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Struggling step parent

vegasmama's picture

Hi guys. I'm new here, but reading all these posts & responses, I don't feel alone in how I've been feeling coming into being a step parent. Between me & my fiancé we have two children. SD4 & S3. We were actually really lucky to be on the same schedules with our kids, one week off, one week on at the same time, but during the week on I'm literally counting the days til we are alone. The kids sleep in our bed, so you can only imagine how crappy my sleep is in that week. Although I miss my son terribly when he is gone, it feels good knowing sd isn't there. Recently SD's mom had a shift bid for a 7pm-3am & for whatever reason she took THAT shift. Because of it we have SD here every night. We do have a bedtime set & once asleep we try to sneak off spend some time watching tv. Recently, SD has been waking up at night crying for her dad. I already knew this schedule was gonna drive me crazy. I genuinely adore my SD, but I get so emotional when it comes to disrupting me & my fiancé's quality time. It just sucks because I am entitled to the way I feel, but it also comes with feeling selfish & shameful. I know what I signed up for dating a man with a child. I know that she is a top priority. I feel guilty for feeling this way because I don't want him to feel like he has to choose because I knew I had to share him from the beginning. I already know he feels terrible for our time being cut, but I have to learn how to deal with it. & I've been having such a hard time behind closed doors. Thank you guys for this space to vent & making me feel not so alone  


Winterglow's picture

"I have to learn how to deal with it"

I disagree. You don't have to learn to deal with it but your bf does need to learn how to parent his daughter effectively. That includes teaching her to go to sleep and stop yelling for him for no reason. The more he goes running when she yells for him, the more she'll do it. 

Why are either of your kids sleeping in your bed?

In many places, child support is calculated according to the number of overnights. If that is the case where you live, it's time the CS was adapted to reflect reality. If there is no CS because they were on 50-50, he should tell his ex that he's going to have it reviewed because 50-50 is no longer the situation.

Rumplestiltskin's picture

Omg get those kids out of your bed! Both of them. Your quality of life will improve dramatically and i promise the kids will be ok once they get used to it. Also, as the above poster said, if there isn't a custody order in place, there should be. BM might owe you guys child support of you have SD every night. And if she does owe, she may just find a way to keep SD with her half the time again. 

Winterglow's picture

That was exactly what I was thinking. Paying CS might light a fire under her to take back her time with her son.

Mamabearof3's picture

I kicked my SD out of our bed when she was 4. Not because I hated her etc but because I wanted nighttime with my husband only. People made it into something it wasn't. Still to this day use that example to say I was jeloaus of her. She did fine within two nites tho. I enforced a new routine. We tucked her in and read to her every evening. She cried a lot for two nites then was fine. 

Rumplestiltskin's picture

Good for you. Anyone who makes you feel jealous or guilty for not wanting to sleep with an unrelated child in your bed, or hell, even a related one, is an idiot and a jerk. 

failuretolaunch's picture

Never had kids in my bed, only if ill or nightmares. When that happens it is a f'ing disaster. There isn't enough room in the bed for just me and my partner let alone a riggling child. Not a chance in hell.

CallMeCrazy's picture

Why on Earth are a 3 and 4 year old sharing your bed?! They can share a room but they need out of yours.

Also, you keep talking about your "alone time with fiance" and your and fiance's "quality time" but I think it would behoove you to remember in this situation you guys, as a couple, have two VERY young children. Families with a 3 and 4 year old often have their "alone time" impeded significantly. Keep in mind, custody/circumstances can always change (as it did with BM's shift change) and you could wind up with both kids full time. So change what you can. Kids out of your room (please tell me you aren't in a one bedroom and that's why...) and they go to bed early so you and fiance can have time together every evening. Intact families figure it out so I know it's possible. Wish you the best!

failuretolaunch's picture

Don't feel guilty. I've felt guilty for years and didn't realise it. I felt guilty because deep down I didn't want step kids, I had my own kids and a partner and step kids came with it. An Autistic boy and another boy that has stolen from us all for years which also brought the problems of the ex (nightmare) husband too. He's a lot better now but still an issue.

