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Please help; left out and betrayed

OtherMom's picture

I'm very emotional right now, so please bear with me. BF and I were of the understanding that SS had a special Christmas party at school today. I went shopping and bought him a special outfit and cut his hair. Then later BF found out that it's really after school, in the evening, and HE and the EX are going but I am not invited! Apparently SHE doesn't want me around, and HE won't stand up for me. I spend all my time, my heart and my soul being a part of this family and now I am nobody-- not even allowed to attend special events in support of my son! This feels like such a betrayl-- like he's cheating on me! He is representing himself with HER and ss as his family, while I sit home and think about why I don't register high enough to be included as part of the family that is MY WHOLE WORLD. I feel pathetic, like some silly woman who has to fill a hole in somebody else's family because I can't get my own. I don't know if I can do this anymore.... it hurts so much. What's more, he's teaching ss that I'm not really family because I don't get to be a part of his life the way his bio parents do. We've had a huge fight and all I can do is sit in the car in the parking lot of a coffee shop and cry... and use their wi-fi to whine to you guys.

Caitlin's picture

I am constantly shut out of SD's special events by BM. She even goes as far as to work on SD long enough that SD herself asks me to not come. She's not being malicious about it, and I know she's been set up by her mother, but wow does it hurt.

Things are changing for us though. My fiance is standing up for me more, putting his foot down that I am part of the family and I have every right to come and support SD at her events. Have you told your BF how you feel about this? Why did it turn into a fight? At least with us, my fiance and I are on the same page. He would never get upset with me for wanting to be involved! I'd be crushed! Does BM create a huge scene if she doesn't get her way? Is he trying to avoid that by not fighting to include you?

I don't really have any advice for you, but just to keep coming here to cry on our e-shoulders! We know what you're going through, even if we don't always have the answers! Try to focus on your relationship with your SS and the time you do have together, and not the time that you're "banned" from him. Hope this helps!

hopeful's picture

They sure are lucky to have a stepmom who cares so much involved in their kids lives. It isn't easy to care about sks in the way that you do. I have a great deal of admiration for you! You are not being super clingy...I just think that you are being super. It doesn't mean that the stepmom is weird or stupid or anything...just doesn't want someone she considers a stranger in her child's life. Weird? Not really. Probably pretty common. However, regardless of how she feels, it is up to your BF to support your involvement in your ss life as you are family now. I wish you well in all of this and I hope that your BF realizes how lucky that he is!

OtherMom's picture

That must be awful! I can't imagine how much it would hurt to hear that one of the kids didn't want me to come. Yes, I've told BF how I feel. I told him that I feel betrayed; like he and the EX are SS's family but not me. He says he doesn't want to make things "uncomfortable" for SS, which I'm sure is true because BM would probably make a scene. We've been avoiding this for 2 years, which was OK because the kids were really little and didn't have many special events. We do separate birthday parties, etc.

So far he's kept us apart, and she's gone as far to tell him she doesn't even want any talk of me in her presence (which is funny, becasue I'm told that SS talks about me constantly when he is picked up/ dropped off). She has a history of some pretty crazy behavior, so I do understand the concern. But, like I've told him, it's not fair. We had the fight because I told him he needed to grow some ba**s already and quit making SS do all his dirty work. He says it's going to take a little time, and it's just not happening fast enough for me. But I don't understand because I've been around since SS wasn't even one-- and before SD was born! So to me, I am their real mommy. I don't know how much more time he could possibly need; I think he's just avoiding confrontation with her and I told him so. I actually used the Desperate Housewives' line, "I think you're more scared of her than you are of me!" LOL.

He always includes me in events when BM isn't around, and he can't stand being around her so I know there's nothing between them. But still, I feel this crazy jealousy because I can't go support my SS but he's parading this other woman around as his family! He even asked if I could take SD while he went... but I was freaking out so bad she is now going to grandma's. Now I'm upset because at least for tonight I've lost her too; but maybe he's right and I'm in no state to be around anyone. I used to be this sane, rational, professional woman who didn't get caught up in petty bull***t... I don't like this monster I've become! We've really made great progress overall, but it's amazing how something like this can still make me question whether or not I'm strong enough to do this.

Candice's picture

I don't know your entire story, but what I can tell is that you really love your ss. I know what it feels like to love a child so much, and then feel betrayed by that childs family members.

When biomoms have voids in their own lives, or feel insecure in their abilities to parent or be successful as they define success, they have problems with other people filling in those voids, or providing for their children. When our bm was jealous of my dh moving on with his life, and finding someone he wanted to share his life with, and she on the other hand had been hopping from one guy to the next, being used and abused, she also demanded that she not have to see me. She specifically stated how she didn't even want to hear my voice, or see my existance. When she found someone she wanted to share her life with, that is when she made the change and suddenly no longer had a problem with me at all. Now, she calls upon me to help her raise her son, and bake him bday cakes, and deal with doctor's appointment, etc...

You did nothing wrong, and you feel so betrayed, and hurt b/c you are being rejected. You cannot force this woman to accept you right now b/c she isn't in a place in her life to be ready to accept you. It is also easier for your bf to deal with your hurt feelings, then to deal with a bm's hurt feelings, that might take those hurt feelings out on his child. In essence, he possibly is not standing up for you in order to protect his son, and his relationship with his son. It isn't fair, and it hurts, but please know that he may be doing this to protect a child, b/c a lot of bm's go out of their way to punish their kids over new gf's or new wives.

My recommendation for you is to accept the fact that you just can't do the things you want right now b/c bm isn't mature, and is jealous of the fact your bf has moved on with his life w/o her. She may not want him, but she wants someone, and as long as she is alone, and miserable, she is going to want everyone else alone and miserable. That is how insecure people work.

Find a balance to make this situation easier for you. Foster a relationship with this child as much as you can, but understand that bm is going to place some unreasonable boundaries on you (it's childish to say the least), but for right now you need to accept it. Perhaps you need to fill the void of not being allowed to participate in school activities by going out with your gf's, go to a movie, go to a book store, have coffee with them. Perhaps this would be a good opportunity to visit your parents. Or maybe you can spend your time here at this site.

You didn't do anything wrong, and you shouldn't feel ashamed b/c a woman has made the choice to reject you out of her son's school activities. You should feel sorry for her that she feels so insecure with herself, that she has made the personal choice to reject someone that truly loves her son, and would take the time out of their schedule to support her son. That in itself is selfish and sad. So instead of feeling defeated and crying, you should view her as insecure and weak, and that is no place to be in.

