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New Stepmother - Am I cut out for this?

anxious stepmum's picture

Firstly, can I just say I am so thankful to of found this site and to see that I am not alone.

I am 26 and have no bio children on my own. SO is 30 and has SS8 and SD5. They are with us EOW.

We have lived together now for 7 months and prior to living together I didn’t have much contact with the children as I saw that as his special time with them.

When he moved in I was so excited. I set up their room and SO and I bought all new toys and bedding and bunk beds. I imagined family days out and family dinners and all happy happy family.

Sometimes it’s like this, sometimes its not. Sometimes I just can’t wait for them to go home.

SS8 is a great little kid. He is really quiet and mostly well mannered and just keeps to himself. SD5 on the other hand is used to being treated like a little princess and doesn’t like that I’m the queen (so to speak)

I know she is only 5 but my step-nephew is 5 and he acts nothing like that. She still doesn’t talk properly and most of it is her being lazy and talking in a baby voice. She has been getting a bit jealous – she doesn’t like it when SO and I hug or kiss and will always say “why are you hugging? Why are you kissing?” SO says because we love each other and she gets huffy. If we are sitting together on the lounge as a family I’ll always let SO and the kids pick a spot first, then I just sit somewhere free. Well if I sit near SO she will get up and want to sit in-between us. In the morning she bursts into the bedroom even though she knows to knock. She has been holding onto pee and then wetting herself when we are out (and then blaming me saying she told me she needed to go when she didn’t). She is also really mean sometimes – like everyone has to do what she wants to do and if they don’t she gets angry.

I am so lucky that SO is on my side. We have both read the book Stepmonster and he makes it clear to the kids that he and I are a team and we make the rules. He always corrects them days “This is Dad and (my names) house” not just his house. He tells them to listen to me and tries really hard. He listens to me when I have an issue (1) I told him how I felt when SD5 squeezes between us on the lounge and after reading the book he could tell she was doing it out of jealousy so now when she tries he points out other spaces for her to sit. (2) I told him how uncomfortable I feel having to quickly cover up in the mornings when she bursts into our room or when he pulls her in bed for a cuddle so he has made a rule that our room is a kid free zone and the kids aren’t to come in, ever. (3) He has told me that if I feel overwhelmed or anxious to tell him and he will take the kids out or to go get my nails done, hair done or see a friend.

I really shouldn’t be complaining as I have a SO who supports me 110% but I’m still struggling. We have them this weekend, SO will pick them up tonight after work. I have PMS. I want to get sushi for dinner, drink wine, have a bath and veg infront of the TV. There is nothing stopping me doing that when they are though, SO can tell them just to play in their room.. but I know they are there and I cannot relax. I feel rude if I lock myself away in the bedroom. I worry SO will think I hate his children. I’m always afraid to say something even though he is always so receptive.

I just didn’t think it would be this hard.

Disillusioned's picture

Well you are very fortunate to have such a supportive husband

Maybe take him up on his offer sometimes and just go and get your nails done, allow him and his kids time, where no one (you included) feels any pressure, stress or uncomfortableness..... maybe take his daughter with you once in while just as something fun to help you both bond

HappilySelfish679's picture

I could have written this post 4 years ago - I too had a pretty well behaved SS 8 and a horrible SD 5 acting up constantly . The lack of privacy , the constant demanding daddy every single minute of the day - they seriously got on my nerves and it was very hard . My marriage honestly survived thanks to our living arrangements only . We live in a duplex and I have my own side including kitchen bathroom living room and bedroom from which skids were eventually banned . I spend EOWE pretty much without DH until skids go to bed but could not imagine this without having my own skid free space .
My advice is to honestly speak to your DH about your feelings . Encourage him to take kids out on the weekends ( zoo, ice skating , mini golf , whatever ) without you so you have some peace and quiet . The next day , you go out for a while . Make your bedroom your sanctuary - no skids allowed, ever . Tell DH why it is necessary for you to spend time alone . Disengage from any parenting responsibility . Do not reward or punish skids , unless it personally involves you ( say they destroy your property ) . Good luck . My situation got better after I disengaged and disallowed skids to enter my living space unless they are specifically invited ( rare )

LikeMinded's picture

Yep, read the "disengaging essay" , google it.

Find stuff to do without them. Go to your bedroom and have your wine and bath. Put the headphones on and just relax.

That said, remember that custody often changes and he may end up with them 50% of the time or even 100% of the time if BM gets sick or something.

If you're that unhappy, you need to consider your options. I've been at this for 5 years and even though my SKIDS are nice, it still sucks.

anxious stepmum's picture

I’m not sure if I want to disengage.

I want to have a relationship with the children. I (mostly) enjoy when we do things as a family but sometimes I feel smothered, even though they don’t want too much attention from me. Just having them in the house makes me feel that way.

SO and I are moving interstate in the next 6-12 months so the custody arrangement will change. It will go from EOW to a week every 3 months over the school holidays. I’m not sure if I feel better about that or not.

Summer1525's picture

You're doing better at this than I have. I'm also 26 and no bio kids. My boyfriend has a 6 year old son, and we've been together almost 2 years now. I never could make the decision to move in with him. I was all for his son in the beginning and thought he was the most adorable thing. These days I'm having an extremely hard time with it all. I'm ultimately looking at a breakup.

You are so lucky to have someone as supportive as your SO. it sounds like he's really on your team with all of this. My boyfriend has been supportive as well but not to the point that he would read a book on the topic as yours has lol ;).

Sometimes it all is just a little too much. I know what you mean about not being able to relax... I was at boyfriend's house last month to spend the night, it was Christmas eve and he had his son. I felt that oncoming chest pressure so I excused myself to the bedroom for a little while to take a break. I was laying there trying to take some deep breaths, meditate a bit and calm my nerves... I had gotten to the point where I was good and relaxed again and then all of a sudden I hear my boyfriend yelling and squalling at his son for doing something he shouldn't have been doing. Needless to say, there went my peace.

My advice is give things a little time, stay in continuous communication with your SO, and don't suppress your feelings. You will know in your heart as time passes whether or not you're really cut out for this.

HappilySelfish679's picture

Well said Sally - to the OP who talks about " doing things as a family " .....reality is you are not , especially not after 7 months . You are virtually a stranger to skids and they have to share their father now with you . Take it slow. Don't expect too much too soon ; in fact over time you will learn not to expect anything lol . Best wishes to you !

PolyMom's picture

Sometimes it's difficult, other times it's not. There are so many variables to consider. Do the kids BM accept you and support you as well? Is your SO making clear boundaries with SD5 so she understands she doesn't get to call the shots? As long as the adults in your step kids lives are setting them up to understand those boundaries, while they do test their wings once in a while, they will eventually get it. My situation got all screwed because my BM hates me, and told the kids to never listen to me. The has resulted in my step son getting removed from his school for emotional outbursts, and oppositional behaviors towards teachers, and is currently sitting in a mental ward for juveniles. I know, my life horrifies me sometimes too. But it sounds like you don't have anything to worry about. I highly recommend the book: Step Families: Love, marriage and parenting in the first decade. It's based on 20 years of studies of blended families and how they work...some differently than others.

Good luck!