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It's normal to love your biokids more, but...

sunshinex's picture

I worry about how ethical it is. Now, hear me out... SD is 7 and lives with us full-time. Her mother only sees her in summer/on holidays and isn't very involved. Our son is 17 months old. I treat both kids equally. No kid gets special treatment. I spend roughly the same on them on holidays/birthdays, I'm saving the same for each child's future, I keep the same rules (in an age-appropriate way) for both. There is no favoritism in my house.

But I think sometimes, it's clear that my love is strong and overwhelming for my son and I can't hide that. I don't feel very comfortable being touchy-feely with anyone other than my son/husband. I've always been that way. SD gives me hugs and I reciprocate, but it's just not the same. I can cuddle and tickle and kiss my son a million times. I sit down with him and tell him how much he amazes me. Just little moments between mother and child that can't be replicated.

And I can't help but think, this must be horrible for my stepdaughter. I try, I really do. But it's forced. It's not genuine. And I'm sure as she gets older, she's going to notice if she hasn't already. I'm worried my son is going to be hurt by it, too. Like why doesn't mom love my sister as much as me? They have a great relationship and I'll never do anything to stop that because I do care about her and take pride in doing a good job raising her. I just don't love her. 

Do you think I'm overthinking this? Or should I be doing a better job trying to love her? 

SteppedOut's picture

You are over-thinking. And, you CAN'T just MAKE yourself have those feelings. 

Also, I get what you mean about not being touchy feely. I am like that too and always have been. 

I personally think you are doing a great job with her from your posts. That you are so concerned about this says a lot about how much you care for her; even if it's not as much as your own son.

ETA: You are not the one being unethical, her BM is!

Stepmommy14's picture

You cant make yourself love your sd. But you're right, she will notice and probably already does. Nothing you can do about it though. I love my ss but I know I will love my bio kid more than him because there will be a bond from birth that we will have that i dont have with ss.

Sjj071207's picture

Not unethical at all. My SS’s BM has been out of his life for 5 years. I also have my son who is 5. I try very, very hard to make things “equal” but it’s impossible. Love just doesn’t come naturally like it does when you give birth to your own child and by feeling guilty, it only makes life miserable for you. However, I do understand where you’re coming from in your concern for your SD. I’m not an actress, I know that sometimes it may be very apparent that I am forcing affection... so I do understand and feel for you. But please don’t think you’re being unethical. You are already 1000x times better than the woman who birthed her, and couldn’t be there for her herself. That says a lot in itself. Hang in there. It’s not an easy road...

shellpell's picture

I think it is almost impossible to love a child you haven’t birthed as much as one you have. I say almost because in rare cases it happens (adoption, the rare happy blended family situation, etc.) i don’t even have 1% of the love I have for my two for my ss. I’ve read some of your blogs and it seems that you may hold yourself up to some impossibly high standards because you are a good hearted person.

Jcksjj's picture

Honestly, I do think if a child has a bio parent that is absent or not as involved the stepparent affects them more because the child is looking for that role to be filled.  Whereas a kid with both parents involved already has that filled and it's more about superficial things they can get out of the stepparent or not liking the rules or changed household dynamics etc if they're unhappy.

BUT I dont think that is on you in any way, shape or form. It's on the bio parent and if you are doing the best you can as a stepparent I dont think you should feel guilty or that its unethical in your was unethical for the bio mom to go through with having her and then pawn her off for whatever reason. You being there and doing as much as you can and providing a female role model is still better than her not having you there at all and then an absent mom on top of it.

shamds's picture

Absent bio parent and then a stepparent comes into the picture, has kids and they see she actually nurtures them, its painful for them to accept and often they treat you horribly out of spite when that anger should be pointed at the absent parent

sunshinex's picture

Yeah, this is what I'm worried about.I try and be nurturing to her too, but it really doesn't come naturally.  

shamds's picture

but the worst is ss who’ll be 21 next month. He emotionally abuses people and justifies it... when imm venting to my dad who lives overseas about things, i often said i felt at times he just hates me because he has an incompetent mum, she is mot a mother and never was, she didn’t want any of those kids. Hubby was so focussed on work as a sole income earner to support everyone... 

i told my husband you helped create this mess, you had 3 kids when you knew 1 week after marrying the ex she asked for a divorce because she never got enough money and wedding gifts from you before the wedding (gold digger much??), then she goes to hospital and has an abortion without telling you and claims baby died 2 months into marrying and despite these major red flags, you stupidly had 3 kids. The first child you already knew she never wanted to parent, would rather dump that child on hubbys elder sister to watch... i remind hubby he allowed things to get this bad...

i do not at all feel wrong about being a good mum to my kids in nurturing and loving them.... the skids need to take their misplaced guilt to bio mum which they don’t due to pas and the brainwashing 

SayNoSkidsChitChat's picture

I bent over backwards for stepdemon. Even let Biowh0re dump him in my house 100% for a time. I stopped when Stepbrat lied about me, threw me under the bus, slandered me on social media (but never his rotten excuse for a mother, ain’t that cute?) and a lot of other transgressions including trying to sabotage my marriage.

