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We're a new step family and in dire need of advice!!!

elsie70's picture

I am the biological mum to my two kids aged 10 and 13. My partner has now moved in with us and we have been trying for another baby. My kids have coped with the new set up amazingly well and are slowly accepting my new partner into the home. The problem is that my partner has some very strict ideas about how the household should be run and he expects the kids to pull their weight more. We've talked about this in depth and agreed a rota of chores that was acceptable eg. kids tidy rooms, help out generally which is all fine. The kids have been doing more and sticking to the rules except now my partner is complaining that they're not cleaning to a high enough standard and it feels like the goalposts are being shifted as we go on.
For example, my 10 year old son had a bath last night and cleaned up after himself with some prompting from me however he left a flannel lying in the bath which I hadn't noticed. Cut to this partner was in a real mood about it and said he wasn't sure if we should be trying for a baby because he does not want his child to be untidy like my kids. He has done this on several occasions and each time I feel he's attacking my kids and my parenting and I'm on the point of going back on the pill and forgetting the whole idea of trying for another baby...something he says he really wants most of the time until my kids make a slip up or miss a bit of tidying up.
Will someone please tell me if I am being unreasonable in my lack of understanding here?

elsie70's picture

Thankyou...that's just what I've been thinking but the whole step family thing is so new I've not been certain of how much bending I should do to accommodate him. I've always been a bit soft on how much I make the kids do so I could see his point to an extent and so got more disciplined, it's just that he takes it to a level that doesn't seem reasonable at all. The only reason we've been trying for a child so soon is because I'm 41 and don't have time on my side. Maybe a big re-think needs to be done. Thanks again.

DaizyDuke's picture

I would definately talk to your SO about his comments... he is way out of line. So is he forever going to hold your kids over your head??... say you do have a baby, will you have to listen to him for the rest of your life tell you "I told you so" everytime your child does something that is not up to his standards??

I do understand the frustration of messy, lazy skids... I have a SS12 and SD13. They are good kids for the most part, but tend to be lazy. They will drink the last of the milk and put the empty jug back in the fridge, they will dirty a bazillion dishes and not wash them, they will leave paper towels and wrappers and such in the living room etc. They were even driving my DH nuts to the point that he has talked to them a few times and they really have gotten a little better, but I guess it's because I know that I can NOT resonably expect that they are PERFECT that I don't get too hot and bothered about a little slip here or there.... they are still going to do dumb things from time to time and guess what? DH and I do dumb things from time to time, we are human after all. Your SO needs to get a grip on this concept or he is on the road to giving you and your kids some major resentment.

godess-clueless's picture

It always amazes me how someone who has never had children can nit-pick and do so much complaining about the ones that live in their household. If he wants picture book perfection then he should have stayed single and keep all visitors at bay so his tidy little world will not get messed up. I have known a few men like this. They all had a few characteristics in common. They had not had children. They were the only son with sisters that did all the housework when they were growing up. Ethnic background that had very defined standards about women's work for the wife and kids and man's work for the husband. Little tolerance of anything but their way in most all areas of life. The same high standards they expected of other children did become more reasonable when having children of their own. As long as their children "shine" in public it will be their doing. If the child screws up it will be your fault. Consider also that we usually have such high expectations for our first borns. First borns are the ones we think are going to be that great doctor or president. After a while we realize they are just normal kids ,lower the unrealistic expectations and get a little more real. He does not want kids with you??? What is he flawless??? If he is already telling you that you are not good enough then maybe you should consider if you would want to spend 18 yrs. with hearing this attitude.

elsie70's picture

I'll definitely make him read this thread, almost everything posted is what said to him myself. Thanks so much for your replies, I was beginning to think I was going a bit mad!!!

elsie70's picture

Thanks for your sound advice, I can't tell you how grateful I am for an objective opinion about this. Bless.

lucybee825's picture

I know how you feel when you say "each time I feel he's attacking my kids and my parenting" I wonder if we all feel this way sometimes? After all if you have a non parent living in the house with you and they make even a small comment it's easy to get defensive. Naturally we all want to protect our kids and go to bat for them, but there are some parents out there that think their kids can do NO wrong. My BF can be like this sometimes, all the while making comments about my son and how I parent him. It's frustrating. Early on my BF tried his hand at disciplining my son when he was disrespecting me and talking back. He sent my son to his room w/o TV or games. My son didn't take to this well AT ALL and so went the, "you're not my father, this is my house, I'm telling my Dad" sago. After that BF has never tried too hard to discipline him anymore and realized that he should leave that up to me and if he has a problem with my son's behavior he should talk to me about it. Ultimately as Bio parents I think it's our job to discipline our kids and decide when it is necessary. If we allow someone else to do it there usually will be a problem, especially if they are doing it early on in the relationship.

In my opinion with regard to your situation you should be the one enforcing the rules and disciplining the kids. You make the decisions with his input and decide what you feel is acceptable. If he doesn't like the way you parent or feels it is not up to par with what he wants he has the option to either accept it or leave! That simple!