I hope that I helped you. Welcome to the site, and I look forward to hearing more from you.

Candice

OtherMom's picture

I'm sure you're right... I know she is a very unhappy person who is taking her insecurities out on me. But I haven't yet come to the point where I can feel sorry for her... she's done too many ugly things that, like you said, ultimately just hurt the kids. It's funny-- I don't think BF and I have ever had a fight that wasn't about her. I guess it is pretty silly of me to let another woman effect my relationships, but instead of just being jealous because she is BF's ex and he still spends time around her, I'm triple jealous because she has control over the kids I love more than life itself. It's hard to let go, but I'm trying. I'm not a bio-mom and don't know if I ever will be, so I'm probably super-clingy.

I think it's really cool that your ss's BM includes you now. It would be a lot easier if the adults in these situations could all act like adults... I really don't like BM or what she does, but I would sure be willing to suck it up for the sake of the kids. Good for you!

Candice's picture

just know that this doesn't happen immediately. Just b/c I say you should feel sorry for her, and even if you agree...you might not be able to do that for months...this takes work, and definitely understanding.

Part of your aprehension is your own jealously. You are jealous b/c this woman has a child(ren) with a man you love, and you are concerned that he will not give you children for you to experience with. I have so lived this. My dh could not even begin to express any desire to have any more children b/c of what he has been through with prior ex gf's. You need to be in charge of your own feelings. If your bf has made it clear he is not having any more children, you need to understand and respect that, and not be jealous of his ex. You need to feel proud of YOU! With or without children! Now I totally understand that burning desire to become a mother, I know, but you should not feel meaningless, or defeated b/c you aren't sure if your future holds children, or b/c you are not a mother right now.

If you are super-clingy, you could be contributing to why bm is rejecting you. I am a biomom, and one time my son was 1.5 years old and he had a pacifier in his mouth. A complete stranger walked up to him and ripped it out of his mouth and said "you don't need that.." Let me tell you something...I am a mother, and I decide what/when my children will have x,y,z...I found it very offensive that a complete stranger thought it was her place for one to take something out of my son's mouth, and two make a decision for a child that wasn't hers. If you are clingy, you could be offending her. Just think about it, and try to see if there is anything you are doing to offend her, and possibly key down on those activities.

Anonymous's picture

I'm afraid. This is a big betrayal by your bf and he's already let your know the boundaries. I would tell him that you will start to date others if this is how its going to be. You really need to find out if this is just the beginning, because if there's no future why waste your time? This is not someone I would marry by anymeans if this is how he acts. Yes he did basically cheat on you if he went without you. And theres people on here in your position that have made the mistake of staying with these types of men. And this is a form of psy. abuse and control also. Its really not a whole lot to do with the ex in your case, but make an ultimatum and stick with it. Its difficult now but theres always someone else out there that will treat you with respect. Hope that helps

Anne 8102's picture

It's not the other woman who is affecting your relationship, it's HIM and it's YOU. I'm not slamming you, I just mean that she only has the power to screw with your relationship because the two of you are letting her. (Okay, mostly HE is letting her.) By being so upset, you gave her what she wanted. By fighting with him, you gave him the perfect excuse for you not to attend. The ex is going to try to cause problems from time to time, that's just the nature of the beast, but the two of you have to fortify your defenses, stick together no matter what and BE UNITED.

I would point out to him that as this child's stepmother, you are a co-parent to this child. Maybe not a biological parent, but a parent just the same. (Conception and birth are the easy parts and neither makes you a bonafide PARENT. Being a parent makes you a parent.) If you are good enough to run the errands, get the haircuts, pick out the outfits, give the baths, do the homework, clean up after, do laundry for and otherwise care for this child, then you have the right to be included in these types of events. Period. Let him know, in a calm and rational manner, that you just want to be a positive influence in his child's life, that you love the child and that you just want to be included. Ask him if he would rather have a partner that couldn't care less about his son. Try to be matter-of-fact and unemotional when you talk to him and maybe let him know if that if he's going to share his life with you, then it must be an all-or-nothing venture. (And that doesn't mean that you give all and get nothing in return.)

You're NOT silly and you are NOT pathetic and you DO have a family just as much as any mother of a "traditional" family, whatever that is. Sometimes men are stupid. I've said it before and I'll say it again... SOMETIMES MEN ARE STUPID. Sometimes in trying to do the right thing, they end up doing the wrong thing. Most of them don't like to be called on their mistakes, either. I'd let this one go, it's too late to undo the turmoil that's already been done. But in a few days, when things have blown over, maybe have a heart to heart with him and try to show him that your involvement isn't a bad thing. It's actually a very good thing and this kid is LUCKY to have a stepmom that truly loves and cares about him. I really envy you, because I've always struggled with the relationship with my skids. I figured that cleaning up their vomit made me an equal parent, but their mother would NEVER see it that way.

As far as the ex is concerned... remember "I'm the rubber, you're the glue. Whatever you say bounces off me and sticks to you." Even if it kills you, be the rubber. Let it bounce off so that she doesn't get a payoff from your being traumatized and maybe eventually she will grow up.

Chin up!

~ Anne ~

OtherMom's picture

Yes, I know you're right. Candice, you nailed it-- I'm sure my insecurity does come from jealousy over her having his bio children and not me. I'm in a similar situation as you, although my BF says he's open to having children with me-- eventually. But I probably only have a few more years and then I just have to accept it's not happening. Anyway, I think my clingy-ness only exhibits itself on nights like tonight, because I can't stand to be excluded from my family, and also because I want to spend lots of time with the kids and tend to get depressed when they go to their other house. I'm 37 and seem to be having a sort of early midlife crisis. But since the ex doesn't have to deal with me, she doesn't see that side.

Also good advice, Anne. I'm not really blaming the ex... I'm blaming him for not standing up for me. I agree that sometimes men are stupid! Funny, I've asked him before if he's rather have a partner who didn't care about the kids. He says he's glad I care, but needs "more time." But you make good points-- I AM doing all those other things that make someone a parent-- it doesn't make sense for me to do all the work a parent does but not be included in events like this. And yes, I cleaned up projectile vomit just yesterday. Biggrin

I know... I have to calm down. BF is already calling and saying "sorry"-- not "I'm truly sorry," mind you, but "I'm sorry you feel that way." He just keeps making it worse. I probably need some space so I can have an un-emotional conversation with him.