You sound lovely, from what you say and you are doing your best but you need to talk to your partner. Boundaries need to be set. If the skid is having trouble sleeping, then she needs to deal with it, she can go to his room and comfort him, you shouldn't have to suffer. I understand how you feel, you feel like you are being selfish and horrible but why should everyone suffer and it sounds like you are suffering but just don't know how to say it without coming across as selfish and mean. You are not, you have NEEDS and FEELINGS too.

Why have you had the SD more now that she has changed shifts, did she discuss that with you, or did you do as I would do and just nod your head and go okay,no problem, only to be left dealing biting off more than you can chew. If she has changed shifts then she needs to be there to sort out her kids, not you, again, sounds selfish, but it's selfish towards you to expect you to deal with a child that is not yours, supportive yes, but only if she is there too, you are well within your rights to say I can't cope with this, change your shifts back because I'm not dealing with all this extra emotional strain.

Onanisland's picture

Not going to say 'get those kids out of your bed' because in also a cosleeper and know it's not that easy! My son is 3 and just spent 3 nights in a row in his own bed and I'm about to faint! When you end up in these less than ideal sleeping situations it's not always by choice! I do think working on having then sleep elsewhere us a good goal bit it could take months. In the meantime I would work on trying to feel less guilty. You haven't done anything wrong or bad - you've been really generous, probably to the detriment of your own needs. 

I totally agree with failuretolaunch - saying that you have needs and boundaries is not inherently selfish. It took me ages to realize that. 

We end up having my skids more than their mom even though it's a 50/50. If she says I have to work or I'm going away for the weekend we don't feel like we can say no to having them. my skids were 2&3 when we got together and now they're 10&11. Nothing has changed. I wish I could go back and be less enabling from the beginning but we always wanted the children to feel welcome at our house, not like they were being tossed between parents and babysitters wuth no place to land.  It was and is a really  tricky situation. I hope you get some space, and sleep, soon!

ndc's picture

I think it would help immensely if you were to start transitioning the kids out of your bed as soon as possible.  If your sleep is being affected, you're going to be less tolerant and more grumpy, and that's never a good thing.  The first thing I told my DH (then BF) when we wanted to start spending nights together was that skids in the bed was NOT going to work for me, and I would not be sleeping over until his kids slept in their own bed(s).  They had slept with both DH (and with BM when they were with her) since the divorce.  We were lucky that it was a very quick transition - I assume a combination of DH being VERY motivated to make it happen and there being two skids so they moved into a room/bed where they had each other.  (Now that they're older they sleep in their own rooms).  FWIW, I've been just as adamant about our bio not sleeping in our bed, because I don't get good sleep with a kid in the bed.

Once SD is out of your bed, your BF can go deal with her when she cries at night.  That's his job, not yours, and he should do it as quickly and quietly as possible so as not to interrupt you.  

Were you consulted when SD suddenly needed to be at your home every night?  If you live there too, you certainly should have been.  This was an optional shift change on the BM's part, so it shouldn't have just been assumed that the child could come stay with you every single night.  If your BF didn't consult you, you need to have a discussion with him that going forward, anything in the home that affects you needs to be discussed with you in advance.  That's how a partnership works.

