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I'm "only" the stepmom, but I'm in charge of raising the kids...

SuddenlyFamily's picture

I love my husband, and I love his two children like my own (boy 3, girl 5). We have them 50/50 every week, and on a daily basis I am in charge of feeding, bathing, singing to sleep, diaper changes, discipline (but I refuse to spank), kissing booboos...you name it. BTW, by husband is the most caring, passionate father, I just think he prefers to play with them over dealing with the other aspects of parenting-don't get me wrong, he chips in here in there, but mostly he just plays all day with them.

Anyway, what I'm trying to say is that my stepkids look to me as their second mother, and that's because I take care of them like one--they even call me "Mommy" most of the time. But when it comes to tricky issues, such as parenting-style differences with their biomom, or what school they should go to, or the visitation schedule, I am "ONLY" the stepmother, and therefore, have no say. I read a lot about how stepparents should step back and let the biological parents do their job, but that's just not how our family works. I do try my hardest to not step on their biomom's toes when it comes to these issues. My husband is a big pushover when it comes to her, trying to avoid conflict, so he usually gives in to what she wants despite what he or I want. It feels unfair letting her call all the shots.

Any advice on how to deal with the frustration of caring too much about children that are "NOT" mine?

juicyjennyc's picture

wow powerful words... you just really opened my eyes, made me tear up and as the day goes on im sure i will run those words over in my mind a thousand times Sad Smile

SuddenlyFamily's picture

Well, it's not so much that he refuses to do the "ugly work", I think it just came out like that when I wrote it. I'm not slaving away all day while he gets to play--he is always there 100% of the time and will pick up the slack any time I ask (especially now that I'm pregnant and need more naps). I enjoy taking care of the kids--no complaining here. I think we've both acknowleged the fact that I'm just better at (and more content with) the "domestic" duties than he is.

I'm not banned from voicing my opinions about the issues, but I feel as if it's not my place, and to put up a fight about it would be crossing the line, not to mention, giving their biomom more to fight about.

I think I'm mostly just looking for other stepmoms who relate.

Still Have Hope's picture

Let him handle the domestic duties and he will get better at it. You need to discuss what it means to parent before you child is born and before you resentment builds (and it will). You should play a secondary role with these kids.
Playing house with little ones is fun until you have the responsibility of your own newborn to take care of. Especially if your DH is used to the fun Disney Dad role. When you have an infant and 2 small skids you will want to hear: "Honey, while you were in the shower, I diapered the baby, folded the laundry and ordered Chinese for dinner because I know you are exhausted." NOT "I played with the kids so they wouldn't bother you in the shower. What's for dinner and why is the baby crying?"

LostInTheMess's picture

A big THANK YOU for the eye openers.

I've been stepparenting for 5 years hoping and praying that we would one day have a relationship like I have with my son. Knowing it is not likely to happen will help me in letting go of this apparently unattainable goal. I guess some of us just need to learn how to let go.

It breaks my heart.

SuddenlyFamily's picture

My goodness people! There is nothing "in between the lines" to read! I'm not sure how I made my husband seem like a horrible, neglecting father here! We make an excellent teammates--I wouldn't want any changes there, and I ENJOY doing the "domestic duties"--I'm not complaining about who does what in the house. My husband is not a "Disney Dad" like someone brought up. I should also mention that he has been diagnosed with adult ADHD, so if he attempts to make dinner and do laundry, the spaghetti will probably end up in the dryer (only kidding....kinda). I only wrote that stuff to show that I have been a very active part in the kids' lives for a while now. Plus, we have been a family for three years already, I haven't had a "melt down" yet, and there is NO WAY that I could ever leave my family behind.

Here's the plain English, for those of you who wish there was some drama here:

I am very involved in my stepkids' lives on a day-to-day basis. I love them and they love ME as their other parent. I feel no resentment toward the fact that I do so much for these kids, I just get frustrated and feel like it's not my place to make important decisions in their lives. I want to know that there are other people out there that are as devoted to their stepfamily as I am, and that it's normal to get frustrated from time to time.

Anyone out there like that? Or am I the only one? Blum 3

SuddenlyFamily's picture

I actually never said he would rather be their friend, or that he lets them get away with stuff. You guys are making assumptions.

I understand that there will be many challenges as the kids get older, but I see children as an investement. The more you put into them, the more you get out of them in the future. Maybe these women who have given up on their own stepfamily didn't have the patience or understanding for it, or maybe they weren't with the right man in the first place. Obviously, being a stepmother on your own won't work out very long--you need support from your husband. I'm happy to say that I have an excellent support system from my husband and his family, and he puts a lot of effort into making sure that I'm happy TOO.

twopines's picture

Children are not IRAs or 401(k)s. They are individual human beings who think for themselves. Two children can be raised by the same parents in the same way, but there is no guarantee they will mature and pay out dividends in the same way. You can have the most supportive spouse in the entire universe, but kids will grow to be their own person.

