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How do you view yourself as a stepparent?

SkiingSkittles's picture

As a stepparent, I feel like my role is to be a supportive  adult role model.  If my SS has two loving and supportive parents who split custody 50/50, I don’t feel it’s my responsibility to take on extra roles. My focus is on my two biological children. Is this wrong? I love SS but with two able body parents, do I need to also take one the role of “parent?” I get frustrated when asking to do things for SS. 

beebeel's picture

What are you asked to do for him?

When my skids were young, I cooked and gave them rides when needed. I helped in other ways like homework if I *wanted to* but I never felt it was my job. My skids have half-assed parents who failed them in many ways. It was extremely frustrating to witness decisions being made that went against every maternal instinct I had. But I learned that it wasn't my job to make up for their crappy parents and it's not even possible.

If your skid has two involved, decent parents, you shouldn't have to do anything unless you want to for SS. Your role is however you want to define it.

barbKarin's picture

Although this saves your sanity it sucks in the long term because these poorly parented kids become terrible adults that still cause issues for their father, and by proxy for me. Even though I am disengaged it still affects me.

It turned out better for you I hope?

beebeel's picture

LOL nope. I have an adult SS18 living in my basement with zero plans to leave any time soon. I'm hoping we can undo enough of the damage to get him out by the time he's 19, but I doubt he will have healthy adult relationships for a long time to come.

My SDstb17 hasn't darkened our doorstep for more than 2 years, so I'm just waiting for that other shoe to drop. 


barbKarin's picture

That sucks. How are you trying to undo 18 years of bad parenting though? Sounds impossible.

beebeel's picture

It is impossible, that's why the goal is to just get him self sufficient financially as I'm not qualified for psychotherapy!

SkiingSkittles's picture

Mom and dad are both great parents. SS has plenty of support from both sides and BM’s family is affluent so he is spoiled and knows they have money. Which pisses me off. I don’t feel like I need to be a parent to SS. I cook and clean for the household and will occasionally help out with rides but only after BM has been contacted. I am the last resort. I know SS looks up to me and cares about me but with two other kids in the house I believe my focus needs to be on my biological children. 

SM12's picture

i only parent in emergency situations.  It took a long time for DH to get that and even longer for BM to understand that.   They all felt I should worship the ground their spawn walked on.   I had my own kid to raise and I didn’t expect DH to take over that job so why would I take over raising his kids??

i don’t parent.  I watch from the sidelines and only get involved when it affects me or they are blantantly disrespectful in front of me.  I cannot tolerate that out of any child.   

I will step in if there is an urgent need such as helping care for a sick kid if needed or picking up a kid from school if all other options fail.   But mainly I am just another adult in the house who they mainly ignore.

SkiingSkittles's picture

This is exactly how I feel! 

ESMOD's picture

I'm also wondering what you are being asked to do.  My SD's had two parents and grandparents that were involved in their lives.  That didn't mean there weren't things I did for them or because of them.  In general, I would do things for a variety of reasons.

1.  to help my DH.  If he had other obligations or pressing issues.. I would not have a problem doing what was needed with the kids if I didn't have those same pressures.  This would not be unlike me doing an errand for him like picking up laundry because it was easier/more convienient etc..

2.  To move the ball closer to the goal line... and that goal line was the girls being able to launch without huge financial commitments from me/us.  So... keeping the girls on task.. good advice.. encouragement etc... that was also something I would do because the better citizens of the world they became.. the less they would be a burden on me in the long

3.  To foster harmony in the home.  Doing nice things for them.. might be a long game tactic to have harmony in your family relationships.. with his family.. with him.  I buy presents for them.. treat them well.. and now that they are both adults, I have reaped the benefits of taking the high road.  I know it doesn't work in all cases.. there are some situations that the kids are lost causes.. but in mine it paid off.

By the way.. I used to joke with the girls that I am not a "good example.. but maybe more of a cautionary tale"..lmao

SkiingSkittles's picture

I agree with all of this. That being said. SS has two great parents who are more than capable of providing everything he needs. The argument started this morning when dad couldn’t drop off at school because of a 2 hour delay. I’m a teacher and I need to be to school an hour before school starts. SS’s school is clear across town and I can’t make it there and back in the snow and get the baby to school and myself and DD to school on time. Dad didn’t understand that and got upset when I suggest he figure out a plan with BM. I drive the kids around all the time and do everything I can to help out but that’s where I draw the line.  

ESMOD's picture

Not sure about the age.. but doesn't your SS maybe have a friend that goes to the same school that he might be able to be dropped off with so that the other parent might be able to accomodate the ride for him too?

Is your DH saying that if this was your BIO kid you could somehow magically make it all happen?  I mean, it IS his bio child.. can't he drop the kid off earlier than school start time? or drop him with one of his friends.. or ask if BM could make it happen.. since apparently you BOTH logistically can't make it happen.

I mean, I read into this that if it were possible.. you would do it.. but logistically you can't.



tog redux's picture

I took a "friendly aunt" sort of role. Nice to the kid, played with him, helped out DH here and there when needed, but no ongoing care for him and no discipline. 

