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StepMom Responsiblites

betterdaysahead12's picture

What are “the” responsibilities of a step mom so that I don’t feel like I don’t have a life anymore? Is it safe to say that I should just end this marriage because maybe I am just so unhappy to have to do anything for DH’s children? Is it me, or am I really taken advantage of? I’m really confused and am hoping that maybe some of you out there can shed some light on step mother responsibilities… My stepkids (twin boys age 7) live with us Full Time. They visit BM some holidays, spring break and 6 weeks during the summer. DH takes them to school in the mornings, I have to be at work too early to take them, but I must rush home after work to pick them up. Anytime DH wants to go to the gym, store, hang out with friends, he just leaves and never asks me to sit at the house with the boys. He just assumes because I will be there that it’s alright. Is this how it is supposed to be and I just accept this? I’m just wondering because sometimes I want to watch a show or run to the store or take a nap, but I can’t with them there. They are bad kids too, so it’s been a work in progress getting their behavior under control which is starting to come around. We now have our own child together (soon to be 9 month old) and our child is what keeps me from walking away currently. If there is an emergency at school, I am called to leave work to pick them up because DH works further. If school is let out early, I am expected to take off work because DH job isn’t as lenient. All this now makes me even mad that they live with us because do I get a life? Why do I have to sacrifice my time for his children? Is it because we live together? I have expressed my disgust and now instead of just leaving them to go to the gym or store, he has started taking them with him. But because they are no longer allowed at the gym daycare because they don’t follow rules, he can’t take them there anymore. Also, they run all over the store so he hates taking them. Their behavior is not my problem, it’s DH’s problem and he needs to discipline them. I don’t want to sit at home with them acting like that, so why does DH automatically assume that I want to? I have tried disengaging in the past and DH gets angry stating I am not paying attention to them and only care about the baby. I’m starting to think that being in this marriage isn’t really worth my health as far as the anxiety that has been created, the elevated stress level and depression. Is this normal? Has anyone divorced because of step mom duties??? I understand that in a perfect world I should treat them as my own and I do, but to sacrifice my career, time and happiness for someone else’s children just doesn’t sit right with me at this point….

misSTEP's picture

First off...don't do anything you don't wholehearted WANT to do for the skids. YOU did not put your dick in BM. They already HAVE two parents. YOU are not one of them.

You need to stand up to your DH and enforce boundaries.

ybarra357's picture

"YOU did not put your dick in BM."

I-m so happy I like the way you put this Misstep LOL!! So true, so true...

OP their OWN father refuses to parent and foists his heathens onto you??? Not no but HELL NO!!!

1mine2his1hers's picture

OMG!! So G*ddamn true!!! And they sit there and talk smack about you and your all the time. This summer visit she didn't even send socks. so guess what...they just are not going to have socks this summer.

kathc's picture

As SM, I do not believe we have any responsibilities toward the skids except being civil and polite unless they cannot act like civil human beings themselves.

ZERO requirement to DO anything or SPEND anything.


TASHA1983's picture

I am very blessed to have a man that KNOWS that HIS kid is HIS responsibility. He does not ask/expect/demand ANYTHING of/from me regarding his kid. And I firmly believe that is the way it should be. Just because we marry/date a man with kids DOES NOT MEAN that we have to step into the "Mommy" role. EVER! We date/marry the man we are with for THEM NOT THEIR KIDS! PERIOD!

Anything we do for the skids should be OUR CHOICE! NEVER EXPECTED OR DEMANDED! We are NOT their parents...we did not create them or birth them or ANYTHING for that matter so therefore our men and the skids SHOULD NEVER ask, expect or demand anything from us! Smile

And I for one don't do jack shit for my BF's skid...


christinen's picture

^^^^ Exactly this! My DH and I both know his kid is not my problem or responsibility. Stepmom duties? I have none. Why should I? I didn't want the kid, plan the kid (well then again, neither did DH lol but you know what I mean) and I am NOT her mother. DH says all the time he wishes I was SD's mom (her mother is an unemployed drug addict) but that's just too damn bad because I am NOT. It's a shame she got the shitty end of the parent stick but it's really not my problem. You owe those kids nothing. Smile

1mine2his1hers's picture

Im at that point. My H is having a hard time with me not caring. They have two parents.

VioletsareBlue's picture

I do not do anything that I don't want to do for or with the skids. DH no longer assumes I will be around to take care of skids.

I told him one day what I was willing to do and what I wasn't and that I expected to be asked and be respected.
It took a couple of years, but we are good now.