Glad I found you guys... this is a great place to vent and share. It's good to hear all your stories and the wisdom gained from some pretty crazy experiences. I love my girlfriends, but none of them have ever been in a situation like this and I'd rather enjoy my time with them than whining about being a stepmom!

Anonymous's picture

Hi Othermom! Your post reminded me of a girlfriend of mine that never listened to anyone! She was married but her husband kept saying he didn't want kids and she put her own happiness aside because of his selfishness. Today she is 45, he left her for a younger one and has no kids and really regrets it. If you want kids don't let some jerk control that too. I agree you need to set deadlines and stick to it. Not 3 mths, 6 mths, but get answers now. If nothing is going to change say like...next week..leave this guy. At 37 time is running out to have your own children.

Candice's picture

I think you might be reading a little more into the post...she did say that her bf did agree to additional children, but left the deadline open. I agree that a timeframe needs to be address due to the age of Othermom, however, I would not suggest leaving this guy by next week.

There is more to this story, and we haven't heard it yet, and you are speaking from your friends experience, which may be totally different than Othermoms. My dh went through extreme and horrific events over 2 kids, one he eventually agreed to place up for adoption for her stepdad to adopt, and the only reason he did this was b/c bm refused to share his daughter (didn't have a problem cashing his cs check though). Then came ss, and bm got pg just looking for a meal ticket, and has since used ss to use my dh. These men have hearts, and feelings, and love their kids too, and when they go through such traumatizing experiences, only to have the court system rape them of their finances, and rob them of equal time with their kids, and treat men like they are deadbeats and their only value is their money, well...they get scared.

I was with my dh for 4.5 years before we got married, and another 3 years before we had our child. Prior to us actually conceiving, my dh could not actually bring himself to say..."okay..we can have a baby on such and such date.." instead it was..."one day.." now mind you I am younger than Othermom, and I could afford to be patient, and I am so thankful that I was.

When I did get pg, it was actually six months prior to the date I set on planning to get pg...I decided it was time, and I told dh..."I will be going off the pill in September, and we will be planning a family..." dh kind of put his head in the sand...imagining that I was full of bs. Then one day in April, I discovered I was pg. For two weeks, my dh could not speak to me on the whole pg issue, and after that two weeks expired, my dh said to his friends..."Candice...might..be pg.." as if two home pg tests could really produce a false positive..never mind the overnight gigantic growth spurt in the boobs! LOL!

My point being, my dh, a truly scarred man who really could not "discuss" children, but really loved his wife more than life itself, pampered me through pg, was there for the delivery, took care of me during recovery (all I had to do was breastfeed..and my dh thanked me for breastfeeding), and on my first mother's day card, my dh wrote..."Thank you for bringing our baby into this world.."

I agree a discussion needs to take place due to the age of Othermom, but I don't agree on such a negative perception on someone who might not be able to discuss an exact deadline. We don't know all the circumstances yet, and he already stated he is open to additional children, and that is a positive sign.

I am sorry for your gf's experience, I wouldn't want anyone comprimising their own goals for another person, boundaries and goals are important. I hope she can find happiness in other ways.

Anne 8102's picture

Any Dad who has been in this situation, basically losing their financial security as well as their children to a vindictive ex, would naturally be reticent about repeating history. It has not one thing to do with how much he loves you or how much he trusts you, it's just hard to get over having your life totally destroyed by someone who once claimed to love you, especially when that includes having your children torn from you out of spite. That would make anyone put on the brakes, for fear it would happen again. So you have to be patient and try to be in tune to that aspect of it. Even though they might not admit it, it can be a scary situation and they would not want to repeat what happened before.

On the flip side, time is a'wasting. Hey, maybe you should do some online research on sperm donation and artificial insemination and tell him that you respect his decision to not have or postpone having another child and that you hope he will respect your decision to conceive, anyway. (Wink, wink, nudge, nudge...!)

~ Anne ~

OtherMom's picture

LOL, that's a good one... I might try it yet!

But his divorce has been just awful so I do understand where he's coming from, and I will say that he's increasingly receptive. I'd rather him actually WANT a child with me if possible, so, I'm thinking of waiting a year before becoming more insistent. This is also for financial reasons. A lot can happen in a year:-D Until then, I'll just continue to communicate my desire to have children without nagging. He does listen and try, and things are coming around slowly but surely!

jenny's picture

I was just reading this, and a year is a good amount of time (unless something happens), to see if the kinks can be worked out. But why does he feel he needs to ask the EX's permission to have you at public events? On this I agree (not negotiable) but sounds like he panicked and won't repeat that. Plus if hes comming around be patient, I did in my relationship and its a good one today. A lot can happen in a year, and many changes can be made. Good Luck

Anonymous's picture

Okay this in most curious. In a recent post, someone said to a stepmom "I totally understand that burning desire to become a mother, I know, but you should not feel meaningless, or defeated b/c you aren't sure if your future holds children, or b/c you are not a mother right now." and "I am a mother and I decide what/when my children will have x,y,z...I found it very offensive that a complete stranger thought it was her place for one to take something out of my son's mouth, and two make a decision for a child that wasn't hers." This really emphasizes the problem that mothers have with their x's wife or current gf making decisions about the lives of their kids...they are strangers in the lives of the children initially who want to have an intimate relationship with the kids. It isn't natural or desirable for the kid. There may be some good things in the relationship for the kids but they are unlikely to see it or like it.

Dawn-Moderator's picture

I wholeheartedly disagree! My stepson and I have a great relationship. I make parental decisions for him when he is here. That's just how it has to be. My husband has primary custody and I am here for stepson before and after school. I help him with his homework a lot. I cook his dinner.
I do these things for my stepson's benefit. I do them to help my husband. I don't do them to make the ex mad.

There are a lot of good things in the relationship between myself and my stepson. You obviously don't get it.

Dawn

Anne 8102's picture

This is not a complete stranger, this is a stepparent. That may mean nothing to you, but it does mean something to those of us who focus on the parenting part and not so much on the step part.

If you'd rather your children have a stepmom who can't stand them, well, I feel sorry for your children. Being a stepmother doesn't mean trying to take the place of the biological mother. Being a stepmother doesn't mean taking something away from the child. It doesn't give the child one less parent... it gives them one additional parental figure to care about them, love them, guide them and help them through life.

