You are here

Am I unfair?

JJ72's picture

I'm currently living with my boyfriend of 2 years. We have a 10month old son together and he has a daughter from another relationship, who's 12 years old. He shares custody with bm and she's living with us every other week.

He's working a lot, so I'm taking care of all in the household - driving the kids to school/appointments, cooking, doing laundry, cleaning etc.

After being diagnosed with post partum depression, I asked for a little more help around the house and it was decided that Sd12 should have chores around the house.. (Putting her own laundry away, water the flowers and clean sink and toilet once a week) But she doesn't do her chores and I end up doing them for her, while she gets paid for it by her dad.

 

We talked about multiple times but it doesn't get better. It's really no help for me, if I have to remember it for her and tell her to do it multiple times. She also leaves a mess behind and I always end up picking up her stuff.

Is it too much to ask that a 12 year can do simple chores and pick up her own stuff? And also remember to keep a proper hygiene? Most days I have to remind her to brush her teeth or take a bath..

 

I'm starting to resent my boyfriend for always having to do extra work when she's here.

JJ72's picture

I also had a few experiences where she took stuff from my son amd lied about. Or gave him something and the later took it from him. She's also very jealous of him around their grandparents. Daddy doesn't address this and I'm so sick of it.

 

English isn't my first language, so sorry for mistakes.

Rags's picture

Start enforcing standards of behavior. If daddy and the ILs do not apply escalating consequences for her behavioral crap, you do it and put it on daddy and the ILs for not enforcing decent behavior expectations on the Skid.

SteppedOut's picture

No you are not wrong. A 12 year old can be and SHOULD BE doing much more than "simple chores", IMHO. And definitely be able to manage hygiene. Sound like this kid has been pampered her whole life and been taught nothing about...well, life and living. 

You should not have to take on HIS responsibilities for HIS daughter. If he is unable to manage her when she is there, he should reduce his time with her until such time that he can care for her. She is NOT there to spend time with you... and you definitely do not need the added stress and work. 

This relationship sounds lopsided to me. Only one person gaining and the other losing quality of life. A relationship like that is destined to fail.

ETA: Your english is very good. Had you not mentioned, I would have never known it is not your first language. 

Winterglow's picture

How about a chore chart, posted on the fridge super-Nanny style, detailing her chores,day by day?

When does your maternity leave end?  How will your bf cope when you go back to work?

Ditto what was said about your English Smile

ndc's picture

Do you have a job outside the home?  With a boyfriend who expects you to do all the work for his kids, a skid who is lazy, jealous and annoys you . . . I wouldn't want to be financially dependent on a boyfriend in this situation. 

What did your BF do during his custody time with his daughter before you lived with him? Who ran her around, watched her and kept house?

And NO, you are not unfair. 

 

Survivingstephell's picture

He should inspect her chores before she gets paid. That's a life lesson she needs to learn before she gets a job.  No boss will keep her around if she grew up thinking that she gets paid without doing the work.  Daddy is failing her.  Do not do her chores.  Let her dad handle it. You asked for help so stand back and leave them room to figure it out.   

Shieldmaiden's picture

In order for SD12 to learn to do chores, a parent (not you, because this is not your responsibility) needs to be there to remind her once, then to enforce the penalty for not doing her chores. She definitely should not be getting paid for work that you are doing. 

I've been through this with my 3 SD's. The only way is for you to stop doing it. Then, if she doesn't do it by a certain time, then you can facetime or videochat with her dad, hand the phone over to her and have her explain to her dad why she didn't do her chores. Then he can be the parent. Easy, right? Now, if dear old dad is avoiding his parenting responsiblity or being a "Disney Dad" then you will find out that he is the problem, not her. Either way, it should be on him to discipline her. If he wont, I would seriously think about leaving him. 

 

JJ72's picture

THANK YOU, for your sweet comments. I really thought I would get some bad comments for feeling like this. I tried with a list but I had to remind her all the time anyway.

 

 

 

Dad does remind her some times, but he eventually forgets until I get angry with him and her again. I tried just to disengage, but I hate clutter and I can't get myself to send her off to school, to her mother's or grandparents without brushing her teeth, or what else she would forget to do or bring.

Dad relied much in grandparents to pick her up from school and so on when he was unable to because of work.

 

I start working next week, only part time. 

 

I thought about leaving. And can't deal with the stress and him always saying that it's hard for her to figure out, that she has a lot on her mind and that she has to be here. They separated when she was 1. It's not a new thing.

And of course she needs to be with her dad. I just don't want to be her maid or think for her all the time.. 

