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Precedent: Questions for the Forum

inwayovermyhead's picture

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.

sbm014's picture

I do a lot for SS4 but I still feel mostly appreciated. My SO realizes I don't have to do anything and if I get annoyed I won't. He is very appreciative and makes sure that SS is just as appreciative. Whether it is me getting the kid a juice or helping him pick up his toys (only time toys get picked up without SS's help is if it was something he left out when SO went to work) he makes sure I get a thank you. For the most part SO and I share responsibility of the house and if he is slacking he knows I will stop doing absolutely everything until he picks up his slack which doesn't take long as he likes a clean house just as much as I do.

ACAM2012's picture

My SD9 lives here full time and only visits mom on Saturday and part of Sunday. I have two kids, BS14 and BD9. I have to agree with Identitycrisis on this one...I cannot cook for my BKs and not for SD. If we are out I do not buy for my BKs and not SD. My SO is the same way. If SD gets something or he is cooking because I am at school or he is doing laundry/etc he also buys for my kids as well as SD, cooks for my kids as well as SD, does my kids laundry as well as SD/etc. I do not currently wok because I attend college full time+,days and evenings. My BD9 has some special needs, we have tried the whole childcare thing and went broke-dishing out more money for childcare than I was bringing home from paychecks. So...when I am not in classes I am at home taking care of the kids and doing housework. He works while I further my education so I help out by caretaking and housework. Since he treats my kids as hos own (financially) I treat his kid as my own (I don't love his kid as my own-HUGE difference).

Queeny's picture

Been with DH and SS10 for 5 years. My SS's mother died 2 years ago. DH has always had ss fulltime, but when BM was alive she had him EOW. Now that she is gone, I have been silently asked to fill her role as all of DH's family and DH have said, "you are all he will know as a mother." Not what I want, but our circumstances are difficult for it to be any different. It really puts a strain on everyone in the home.
DH and I had a baby a year ago and I quit my dream job to raise our daughter. We purchased a home a year before the birth of BD and finances are tight; so when I left my job I opened an in-home day care (the most isolating career EVER). DH also took on a different job days after BD was born as it paid more and interested him more. His hours at work are insane! The adjustments are new to everyone and no one is happy. We're trying to make changes (counseling, me attempting to find a part-time job outta da house, DH trying to leave for work later and come home earlier, etc.) But change is HARD!!!
Needless to say, everyone in my home is experiencing an identity crisis. All these MAJOR changes have made our family start to crumble. SS is "severely depressed and suicidal," I'm alone a lot and mad/hurt about my situation, and DH is just...gone! And when he's home, he's trying to make up for lost time with his kids and feels like he should do double time for SS. It almost leaves me completely out of alone time with DH.
We're currently trapped. Days feel like years here. Life just happened too fast and we have a mess to slowly clean up.
DH's family and SS's maternal family help out a few times a year by taking SS for weekends and vacations, but SS HAS to rely on me to live.
SS and I never bonded and co-exist uncomfortably. We don't fight or bicker at each other, but more or less try to avoid conversation and proximity. I cook his meals, make sure his chores are done, watch TV with him, etc. It's like I have a room-mate in the house that I have to parent, in a sense. I don't want to be his mother, but am currently forced into it.

inwayovermyhead's picture

Thank you so much for your replies. It sounds like once you have your own children, this approach becomes much more difficult and is something to keep in mind as I make life decisions regarding starting a family. I can definitely understand and appreciate how the lines get blurred once other children are in the picture.

10gallonhat, my BF is also starting to push the marriage idea on me. I dearly love him, but as time goes one my resentment towards BM and the situation grows and the thought of being tied to her forever is almost unbearable. I wish there was a way to stop my negative feelings about the situation, but I find that I cannot. UGH!