Children of divorce (and yes, I am one of them) do need stability and continuity and love. Bringing a loving stepparent into the mix can be a good thing for everyone. As a biological mother, wouldn't you feel better knowing that your child's stepparent actually loved them and cared about them? Or would you rather deny them the love and support of a well-intentioned stepparent simply to assuage your own sick desire to be irreplaceable to your children?

Don't get me wrong, I am not just a stepmom, I am also a biological mom, so I get it from both ends. I am also the child of divorced parents, so I can get it from the child's angle, as well. If we're talking about an abusive stepparent, then that's one thing, but what kind of monster would deny their child the love and support of any family member, including the non-custodial parent, the new stepparent and any new sibs that come along?

By the way, the laws are changing every day and you'd be surprised to see what some courts are ordering, as far as co-parenting rights. A recent judgment for a lesbian couple gave equal parental rights to the woman who had conceived through artificial insemination and to her female partner, who had no biological connection to the child whatsoever. Now that ruling is being interpreted in family courts to apply also to stepparents, who are also helping to raise children to whom they have no biological connection. The "traditional" family is changing and so must all of our mindsets.

~ Anne ~

lovin-life's picture

Annoymous....is sooooooooo far off the mark.
My kids have a Step-Dad who loves them and who my kids ADORE!! He is no STRANGER.....he IS a member of thier family.

My kids also have a Step-Mom who cares about them and whom they like...(the relationship is newer and still building)...she IS also a member of thier family.

I would be more 'offended' if either one of the 'steps' involved in my children's lives....didn't give them direction when they needed it. ..or let my kids be rude. or let them be disorderly.

I especially expect that they give them direction.... when my kids are left in thier hands when the 'bio-parents' are not around. I don't agree with anyone being allowed to 'hit' them....because we don't do that. But they have authority to make judgements calls, including disicpline, groundings, no TV etc...when left to be responsible for their well being...and as a 'partner' with the bioparents.

If the kids don't like the 'steps' or 'strangers' as Annoymous refers to them......it's probably more of a reflection of how they've been poisoned by the views of the bio-mom.

According to her/his theory......all adoptitve parents can also be classed as strangers and have NO BUSINESS caring for someone elses children either....

........C'mom!! Give me a break!

OtherMom's picture

I agree with Anne... conception and birth are the easy part! When I committed to my BF I also committed myself to his kids, 100%. I love them and they love me. Friends and family know the strength of the bond I have with my Skids... they come to me first when they need a hug or some juice or a boo-boo kissed. I am by no means a stranger in my Skids' lives... we have them 50% of the time so I am just as much of a loving presence as BF or BM. The only problems we have with our blended family are between the adults!

Not every SM is as lucky-- sometimes it can be really hard to achieve harmony with Skids. But despite everything we have going against us-- cultural prejudices, children's literature, jealous BM's and sometimes unsupportive partners-- the Smoms on this site work hard to create loving, healthy realationships. If they didn't care, they wouldn't be here. If I were a BM and the situation were reversed I would hope the Smom in my child's life were this caring and committed.

So... can a child have too much love? I don't think so. Every situation is different. If a child and a SM are able to form a special bond, good for them! That's just one more positive influence in the child's life; one more person they might relate to growing up who can help them make good choices. I feel very strongly about this or I wouldn't be working through the difficulties of being a Smom in the first place. I think in the right situation it can be perfectly natural and more than desirable for the kid.

Candice's picture

I was the one that made those comments..and I quote myself as saying I was offended that a total stranger, not someone he or I knew, but a total stranger made a decision for my son while he was in my arms...that is inappropriate. I as a step parent do not make decisions for ss while he is in the presence of his parents. That is what his parents are for, and if I leave my son in someone else's care, they are not strangers, they are people that I have entrusted his care to, therefore they are welcome to make daily decisions for him while I am not around.

I was a step mother before I became a mother, and initially bm did have problems with me being involved with her son, and I took extra care to not intentionally do inappropriate things, like life altering decisions. Today, she is extrememly comfortable with my involvement with her son, b/c she strictly knows that I respect her boundaries, and she knows with 100% certainty that I have the best intentions for her son. Not to mention, what is a person saying about a child's parent if they are making decisions for that child right in front of that parent? I would be offended if someone was doing that to me and my son b/c it would illustrate that that person was trying to be the worlds' manager, and not allow those to accept their own repsonsibilities. Now if my son is with someone that I entrusted their care to, and they made a deicision for them like say...not allow them to play in toilet water, well then I wouldn't be offended.

hopeful's picture

What I was pointing out is that you responded to the person who originally posted, as did others in the past, that the person is not a mother at present because she doesn't have biokids. What I am pointing out is the paradox...in many messages people have stated that being a step mother is deserving of same credit as a biomom and yet in this and other emails, this sentiment is contradicted. That is what I was illustrating. As well, in situations described in the posts, some moms anticipate being treated as a mother figure from the beginning of the relationship. Have the bioDads (or the biomoms)had other relationships? How are the kids supposed to know which relationship will be the one to last? Just a lot of complicated stuff that I don't have the answers for...and I don't think that anyone really does. I do, however, have a lot of questions that I ask myself on an ongoing basis...in hindsight, should have asked more questions of myself in the beginning.

Candice's picture

In no way were you illustrating in previous message that step parents are demanding equal treatment/credit as bioparents, but rather you were reducing step parents as strangers, or their relationship to their spouses' children as unnatural. Maybe that is how you see yourself, but I do not see myself that way whatsoever.

In those comments, I was speaking as a step and bio parent.

hopeful's picture

I am speaking as a bio parent as well who has raised kids through young adulthood and has been and continues to be married to the father of three young adults. It doesn't matter how I see myself in these kids lives as much as how they view me in theirs. We get along just fine but I did not ask my spouse to choose their needs over mine or to pick sides as to who is right and who is wrong during the difficult times (nor would I want him doing this with my kids.) I am the outsider who entered their world, not the other way around. Same for every one of us who are in second or third relationships or whatever.

Is a step parent a stranger to the child? I don't know...that is a question that only the kids can answer. This is not about how long you have spent with them or how well you know them. Do they trust you, respect you, confide in you, want to spend time with you, chat with you? I would say from many of the posts here, the answer is no, no and no. So is that relationship natural. Sure in any parent/child relationship, there are struggles and challenges but step parenting isn't natural...or their wouldn't be a website about how to deal with the kids and the exs.

And yes on this website I have read messages that viewed a stepmother's relationship with kids as being equivalent. It isn't...it won't be and it can't ever be. It doesn't matter how dysfunctional, nasty or bad a relationship is between a child and a parent, most kids want and need the approval and love of their biological parents...that is a reality.