Winterglow's picture

So,you post the chores where she can see them AND you give a copy to her father and tell him to check that it's all been done before paying.

She has a lot on her mind?! Give me a break! She's effin' TWELVE! Kick your bf's arse and tell him to pull his head out of there. He's her father, his job is to raise his child to be a functional, capable, decent human being NOT to coddle her to death. What he is doing actually handicaps her. Tell him that it's hard being a parent but that's his job, dammit!

SteppedOut's picture

Don't feel like you can't or it would be "bad" to leave.

I left my step-hell, because I knew all the things that were wrong, scary, untollerable would never change. I knew I couldn't live like that and I damn sure didn't want my baby son to live like that either. 

Sometimes, for various reasons, it IS better to leave. Only you can make the final determination. But please don't live in an unhappy situation that has no hope of changing or getting better. Figure out sooner rather than latter if change is possible. Don't waste your life being unhappy.

1st3rd5thWEInHell's picture

Its not unfair but what you want will never happen. Chores and hygiene are things that a person is raised doing frequently and consistently until it becomes part of their habits and routines. BM probably does everything for her so when she comes over to stay with you, she keeps the same habits

I long understood that my steps will never pick up after themselves or simply clean the pee they leave on toilet seats with the disinfecting wipes in front of them. BM1 lives in squalor and BM2 serves her children hand and foot

It sucks because they are destructive and messy but it wont change so you need to either bite your time until 18 or limit her access to areas she can mess up. You can also leave her mess the way it is until your husband comes home to clean up but if he is anything like mine he will not clean up after her either and it will stay like that for weeks/months

justmakingthebest's picture

As much as it sucks to "train" your spouse, that is what kind of has to happen. If nothing ever really affect him, because you do it, nothing will change.

Stop doing SD's chores. Your expectations are totally normal and healthy for any 12 yr old. Make your BF do them when they aren't done. Make it hard and inconvenient for him! Also, work. Seriously, more than part time. Get your financial independence back. 

ndc's picture

It sounds like your husband has never had to parent.  He relied on his parents before; now he's relying on you. His daughter's mess, poor hygiene and failure to do chores isn't affecting him (except to the extent he has to listen to you on the topic), so he doesn't step up and do anything about it.  It's time to let him know HE needs to step up.  Let him know that he's doing his daughter a disservice.  Let him know she's getting to an age where she'll be made fun of for poor hygiene,  and that YOU are not a maid and will not and cannot do everything. Maybe he needs to lean on his parents again. Maybe he needs to cut back his work hours.  Or maybe he just has to pay attention and stop making excuses for her.  Step back so that he's forced to step up. 

JJ72's picture

She's here until Friday. I'll try not to do any of her chores. I'll only tell her that I washed her clothes and then just let it sit in the washing machine. If it doesn't get done I'll drop it together with all the shit I picked up after her through the week on her father's side of the bed. It feels childish but honestly I don't care anymore. I'll then tell him that if she doesn't get a huge kick in her butt, I'm out.

shamds's picture

That she never does. 
 

stop doing chores for her. At even 3-4 yrs old, my kids and my coosins kids were trained to put dirty laundry in washing machine. I load the soap and fabric softener and kids press the start button.

my kids get the handheld vacuum to clean up their mess and use baby wipes to clean up small spills. Your sd is basically teen age and old enough to step up and take care of herself.

my husband from work would message ss and ask if he did chores. If no answer within 10-15 mins, hubby sent another message. This exchange would go on for most of the day till ss had 20-30 messages from hubby.

when ss messaged hubby to say it was done, hubby messaged me to confirm it was done (and it was). Now ss could have avoided all those unnecessary messages if he did chores first thing and messaged hubby quickly.

thats the only way they learn. If hubby isn't gonna ensure and follow through with repercussions, then you don't do those chores. Let the pile of sd laundry not get done. She had stinky unwashed school uniforms available only for school. She can play a victim but you have a baby and your priorities are first and foremost with your child

Harry's picture

You are the adult, you win the fight.  The 12 yo either does her chores, or she sits in her room with no electronics. No cell phone, no tv no gaming system. 

CLove's picture

Has LESS responsibility NOW than she had at 12-13 when she was at least helping with her gma. Gma has since passed, and she is 1. Not held responsible for keeping her room clean 2. Clothes are piled all over the floor, I never see her do laundry 3. Never cleans the bathroom she uses, and the rare times she does shower she will leave her hair and scum all over the tub 4. She will drop her used dishes in the sink if there are others and now she is "uncomfortable" because Im just all about the dishes and wont let her leave her stuff around the house in common areas.

LEts not talk  about her yellow teeth, and obesity as well as ditching class and 2 D's.

