I'm new, I've been a stepmum fulltime for 5 years and I need comfort
I wrote this long story of how I became a Step-Mum to my step-daughter... it was so long I was afraid no one would reply. So here's the gist:
- Met DH at 22 years old, he had a 1 and a half year old daughter. He lived with his parents, his Mum had a large hand in helping raise his child.
- I was a year into my degree, raised by parents who taught me independence, self sufficiency and self awareness.
- DH's ex is mother to his child, has a huge drinking problem, tried to kill herself, inherited £170,000 from dead parents in the last 8 years... there's not a penny left...SD came to live with us fulltime in the middle of our degrees. We both worked fulltime to pay for nursery fees... worked our asses off...
- DH's deemed unstable, DH and I took her to court and won residency of SD - very easy really as BioMum didn't show up.... had years of supervised visits with BM (AWKWARD) and then agreed to move to unsupervised visits... then unsupervised sleepovers at BM's (she often doesn't show up).
- 5 years later we live in a house with our two children, my DD who is 3, my DS who is 7months old and my large fulltime SD who is 8 but the size of a 13yogirl.
- My SD has suspected autism, has issues with volume control, fusses over foods, the sunlight in her eyes, textures on her skin, lies compulsively... massive story teller, highest IQ seen in a child of her age, she is SOOO intelligent but still sneaks around defying me at every turn she gets.
- MIL butts in and tells me to 'lower my standards and not be too hard on my SD... she is 8 years old, surely personal hygiene isn't a tall order? MIL clash when it comes to parenting styles and I have often found her undercutting my authority, now she's moved to doing it behind my back.
- BM HATES ME.. tells tall tales about me to my SD... causes more problems... doesn't discipline when SD stays with her...
I have a lot of people having a go at my parenting of this child and telling me to be more maternal towards this little girl, and I seem to be at fault for all of her issues... however on the other side I am reminded I am not her Biological Mum by being challenged regularly, questioned over parenting decisions and discipline...
They cannot have it both ways... and I feel like I'm being punished for not being particularly tactile with my SD. Our relationship has gone bad to worse and started decaying the moment my SD started having unsupervised visits with her BM at 6. She's 8 and a half now.
I feel screwed either way. If I treat SD like she's mine I'm too strict and blah blah blah...
If I'm distant and let DH take the main parental role I'm not giving SD the attention she needs as she acts up because she's desperate to be given attention... but that attention is bouncing off of the walls, rocking on chairs, breaking things, over hyperactivity, loudness... and all I get for trying to keep SD in check is 'Oh she's just a child'... SD stole from school TWICE and lies all the time... am I meant to ignore this behaviour? How do I when the attention grabbing drives me insane? Would cuddling SD help? How can I cuddle her when being around her makes my skin crawl? She's just so in your face and cripplingly insecure. She will tell you what she thinks you want to hear. SD has a secure and very tactile relationship with DH, it is sweet, she also has strong bonds with my DH's family, also my family have welcomed her like she was theirs. She gets treated like any of my kids would, she's just not as easy.
I'm a good Mum, I did the spellings, the running around, the discos, the laundry, decorated SD's room first when we moved to make her feel secure (we bought a house, the house was near to our old rented place, she didn't change schools or anything). I prioritise these child (Biological and not) all the bloody time and STILL SOMEHOW.. I am not fulfilling needs and it is my problem that my SD's behaviour irritates me..
I don't want to back off and let things go with my SD because I need to treat all of the kids equal right? Which means I feel aggravated when SD doesn't listen to me and doesn't do as she's told. And it is all within reason.
I'm in counselling and I feel as if the price I've had to pay to be with my soulmate, the man I love and have loved for 7 years is helping raise his daughter... and fuck me excuse the language but what a price tag... If SD left it would break my husband's heart. DH is running his own business and nailing it, he is so accomplished. We couldn't swap roles and I wouldn't want to, I want to raise my kids... it's just... her..
I have issues. And I already feel judged so please welcome me gently.