Is the relationship of stepkids equivalent to that of biological parents? Do the children feel connected to their step mothers? If so, why all of the concern about them and the relationship with them on this site? When second or third marriages fail, do the kids and family members maintain

I have never needed to or wanted to resort to the support of a website to assist in raising my own children. I have family, friends, confidantes who I can confide in about these issues. But what about step family situations...I have heard many times that others don't understand if they haven't been there...why is that? It isn't natural or ideal for children to be punted around from house to house or from new parent to another new parent. You said yourself, as have others that biomoms have had other men in their lives...should kids respect each one of these as their new Dad? Have the men had other women in their lives after their kids biomom and before new wife? I don't know the answer to these questions in other people's lives...I only know the answer to my own life. But it seems that are expectations are not what meet the needs of the kids always but rather what creates harmony for ourselves...sometimes this is one in the same...and sometimes it is not. So whose needs take priority?

Yes, I do agree with whoever said that giving birth to children is the easy part...but the raising them every single day through every issue is the tough part. We have no idea what happened in the lives of our exs before we came along or they in ours. There is their story, the ex's story and the real story and in the midst of that there are kids who have experienced all of this. We are new to the story at some point along their journey.

In Biomom's posts and others, I see an element of self reflection..."could have done this differently." I am sorry but very few people in this world are 100% at fault for everything that goes wrong....including biomoms or dads. And nobody is %100 perfect in their responses or resolutions or there would be not need to be on this site.

Some of the posts are incredible to read and make me realize that my issues and concerns are not unique and help me to appreciate the challenges of step parenting. But some make me start to believe that instead of the myth about the wicked stepmother, there should be a new myth about the evil mother and the fairy stepmother!

I am surprised that more biomoms aren't offended by some of the comments made. I understand that biomoms create havoc on the new step family life but maybe the reverse is true to if they had the chance to write their views. But in every single situation that exists, we ask our kids to take responsiblity for the outcomes in their lives, I am just saying let's do the same.

Nise's picture

Step families are “unnatural” WOW!! That is a STRONG word…when I think of unnatural I think of a man having sex with a sheep, not of the world I’ve existed in my entire life…a Step family!

Just for clarification purpose, I’d like to respond to some of your questions as it relates to my life….

“Is the relationship of stepkids equivalent to that of biological parents?”

- Equivalent is not the term I would use b/c NO relationship can be equivalent, but is it equally valid…yes in some cases.

“Do the children feel connected to their step mothers?”

- My girls and I, yes!

“When second or third marriages fail, do the kids and family members maintain”

-In many cases (including my own) yes! The man I call my dad is NOT my biological father but he is and has always been more of a father to me then my biological father and after he and my mom divorced, he is/was and will always will be my dad…it is about the LOVE that is there!

“I have never needed to or wanted to resort to the support of a website to assist in raising my own children”

- statically you are in the minority b/c although you haven’t solicited the assistance of a web site, there is an entire industry built around this concept…i.e. Parenting Magazine

“You said yourself, as have others that biomoms have had other men in their lives...should kids respect each one of these as their new Dad? Have the men had other women in their lives after their kids biomom and before new wife?”

- The girls have NEVER known my husband to be with their mothers and he has NEVER brought anyone else into their life other than me…this I KNOW from the youngest mom as well as ALL of my husband’s friends and family…so as far as “other moms” go…I’m it! Now my youngest SD doesn’t have enough fingers to count the number of men that her mom has had in her life! Since my husband and I’ve been together, I’ve met 3 (the latest being that WINNER of a husband she was happily married to for two months!) Interesting that the “dead beat father” that the father is the one to provide the example….

“But in every single situation that exists, we ask our kids to take responsibility for the outcomes in their lives, I am just saying let's do the same.”

- I agree 100%! I feel that is what I do every day…I’m happy with my life and the choices I’ve made in it and if I had it to do all over again, I would marry my husband tomorrow…warts and all and stand by his side in the battle for him to have a healthy relationship with the girls b/c HE is worth it and THEY are worth it! To me, at the end of the day, THAT is what really matters!

Make a GREAT Day!

hopeful's picture

I didn't anticipate an answer to the questions...they were meant as rhetorical questions to provoke some thought around these issues....not a battle. It doesn't really matter to me what the answers to each of these questions are...it doesn't impact my life.

But please do not ever equate the experience of conceiving a child, carrying that child, giving birth, and raising that child from infancy to adulthood to step parenting...I have done both and it is nowhere near the same, especially if you have never experienced this! If it were the same, why would so many people be struggling with the desire to have their new spouse's child?! The relationship can be great in both...but being a mother is the most special relationship that I have ever experienced and as I work with mothers (and fathers)in hospital, I maintain that this is true.

It is great that you have a great relationship with your sks and your sf. Obviously there are a lot of people on this site who do not. It probably will get better as they grow older but I still maintain that the stepfamily relationship is not natural. When I am thinking of not natural...I would define natural as innate, instinctive, effortless, inherent, accepted, normal, ordinary and the opposite of natural being learned. I believe that step parenting is a learned relationship.

In terms of seeking assistance for raising children, it is easy to ask parents, grandparents, friends, etc. who have raised children as well. For step parenting, these people do not usually have the answers as they have not shared this experience. Many people have noted this on the site as being a reason for coming to the site because friends and families who have kids don't understand what it is like to have sks.

It is a great day! Christmas is a fabulous time of year...a time to celebrate the relationships that we do have, our health and our lives. For those parents who can no longer celebrate the lives of their children, these issues would seem trivial. I am reminded of that every day that I go to work.

Nise's picture

Although I directed my answer’s to you per say (location wise) I was speaking to the forum in general…nothing anyone says here impacts my life in all actuality but I still enjoy reading about the goings on of others, sometimes I can realate and agree, other times not so much…for what it’s worth…

stepfamily situations are different depending on what side of the fence you fall…just like anything else…I’m sure a stepfamily dynamic where you and your spouse both enter into it with children from previous relationships and decided not to have children together for whatever reason and raise your family “brady bunch style” (and by this I mean no “mutual additions”) and have little to no contact with
The other pieces of the puzzle (the other set of bioparents) creates a different dynamic then is created when a woman marries a man with young children but has not yet birthed any children of her own…you say “do not ever equate the experience of conceiving a child, carrying that child, giving birth, and raising that child from infancy to adulthood to step parenting...I have done both and it is nowhere near the same” but have you? Have you ever been a woman w/o biochildren who found herself giving her ALL and making a life long commitment to God and both families to raising someone elses child? If not, then you cannot possibly fathom how much the same THAT KIND of stepmotherly love is to the type of love a woman who has the “experience of conceiving a child, carrying that child, giving birth, and raising that child from infancy to adulthood”…by the way, plenty of women have done this and did a piss poor job so the act alone isn’t wining any Noble Peace Prizes in my book!