My point is that this will NOT get better. Your partner needs to step up and PARENT. Husband doesnt want to parent, or makes excuses that he is not allowed to parent and this is the result. Lazy A$$ kid.

nappisan's picture

why is your BF taking extra work when he knows how he has his daughter?  that seems like a cop-out to me and avoiding the responsibilties.  stop doing anything and he can deal with her mess when he gets home.   by 12 years old she should be able to most basic things ,, start by giving suttle annoying consequences ,,for example,, if she leaves her dirty dishes in the sink without rinsing them ,, take them and dump them on her bed and keep doing it until she washes them,,, even if you have no clean cups left.   The jealously with your son is worrying though,, daddy needs to sort that asap! 

ESMOD's picture

Your BF needs to set the expectations with his daughter and consequences for not doing what she is supposed to.

If she doesn't perform her chores.. he should be the one to make up the extra work.. even if "sob" he is working those hours.. perhaps when it is impacting HIS life he will make more of an effort to change it?

That being said.. chores do need to be reasonable for a 12 yo.. and they should be given as a way for her to learn responsibility.. not so much to give you a break per se... she shouldn't be treated like a maid.. but yes.. a 12 yo can certainly do her own laundry.. and clean her own bathroom.. and she can help with other chores too.. reasonably .. allowing for time to do her homework.. and have some down time too when she is not in school.

So.. in a way.. it does slightly come off as she is being seen as a solution to you feeling overworked.... and that isn't really the motivation I would rather see for her having chores to do.  It may not be that at all.. but that is kind of how the post seemed to me.

But.. your BF is a problem too if he knows she is not performing these tasks.. but still rewarding her by paying her to do them.. no work.. no pay.

ndc's picture

If the chores OP listed are what SD is being asked AND PAID to do - putting away her own laundry, watering flowers and cleaning a toilet and sink once a week - that's more than reasonable for a 12 yo. Frankly,  I would expect the laundry and bathroom to be done by a 12 yo without pay.  I was a spoiled, lazy pre-teen and I did my own laundry (wash, dry and put away) and cleaned my bathroom (a bathroom that's kept up with does not take long at all to clean). My room was a different story, but I was allowed to be a slob in there because the door could be closed.  The chores this SD is being asked to do are completely age appropriate tasks that she should know how to do properly,  and her DAD should keep on her and make sure they're done. 

ESMOD's picture

Those chores seem reasonable...and of course her father should be following up with her.. and not rewarding her.

It just seemed like there may have been more to it since OP said she was overwhelmed... and the solution was to give SD chores.. which as listed don't seem like they, in themselves would relieve her of much work at all.... so maybe there was more? idk.. it seemed like maybe there was more since it was a solution to OP being overworked with responsibilities. 

At that age.. I started doing my own laundry.. had always had responsibility for my own room of course.. and my brother and I did help with other stuff as asked.. setting the table. making a salad for dinner.. vacuuming, collecting trash from the wastebaskets. cleaning our own bathroom when we got old enough.. etc..   but again.. it was more about teaching responsibility than taking a load off our mom and dad really.

Winterglow's picture

Does the motivation matter if the end result is the same, i.e. independence and responsibility?

ESMOD's picture

It could matter.. if the scope of what they are expecting the 12 yo to do is too much (I'm not saying what was described.. IS too much.. just if it were to be).. or if the kid feels that the message is that she is now "cinderella" because her new SM needs help.  In other words.. they shouldnt tell her she needs to do chores because SM is overwhelmed.. Dad tells her "she has chores because everyone who is capable in a home contributes.. that's how things get done.. even the new little one will have responsibilities when they are old enough.  It's part of growing up"

JJ72's picture

I can see that it sounds like we put chores on her "like Cinderella". More than once we have explained to her, that we're a family and we all need to help around the house. 

 

 

 

She came and asked if her daddy could help her get some work, so that she could earn some money. I got so pissed and told her that she could start by doing the chores she was paid to do. 

 

Daddy was actually surprised that she hadn't done her chores.. I feel like I'm the only one, knowing what's going on in the house.. I feel so stupid.

 

ESMOD's picture

You say he works a lot outside the house.. so wouldn't he have to rely on you to inform him if his daughter isn't doing her chores?  You say he was surprised.. I am guessing it was her you were talking to about it all.. 

Going forward, I think a simple reminder (as you are the one home all the time).. is what you do with her.. and if she doesn't get the work done.. then her father hears that.. and he is the one who is then responsible for following up and giving her a consequence for not doing those chores.. you don't need to be in the role of nagging her and multiple reminders.. or even more simply a list is posted for her to follow of daily or weekly obligations.. either she does it.. or he hears about it.. and deals with it.

