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Does anyone feel judged by everyone on being a step mother

Stepmonster829's picture

I learned last night that my very own sister told my fiance that he shouldnt marry me because I need to be with someone who doesnt have kids. I am assuming she said this to him because we had a disagreement last week about picking the kids up and I was mad because I was tired. Second;y, I have vented to my sster before and said some things I didn;t mean about being a step mom but told her the next day I was just mad. .I  am not exaclty sure what the whole conversation was last night but I also walked out of a therpay sesson when we told the therpist how we disagreed over gettting the kids that day to where she said "well your marrying a man with kids" I walked out. Why does everyone judge me and If i have any feelings towards picking them up or not soemtimes and want my feelings to be taken into cosideration then I am soooooo horrible and keeping him from his kids. We get them every week and I really don;t undertstand what is so wrong with working alot and sometimes not feeling like dealing with having them. Not beacse I dont love them but kids need attention and sometimes when I get home I am so exhausted I don;t have it in me. My sister told him last night that we shouldnt get married and we fight too much and that my own step mother agrees with her. I dont know what brought on this conversation but I feel so hurt and judged. Help!


ChamomileTea4Me's picture

I don't know the back story, but that is a lot of people from your family and his that seem to be concerned.  If you can set aside the feeling of being judged for a moment and just look at what the concerns are, you may find some harsh realities and red flags.  I definitely wouldn't get married until you feel better about those red flags.  No harm in waiting.

ESMOD's picture

This was the impression that I got.  It seems like even a stepmother thinks you might not be cut out for this situation with him.. so maybe trying to not be as upset at being "judged" and take a critical look at yourself and your situation.  When people you think might logically and normally be on "your side" seem to be going in a different direction... it's probably time to slow down and listen.

hereiam's picture

It's not necessarily that you should be with someone who doesn't have kids, more like not all men with kids should be in a relationship, and this guy may not be right for you.

If your SO feels that his kids will always trump what you want, there is going to be a lot of resentment. From your other post, it doesn't seem like the two of you are communicating very well about this issue.

Also, for him to get mad because you wanted to do your own thing when he wanted to get his kids, is unacceptable. HE has kids, they are not yours, and you are not obligated to spend all of your time with them.

You DO need a different therapist. "Well, you're marrying a man with kids," just doesn't cut it, is not helpful, and is not going to solve anything.

Frankly, if your SO doesn't want to take your feelings, needs, or wants into consideration, if he cannot balance being a divorced father with being in a relationship, HE is the one who should not be in a relationship. Then, he can focus on his kids and not have to concern himself with being somebody's partner.

ETA: Don't think of it as everybody judging YOU, they are seeing a situation that is not working, whether it be due to you, due to your SO, the kids, whatever, it's not working. I'm sure that your sister wants the best for you, maybe she feels that this guy is not it.

still learning's picture

if he cannot balance being a divorced father with being in a relationship, HE is the one who should not be in a relationship. 


Your fiance is basically expecting you to pick up where biomom left off. You're supposed to fill the void that she left when their marriage dissolved.  Let him be a single dad and figure this out on his own. A poster above said, there is no harm in waiting. What is the rush? Why the urgency to hitch your legal wagon to this man and his drama?  Your family is only looking out for you. You may feel judged but they see all the stress that this relationship is drumming up and you're not even married yet.  I would tell my daughter the same thing and have a talk with her fiance. It's hard to see someone you love suffer unnecessarily.  

I have adult steps and the dynamics from that almost ended my marriage. I couldn't imagine dealing with custody issues, biomom, child support...there's no way I could do it.  I value my sanity too much at this stage in the game.  Sometimes the strongest move is to hit the pause button and really reflect on what YOU want.  

Exjuliemccoy's picture

Is spot on.

If you are a Childfree person, own it and be honest about where you are on the C.F. spectrum. Some CFers enjoy kids but don't want to be parents, some are introverts who enjoy kids in small doses, while others cannot tolerate kids at all. 