“If it were the same, why would so many people be struggling with the desire to have their new spouse's child?!” probably another rhetorical question but what the hell I’ll give you an answer to this one too just for continuity’s sake…as a stepmother, I do not get the option to instilling my values, believes, ideas and I want that option…also, there are plenty of families going to great lengths TTC (trying to conceive) who already share many children between them…. I’m certain that that desire has less to do with the differences b/w being a mom and a stepmom and more to do with the fact of being a woman!

Make a GREAT Day!

Anne 8102's picture

Do adoptive mothers love/bond with their children any less than biological mothers? Do they feel any less of a connection to their adopted children than do biological mothers? To both, the answer is no. No one can judge your relationship with your skids. Regardless of what anyone else may say, they are only opinions... and opinions, as well all know are like a-holes, everyone has one and they all stink. Only we know what is in our hearts. There are biological parents out there who neglect, abuse, even kill their own children. It's not a biological vs. step thing, it's a heart thing. I can hear in Nise's tone that she's as much a mother as any bio. Having memories of giving birth to a child doesn't mean squat. If that were so, after sixteen hours of pushing in stirrups, I'd probably hate my oldest! ;°) (And they say you forget about the pain as soon as you have that baby in your arms. Right. I'm still mad at him and he's almost nine.)

~ Anne ~

Nise's picture

Thanks Anne… Forgive him as his 10th birthday gift...LOL! :O}

Make a GREAT Day!

lovin-life's picture

Can I use that line!! Opinions are like a-holes...eveyone has one ..and they all stink!!! I love it!! I love it!! I've never heard that before.... lol I'll have to use it on hubby when he comes home from work tomorrow......if the timing presents itself. He'll crack up so hard!! Smile

Candice's picture

to help raise my ss and instill good values in him from the time I met him to present (while his mother chooses to continue to live her life in the most irresponsible way). I do know when my ss first met me, he and I had an enormous connection, and that was b/c I didn't abandon him for a bar every night, instead, I invested in him and his father. Every time that little boy went home, he talked so much about me, that he often called his mother "Candice".

When his mother flipped out about us planning on getting married, that is when she vocalized her hate for me, and along with my dh's dysfunctional family, they all decided to make negative comments about me to a 6 year old, and make threats of how I was going to take his father away. Had the opposite occured, like dh's family being supportive of dh and his choices to marry (and not remain unmarried and continuously having children out of wedlock like the rest of his fam or ex gf), my relationship w/ss would not have been contaminated. That doesn't mean he and I wouldn't have had bumps along the way, but in therapy he did vocalize resentment, not b/c liking me was unnatural, but b/c adults in his life were programming him to not like me.

I also know with 100% certainty, that I had a tremendous connection with my ss, and I had never felt love with anyone than I did with someone else's child. I did everything for him, in fact I had him on my hip so much, that my co-workers thought he was my bio-son, not my dh's. To this day, I still love my ss, but I do have reservations b/c of how hurtful, and disrespectful he is. I have learned that he views people as untrustworthy, and he believes others are to serve him, and the only time he needs to be nice is when others benefit him. So, with that attitude, I have reduced my willingness to go out of my way for him for frivilous events (like shopping). HOwever, when it comes time for motherly things...he usually asks me instead of his mother...for instance, he had a retainer falling out of his mouth, and instead of asking his mother to make the dentist appointment, he asked me. At his bday, he asked ME to bake him his cake, instead of just buying one. Whenever ss needs to rely on someone for help, his first stop is with me...

All I can speak of is from my experiences, and I know my relationship with ss isn't unnatural, and I'm no stranger

sandy's picture

to the point, all step-parents must now that the conflict is already stewing in the pot because of the ex situation and all, so why turn the fire up? you will be the one to be burned each and every time whether it was intentional or not. the one most important rule to keep in mind NOW LISTEN CAREFULLY...THOSE ARE NOT YOUR KIDS, THEY BELONG TO THEM AS WELL AS THE PROBLEM THE WHOLE EX THING HAS CREATED. some of you may not feel that is right but who is to say anything to anyone about their kids. we as mothers(those of u who aren't no someone)would fly to hell on a broom if the situation were reversed, so be smart and let them handle all of that mess. in my home if the kids need something that is his problem to provide it. if the mom has a problem that she thinks will be brought here to my home, well go to hell to. if he sits there like a stupid fool, well then he is a fool. the one thing and only thing to keep in mind is that they are not your problem,not at all.

BIOMOM's picture

I only wish you were my son's step.....it is women like you that have the hardest battles.... Because you truly give your heart away....

You give of yourself, because you want to. You set out to do the right thing, all for the sake of the child(ren) and their Dad. Yet somehow, no matter what you do, you are left to wonder why your not included.

Funny, but you never wrote towards the resentment of "doing" for the child..... That only proves how warm your heart is.

I really hope that your fiancee realizes how lucky he is before it's too late. It is not that easy to find a partner willing to love another woman's child(ren).

Talk to your fiancee. Send him to this site to read some of the resentful steps. Allow him to see first hand how a biomom, unruly stepchildren and even husbands have "stepped" all over them. Most women here had the best of intentions going into a relationship with a man that had children. But after years of giving their all, fighting for there place, battling with ex's, battling with ex-in-laws, and battling with themselves, they become bitter and resentful. With good reason..... But I admit, the majority of steps here are here to share their frustrations so that they can continue with their marriage (and sanity). They WANT everything to work out..... They just need recognition. Some get it, some don't. I can send you to some post's from a woman who married someone with a son from a previous relationship. She succeeded in having her husband block out the fact that he even had a child. They went on to have "their own" and basically taught those children to ignore this poor boy. She goes on about what a whack job the biomom was, but took no actions to help this child. Now an adult, the stepson moved to another country. And she is proud of her efforts and her accomplishments..... But everyone has a bottom.

