Precedent: Questions for the Forum
In my approach to my BF and his two children, I have learned quickly how important it is to set a precendent that works for you. When I first started dating my BF, I was happy to subsidize the costs of his children by paying for fun evenings out with the SKs, paying for all of their Christmas gifts, entertaning BF and the SKs when he had them and other things. I quickly realized that instead of appreciation for these things I was doing, all I got in return was greater expectations.
After several rude comments about my being around the SKs by BM that were either texted directly to me or communicated about me to BF, I literally did not see the SKs for 6 months. Now that my BF has moved into my home and the SKs are there 50% of th time, I am taking a MUCH different approach and find that I am happier and do not feel like I am being taken advantage of or underappreciated. I basically do not offer my help or assistance with ANYTHING with the SKs. I do not offer to babysit them, do their laundry, clean up after them, take them anywhere or help with anything with them financially or otherwise. All of that responsibility is on BF, after all, they are HIS kids. This coupled with the fact that BF's money is going primarily towards the SKs I am already subsidizing their lifestyle, and so I do not feel guilty about not giving anything extra.
Instead of planning my schedule around the SKs to accomodate them, I freely make whatever plans I want during the times he has his SKs. This allows him to have one-on-one time with the SKs, and I still get to do the things I want to do. It also results in BF missing me and so when I do come home there is excitement. It also serves as a reality check with respect to the work and financial strain that is involved with caring for the SKs... it does not enable him to be the Disney Dad that is all fun and games b/c the stepmom is there to either be the bad guy or to fund all sorts of outings. Now that this precedent has been set, when I do choose to spend time with BF and the SKs, everyone is much more appreciative of this time.
So, this leads me to my question for the forum: I have read so many posts where the stepmom is begrudgingly doing things for the SKs, like cooking, cleaning, picking up, dropping off, helping with homework, etc. Why do you do it? Why not just start making plans and doing your own thing during the times he has the SKs. It's not even necessary to tell your BF that you are doing this... just let him know that you are going to work late, or catch a movie with a friend, take a long walk, go workout, etc. These things can all be done to better yourself. You are not obligated to take care of his kids. TAKE BACK CONTROL and focus on doing things to better you. It's not selfish... you are already making so many sacrafices by sharing your home and life with kids that are not yours.
I profess that I am relatively new at all of this and so my rationale and strategy may prove to ultimately fail, but I figured that it was worth discussing??? I would love to hear not only answers to my question above, but also thoughts about or experience with my approach.
PS I really appreciate this forum. Although I do not write often, it has been a very valuable resource that has helped me tremendously, so thank you.