I am 100% disengaged forever and a day.

Jcksjj's picture

Yeah I've seen that happen too. I've also seen kids that really appreciate their stepdads for stepping when the biodad is absent but for some reason I haven't personally seen that happen with a stepmom. Just to clarify in case it was misunderstood though, I'm saying you shouldnt feel guilty because you are actually an asset to her life whether the kid realizes and appreciates it or not. You have no obligation to be doing anything and should be appreciated, but unfortunately as we've seen plenty on here that's not always what happens.

sunshinex's picture

Yeah, I mean, it's not as though she loves me the way she would her biological mom, ya know? 

I remember being her age. I remember doing sweet things out of love for my mom - saving toothfairy money and what not to buy her little things on her bday/mother's day, cleaning my room as a surprise for her, pretending I loved meals she made even if I didn't because I didn't want to hurt her feelings, just little things out of love. SD calls me mom and says she loves me, but none of that is there. I really do think she wants that relationship because it's beneficial, not because she feels that way about me.

I mean, I asked her multiple times before mother's day to clean her room for me - that's all I wanted. She didn't. Instead, she kept asking all day "when are we going for dinner for you?" or "what are we having for dessert for you?" and meanwhile she took 2 minutes to throw together some garbage from her messy room and handed it to me as a gift. That's not love, is it? I just remember treating my mom with more appreciation. 

Jcksjj's picture

I try to point that out to my DH sometimes when he is expecting me to feel the same as I do about my kids about SD. Flat out asked him once if he expected her to love me like her mom and he said no of course not. Okay but I'm supposed to do all this stuff for her without resentment??? Its like all the bad parts of parenting with none of the good in return.

sunshinex's picture

See, my DH is convinced SD loves me the same as he loves her, which is crazy IMO. She definitely doesn't. And I've read before that's why stepparent/stepchild relationships are hard. People are wired to give and receive in return. The only relationship we tolerate where we don't receive in return is our children, but even then, we receive unconditional love and all the little things like their laughter, smiles, hugs, etc. and that's enough. That's the ONLY time we are able to enjoy relationships with minimal give-back. Steps don't give back. 

Harry's picture

Is a loser. And not giving her DD what she needs.   You can not do more then Bio parents

Monkeysee's picture

Like everyone has said, you absolutely can’t force those feelings. I hug my stepsons, but it’s not all that often & I seem to do it less now as they get older. DH still gives them loads of kisses & cuddles & ive just got no desire to do the same things with them. I’m very warm to them & I do love them in my own way, but I know when our baby comes it’s going to be a completely different dynamic. 

You’ve got nothing to feel badly about! And really, if anyone should feel the need to make up for BM’s lack of involvement it should be your DH, not you. Your SD is really lucky to have you as a SM from all the things you’ve said. You might not feel the same way for her as you do for your son, but you aren’t letting that stop you from being the best SM you can, and I think as she gets older she’ll see that (provided you’ve got the support & backup from your DH on that sort of thing, which it sounds like you do). Keep up the great work mama!

caitlinj's picture

Yes it is normal. I dont feel comfortable being physcially affectionate with my stepkids and never have. It's weird because I feel very comfortable being physically affectionate with my SO and my niece and nephew. With my Stepkids it just isn't there. I care for them and dont wish them any harm of course but I'm never dying to hug or cuddle with them and it feels awkward when I do. A big part of it is they already have two parents who are involved in their lives. When it comes to a third (step parent) they are just looking for what they can get out of me which isn't the best feeling.  I also do not completely trust my stepkids because of how I've seen one of them manipulate other people so this might play into it.

sunshinex's picture

That's a good point. SD really loves her dad. But the rest of the people in her life, including her mom/mom's family, she seems to have been shown love in the form of guilt/buying her things, taking her places, etc. so I think the only person she has true love for is my husband and everyone else is just "there" to give/do for her. She only really showed an interest in caring for me after her brother was born and she saw me taking him places, buying him things, etc. 

Myss.Tique D'Off's picture

It is absolutely normal to feel differently about your kids as opposed to your stepkids. I remember the first time I saw my son's face and instantly knew that I had been in love with him for months passed. I was glad to finally meet him. I didn't have the same feelings with my skids... Meeting them as young teens was a bit of an anti-climax. Kind of a "meh" experience. 