This is not your issue to fix.. it's his.

Dogmom1321's picture

Yes, definitely disengage from DHs lack of parenting. DH and I share an almost 2 year old, and he has SD12. Honestly, our toddler "helps" out more than SD! He will walk around behind me with a broom when I'm vaccuuming, take clothes out of washer and hand them to me, etc. 

DH will ask SD12 a million times "did you clean your room?" and she simply just doesn't do it. Thankfully she spend 99% of her time in her room. If anything is left out in the common areas, I simply place it in her room, and close the door. Her room can be a pigsty and have terrible hygeine for all I care. But with a toddler, I simply don't have the time to reinforce DHs failed parenting. Not my responsibility. 

Survivingstephell's picture

Cut off the WiFi for her until she does her chores.  No electronics for her.  Take away them all.  No half assed jobs either, she does them to your standard or no WiFi.  Most 12 yos understand this.  Logical consequences.   

reedle2021's picture

You are certainly not being unfair.  The issue here seems to be a parenting problem with your BF.  This is not your kid, not your responsibility.  Your BF needs to start being the parent.  Also, SD is old enough to have more than simple chores.  And in my opinion, kids should not be paid for chores as it is how they earn their keep.  We all had chores when we were kids and we were NOT paid for them.  It was expected and it taught all of us responsibility.  SD stays with you a week at a time; there is no reason why she shouldn't be expected to pick up after herself and perform personal hygiene. 

Your BF (not you) needs to set expectations and consequences for not meeting those expectations.  If she doesn't do her assigned chores, then she gets all electronic devices taken away.  If I were you, I would disengage from her.  She isn't your problem and as a stepparent, you shouldn't have to parent her and make sure she does what she's supposed to.

I worry that if your BF does not step up and start parenting his daughter, then her behavior will get worse, which will make things worse for you.  It sounds like your BF is guilt parenting since he and his daughter's mother separated when she was 1.  Guilt parenting is a bad path to walk down.  My ex husband guilt-parented and he had a 21 yo manchild in his home who has no intention of working and moving out  - I left.  I don't know for sure, but I would be willing to be that my ex SS, who would now be 22, is still living with his daddy.  And all because no one wanted to set expectations of this kid.  Sad.

Please keep us posted - we are here for you!  Smile

Yesterdays's picture

Chores are great for children. There is no doubt about that. Kids should have to do a bit of work to contribute to the workings of the family and household. I really don't understand when people think that its detrimental for children to do chores. It's really the opposite. It's kind of a seguay into "real life", having to do things to a certain expectation.

Allowing a child to sit around and not contribute to anything breeds lazy and entitled kids. Ive got 3 teens. Right before dinner each night I write 3 chores that need to be done on scraps of paper. When the kids come down they grab one chore. (They've learned to come down quickly to get the "best" chore... Lol!!). They've been doing chores for so long it's no big deal and they don't complain. It makes me happy they are contributing to the house. Also I ask them to do random chores here and there that need to be done and I'm always sure to thank them for their effort in return.

When my step kids came over we had 5 teens in the house. That equalled 3 dishwasher loads of dishes per day. My husband felt overwhelmed to ask "his" kids to do any chores but I made him, because it felt wrong for me to be sitting around doing every one else's dishes 3 times a day while they "sat around" and made messes.

I explained that chores are good for kids and he seemed to get it but struggled, I think because he wanted them to "relax" the whole time. I wasn't about to have them relax while I played nonstop maid. Overall chores are great, we know they are good for kids and it's helpful for us, as well as them.

For reference, I used to pick rocks and hoe weeds each summer for my family in the bean fields growing up as a child, long days, so in my mind doing a small chore once a day is really a drop in the bucket, overall. I kind of laugh when people think it's too much for a child to do something small each day like putting out recycling as if they will melt or something... 

ESMOD's picture

Chores are good for kids.. and if the kids spend a decent amount of time in the home.. giving them some responsibility is reasonable.

The trap in steplife is this.

OP is the SM.. she was already overwhelmed and struggling due to some PPD... the "solution" was to assign chores to the child that while apparently minor.. meant the SM now had another NEW responsibility.. following up and enforcing the new chores on a kid that wasn't hers.. who likely resented the "new" person trying to boss her around.

This meant it looks like it was the mean old stepmom putting cinderella to work.. and in reality.. instead of taking a small amount of work off SM's plate.. it gave her a new responsibility.. making her life more difficult and potentially damaging her relationship.. or chance of a relationship with her stepdaughter.

