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strugglingbutstrong_'s picture

Hello all! I've been reading on this site for a while and just now decided to make an account and join in. I hope this is the right category.. I have a question for those kiddo free step parents out there.

I LOVE my stepson so much. Last night, when his dad brought him home to our house from his grandma's he gave me a flower pot that he made at school that said "Happy Mothers' Day" on it. I of course cried like a little baby and gave him the biggest hug. He went upstairs to feed his fish, and my DH said that he told his mom, stepson's grandma, that he made it for me because I do more for him than his other mommy. More tears. I have been in his life since he was 1, so he doesn't remember a time before me, he is alomst 5. This morning he told my DH that he didn't want to go back to his mom's house, as it is her weekend. He told him he would ask his mom if he could stay another night. I'm sure she will say no, but it is worth a shot to ask.

My question is... Do any of you stepparents feel the worst anger/jealousy when it's time for your stepchildren to go back to the other parent's house? If so, how do you handle/deal with those emotions? It really wears on me mentally and it has at times made friction between my DH and I, for no reason other than he's there.

Thanks for your help!

ndc's picture

Actually, I don't. I'm pretty happy when the skids head off to BM's house (we're 50/50).  I love them, and I do a lot for them, but I greatly enjoy time with just DH. BM is a good mom so I don't need to worry about them when they're gone.  I don't try to compete with her because I can't win, no matter how much I do for them and how much they like being with me.  She's mom, I'm not.

hereiam's picture

Is there something about BM that gives you this anxiety? I mean something real (not just that you don't like her, or whatever) that makes her a danger to her son?

No, I have never felt anger or jealousy when my SD was with her mom.

I understand that you love him and you have been in his life since he was very young but he is not your son.


marblefawn's picture

The next time you feel that twinge of jealousy or anger, try to see if from BM's point of view.

Do you think BM ever feels angry or jealous of you when she has to hand over her precious son to her ex's new girlfriend for a fun-filled weekend? How humiliating! Now her son is making Mother's Day gifts for you too...WOW! That's gotta sting like hell!

From her point of view, you have her son, you have her ex, you have the relationship she might have had, and now you have her son's love and affection, and if the kid's telling you he doesn't want to spend time with BM, he's probably telling her that too. How absolutely painful! I bet your very presence in her son's/ex's life shakes her confidence to the core and probably makes her feel jealous and inadequate and competitive.

This whole step thing is so freaking unnatural and awkward. As bad as you feel, I guarantee she's feeling it too and probably worse.

Her kid loves you and you love him, so you're winning. Be a good winner. Have compassion for how you know she must feel. Identifying with her as a woman, even if you have little in common, will help assuage your own jealousy and anger. And it will be great for your SS.

I know it doesn't seem like it, but you and BM are a team raising a child in each other's absence. You were setup to hate one another and resent one another by this awkward thing that is step life. But it doesn't have to be that way. See if you can resist those negative feelings for the kid's sake by recognizing that BM probably feels pretty shitty about this setup too -- after all, were it not for her failure, she'd not be sending her kid to spend time with another woman.

strugglingbutstrong_'s picture

That is actaully a really good point. I get so jealous because the time she has him, he sits with his nose in her phone. He tells us he misses us when he's over there and he facetimes us a lot. It mkaes me jealous that she gets him 50% of the time, but doesn't do anything with it. Even if it's just coloring or writing his name with him. ANYTHING! He is such a smart, caring little man and it's such a heartbreak to see him be so upset about his life at mom's...

tog redux's picture

OP, you've got to get a grip on this. It's nice that you get along with him, but he's not your son and he never will be. Being this attached and jealous of his mother will lead to heartbreak. Kids change. The skid who loved you at 5 can be screaming in your face, or completely estranged from you, at 15.

Try to care about him with some emotional detachment - as if he was your nephew.  You love him, you enjoy him, you are an important part of his life,  but you aren't his mother and he will always go back to his mother.  If you are lucky you will always have a positive relationship, but it's not a guarantee, and his mother will always have that role in his life as primary parent figure, along with your husband. 

BM may not be the best parent, but it's HER SON, and she has the right to parent him as she sees fit (absent any abuse and neglect).  

strugglingbutstrong_'s picture

It's just not fair that people like her get to have these amazing kids and then don't do anythin with them. It breaks my heart to see him get his hopes up that mommy will be different and she never changes. I guess it's just hard because I am so attached. It's like as a step parent, you can't do anything right. Shouldn't get too attached, but should be another parent figure to them. I care so deeply for this little boy and I am being punished for it!

tog redux's picture

I never saw myself as a parent figure to my SS - I treated him much as I did my nieces and nephew.  I saw myself as the "fun aunt", I didn't parent, discipline or do anything a mother would do for him, DH did all of that. 

I'm not clear on where "fair" comes in here.  You can have your own children and treat them as you see fit, just as she is with her child. 

strugglingbutstrong_'s picture

Eventually, yes, DH and I will have our own children. We are in the process of purchasing our first home. We were/currently are renting a house and as much as I try, you can never really make a rental a home. Our new house has a yard and a fence and more room. Once we get settled in there, I do hope to have my own children. I have PCOS so if that is in my future, I will be over the moon. I hope that shifts my feelings. I just want the best life for him is all.