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I hate being a step-mum and dread the weekends

It's a Bing thing's picture


I'm new to the site and so glad that I found it... I'm hoping to get some helpful advice.

My DH and I have 2 children, DS who is 5 and DD who is 2. My 10 year old DSS comes every weekend (from quite a distance away) every weekend, sometimes for 1 night, sometimes for 2. His mum likes him to come for 2 nights as she likes to go out drinking every Friday night. She needs 'a break'.

My DSS is generally a lovely boy. I think he has issues of jealousy, particularly with my DS but he can be funny and he's polite. He can be caring and he is very well behaved. He loves his little step-sister, less so his annoying 5 year old step-brother but I've never seen him to be very unkind. Sometimes just a little bit but I understand that things must be hard and/or confusing for him. When he is unkind it is just basic spiteful comments to my DS.

A bit of background... his mum doesn't work, never has. She has 2 older children 15 & 16 with another man. The 15 year old lives with his dad and the 16 year old at home with his mum. In the time I've known my DSS she has had numerous boyfriends, most of which she's moved in with them and she regularly moves house (she rents) so I worry that my SS has had a lot of 'uncles', has moved house a lot of times and sees his brothers go off every weekend to stay with their dad whilst he comes to stay with us and his younger siblings and it must be a bit much for his mind to figure out where his place is and why his family is disjointed like this. I don't know, maybe he doesn't give it a second thought.

Anyway, when my DH and I married I tried to set us up an appointment at the bank to swap our direct debits into a joint account etc and he went weird and said no we are not doing that and now I'm left thinking that there's a reason why he doesn't want me to know about his finances. I imagine all sorts and I worry that he's giving her more than he says he is. This is where my resentment started. I have no knowledge or control over our finances. I don't even know how much money he earns.

My DH is not the best father in the world. He doesn't appreciate family time, he's not as hands on with the kids as I am. If he's watching the kids then he'll be busy but present, not playing with them, they would be expected to play around him but not involve him. He doesn't give any consideration to what type of parent he should be, he is just content in the knowledge that they will grow up regardless of any guidance/nurturing etc. He doesn't enforce teeth-brushing, isn't that interested in routine, doesn't care about whether his sons do their reading/homework etc. Resentment number 2.

My DSS is not like any other 10 year old I know of. He is quiet and sad. He often gets tearful, not always with a reason and he sits with his head held low and if I ask him what's wrong he pulls at his eyelashes almost like he wants to cover his face. He shakes when he is upset and his response is always that he is tired. He does have purple under his eyes and he's very thin (but being thin could just be in his genes of course) but he seems very depressed. His mood is very quick to change. He also seems to be struggling at school/with his learning as he struggles to understand the days of the week and the order in which they fall, he gets confused between yesterday/last week/last month/last year etc, last week he told my DH that he was worried at school because his teacher had told him how important some tests were and yet this weekend he's saying that he doesn't have any tests and can't remember the conversation, despite on the way down to our house him saying that his tests were all done and he's glad they are over. I think he's being bullied a little bit a school but won't talk about it, his mum has moved him from one school to another because of bullying in his last school. I tell my DH how worried I am about him and he just shrugs me off and tells me he'll talk to his mum about it Nothing every changes, DH doesn't deal with it and I worry that he's going to remain a depressed child and turn into a depressed adult. I don't believe my DH does talk to her about it and he seems to just dismiss my concerns like he's not interested Further to that our DS & DD have both started imitating DSS and now say things like 'I'm tired' in a slow drawn out voice, our routine which works so well in the week goes out the window and DH doesn't seem to give a stuff other than keep saying all Saturday 'is it their bedtime yet?' trying to be funny but his lack of interest in being a dad makes it too close to the truth of how he's feeling to be funny. Resentment number 3.

DSS's mum has never worked, yet needs a break on a Friday night and doesn't have her child any weekend. Yet I have to work because my DH won't support my desire to be a full-time mum. So I have to work and she never has done, even when they were together. She sometimes doesn't even get out of bed to wave off her son when my DH goes to fetch him. Yet my DH seems to never say anything negative about her other than the odd throwaway comment, even when my DSS isn't around to hear it. I also saw on his phone that he deleted an entire thread of messages between him and her, but this is the only thread he deleted so not clearing out phone storage, makes me think there's something specific he doesn't want me to see. When he's on the phone to her he's always polite and yet he can be cutting and pompous and downright rude to me on occasion. Resentment number 4.

I am struggling, really struggling to not spiral downward and I dread each weekend and the resentment is eating me up inside. I am quick to forgive and forget, and the trouble is I forget the details but the resentment remains. He always wants to be off doing something 'important' DIY etc that I'm supposed to feel grateful for, or he's driving too and from my DSS to drop off/pick him up.

I can get through most of it but the problems with my DSS I can't get past. The truth is he doesn't really like me much and he's known me all of his life. His parents had split up (not married) before I met his dad so he's never known any different. But his emotions are written all over his face and his sadness and jealousy and attempts to get his dads attention all wear me down. I remember one day last year when I was going out with my friends that night, my DH said to my DSS and DS that it was just them this evening because I was going out and my DSS cheered and went 'yeay' and was so happy, I was very hurt. My DH was really annoyed that it had hurt my feelings that he was so happy that I wasn't going to be around. The truth is, when I tuck the boys up in bed and read them a bedtime story and leave the room, I will say goodnight to him but he never answers me, he pretends to be asleep. In the morning when I get up with them he hardly talks to me until his dad comes down. If he wants a drink or needs help with something, he'll never ask me even if I'm in the same room, but he'll go looking for his dad to get him a drink or help him with whatever. Resentment number 5.

What can I do to improve my situation or improve my way of looking at things?

Thanks for listening to my ramblings.

2Tired4Drama's picture

Your SS obviously is desperately wanting direct attention from HIS DAD! You seem to be doing all the parenting. Doesn't sound like your DH is up to muster with his parenting skills, all the way around. I would recommend that you have a sit-down talk with your DH and explain to him the importance of his involvement in his kids' lives, especially the 10 year old.

If he can't seem to get that message imprinted in his brain, then are there other family members who may be able to deliver that message to him as well?

If that doesn't work, then try a professional.

If that doesn't work, go visit a lawyer and figure out whether you want to stay married to a jerk who only enjoys the act of creating children, but not being man enough to be a responsible father.

someonetotalkto7's picture

I'm a mom and a step mom. We have 7 all together! My son just turned 11 last month and can also be very moody and sad sometimes, very happy the next minute. My ex his dad lives out of state and he doesn't get to see him as much as should, my DH does his best to be there for him. Things are getting better though, 10 can be tough! I think it's a bit normal for them to be withdrawn sometimes but you should have DH have him see someone maybe. My DH sounds just like yours, I'm basically doing all the child rearing myself for my kids and my step kids. Hang in there! You need to talk to him and I need to talk to my DH as well, if not the resentment will grow.

ChiefGrownup's picture

Welcome, Bing. I don't think I have any advice for you. It sounds very bad. Watching a child's needs go neglected in your own home is a nightmare. This is one of the worst aspects of the plight of the stepmother.

On top of that you've got a sneaky, inconsiderate, disengaged husband. That is a lot to carry on your shoulders. I hope you find a way to peel these problems off one at a time....or all at once.

You say you dread the weekends but I can't believe you're all that happy during the week, either. I hope you find a better life than this.