The people who are giving you advice are not doing so to be mean, but to give you a view of what may be to come. They are going by what you and countless others have written. Your situation is not so different that it's not predictable to a certain extent.

SuddenlyFamily's picture

Pure hate, huh? Tell me where that hate comes from when you raise the children in a house of respect and love...

SuddenlyFamily's picture

Well you sure like drama, don't you? I think I would hate stepparenting too if my stepkids acted like that (spit in your face?! F off?! My husband and I would NEVER let them get away with that). I'm sorry that you aren't happy with your situation (or so it seems..."No one gets out of step parenting alive."), but there are actually people out there who can MAKE THIS WORK. I grew up with TWO stepparents who, after almost twenty years, are STILL close with me and my siblings and are STILL married to my parents. I am not naiive about what the future is going to be like, either. I've heard the "you're not my mom!" line, and it doesn't phase me.

By the way, show me a 13 year old--stepkid or biological--that DOESN'T talk back or leaves crap everywhere. It's called adolescence and happens to everyone.

ybarra357's picture

"I want to know that there are other people out there that are as devoted to their stepfamily as I am, and that it's normal to get frustrated from time to time"

I would venture to say that probably 99.9% of the folks on are (or were at some point) extremely devoted to family and are/were HEAVILY involved in Sk's lives.

"I should also mention that he has been diagnosed with adult ADHD" Yeah, so?? What has that got to do with anything? PLENTY of people have this diagnosis and are able to make dinner.

Sorry to be so blunt, but I highly doubt that your quest for 'family unity' isn't any stronger than many, many people on here. We DO relate to you.

SuddenlyFamily's picture

Actually, his ADHD is a disease...as in something that interferes with his life. Believe me, it's a struggle for him on a daily basis. We have a system in the house to help him with it (whiteboards, extra sets of spare keys, etc.).

ybarra357's picture

So, what you're saying then, is that if you're not around to make food, he'll starve to death??

And I know what ADHD is as my adult son has had this diagnosis for years and he's able to make dinner. Point is, you learn to deal. And it CAN be learned.

SuddenlyFamily's picture

No, what I'm saying is that to make life easier for ALL OF US, I prefer to handle certain duties around the house. That way I know that the milk won't be left out for two hours and the dishes get done before the food hardens on them.

cat72196's picture

There's a few things going on here.

First, there is one optimist and about a dozen realists.

Two, SuddenlyFamily, you came here for advice, but you don't like anything that anybody is saying, so you seem to be feeling defensive. You don't have to feel defensive.

Three, I think you would have liked to have heard a "Happily Ever After" scenario, but, unfortunately, nobody who took the time to respond actually had one of those to offer. That doesn't mean that what they have to say isn't valuable, and it doesn't mean that your situation is going to end up negatively.

Good luck.

SuddenlyFamily's picture

Oh geeze. I think I've had enough.

Yes, I try to have an optimistic view on life, but that doesn't mean I can't have realistic expectations. I'm not trying to change anything in my life, and I'm not looking for a "fairytale ending" here. I was just hoping that there was someone out there that can relate.

I think I may be looking in the wrong place because, after reading many other threads in these forums, it seems that the only requirement of being a member on this site is to hate your stepfamily. I feel so bad for most of the people posting here, the crap they have to deal with. I honestly feel lucky that there is virtually no drama and absolutely no resentment in my life. By the way, I CHOSE to be here, knowing the challenges of being a part of a blended family. As I mentioned before, I grew up with TWO stepparents, who are STILL a big part of my life.

Thank you all for your input, but this is taking way too much of my energy trying to straighten out what you all interpret from my posts. Good luck with your disengagements, and I hope you find happiness SOMEWHERE in your life.

stepfamilyfriend's picture

Hang in there girl. It can be done. Venting is good. Being honest about less than noble feelings is a good place to start, not to end. I like the fact that people here are ok not pretending to love their stepchildren, because the pressure to act as if, is very big. But love can grow, not in all cases, but when there are caring people involved, it can grow. Your problems are not something that cannot be worked on. Get out your frustration, be honest about all the feelings that this brings up, and build something real and healthy from there. Sounds like you love your husband and the kids and you have some frustration and you need to get it out. You don't need to be told that all is bad and evil and doom. It is not. To make it through something hard is a very rewarding feeling.