So, stand up for yourself ... it makes ALL the difference.

betterdaysahead12's picture

Thank you for responding. We had "the talk" last night and things went ok, so now it's time to see the actions. The problem now is that school is out today, so they will be going to their mother's in about 2 weeks. So of course I will not assume any responsibility since they will not be here. Once they return from their mother's at the end of the summer, we will see if DH keeps up the end of his bargain. I'm not so sure. It's really convenient right now that they are on their way out. I have put my foot down and for some reason after awhile I keep reverting back. That's my fault, but now I'm tired of it. I didn't get this far in my life and career to be put on hold because DH now has full time custody of his kids. If I knew back then what I knew now, I'm not so sure I would have married him! OMG, it sounds sad, but if ANYONE is dating someone with kids, date them as if he has FULL CUSTODY. It can happen. When we 1st met, he only had them half of the week. I prefer that over Full Time. They drive me crazy and everyone else crazy.

Ghost27's picture

Sounds like mine. Never asks if I can stay with the kids just assumes and does whatever he wants. Final straw was when we made an out of town boys trip without consulting me. I moved out for 2 weeks and he saw the error of his ways

Shaman29's picture

It sounds like it's time for you and your DH to have a come to jesus meeting.

These kids are not your responsibility. He absolutely should be rushing home to take care of his kids. What would he be doing if you weren't there?

Craving Normality's picture

I know exactly what you mean, my SO will get his 3 children approx EOWE (except I just found out they are coming again this weekend - 3rd in a row - YAY!!!!) He has one son (horrible) and two girls, plus we have a son together. He will leave with his son for hours at a time, leave me with his daughters, who I do like, so it's not a big drama, but I think, why bother going to get them if you aren't going to spend time with them. He, I think assumes because I am home with my daughter and our child, the girls are fine to stay, and they are, because they are nice most of the time, but I rarely just leave with my daughter, without some prior arrangement, or organising with him first that he will be available to watch our son. He never leaves his son with me (12yo shit), and his son would not stay with me either. If his children lived here full time and he thought I would take any responsiblity for naughty kids I would probably, hopefully ask him to leave. I spend quality time with his daughters because I enjoy it, if I didn't - I would not do it.

And you work, I can't understand why he thinks you should leave your work to pick up his kids.

IslandGal's picture

I have absolutely NO responsibility regarding DH's kids too. Him and BM are both responsible for their kids and parent them both. Even when they're having dramas and problems and whatnot crap - it's still THEIR PROBLEM.

I take full responsibility for the same with my Son.

It works out perfectly for us because neither of have to feel responsible for the other's offspring.

IF the day ever comes where skids live with us full time (if I don't leap off the harbour bridge), we will be sitting down to have a discussion FIRST - before ANYTHING is arranged. Until that day comes.. we will continue doing as we do..

Hope your DH gets it clear in his head that they are HIS kids and therefore HIS responsibility. Hell, even when they come back after 2 weeks - make it clear that you WON'T be on hand to pick them up from school etc - he has to arrange all this. You got into this relationship to be with HIM - NOT his kids.

stepped-on-sm's picture

we have SD 100% - her bm lost parental rights due to abuse & neglect.
I was the breadwinner & going to school so dad & SD were home.
After my health worsen & I got pregnant we decided I would be a SAHM & stay in school part time for mainly our lo ( I had been working day shift so childcare for SD wouldnt have been an issue, our lo has mild airway issues and has a dr's order for no daycare - he ended up with rsv & croup earlier this year)
Dad finally found a job with a 2 hour 1 way commute (until we relocate) so I am watching both kids.
I explained to my SO if I was going to watch SD she better follow my rules and mind (he needed to back me up in our decision - in the past we would have long talks about SD and he would undermine me to come out super dad and me the evil stepmonster) or he could find childcare (which he cannot afford).

The issues started when I stopped working (I was usually gone from 430am to 9pm between work & school and a 45 min commute one way) when I was diagnosed as high risk pregnancy.
I noticed my SO would parent SD from the couch and never check or verify anything so thus she of course said yes she did her chores, homework etc.
Over the course of about a year we have worked to make his parenting style less lax, which is why I'm sure the backlash from SD.

To make a long story short and not get mired down in the dirty details, disengaged. I will watch my SD make sure she stays out of trouble, gets to bed on time, eats, etc but I do not make her appointments anymore, I do not give her rides to any functions or appointments anymore, I will go with my SO as a family but no more am I doing anything extra for SD.
I flat out told them both so and amazingly my SO backs me up; he agrees that SD cannot get away with her actions [lying to everyone about me saying I'm neglectful & uninvolved (at 2 different schools for 2 years) and other rumors so bad to the point other people will not let their kids over, I'm basically shunned in our small community.] and not have consequences.

I would talk with your DH about what you will and will not do with your sks; also when he wants to go out make yourself unavailable once in awhile or on a regular basis, go out alone or with just you and the baby (My so changed his tune when I went out & left him with our lo and his own daughter for 4 hours, so now he knows what it is like, I also now take blended classes each term so I get a day away each month).