Now he's 18 and I just avoid him as much as possible.

SkiingSkittles's picture

I believe society expects too much from step parents. You’re expected to provide and act as a parent, but be careful and don’t over step your boundaries. I think it’s bullshit and I’m fed up with walking on egg shells.  I think an “aunt” role is perfect. Im tired of the lack of discipline and if I say anything then I’m the evil step mother. Being a step parent sucks and if my DH and I ever split, I’ll nrver do it again. I would be very clear about my expectations from a stepparent and set boundaries right from the start. 

tog redux's picture

I don't about what society expects, it's more about what your DH expects. Mine didn't want me to do any parenting, and even told me to back off once, when I got upset with SS for a homework issue.  He didn't marry me so I could take care of his kid, he liked being a parent.

A lot of men assume their next wife will take over parenting duties and the women jump right in without questioning that.

SayNoSkidsChitChat's picture

I don’t.

I’m a mother to my real kids and a “pet parent.” I’m wife to DH. That’s it.

 I am 250% disengaged from StepHell and stepbrat and biohag. I don’t give a flying f*ck. 

I’m not responsible for that sh*tshow, f*ck it.

Iamwoman's picture

I'm a mother to my biochild.

To my skids, I am a helper to DH when I want to be or when he is overwhelmed (two skids who take turns being a$$es).

I tried being more motherly and nurturing the first several years, but HCBM is so toxic that any progress I made with them was quickly sent backwards (one step forward, four steps back). When I taught YSS to walk (he was kept behind by HCBM), potty, read (he didn't believe he could because HCBM told him that he is retarded - he is not), and swim (he had an intense fear of water, which I help him overcome before swimming), she later brainwashed him to believe that she did those things, not me (she sits on her rear and plays on her phone 24/7 - she kept YSS strapped in a highchair when he wasn't asleep at night for the first two years of his life - she is the absolute epitomy of lazy, horrible parenting). To this day, OSS and YSS are a product of HCBM's PASing, and thus nearly unbearable to be around at times.

I make dinner, and sometimes help DH when things get out of hand. Skids, who are so used to their high conflict mother, don't know what to do with a united parental front, so it's effective when I back him up.

That is my role, and I flit in and out of it as I please.

DH was the one to tell me that skids will NOT be living with us when they are adults after HCBM fails to launch them, so I don't even worry about that.

For DD, I invest copious amounts of time and energy in preparing her to be a responsible, productive adult. She regularly earns rewards for her efforts. We are even sending her to Europe this summer for 10 days with a class group, because she has earned it. I don't feel badly at all that skids don't have these experiences, because when presented with the option to earn similar trips or things, they don't care at all and continue to fail classes and be general a-holes to most people in their lives. Plus at $12,000 a year in child support, their mother could easily provide similar rewards if she weren't so insistent on frittering money away frivolously. I have never even come close to spending that much on DD - even with a trip to europe!

Dontfeedthetrolls's picture

 I am a complete parent in our home. I share the roll of provided and caregiver with my partner. In turn WE share that roll with BM.

I do pickups, I make dinner, I ensure they get showers and have clean clothes. I put them to bed and do bedtime stories. I share my hobbies and take interest in theirs. The same as their father.

This doesn’t mean I see myself as a replacement for their mother. I am one more adult who loves and supports them. Children can never have enough adults building them up.

Now I recognize this isn’t the case for everyone. I do not judge those who do things different. This is what works for me and mine.  

Momof2Girls's picture

This is what I am being pressured (or feels ) that way to do now that my 18 yo SD is living with us. My H thinks I should be a parent to her and thinks that we have a relationship since she is my step daughter. Well nope and nope. I feel like she is a house guest living in my home. Relationships take time and feeling like she is family is not in my blood. I take care of my two kids and that’s it.

unless you have raised these S kids and they have lived full time with you then I don’t know how anyone bonds with them. My SD has lived in another state the last 3 years

SkiingSkittles's picture

I totally agree. It’s hard to build a relationship with step kids, especially as a parental figure, when they have 2 parents. I can’t do it and now I just sit on the sidelines and let him do the parenting for SS. 

HannahD1020's picture

I feel the same way.  When you come into their lives as teenagers, it's a different story than when they're younger.  My SS13 hurt his thumb (jammed it at best) and my DH asked me to look at it because he felt dizzy.  SS13 didn't want me to look at his thumb anymore than I wanted to look at it.  I'm not there to be a nurse to a kid who can't figure out how to put in a bandaid and I had to tell my DH as much.  SD15 won't be in the same room as me if it's just us and SD17 has her own life and is never around.  I'm not there to parent.  They're old enough to take care of themselves.

lorlors's picture

I view myself as someone who has put up with a lot of crap over the years from 2 selfish, ungrateful and not fully hatched human beings with a myriad of personality flaws.

I view myself as someone whose patience and kind heart has been stretched to its very limit.