You do sound very frustrated, angry, and unhappy, so it is possible that this relationship isn't a good fit for you. Please take the necessary steps to sort out you feelings and to determine what does and doesn't work for you. The better you know yourself, the better your relationship choices will be.

ESMOD's picture

One thing that you do need to remember.. your husband to be is a father "full time"... even if his custody schedule may be part time.  Also, at any moment, his part time custody could become full time.  His Ex could die, go crazy.. go to prison.  You just can't absolutely count on him only having his kids on his "time".  He is the kids' father and it sounds like he is interested and happy to have them over any time it is possible. 

Now, in your defense, does this mean that YOU need to take care of his kids? NO.  Does this mean you have to clear your schedule to play candyland when you really just wanted to relax and take a hot bath?  NO again.

His kids are his responsibility.  Now, it seems you have to date kind of "played the part" and set the expectation that you will hang out with him and his kids...   In reality, it may have been a little easier if you had just from the start set the expectation that his kids.. his entertainment.. and that you would sometimes rather do your own thing..

When he wants to have his kids over to his home (even one that you are sharing).. it is not exactly the same thing as him inviting his poker buddies over to drink beer.  These are his kids.. his family.. and he is naturally going to feel like his kids are welcome in his home "any time".  Now, that doesn't mean you have to be present.  But, I think he got the impression that you going out that time was you kind of trying to get back at him.. or that you were just making excuses because you didn't like his kids.. "ooh.. I'm tired"'.. o that didn't work" I'm going out"   If you said.. "honey, I'm pretty tired tonight.. if the kids come over, i'm probably just going to take a bath, do a little reading in bed and hit the hay early".  It might not have come across like you saying "i want control over when your children are here".. it is more "please respect my feelings" which didn't prevent him from having the kids.. but put him on notice that he needed to make sure you weren't disturbed... which I think is more within your rights than barring his kids from the home.

SayNoSkidsChitChat's picture

True but DuH can say no to Biowh0re trying to dump kids on him on her parenting time. My DH actually grew a pair and started telling BioCunt no. My stepdemon will be adult age soonish so if biocunt tries to dump her demonspawn on us FT ever again I’m putting my foot down. 

She isn’t allowed to die or be incarcerated lmao.

ESMOD's picture

Dad may not see it as dumping.. and even if it is from BM perspective, he may still be happy to have MORE time with his children. 

If this is the dynamic that dad will always want to take any extra time possible, OP should understand that for THIS relationship.. that comes with the territory. 

Again, it doesn't mean she should have to take care of the kids.. that is dad's responsibility.. but being with him may mean accepting that his kids are over more than the CO directs. 

If she sees this as a potential bone of contention and source of constant conflict, it would be wise of her to take a breath.. and figure out if she can live this life with him.


I know you, CC, won't agree, but my theory is that parents are parents "full time" despite what might be written down on a piece of paper.  That is just the minimal guidelines as to what time each is legally entitled to.  However, both parent's home is also their child's home.. even if it's only 2 days a month.. it is that child's home for those 2 days... but also other days of the month in which the child might spend more time.. even if it's not in the CO. 

Of COURSE the responsibility for the care of those children is the bio parent.. NOT the step parent.  The Step parent can go to the gym.. do whatever they want.. they are not defacto baby sitters.  AND.. the bio parent has the ability to decline extra time from their EX if that is their choice as well.  They may do that for a variety of reasons.. last minute.. illness.. work demands.. or even because they have a date with their new SO.

So, basically, I think if you are married to a bio parent, and the home you share is both of your homes.. you really can't object to them having their kids (MINOR KIDS) over.. whether it's CO ordered or not.  As long as the BIO parent is the one doing all the care for the kids and not just zoning out and mowing the grass etc...  Of course, a Bio parent would be wise to be mindful of their SO's feelings.. but ultimately, I don't see Skids in the same category as other family and guests.

So.. if the mere presence of your stepkid stresses you out.. maybe steplife is NOT for you.  AND.. it doesn't make you a bad person.. it just means that this relationship isn't for you.