You had mentioned feeling silly, trying to fit into someone else's family because you don't have your own. You have went above and beyond what most family member would do in this situation. You have put up with alot.

With that being said, please try not to feel as though you cannot get your "own" family. A family is what you make it. Some people have "family" they never see. And please remember that there are alot of single dad's out there who would welcome your caring and compassion towards his child(ren). Even if this particular man doesn't see how truly special you are...

If you continue to allow your bf/fiancee/whatever Is there any way you could speak with BioMom in regards to being left out?

And finally, I always tell one of my girlfriends the same thing when she calls, unhappy with her current situation.

Yes, the elevator does go all the way down to the basement. But you can get off on any floor... Its your choice....

Good luck and God bless your heart!!

Hugs,
Janice

OtherMom's picture

I wish you were my skids biomom too! It would be so nice to have an ally. Unfortunately, I can't talk to her. BF keeps us apart. He says he's trying to avoid nasty conflict that might make the whole situation worse... but I'm starting to wonder if she's as bad as all that. After all, there are three sides to every story; his, hers, and the truth. From the limited exposure I've had with her, she just seems like a bitter, negative person who can't say anything unless she is complaining. So maybe he's right... who knows.

Anyway, BF and I are still avoiding each other. I want to make it work-- despite my complaints, most of the time our life together is really great. He is an amazing father, and as time goes by he is becoming more sensitive to my needs. But, when it rains it pours. Not sure how to get through the first awkward conversation of the day. I'l let you know!

Anonymous's picture

Your in denial and he's got your right where he wants you. He keeps you apart most likely for his own reasons. Maybe he doesn't want his ex to inform about their own relationship, could be a lot of things that he doesn't want you to find out about. Which doesn't matter because you need to put your foot down that you won't tolerate that anymore. Don't worry about things being awkward, start the conversation yourself by asking what his plans are about including you. Also I would call his ex and have a conversation with her asking her how she feels about you also attending events, not that it matters one bit, BUT you will be able to find out if someone is lieing or not! Sorry but this is basic stuff here, yet you state he is becomming more sensitive to my needs. Like your just waiting for the king to treat you right, it doesn't work like that so you have some self esteem issue's, but now certainly put your foot down. Waiting until someone comes around to treat you right...is dysfunctional and dysfunctional relationship often run between highs and lows. Thats what your in right now.

apd's picture

I'm in a similar situation and feeling very left out at the moment with the holiday's coming up. I've done the shopping and will do the wrapping and the decorating and making sure everyone is taken care of and absolutely love SD and SS but on Christmas morning I will be alone as BF is going to BM to be with her and the kids.... I understand what you are feeling. I don't believe that we are wrong in our sadness and distrust because I believe we are not dealing with totally rational people Smile The responses and advice you've been getting for this inquiry have been great, these guys really know what they are talking about and really are helpful and supportive and you know what that's the best thing for all of us at this time. Chin up we're here, just keep venting to us it will help in responding to BF and BM !

jean's picture

Hi I'm new and was a little bit shocked by this. I am divorced with 2 children, but in my situation once my husband left you would have thought he never had a family to begin with!
I wasn't a live in, one night stand or any of that. We got divorce after 8 years of marriage! He pays good child support, but mostly he wants to only spend time with his new wife and I believe they are planning a family. I can't make him spend time with our kids and this has been very difficult so I've decided to go on, and realize this is truly what he wants. A lot of posts on here blame the step or bm but many times it really is the dh. He's the one who should always want his kids yet doesn't, his wife doesn't have any obligation toward them but she would probably want to see them more then dh. I now think this is more common, and sometimes the steps and bm's get a bad rap. Apd, even I can see your arrangement is crazy, I would never have my dh come to my house for xmas and leave his so. I agree with some of the others on here, theres a point where you draw the line and my question is What would happen if you draw the line? Would he rather risk losing you to be with his ex?
My dh's wife has never been a problem, I suppose you could say their both just indifferent....has anyone else had this happen? Let me explain a little. Whenever I've called to see if they want the kids their either busy, going away or its some lame excuse. And when they do take them it seems out of guilt. I mean how can a man feel that his own kids are intruding upon his life? And now I know once they begin to have their own that will be it, so right now I'm planning to put them both behind me and move far away near my family. I think this will also be easier for my kids as time goes by because its going to be just to painful to see dad doesn't give a rip. Sorry all to go on, but I didn't expect this when I divorced.

OtherMom's picture

Thanks for all your posts and responses. It's amazing to know how many of you are going through similar issues.

BF and I finally had "the talk." As I mentioned, this is pretty new as the kids were really little at first and didn't have special events for parents. As you suggested, Anne, I told him that if I'm good enough to do all the other things that make someone a parent, I should be good enough to attend their special events. Period. He agreed, but said the sudden change in plans caught him off guard last night and couldn't figure out how to throw us together on such short notice. He says he has been talking to her about me, and trying to lay the groundwork for this to happen. He promises he will "fix it" before the next of such events, and agrees that it's his responsibility no matter what she does. I assured him that I would be mature no matter what she said/ did, and suggested the adults have a face-to-face before it happens. He laughed and said she would probably not act her age, but OK. He assured me that he DOES consider me his family, and thinks it's wonderful and very important that I care this much about being there for the kids. So... guess that went well.

I was very upset when I wrote this post, and feeling sorry for myself. I'm really not a doormat... this is not a consistent issue and most of the time we have a really great, loving relationship where he respects me and backs me up with the kids. I guess that's why this hit so hard, beause I was just starting to feel lucky, secure and part of a family unit that keeps growing stronger. Then this was a huge slap in the face; I felt disrespected and hurt, and yes, it made my self esteem go in the toilet temporarily. I'm also going through some really tough personal stuff right now; just had major surgery and had to put my kitty to sleep. I really wouldn't be with him if he was such a jerk... sorry Anonymous I must have made him sound really evil!

Candice's picture

it sounds like you made some really good progress. Sorry to hear about your pet, and I hope you are in good health after your surgery.

You bf sounds like he is sensitive to your needs, and truly cares about you. Sometimes we do things and don't realize how it impacts others..and sometimes we need those things pointed out.

Glad to hear your talk went well. Thanks for the update..

Candice

Anne 8102's picture

Good for you! That's great to hear! Forget about her and just enjoy your family, you've earned that right.

