Acceptance and Thanks
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.