AlmostGone83's picture

Why stop there? From what I see more and more people think it is appropriate for their kids to live with them until 30 and beyond. After all, it’s just so hard to be an adult these days. Think about that for a second before you get married.

ESMOD's picture

I clearly said minor children.  The babying of adults past 18.. and most certainly past college graduation kind of baffles me.  Those are situations where I believe that the SP has a greater leg to stand on to shut down financial support or living at home. 

But.. again.... this is a completely different situation when you are talking about adults.  please don't confuse my stance on minor, dependent children with that of capable adults

strugglingSM's picture

I find that most people who have not been stepmothers (and maybe even some who have) judge stepmothers. In my view, this is driven primarily by societal conventions about what a "real family" is. I think that in general, people don't feel comfortable when families break up, so even if the stepmother wasn't involved in the break up, she is seen as the interloper, the one keeping the original family from maintaining all of it's traditions, etc. 

Also, regardless of the circumstances of the break up, in general, mothers are viewed as the victims of divorce, especially if they have full custody, and fathers are viewed as the deadbeats who are leaving the mother high and dry. Therefore, anyone associated with the father is often viewed negatively, because he is seen as not giving enough to his children post-divorce as it is, so if he's now giving anything to another woman, that makes things even worse. Also, many mothers use their children as a bargaining chip to retain power over the man they divorced after the divorce. This often leads to blurred boundaries. 

Also, family members often feel the need to step in and save the children, seeing them as the victims of the divorce. In reality, if everyone just calmed down a bit and let things play out and let everyone accept the new normal things would be okay. Is it ideal for children to have parents living in two separate households? No. Is it better for children to have parents living in two separate, but happy households, as opposed to one household where there is anger and chaos? Hell, yes! People often seem to forget that even if mom and dad stayed married, that doesn't mean it would be a good situation for the children. I would venture to guess that growing up in a household where there is abuse or constant fighting is more damaging to children than divorce, but people rarely admit to abuse and fighting in a marriage, so that is difficult to study. 

All that being said, being a stepmother is difficult. Your life is not fully your own and you need to accept that. You need to accept your new normal. However, I think you should be allowed to express your frustration and your SO needs to be understanding. This is his situation to own, not your situation to take on. 

Finally, your sister was way out of line for saying that to your fiance. If you shared your feelings with her, she should not have shared them with your fiance. That is betrayal in my book and you should have a serious chat with her. If that is how your family operates, my advice is to seek personal counseling to figure out how to step out of that dysfunction, because it will only make your life hell if you can't even count on your own family to support you through what will be a bumpy transition to steplife (a transition that could take 5-10 years). 

Doublehelix's picture

Yeah, I'd agree with the others that I don't think it's necessarily *judgement*, but I think most people (including ourselves) are aware that being a stepmother is going to be inherently harder than being in a "regular" relationship. Anyone who hasn't been in a stepmom's shoes doesn't know exactly what it's like. Similarly, anyone who is child-free doesn't know what it's like to be a parent either, but we still know it's hard. Our friends/families know stepparenting has a reputation for being difficult, we then verify that with our stories and venting, so it's probably natural for them to wonder why we'd want to pursue it. Biomoms can complain about parenting, but no one's gonna tell them "well you shouldn't have kids then!" It's such a double standard.

susanm's picture

It sounds to me that they may be right but for the wrong reason.  They appear to believe that the problem is you not wanting to be "insta-mommy" and sacrifice yourself and your time for the children he created.  I think it is more accurate that the problem is that he seems to believe that the children he created are your responsibility rather than your choice.  The people in your life have likely accurately seen that the two of you are not a great match at the moment.  They just have swallowed the society party-line that anyone with a vagina is supposed to take care of any random kid put in front of them and so are putting the fault at your feet rather than at his.

DHsfamilyfromhell's picture

If you generally enjoy this relationship, maybe try and find people to vent to that aren’t family. I’m sure we have all done it, and it appears that if we vent to them it invites them to give an opinion. I am judged as a step parent and bio parent. And try to let it wash over me now, as I’m not perfect but I try to do my best and that’s all I can do.