My exSD never lived with us. It was also weird to be as  affectionate with my SS as with  my son. He was a teenaged boy and there are boundaries... I do love both my son and my SS, but I love them differently. I have a good relationship now with my SS, and I don't think I love him less although the intensity of what I feel for him is vastly different than what I feel for my own son. I would literally be prepared to die for my son, I can't say the same of SS.

In your situation, like mine with my SS, there is an absent mother. It is not your role to make up for what some other woman has done to her child. You can love your SD as much as you can but it will never be the same as the love a mother has for her own child. I don't think we are wired that way.
In the same way, my son's father is deceased. I don't expect any one to love my son as his Dad did. I cannot be Dad either.  Neither you or your DH should feel it necessary to make up for anything where there is a missing parent... Nothing can. SS's Mom doesn't care. My first husband can't. You need to help your child and stepchild grow up to understand these dynamics rather than think it is your role to compensate for the absence.

Pregnantwithquestions's picture

I'm like you-- my way of showing my love to my SK is by being fair, meeting their daily needs, really trying to be aware of their feelings and see things through their lens, being available to talk or chit chat. But there is no reward system like their is for your own child. With my baby, I can look in her eyes and cuddle, kiss, smooch, tickle, baby talk for hours and its natural. I give my SK more than 1-2 hugs a day and it feels forced! Doesn't mean that I hate my SK, it just means the love I have for my child literally spills over. I can't help it so I have no practical advice, just that I'm in the same boat Smile

flmomma08's picture

I am the same way. I'm clearly more affectionate toward my BD but like you, I am not really affectionate with anyone besides my own child. SD probably does notice but - please don't take this the wrong way - she knows you're not her mother. I think these feelings are perfectly normal. She probably feels stronger feelings for her BM than for you, even if she is a POS. This is just coming from my own personal experience. SD is 11 and we had her full time since she was 5 (and 50/50 before that), I've went above and beyond for her, and she STILL would choose BM over me any day of the week. It's just the way it is.

sunshinex's picture

I don't take that the wrong way at all. I'm realistic about it - I absolutely know she loves her mother more and if things went MY way, her mother would be more involved and they'd have a lovely, close relationship and I'd just be dad's wife LOL but unfortunately, it's not that way. She WANTS a mother, knows her mother doesn't care, and calls me mom/tries to get that bond with me - even though I know it's not there on HER side either. She gets tense when we hug/cuddle too. But unfortunately, she still tries because she really does want that relationship. It sucks. 

Rags's picture

I do not have a BK.  So my perspective is not from the perspective of having a BK.

I think that you are overthinking and are over worried about this.  Even in intact initial families parents feel differently about their children.  Each child is different.  They need different parenting and parents interface with them differently.

As for loving your Skid Vs your BK.  Love, IMHO, is not a more or less thing.  Particularly when in relation to kids.  You can love your SKid by taking the actions of love.  The actions build the feelings. So, ... make a different choice with your Skid by taking different actions.  Of course you love your BK.  But you can also choose to love  your SKid. Eventually my parents came to the conclusion that my brother and I are different and they got away from focus on treating us equally and started treating us as we each needed.  They love us both but they love us differently.

So, do it.

 Good luck.

Leilene's picture

Just like a cousin or friend may adore your kid, they can’t fake the unconditional love you naturally exude for them. It doesn’t matter how cute, well behaved, and delightful they are; there is no biological link which is like an adhesive agent. 

jsw123's picture

I just felt the need to comment because my situation is eerily similar to yours in the fact that 2 out of the 5 SK's have no relationship with their mother bc she is a POS, but she still has 3 of them.  The 2 she does not have much to do with (by her choice) are 2 of my SD's.  I absolutely know what you're talking about when you say you have that guilt feeling loving your BK more but everyone is right in saying that it is not on us, we didn't cause their heartbreak their POS BM's did... we can only do the best we can with what we have to work with (so to speak)..  Hugs to you and good luck!! 

Old sm's picture

I was in the same situation as you; SD lived with us and we had children of our own.  My children are my life; I could never (and never have) feel the  same towards my SD. What made it so difficult, actually, was DH.  He wanted me to treat SD the same as our biokids but when I did, he'd get upset.  For example, I could take our kids to the park without any issues; I had to ask DH permission to take SD to the park too bc "she was HIS child".  But if I didn't take SD to the park, I was being a "bad mother" to her. It was a very difficult situation that was created by him and it was difficult to think of SD as my child when DH made the distinction that she was not.  It caused alot of relationship problems.

Now, all the kids are adults; they can see the situation for what it is and how DH created it.  And SD is really OK with it.  She knows that I won't love her the same as my kids and she gets it.  She loves her mother differently from me and Im OK with that.