I found the more I did for my SD the more my SO was willing to dump on me; Ive made it clear she is his daughter and his responsibility, I will help, but my priorities are myself and kids as well.

Smileful's picture

I don't think it's a matter of step children v. your own children responsibility, but a matter of gender roles and gender role expectations.

Division of responsibility in a relationship is a very difficult thing to balance. Lots of communication and clearly set expectations.

You have clearly been taking on more than you expected and that needs to be communicated to your partner. (Ideally prior to the living arrangements/marraige..but hey, no time like the present).

You are completely valid in feeling resentful. If you love your partner you will also listen to his reasoning and where he is coming from. Hopefully you can come to some sort of workable arrangement for the sake of the 3 children..

Best of luck.

twopines's picture

Floridamom, you would do well to dial it back on the dramatics. Good grief, are you practicing Lifetime Movie of the Week writing?

twopines's picture

How do you cook your skid hearts? I've had good success with shallots, salt, pepper, and a little red wine vinegar.

twopines's picture

Shhhh, I'm watching a most fascinating episode of Supernanny...*nibbling gummy bears*

twopines's picture

Oh absolutely. I'm going to throw love all over those skids.

Because, you know, they are a part of my DH.

Sort of like his lower intestine, but not as bendy.

Except, do I really love his lower intestine? I mean, yea it's a part of him, but I can't watch Supernanny to get a handle on disciplining it, so maybe I should just be one of those stepmoms who gives up on it.

I'm so ashamed of myself.

twopines's picture

Noooooo, I like my gummy bears au naturel. And I would never mess with your candy house! I know the value of a good Oreo wall.

IslandGal's picture

hahaahaa!! thanks for the laugh ladies - as for florida-watever.. she's obviously a twisted psycho BM trying to pose as a "teacher".. full of shit, she is.

mnmat86's picture

My bio kids live with us full time and we get SDs on the weekend. I almost always watch SDs on weekends that DH has to work, but if I'm not feeling up to watching 4 kids I let him know and he takes them to their grandmother's until he gets off work. That is rare though. The default position is that I watch them when he isn't here unless I specifically tell him otherwise. I also plan the meals, buy snacks and food for all the kids, etc. I don't have a problem with it because for one thing I do love the SDs and DH also keeps my kids whenever I leave the house to go to the store, etc. He makes their meals, cleans up after them and changes my son's diaper without being asked if I'm not home or sleeping or something and will take/pick up my DD from school as needed. If one of us wants to go out with our friends or whatever, we will ask the other if they mind staying home with the kids. Other than that we work together as a Mom and Dad as if all the kids were our own biological kids. I think it works because he's not your average male that thinks all childcare, cleaning and cooking should fall on the woman. He does everything that I do and responsibilities are divided up pretty equally between us. Also we are both happy with this arrangement and I don't think either of us feels like we're being taken advantage of. If you're not happy, you should change it definitely. If you don't want to be "Mom" you shouldn't have to be! Plain and simple. Tell him to change it or look for the door!

betterdaysahead12's picture

I really wish that my situation was like yours. But it’s not so that’s why I was asking for an idea of what other stepmoms view as responsibilities. I understand that every household is different, but I honestly feel that if the tables were turned and the twins were my biological children and he was the step dad, I know that my DH would not change his work schedule to pick up MY kids. I know that if I wanted to go to the gym or store that I would have to find care for them because he would not automatically want to sit home with them, especially with their behavior. I see that this is more a situation between us in our household and what we as step parents would do, versus what a “step parents” responsibilities may be. I guess it’s all up to the step parent. But in my case, I just don’t feel that it’s right for me to have to have all the responsibility for my DH children while he sits back and pushes everything on me because he wants me to be the “mother figure”. They have a mom. It is not court ordered that DH has Full Custody. This is the arrangement between the two of them because she could not handle the twins behavior full time and felt that DH being their father would get that under control. She rarely calls them, and I find it ridiculous that I have to leave work to pick them up from school on half days etc when she lives 5 minutes from the school. I work 40 minutes away. Why can’t she go get her kids and then just let me pick them up when I get off? She does not work so she is home all day, so this is why I wanted to know about responsibilities. But I guess you can’t make someone be a parent, so for the kids sake there is nothing wrong with the step parent being there for the sk’s, but I still feel taken advantage of, like my life is being stopped for them, when what I do does not matter to anyone, it’s all out of convenience so DH and BM don’t have to “pay” a sitter to do the things that I do. The twins know that I am not their mother, so they don’t listen to me the way a child would listen to their mother. I know 7 year old don’t always listen, but it’s out of control. I notice there are SM’s here who participate in disciplining their Sk’s. I do as well, but they ignore me when I say go to time out etc. It’s too long for me to describe everything, but the point is that DH needs to do more. We had our conversation after I posted my original post and things did improve as far as him not assuming that I would always be in the house to sit with them while he ran off to his errands etc.