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Vent-DH, Ss stuff

young-mom's picture


I am rather new to this blog thing but I’m desperately seeking advice for dealing with my step family situation. I have a young daughter, not quite two that I’m managing, and a ten year old stepson as well that we get every weekend as my DH has shared custody. I’m also pregnant with my second (also a girl)! Since I became a step momma, I’ve been reading untold amounts of articles and blogs to help me out, and doing my best but I’m not quite sure where I’m going wrong. If I am. Anyway....

My SS is and has been lying and arguing to my face since a little after we got married. Very often when I request him to do something (like putting his socks on) to helping with chores (which he has rarely). Most times it’s small stuff I’m trying to show him, and for me it turns into huge stuff because he’s arguing and talking over me before I can even get the words out of my mouth. If I confront or try to correct his behavior, he’s lying to my face without batting an eyelash saying he didn’t just do that. Other times he has done something not allowed, even willfully disobeyed me in front of me, and denies it without guilt or fear of consequences. Other times, talking disrespectfully, and ignoring me/ delaying when I tell him to do something or telling me no outright. It’s a constant fight just to live in the same house with him. I love him, but I am emotionally drained and dread the next time I have to talk to him. 

I have been totally confused when dealing with him, as I’ve second guessed myself many times, or tried to give him the benefit of the doubt when dealing with him. I really want to be more loving with him, but I’m absolutely at my wits end, and it feels without help or support. I’ve even gone to both parents for advice or clues into his behavior (more my DH) as they are tight to get clues into why he does things or how to deal with him, but I’m dealing with it now like those are excuses.

on the other side of things, from the beginning with my DH, things have been off and on exasperating. I never thought I would be a mom, so I was delighted with my new son. Then we got pregnant right off the bat, and my husband really laid on the pressure to literally quote everything said in conversation to his ex or her parents when they come to pick him up. They have taken him to court to take his rights away over stupid stuff, and his ex gets off on threatening him sometimes.  Now, after 2 years, my DH is undermining my authority at various times when I am dealing with SS in front of the kid, won’t let us discuss him in private when he’s there and dealing with something right now, but wants to do it right in front of him, and we have personal disagreements in front of this kid. My DH works a lot, so disciplining SS is mainly my job, and I totally feel like the evil stepmom. In the midst of this, my kid SS is using my husbands cluelessness and times he’s zoned out to act out. Other times, it’s manipulation and underhanded threats direct from bio mom through him (she does that too). The threats haven’t happened often, but they are very real. DH ex has parents who fund everything for her, so she gets lawyers and can prosecute my husband to her hearts content if she wants. So I’m stuck not saying anything cause I’m not sure what will help or hurt the situation. 

I’m dealing with my little one in the midst of this. One time I literally thought my SS was gonna eventually die from arguing when I told him to look both ways the first time we crossed the street, and the next time. I think the first time it took him several minutes to comprehend what I said while my hands were full with baby and we were crossing. It’s a one way street and he looked the wrong way, and could have been hit. The next time he was too busy arguing with me about whether or not I told him to look both ways or the right way and stopped literally in the street and could have been hit. Both times I couldn’t get the words out fast enough or right, and even when I do I’m dealing with a kids criticizm. My main concern wasn’t his arguing, but his cluelessness and carelessness when crossing the street cause he’s zoned out so much of the time.

Sorry this is so long. DH says the lying is normal at his age, and they both zone out hard, especially at home or with electronics. I want to leave for periods of time alone to get away and time for myself but am afraid to since I’m not sure I want to leave my LO there. So I don’t go anywhere, or rarely do anything. People on DHs side don’t like to talk about how to deal with it, and people on my side don’t have good advice. They say things like, “you knew what you were getting into.” (Nuh-uh) “Just love him the same as your child”, or “ just watch your reactions and everything will be fine eventually”. 




Iamwoman's picture

SS needs to be in after school care until DH gets off work and picks him up.

You should neither be forced into or volunteer for the position of unpaid nanny in your household.

SS is DH’s son. You should not be left alone with such a difficult child who isn’t yours biologically. Between the lying, arguing, and general PITA attitude, he sounds like a combination of my OSS14 and YSS10. When we had full custody of skids, DH put OSS14 (back then 8-9) in after school care.