This isn't so much about whether chores are in themselves reasonable.. or whether the amount of chores assigned was fair.. this is about a newmother/stepmom who asked her partner for help.. and he gave her more work.  But.. it's also about the SM who hasn't apparently been communicating with her SO that his child hasn't been doing the work.. and it also may be at the root that her SO doesn't agree with his child doing the chores (for whatever reason).. so he is choosing to not step in on any of it.. and let SM handle it if she thinks it's so important.

In a way.. the problems here were two issues that should not necessarily be combined.

1.  The stress of her PPD and asking for help.... the solution should have been her partner stepping up.. helping more.. caring for the baby when he was home so she could rest.. or maybe even bringing in outside help like a cleaning service once a week to help her not feel so overwhelmed.

2.  He has been coddling his kid.. and at 12.. he should have more expectations of  his child.. and SM sees the writing on the wall  that a kid with no responsibilities may turn into an adult living in their basement.  So.. the question of "why do you not have any expectations for your child.. isn't it important she is successful?  shouldn't you be developing independent skills with her?" 

So those were the two issues.. they got twisted up together and now both problems are worse.. OP has more work.. child is more resentful and learning that she can shirk responsibility.

Yesterdays's picture

The posters question is whether its too much to ask a 12 year old to do a simple chore and the answer is no. It's not too much and it's not unfair. I would not play maid to a 12 year old who won't do literally anything and sits around.. But that is just me. Its not unfair and it's not unreasonable. I realize as step parents we have little say but I just won't be a maid to people, anyone, making messes around the home. If they resent you for doing some easy chores then there's some much larger issues that need to be dealt with. Maybe that's the case. If so, then the issue is not the chores itself. Its a symptom of the overall problems. Assigning or not assigning chores won't change that. 

ESMOD's picture

I think that's my point really.. there IS more than just the question of chores.

Her title is "am I unfair".. that statement seems to convey that it is OP's idea and one who decided that SD would have chores..  her SO may have agreed... but it doesn't sound like it was his idea and he may, in reality, not totally be on board with it... and while chores, in and of themselves... are a good thing for kids generally.. this isn't her child and technically, she can think the kid should do chores.. but unless the kid's mom and dad are supportive.. it's like me thinking that my neighbor's kid should do chores.. their kid.. not mine.  (though she is living with the girl at least PT)..

so.. yeah.. it's a SO issue.. he hasn't had any expectations of his child to date.. now he may be agreeing it's ok to give the kid chores.. but he is doing nothing to support that.. so it is just one more job for OP to take care of.. and it's a thankless job at that.

 

Rags's picture

Chores are the child's responsitiilty and contribution to the family.  

To earn money, a kid can do something beyond chores. Tilling a garden, digging a crawl space under the house into a storage depth space, excavating a planting bed, mixing fertilizer into the soil, then returning it to the bed, etc.......  These are  the types of things we earned money by doing.  Sweeping, moping, doing dishes, dusting and oiling furniture, etc......

Neither were chores used as punishment.  They were responsibilities.  

While not doing them certainly resulted in punishment and unpleaant consequences. After the consequences, the chores still had to be done.

All IMHO of course.

Stepdrama2020's picture

No you are not asking too much.

A 12 yr old should be able to do chores. 

Your DH should be running circles around YOU trying to make it easier for you especially as a new mama with PPD. 

Yes its hard on skids when they have a new half sibling. Enabling the skid is not the fix. Making sure SD feels part of the family AND being held accountable for her chores is a start. Ya know like a part of the family, the good bad and ugly.

You have every right to assert your authority. Too bad so sad if SD doesnt like it. Thats what families do. Your DH needs to stop running circles around SD to keep her happy, otherwise she will grow up to be an entitled adult skid. SD needs to learn to respect and listen to you. Your DH needs to enforce this. If SD feels like Cinderella then hand her a broom   ;)

HappyEOW's picture

to say my mom died when I was 11 years old. My aunt who lives upstairs helped my dad, brother and me for about a year. At 12, I went to school, cooked, cleaned, did laundry and took care of my little brother while my father worked. I was responsible and capable of doing all that work all while keeping good grades, so your SD can do such minimal chores easily. I am guilty of babying my youngest son and while he's a great kid, I see where I have failed to make him more independent. He's 16 and we are working on it, so it's easier to start younger. She is more than capable of doing chores and helping you. Your husband is more than capable of enforcing the rules. It's just easier for them to ignore it because you will do the chores and reminding for them. Maybe STOP and see what happens. I'm not sure what to advise that is better than what everyone else has said. Take care of yourself and your sweet baby!!!