vegasmama's picture

We recently moved into a new place so everything is not 100% furnished. I figured telling the SO that they need to start sleeping in their own room would like a fire in him to finish their room, but according to him he's just not ready to have them sleep alone. I try not to bring these things up because it always leads to a fight about him feeling SD a burden to me. So I tread these waters lightly, pick & choose what I say. The whole schedule change, I definitely did not have a say in. What SO & his ex discuss I do not get involved in. Yes he does ask me how I feel about certain things but, he feels like because it's his daughter he can't say no to her because she doesn't have anyone else to watch her at the moment & he can't leave her out on the street. & according to SO his ex doesn't have to explain why she picked that schedule. I have voiced my opinions on it because yes I take on A LOT.  When we're all together, I take care of most of the house, the cooking, the laundry etc. SO does help, but I play a bigger role in our set schedules with dinner, bath time & bed time as well as working full time. So yes, i did bite off more than I can chew, but like I said these are waters I tread lightly. Everything that I have established so far I had to fight for.. designated dinner time as a family, no candy after a certain or even at all, no dessert if you don't eat what I cooked, enforcing bed time, telling the kids no & sticking to it even if they cry. Some people would say that's not my child so they won't get involved in the parenting aspect but If my son has to follow the rules so does my SD especially with the amount of time she spends under this roof. Don't get me wrong, my SO eventually listens but the initial arguement sucks. I feel like the evil stepmother sometimes but SD absolutely loves me & I think that's part of why I feel guilty too. 

Im going to bring up the separate rooms once again & ease my way into it. Because you guys are right we do need to reclaim our bedroom & im hoping it will ease the tension I feel & maybe if I got a good nights rest I wouldn't be so grumpy all the time. 

Tried out's picture

When we're all together, I take care of most of the house, the cooking, the laundry etc. SO does help, but I play a bigger role in our set schedules with dinner, bath time & bed time as well as working full time.

Stop this - now! You are being used, and yes, abused, by this guy. He has to help BM out? Fine. But he's not the one who is actually doing the work. You are.

This isn't going to get any better unless you are willing to stand up for yourself and demand equity. You take care of your kid, he takes care of his. You supervise baths and bedtime for your son, he does his. You clean half the house, he does the other half. You cook half the meals, he does the other half. He can't cook? Okay, your sweat equity means you contribute less cash to the household.

If he gets mad about doing his fair share then you have your answer - this guy is definitely using you and you need to move out or he does. 

Winterglow's picture

He's not ready to get the kid out of his bed? What? She's his moral prop or something? So when will he feel ready? Also, ask him how he'd feel if bm's latest squeeze was sleeping in the same bad as his daughter ...

As for the rest, cut it waaaaaaay back. There is no reason for you to be doing all the household stuff. He is just as capable.It's time for him to take over all (and I man ALL) the work for his daughter. You are not her parent. Heck, you weren't even consulted about her coming over every night (so he wants to make bm happy but doesn't give a damn how you feel?). Why should you take on the extra work. Time to disengage. 

By the way, well done for getting a semblance of normality in your home despite the arguments. Not an easy thing to do. Keep up the good work and stick to your guns!

Rags's picture

How about ..... engaging a solution!


NOW!!!!!!  There is no easing into this. It happens, it happens now, and it happens permanently.

Now for BM's unilateral schedule change decision.  She is responsible for the Skid on her time.  So.... inform BM that SD will be in your home only on the previously ordered visitation schedule.

It is on BM to solve that issue for herself.  If she fails to solve it, time for a child abandonment charge, nailing her ass with a CO/CS review and driving misery down BM's throat until she catches a clue or is purged from the picture.

SO  needs clarity that if he wants to sleep with his bride, that only the two of you can be in your marital bed. NOW!

I would not tolerate a mate who was as spineless and clueless as  your SO appears to be.


Merry's picture

SO does help, but I play a bigger role in our set schedules...

He helps you with household responsibilities for his kids? No, it should be the other way around. YOU help HIM. This is totally backwards.

I just hate it when men are so proud of themselves for "helping" their wives or babysitting their own children. This isn't 1950s television and you are not June Cleaver.

He's not ready to have the kids sleep alone, but you are, so he gets his way. Why? Is there a plan or timeline for moving them out, or will he just one day decide HE'S ready?

It sounds to me like the things that you want and need are so far behind that of your SO and even BM that you have no standing in your own household. Think about what you  need to feel happy, valued, and loved. Is he willing to provide or at least acknowledge those things?