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Don't like who I've become as a step parent

readingandlearning's picture

Hello everyone. I've come here to vent and wondering if anyone else can relate. I'm married to my husband who has two children from his previous marriage. I've known his kids since they were very young (2 and 5) and they are now 6 and 9. I've come here to vent as I really do not like who I've become as a step parent. At first I thought things were fine however as the children have gotten older I've become more frustrated and resentful. I do care about his kids but I do not love them as I would my own and I do not like their behaviors. I cannot stand going places with them anymore and the constant whining, complaining and attention seeking that is never addressed. I am sick of paying so much for things, meals here, activities there, for which they show no gratitude for. I'm sick of their rude and cruel comments towards me and others. I'm sick of not being able to just sit down, relax and watch tv in my own home. I feel like I am constantly being judged and wacthed if I am not "motherly" or involved enough. I am sick of being told "play with me" constantly by a 6 year old when I've already played ith her for an hour and am exhausted. I am sick of not being able to hug nor kiss my husband without one of them interferring constantly. I am just sick, sick and tired. I know this is what I signed up for.

ashes54's picture

I completely feel the same way. My H's kids were 3 and 5, and are now 9 and 11 and they are the same: ungrateful, rude, openly do not like me, and just overall difficult. It is hard, and honestly it hasn't gotten any easier over the years, only more difficult. Which is actually why I was searching for some sort of understanding just a few days ago when I signed up here. It's nice to know we aren't alone at the very least... It is hard to see where things started off hopeful, and has now gotten to a point where I've realized I just need to learn to tolerate these kids and try to find some sort of comfort in knowing I tried. I had NO idea how hard being a step parent actually would be...

RisingtheWave80's picture

Well I am not sure if that is what you signed up for. I think you married a man who happens to have children but you are not their mother. You are allowed to have your own time, your time if NOT their time. They are still young so they will most likley be annoying, in a few years they will want nothing to do with you and close themselves up in their room. Stressing independent play for the younger one may be helpful, ask your husband to step in and play with his child, they are his kids.

I can relate, although my SD was older and more independment when I met her father but at the end of the day you can walk away, go somewhere and it's not up to you to worry.

If your husband is putting it all on you, he is the one that needs to change. I don't know your situation like is BM in the picture? If so those kids have two parents and you can do you more.

Inluck's picture

They are still young enough for you to disengage from them and just enjoy your husband. I can totally relate. I decided to no longer play the mom role and I am just Dad's partner. They need to know they messed up. Don’t keep putting up with it. Have a talk with DH. If your relationship is solid he will support you as you start to disengage from the mom role. It’s so hard I understand. Maybe get your own small place you can hide at when he has his kids but continue seeing him?

ESMOD's picture

First advice.  Do not have children with this man until you deal with these issues.. or learn to live with them without wanting to jump out of a moving car.

Second, It sounds like disengagement needs to happen.  I'm not sure what his custody schedule is but when they are in your home, they are there to see their father.. not you.  Not saying you "can't" interact with them, but it is their father's responsiblility to look after them and entertain them etc.. while they are in your home. 

Now, disengagement is tricky.  It works best when you don't announce you are "disengaging" but just go about the business of being less enmeshed with his kids. 

For example, He says you aren't being maternal enough.. you tell him.  "gee, you know I forgot that I gave birth to them..lol.. no really, I'm probably not overly maternal because these are not my biological kids.  I care about them and realize they are part of our life, but, I'm not their mother.. or any sort of biological parent..so that level of attachment is just not going to be automatic"

When the kids come asking you to do things with them.. use the time tested "Sorry honey, I'm busy right now, go ask your dad"

For meals and things where they act like heathens.. stop participating.  Tell your husband that until he insists on a higher standard of behavior.. you aren't interested in eating out at any place that doesn't have a drive through.  For meals in the home... when the kids start being pigs, you take your plate and excuse yourself.  You can ask nicely for them to not blow bubbles in their milk through their nose.. but if they don't straighten up.. you excuse yourself.

And.. I'm sure that you will still be mindful of the fact that they ARE kids.. one is still fairly young and all kids have the capablility of being absolutely annoying.

So, back off on involvement where you feel overwhelmed.  Stay late at work.. work out at the gym.. arrange all your manicures on days he has the kids.. just generally be less available... and hopefully save your sanity.

Aniki's picture

The only thing you can change is yourself and your attitude.

Where is the bio mother? Is she in the picture at all? Who has primary custody?

If the children won't behave in public and their father does nothing, YOU do not go with them. Let him handle his unruly children in public all by himself. 

STOP PAYING FOR THINGS!!! Why are YOU paying all of this money? Why is your husband not paying for his children?? Anything you buy for a stepkid is OPTION. You do NOT have to spend a single penny on them. EVER. Let Dad spend his. If HE cannot afford an activity, too bad. They will have to do without. If HE cannot afford to take them out for a meal, they will have to do without. 

And these kids are old enough to entertain themselves. DAD can give them activities to do SOLO. They want attention? Someone to play with? A snack? Can't find a shirt/pair of socks? Repeat after me: 
GO ASK YOUR FATHER. 

Step away and force DAD to parent his little heathens all by himself.

Cover1W's picture

I met my SDs when they were 7 and 9.  You can go back and read my blogs for what is very likely a similar situation and read up on my progress and current status.

ESMOD and Aniki nailed it.  You'll have to learn to disengage or go crazy or leave the marriage.

I am happily married to DH, but he's had to improve his parenting (umm...you know, it's still not great, but it's better) and I had to learn to disengage from time, money, effort, parenting, all of it.

tog redux's picture

Well - you did "sign on" for something, but it didn't have to be what you ended up doing.

Really, these are HIS kids, and you aren't required to parent them or pay anything for them.  It will take some time and effort to get out of all you are currently doing for them, but it can be done gradually. But you certainly will get tons of pushback if your DH is asked to step up more, and if he is the one judging your "motherliness" (which is totally inappropriate). 

Siemprematahari's picture

I cannot stand going places with them anymore and the constant whining, complaining and attention seeking that is never addressed

If bad behavior is not being addressed, your H needs to step it up and start parenting like NOW. He is enabling this and it will only get worse.

I am sick of paying so much for things, meals here, activities there, for which they show no gratitude for. I'm sick of their rude and cruel comments towards me and others. I'm sick of not being able to just sit down, relax and watch tv in my own home.

Stop wasting your money on all the items that you listed and have your H foot the bill for EVERYTHING that pertains to them. I'd recommend separate bank accounts if you don't already. Don't have expectations of step kids especially to be grateful because you'll most likely never get it.

You have a home and are entitled to be able to sit down, relax and watch TV in your own home. If this is not possible you need to take action and make it so. This will include telling your H your wants and needs and that things need to change. Depending on how he moves forward will tell you where your marriage stands.