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Acceptance and Thanks

lieutenant_dad's picture

I started out step life with many of the misconceptions that other new stepparents have: I was going to be a great "bonus" mom and love my stepkids like my own, and in return, they were going to love me and accept me as another mom.


Don't get me wrong, I have a fairly good relationship with my SSs, but i have cut way back in my involvement in their rearing. Or, should I say, I have cut way back on caring. I won't care more than their parents do (sans life-threatening situations) and I won't try to force a relationship with either of them.

YSS is becoming the problem child that I predicted he would become. He has detention now for not turning in school work, and he's been super angsty-sassy teen since the summer. I told him yesterday that I was just going to avoid him for the next 8-10 years, and he seemed content with that. I made it very clear to DH that YSS's problems are on him and BM to deal with, and I wouldn't have a lazy teen/adult living in my house once he is that old. DH agreed and is trying to figure out what he's going to do about YSS. Gotta love him for that!

But anyway, I have accepted my role in this mess of a family situation, and I have strongly put my foot down on what I will and won't tolerate. Thank you to those who have been here and provided insight, either to me or to others that I have been able to glean. The tough love has been hard but needed, and the virtual hugs have helped me feel less alone.

I'm sure things will still bother me. I'm sure I'll complain about something soon (like BM babying YSS while he fails his classes), but right now, I'm good on SM autopilot.

So to the newbies - there can be a place of acceptance; maybe not peace and quiet, but acceptance and tolerance. And to the oldies - keep on keepin' on because you make a difference.


ESMOD's picture

You are so right. While I think it's great if step-parents can be "open" to having more involved/intimate relationships, ultimately, I think it's important to gauge the interest in the other parties involved. Does the kid want that? How about your spouse? What is the Ex-factor?

Sometimes it's ok to just be "dad's wife" and sometimes you will end up with a closer relationship with one child vs the other for a wide variety of reasons.

strugglingSM's picture

I think I started off thinking I was ok with just being "dad's wife", but then felt pressured by everyone to try to "love" my stepchildren and support them in any way I could.

Now, I'm back to being ok with just being "dad's wife".

For my own sanity, I've had to step back from trying to influence them because I can't counteract the fact that they have no boundaries and no expectations at home. I've already been told by BM (via DH, since I don't talk to her), that my "expectations are too high" for her precious cherubs, so that's fine, I'll back away.

I say things when I see really egregious or rude behavior, but it's no longer my responsibility to "correct" bad behavior or set them along the right path. I won't enable bad or lazy behavior, but I also won't waste my time trying to correct it.

That's the place of acceptance I've reached now, but it's still such a work in progress. A lot of things still bother me. It's been so helpful to hear from other SMs who were where I am now and who can provide morale support and maybe some coping tips.