Having a happy wife should be your DH’s priority.

Once you get yourself peeled away from the role of free nanny-care to SS, you can find time for yourself by taking your 2 year old and going to a gym that has free childcare. Your kid will be safe and happy while you get away and work out... which will also help reduce your stress.

young-mom's picture

Also, what does PITA stand for?

Step-girlfriend's picture


young-mom's picture

Lol, I literally teared up when I saw your response. I think I can probably get away with that on Fridays when I usually pick him up from school, but I don’t think that after school care is an option on the weekends. My DH has worked several jobs at the same time to make ends meet since we have been together, he works very hard but sometimes he does that on the weekends, leaving me alone with the kids for sometimes the whole weekend except for at night. He’s constantly stopping himself from looking for a better paying job, and his ex has been able to extract a lot of money from him due to her lawyers. There’s also college debt from him. :/

Aunt Agatha's picture

You are not the nanny.  As Iamwoman said so well above, your DH needs to care for his child.  If that means a new job, that’s on him.  You are enabling him to not have to be the patent.

Its one thing to volunteer to watch the child in extenuating circumstances, but this is not that.  You are being used by your DH and the bio mom, and robbing your child of a peaceful childhood.  

Step back and allow your DH to step up.  The child can stay with his mom, or a relative until Dad is off work.

if you’ve not yet, read Stepmonster.  It was a sanity saver for many of us here.



justmakingthebest's picture

You can't be expected to just unconditionally "love" the biggest stressor in your life. That is unfair for you DH to ask of you. As a step parent we can be expected to be kind, to be fair, to be courteous. But beyond that- if it happens naturally, great, if not, oh well. 

Personally, I would tell your husband that you aren't a free babysitter. Also, every single weekend is A LOT. What about every other weekend and dinner once a week instead. It's not like your husband is the one spending time with him and it would take some of the pressure off of you. 

Step-girlfriend's picture

What everyone else said, ^^^ but also, you really need to stand up for yourself. You are in a tough spot, but you are also allowing this to happen because you're afraid to speak up. Tell your DH you are not happy with the way things are, and something needs to change. You simply cannot watch him all the time, especially when he gets away with treating you however he wants, and that you are done with SS's attitude, and either he starts disciplining him for it and letting SS know you both mean business, or you will handle it. And then do handle it. This kid is going to be a monster if something isn't done, and it's already out of control. Take things away from him until he feels the pain and rethinks his actions.

You sound like a good person who doesn't want to be the stepmonster, but that isn't working for you. Your DH needs to change the situation so you are not with this kid all the time. I'm with my skids most nights too since my SO works a lot, but they do NOT talk to me the way yours do. If they did, I would be having the same convo with my SO that you should be having with your DH. That I won't be free childcare to brats and he needs to shut down the attitude- and he would shut it down and find alternate care. Also, I need time away too, and he supports that. Everyone needs time away, don't deprive yourself of that. It does wonders for your sanity. My skids are well-behaved and I still need that time.  

Mystic18's picture

"You can't be expected to just unconditionally "love" the biggest stressor in your life..." ALL OF THIS.  I want to put that on a plaque and hang it in my house.  

Early in our marriage, my DH worked on Saturday nights.  So he'd pick SS up Friday night, leave him with me while he went to work on Sat night and then return him Sunday afternoon.  After about a month or two of that, I told him to change his Saturday shift to Sundays because I was no longer willing to babysit the kid.  It's HIS child, HIS weekend - NOT mine.  I get super sick of stepmoms being guilted into watching children that aren't ours.  Whether we have our own children is not the point - the point is why go through the song and dance of visitation if DH isn't there to spend time with them?  I'm also super sick of the "You knew when you married him..." narrative.  Yes, we knew HE had children from another woman.  That's fine.  That does not mean we step in and do everything that woman is unwilling to do.  As someone else said above as well, Stepmonster was an AMAZING revelation for me. 

