Is this a red flag or is it just my fears?
Hi everyone. This is the first time I reach for help on the internet.
We've been married for two years after living together for three. I have two kids from my first marriage (15 and 11 YO) that came to live with us about 16 months ago. We lived in a two-bedroom apartment for 10 months and now we moved to a bigger 3 bedrooms, two-floor house.
Living in the apartment during the lockdowns was difficult, to say the least. My kids and SO do get along most of the time, showing they care about everyone else and the house. The problem is that some of my kid's behaviors are hard for her to stand by (closing the bread bag, putting the milk back on the fridge, doing the dishes, cleaning their bedrooms, etc.) I do agree that we can ALL do better on some of them, including us. In the time that they have been with us, we have had various degrees of success, some of them no longer an issue, others persist and new ones appear. Another big issue is the school. And they DO have study problems. The reality is that I'm also working things out, I have been a "weekend" dad for so long so I'm also figuring out.
Our dynamic usually goes from her having a build-up of things that goes off in a rant against me after some detonator and can get mean. I'm not sure how much value should I give to her words said at those moments. And I might take them under the worst light possible, but I'm worried some could be red flags: she has asked me to send the kids with her mom more than a few times, thinks I'm too soft as a parent, and as she has to accept the kids, I have to accept she will vent her frustration on me; that she's angry about spending "all her patient on my kids" instead of one of our own (that we plan on having). Overall, she says is not the kids or their behavior but what having them around makes her feel. That she feels old and doesn't like the responsibility. Hates that is a fact that I have kids and the baggage that comes with it and she's doing it all because of how much she loves me.
I try to get to a middle ground on the issues and listen to her complaints. I understand that her position is really hard and some things that for me are not big issues she might feel different. I know I tend to go defensive and my communication skill is not the best. I have been working on it. We went to counseling, tried to do "family meetings" and having group activities, have mi kids going to their mom or my parents on weekends and holidays so we have our time as a couple.
I know she loves me a lot and really wants this to work. I don't want to be unfair to her and end the relationship. I do like the idea of what we could build together, but now it seems soo hard. And the thought of bringing a new baby to the mix brings a lot of other concerns about how is going to affect the already stressed family dynamic.
The reality is that right now I do have other pressing issues, had to take a second job (and a small side gig) as I work in hospitality so with the pandemic my income fell by 75% at least. And I also want to keep on working on my kids. So, living with my SO and having to bear on the issues sometimes feel more than I can handle... Or is it some more patient and work really going to make a difference? Right now I really don't see the situation has improved.