~ Anne ~

BIOMOM's picture

The tone of anonymous sounds so familiar.... There was a woman on these boards not that long ago who always told everyone how to control the situation, and never resort to compromise. She alienated her husband and children from her stepson to the point of utter disgust. She watched her husbands every move and made sure he had no contact with his ex whatsoever. She did not care for the sake of the child involved, only her own happiness. Her husband and children went along with her goal to leave his son in a very unhealthy situation with biomom. She has no regrets and continued to tell everyone here just how they should run their lives as well as the other people in their lives. She claimed how unfit and crazy the biomom was, yet allowed this child to be raised by her.

Unfortunately for her, she received every demand she made. Unfortunate because she is still so bitter and coldhearted. Proud that she emotionally abused a child. Not to mention what she taught her own children.

I had posted a reply telling her that if her husband ever grew a set of balls, he would leave. That would be unfortunate for the next child she came in contact with that was not her own.

Always trying to "control" spouse/bf and leaving no possibility for progress IMO would be a grave mistake if you truly love this man and child....

Threatening to date others will only leave you feeling worse.

Why would someone who is trying to heal their hurt feelings rely on such tactics? Why should we have to resort to demands and threats in order to make our relationships work out? That will only leave one person a puppet and the other to work his strings.

Everything is not black and white. So many shades of gray......
We cannot tell someone to leave their bf/spouse. Nor should would DEMAND anything from them.

Hugs,

PLEASE KEEP US UPDATED!!

Janice

OtherMom's picture

Thanks, Janice.... I agree with you wholeheartedly. Her posts sounded so bitter and angry that I wondered for just a minute if it was my own dear BM... I even had to go back and read my own posts to see if what I'd said could be so subject to misinterpretation.

Most people on this site are so supportive, and I'm extremely grateful to have found you guys. It seems that most everyone, like me, is on this site because we care, and we want to do what's best for ourselves, our partners and our kids/ skids. People who have not walked in our shoes do not undersand the delicate balance we struggle to maintain. Sometimes it's easier than others, but it's never easy. Being part of a blended family is all about compromise.

Anne 8102's picture

...but anyone in my family would see the Anne and the 8102 and know exactly who I am. Anne is my first name and 8102 are the last four digits of my phone number in the house I grew up in. Those of us who set up an account and come up with a screen name, even if it's not our full name and gives no clue as to our real identity, are putting something out there that anonymous posters don't put out there. It's hard to take an anonymous poster seriously... if they were serious about participating in this forum, they would register and post as themselves, not hide behind an anonymous tag.

Advice is something that you can review and incorporate the ideas that you think are valid and toss out the ones that you think are garbage, regardless of who offers the advice. Some of the advice we give each other is real advice, some of it is tongue-in-cheek. We can try it or not, or just gain insight into possibilities for dealing with a particular situation. But I have to say that I don't place a whole lot of importance on the comments of anonymous posters. Some of them just enjoy stirring the pot.

~ Anne ~

BIOMOM's picture

I don't think we scared her away, I think she now posts as anonymous...... Same tone, same underlying resentments....
Read a few anonymous posts from the past few days....whaddaya think? :0)

Janice

Nise's picture

Yeah biomom you are probably right...whoever anon is they read everything and only comment kinda "out of the blue" and it often does sound very "familiar" as you say!

Make a GREAT Day!

hopeful's picture

I agree with your belief that all situations are different and I do not profess to know what it is like to have sks and not have biokids because I have not been in that situation. That is what I was asking of you...not to equate being a biomom and stepmom and, yes, that is my opinion from my experience with both. So I do agree that every situation is different just like every step parenting experience is different. I came to this site because I was in crisis, not knowing what direction to take...hang in there or pack it in...it was assuring to know that other people have the similar struggles. I was not looking for people to solve my concerns but rather just to listen and understand. It was my understanding that this was the purpose of the site.

I am in a different age and stage in my life trajectory than most here I think as my kids are older and almost all gone from our home. I apologize if my comments made you angry or defensive...that was not my intent. There are times when I am here, however, trying to understand my place as a step parent when I feel as though my role as a mother is inadvertently diminshed. That may not be intentional but it is there. Thank you for your reply.

BIOMOM's picture

Are you being picked on again, for sharing your very own wisdom and experience.......

I too am at a different age and stage of my life, with our son leaning towards legal age this April. Please, get out the violins!

When I read some posts made by step's here, it is with experience that I come to smile. Not because their thoughts and anger are funny....but that I have been in similar situation and realize today that the small stuff is soooo not worth being angry about......

Ya know, that "if I only knew then, what I know now" thing? It's true. I would not have nor should I have stood stubborn at times when in the end, it made not a damn difference to this child here today. If I had not fought so dillegently for a "right" I felt was mine and mine only, I would have caused myself so much more peace...

I do not comment on the relationship of child with step versus relationship with bio and child. What I have learned here is that there really are nutty bio's. We both know that in some instances it is true that bio's do not a "mom" make. Sure, easy to get knocked up, spit 'em out, and hand them over the nearest caring soul. She is selfish, unkind, vindictive, and crazy.

I have noted StepMom's here that are equally as angry, resentful, bitter and jealous.

I have read and witnessed neglect and abuse in both players. While I do agree that there is a special bond between bio and child, that a step may never equal, I have learned that although their efforts of unconditional love, motherly instincts and providing stable homes for these so called "steps" have left them frustrated. Frustrated because they would kill for this child, just as bio would.

Have you even seen instances where a child was raised by a bio, physically and emotionally abused? Neglected.... Made to raise themselves and even more knowledgable than their own biomom. Yet as they become adults, and KNOWING they were not given the love and support that a bio should have given them, they go on being bio's only ally? Sometimes it is just instict of the adult child that makes them stand by bio no matter what. And that is not to say that the particular bio deserves their commitment.....

I do know that from reading and learning here, I would not want to try to do injustice to some of the children that these stepmom's here are raising. For fear of their retalitation. To see the allegiance and true love they show their "steps" may never live up to the bio's "stigma", they are true mothers, thru and thru....

Hugs,
Janice

hopeful's picture

You are so right about so many things and yes I do agree that some biomoms are not worth their weight in salt but still there is that connection that is present, earned or unearned, functional or dysfunctional. Yes, many of the mothers on this site speak of love and commitment to their sks and that is commendable but many struggle with this...as do I. It is not that I don't care about my stepkids...I do. I am just not always sure where I fit into their lives or how much chaos that I could tolerate in our home at the time and that is my own personal journey to discover with myself and my family. That is what each of us are charged with discovering. Oh well, I guess the tribe has spoken.