We now have full custody of his son.  I don't participate in his caregiving.  He has made the last 6 months of our lives a living hell with violent behavior.  If DH wants him here so badly, he can take care of him.  I seriously have refused.  Initially, I felt bad about having such a strong opinion.  Now, I'm just proud of myself for drawing really difficult lines in the sand.  My youngest child is 15 years old and has a very active life.  His son is 11 and autistic with the mentality and maturity of about a 6 year old.  I don't want that level of responsibility and I shouldn't have to assume it.  Neither should you. 

Please be firm.  You'll be glad you did.  

Sending you peace and love.

Harry's picture

Not to dump him on you and work.  Why take this kid if he is never home with him.? If you were not in the picture  what would DH do.?  You have to tell your DH this is not working out.  You can’t so this anymore. You can not be disrespected by a ten yo.  It’s up to DH to make other arrangements 

notasm3's picture

Put the kid on ignore.  No he's not an adult, but neither is he a toddler.  Unless he's developmentally delayed (or just plain stupid) he should not need the constant monitoring that your younger children still require.

Just stop arguing with him.  It takes two to argue.  Don't talk to him anymore when he lies.  He's doing all of that for attention.  Deprive him of the attention.

Your only responsibility for him is to not kill him.  I can't believe that a 10 year old really had to be told to look before crossing a street.  That's pathetic.  How has he lived this long?

young-mom's picture

well he was seriously sick as a toddler- he had leukemia so his parents babied him. His mom has had everything handed to her (her parents are rich) and she does the same thing to him (she’s NOT rich). I have brought up most of this stuff over time  to DH for the last 2 years but it is treated by each separate incident by him. I don’t tell him all the times it happens because originally I wanted him to believe that I was capable- I can be- but now each time I feel like I’m just going to have to convince him that he’s actually lying and stuff (dh) because a. he really doesn’t see it as a big problem; and b. I think he thinks I have it out for his son. I’m also telling him in a way like it’s not a big deal sometimes because I think he’s heard the problem and he’ll understand how serious it is. Nope. I think he doesn’t realize how commonplace and often these problems occur. Plus, he has a severe blind spot where SS is concerned, and his immediate response is to shut down or attempt to accuse whoever is saying outside of home about his behavior of being biased or rude or mean. It’s a very sensitive topic for him here too, and I have to tiptoe around him about it. He doesn’t do this too often with his school teachers and mom cause he either doesn’t hear the day to day stuff or SS doesn’t do this there.

Everyone around me on his side thinks I’m being too hard on him, they’re extra nice to him even when he’s regularly a jerk to them. Aunts, Uncles, grandmas, grandpas, he ignores them all, even when they’re standing right in front of him asking for a goodbye hug or just wanting a damn response. We were never allowed to treat my grandparents and uncles and aunts like this but when I correct him in front of them or remind him that they’re saying bye they just look upset with ME. And hurt that he can’t remember their names or anything. He definitely remembers their kids names. He’s gotten better with constant whatever it is correction or talking to but I’m just running into more problems and haven’t found a single body who just wants to make him a better person with actual respect for people. 

CLove's picture

Obviously, his parents are not parenting him, and now, because of that, you are trying to step up to the plate and provide what you think he needs.

But, you cannot care more than the parents do. If the family gets upset at you trying to parent their child, then stop all parenting activities. Dont do it. You are not the childs mother, he already has one. 

HOWEVER, if you are in a role of responsibility you absolutely must be able to have the authority. Put your foot down. Stop tippy toeing to keep the peace, it will just drive you bonkers. I made the mistake of including DH in my issues with Toxic Feral Eldest. Now - if I have a problem, I deal direct. Plus Ive learned disengagement. I just back off when necessary and let DH deal with it in his own way. But Munchkin SD12 isnt a huge problem, just annoyances here and there. She doesnt lie (that I have found yet), and she is basically respectful, however she has started challenging things a bit, and argues occasionally (I saw it on the internet, it must be true!). 

I also have a very high conflict ex, and her eldest lives with her, so when Munchkin decides to tattle on me about something I say that upsets her fee fees, there is always backlash. This last time was the worst, and its going to be the last time.

So, basically you do need to assert your authority. And learn more about disengagement. You cannot care more than the parents do, and remember he already has two parents and you arent one of them.