time I get done doing all that stuff and cleaning and laundry, there isn't much more time spent with my daughter than feeding her, changing her, putting her down for a nap... then everybody's home!

Persephone's picture

I think the Doctor has ordered that you and your daughter get away for a week or so. Can you visit with some family? Can you shave a few bucks from the grocery bill and save some money for yourself. Even if it is to hire a sitter and get out for the day each week.

I was a single mom and career woman for 10 years. The kids were young... 6 months, 2 and 9. They were the best 10 yrs of my life!! When you have the financial wherewithal raising kids on your own is so pleasurable. The balance of life and work is not nearly as difficult or aggravating as being stepped-on. When you are in control of your environment a bubble bath can seem like a tropical vacation, and sometimes all you need to regroup.

Ahh, I miss those days!!

Shannon61's picture

It's time to get away. Do you have a close friend or relative you can visit? A few years ago I moved in with DH and SD (26), I have no Bio kids. Prior to this I lived in a nice condo on the other side of town, had a good career and a life that I loved. While I'm happy I married DH, shortly after moving in, I started feeling like I'd lost a part of myself. And mind you there are no small kids involved here. So every few months I spend the weekend at my mom's or sister's place. It gives me a chance to unwind, disconnect and have some much need fun as we spend most of the time laughing.

In the case of your things being moved and coming up missing, either put a lock on your door or put your things in a closet so the kids don't have access to them.

Finally, your BF needs to realize that you need a break and those are HIS kids. Once a week he should take them out for dinner, ice cream, a walk in the park, or something to give you time with the baby and time to decompress. This way you'll have at least one night a week that you can look forward to. He's needs to stop putting the onus on you to do it all and start being more assertive in helping you raise HIS kids.

Good luck.