I started off as a step-parent who really cared, hung out with them, took them places and tried to be a positive in their lives. Now, I just make dinner and only because I love cooking and would be making meals for DH and I in any event. It is no biggie to make an extra plate.

I don't do lifts, drop offs, clothes washing....nothing. I used to but not anymore. They had their chance to get the best out of me and they blew it. The same will still apply as they get older. No favours will be done. no money handouts, nothing.

I will insist on certain chores being done by SD and will relay to her what I want done around the house. That and being civil and courteous is about as far as I go these days.

Frustrated4ever's picture

Amen.  I am right there with you.  Even trying to be courteous to SD17 with a huge attitude and lack of emotion is a challenge these days.  It could have been so much different, and at the end of the day, I realize my SD had simply used me whenever she wanted anything (like when she thought she had an STD.)  UGH.  Now approaching adulthood, thinks she knows everything, and I realized we just have two different personalities and she down deep hates me. So, I will happily stay away and conctinue to encourage my husband to have a relationship because I think the father / daughter bond is really special. Just leave me out of it Smile

lorlors's picture

on your ‘using’ point. They can turn on the charm when they want something from you can’t they?!!

I don’t fall for that old trick anymore.

Frustrated4ever's picture

I have been in my SKs lives for 10 years and was always willing (and wanted ) to have a great motherly relationship with them.  They are now 15 and 17 and my goal is now to simply make the transition out of our house as seamless as possible.  It breaks my heart, because I really am a nonconfrontational, big-hearted person who just wants everyone to be happy and loved.  However, it is apparent that any close bond I could have had was destroyed by psycho BM and a health dose of PAS early on.  I cook and clean and keep the house, and I am happy to do it.  I changed my work schedule when I was employed so that I could make sure I picked them up every day from school for the sake of safety, drove to practices, did all of the motherly things I could.  The only thing I insist on is  them doing their own laundry.  SS is great when asked.  SD, however, told me to get off the couch and do hers because "it's not that hard" - said with disdain and an attitude.  So, I am quite frankly, done with the one step forward, five steps back thing.  I am trying now just to be civil.  SD is an emotional bully, SS is awesome and loving. I feel much more like a mom to him in that I can correct him, he apologizes then tells me he loves me.  SD, on the other hand, never apologizes, thinks she is always right and much like her mother, bullies to get her way because people just don't want to deal with her.  I think my kind heart as been taken advantage of, and I cringe when SKs expect me to drop what I am doing to cater to their forgetfulness and other things.  SD refuses to even text me directly.  My DH was out of town, and I said no problem, I will keep the kids since it was his week.   SD decides not to go to school, texts my husband rather than get out of bed to come across the hall to tell me her brother needs a ride to school, and I am driving SS to school at 6:30 am in my pajamas.  It's just the lack of respect that has driven me to just being courteous and thinking that everything I do is just because I love my DH and for him.  I am done getting my feelings hurt trying to be a role model / parent / supporter.  Frankly, that's my DH's njob.  It could have been so much better, but looking back I never stood a chance.  

CLove's picture

So what was your reply when the little snot said that you must get off the couch and do her laundry, its not that hard? Seriously? Someone needs to correct that child. But apparently, disengagement is your forever friend. I know what a toxic Narcissistic emotional bully looks like - much like my eldest skid Toxic Feral SD19. 

What a total jerk she sounds like. And your DH allows this crapola? Yikes.

Siemprematahari's picture

You are not obligated to figure things out for your H's son. Like you said he has to able bodied parents that can figure it out. Why do you have to drive yourself crazy doing all these drop offs and still get to work an hour earlier.

Give your H a dose of reality and remind him that he and BM have to figure it out. He's getting his panties in a bunch for no reason. If that's the case he should have taken him to school himself.

CLove's picture

For my particular situation, I have 2 Skids, Toxic Feral Eldest SD19, and Munchkin SD12.


For Munchkin, she has said that she thinks of me as like a second mom. She is generall sweet and courteous, and also somewhat lazy, and demanding of time and energy and attention. All normal stuff for a preteen. She and I have always had a postive relationship, and I am a "helper/guardian" always looking out for her well being and safety. That being said, I am also disengaging my self every now and then as her mother gets angry when I do/buy things for her daughter (jealousy) and Toxic Troll BM is VERY high conflict ALL the time. Also, Munchkin hasnt really been very appreciative when I have done transportation to parties and things, so I have backed off there. I have no desire to be be shuttle bus. Helping her with rabbit - ditto. I do still help her with clothes, and room organization, because Im good at it and Im fast.

Toxic Feral Eldest, she has expressed her hatred of me, and now is nothing to me. She currently lives with her mother and doesnt really speak to her father, because as she told him "he was a horrible dad, and was never there for her". He is a great dad, and was always there for her. She is a pathological liar, a theif, a narcissistic emotional bully. So, there will be no emotional bonding with her. She happens to have her mothers disordered personality. Munchkin is much like her dad.

Spend your time on your children. Its DH's responsibility to do for his children, not yours.