The BM hasn't shown up to any of her scheduled visits since October. For those of you who are unaware of my situation, SD10 lives with us full-time and her BM lives in another state. Unfortunately, my SO has had full physical custody of her since she was a baby. I have been in the picture since she was four years old. I used to think, "She will see that we are consistently here for her, and she will grow up appreciating that." Fact is, I couldn't be more wrong. The older she gets, the more she acts like her BM and the less grateful she is.
SD9 lives with us full-time. Her BM lives out of state and sees her a few weeks per year. SD just came back from her summer visit, which was extended due to her BM, grandmother, and half-brother contracting COVID-19. I have children of my own who I have kept very safe and healthy since all of this started. SD's BM is the type who parties constantly and lives for going out (it's no wonder she doesn't have physical custody of either of her children). She isn't careful. She doesn't know how to take care of herself or her kids (the grandmother does everything).
SD9 has been gone for four and a half weeks. It's been AMAZING! The longest break that I've ever had was two weeks. My SO is the custodial parent and BM lives in another state, so her visits are once every two to three months. SD was supposed to return on Monday, but her BM got COVID-19, so they are quarantining and she is coming back later than planned.
SD9 didn't greet her dad or make him a card or act like she gave a crap on Father's Day. Her dad got mad (had a tantrum) and dropped her off one day early for her summer visit with her BM (who is the non-custodial parent). Her dad was so sad and upset that SD didn't acknowledge him on Father's Day that he said, "Don't even call me when you're over there!" (she literally never calls during the seven non-consecutive weeks per year that she is with her BM because she thoroughly enjoys being away from her father's overbearing, emotionally dependent behavior).
My SO and I had a big fight yesterday. A lot of words were exchanged. He said something about how I like to do fun things with my kids and take them out to eat a lot and enjoy my time with them when SD9 is with her BM. Why, yes. As a matter of fact, I do! When SD goes to visit her BM, she is over there having fun, eating out every day, doing activities, etc. Why in the world would I not be taking advantage of the ONLY time that I get alone with my kids? SD is ALWAYS here! She's only gone for a total of seven weeks throughout the entire year!
My SO has had SD9 full-time since she was a baby. Her BM has scheduled visitation every couple of months for one week at a time. Even though she doesn't get much interaction with her, it's obvious that her BM's genes are strong in her. She looks more like my SO, but her personality, facial expressions, attitude, and overall behavior are 100% a mix of her BM and her maternal grandmother (which is scary, to say the least). We have done everything possible to stop it, but it becomes more and more apparent that nature (versus nurture) is winning.
I get so tired of how stupidly optimistic my SO is when it comes to SD9. "I don't think she would lie about that" after she's been caught in so many lies. "I don't think she will do that" when it's something that she has done on numerous occasions. "I don't think she wants to get grounded again" even though she constantly chooses to break the rules and get grounded on a regular basis. "I don't think she feels that way" when she's made it clear that's how she feels. What's crazy is that he always feels like an idiot once she proves him wrong and then he is furious!
I could think of countless reasons why being a step-mom is so hard, so I will just list a few! You often feel unheard and unappreciated. Dealing with a problematic BM can be emotionally and mentally draining. You cannot love a step-kid the way that you love your own kids (even though many people expect you to). It's not easy feeling like you never come first to your SO. You can do a lot, work hard, be supportive, and love as much as you can, but you still won't get the credit that you deserve.
I'm just curious to see what others have to say!
SD9 acts disconnected from everyone. She is a superb actress and she does her best to make everyone feel like she likes them, but she talks badly about everyone behind their backs. She is a pro at playing both sides and acting a certain way for each specific audience. She lives with us full-time and she rarely ever sees her BM, but she's totally fine when she is over there and she doesn't care to call us (which I am thankful for).