Someone tell me it gets better....
This is my first time posting here, and I really just need to vent and get some advice. My DH & I have been together 13 years, married for 9 years. I have a daugher 23, and he has two daughters, 17 & 16. Where to even begin....BM has a lot of mental health issues, and is a helpless and miserable bitch. The kids live with us 60% of the time, and DH does everything for them (BM has never taken them to the doctor, dentist, to get a haircut, she doesn't attend kids sports events...etc. She's just a shitty mom). I am very, very happy in my marriage, except for the SDs. DH & I have very different parenting styles - he's a helicopter dad who does everything for his kids, while I raised my BD to be independant and self-sufficient. My SDs have been coddled, never expected to help around the house, basically walk in the door every day with a Gimme-gimme-gimme attitude. I can't stand them. They've been like this since the day I met them, and over these years I have tried everything from disciple, to gentle reminders, to begging my DH to get involved, but they are still completely spoiled brats. They manipulate him and have him wrapped around their fingers. He feels badly for them bc BM is bi-polar and a shitty mom, so he overcompensates. I empathize greatly with these kids, and have pretty much done everything a normal BM would do for the last 13 years (attend their sports & school events, drive them around, host birthday parties and sleep overs - NONE of which their actual BM has ever done for them). They treat me like shit, and I'm tired of it. DH walks on eggshells around them, because they fly off the handle when asked to do a chore or when corrected. Sorry, but when my parents asked me to do something, if I rolled my eyes or stomped out of the room, there were immediate consequences. Asking the 16 yo to empty the trash cans in the bedrooms upstairs resulted in tears, asking them to wipe down the counters after I've cooked them dinner is a huge ordeal. He never asks them to do a damn thing, so I'm the classic Wicked Step Mother when I ask them to pick up their shoes from the living room floor. I kept waiting for it to get better, but it hasn't. I've tried talking to DH dozens and dozens of times of the years, and while he agrees that sometimes they aren't the best kids, he doesn't see too much wrong with their behaviour. Instead, he blames me and says the kids are afraid of me. (I know they are afraid of me, because I am literally the only person in their lives who has ever said no to them, who has ever asked them to make their bed or fold their laundry, etc). I have raised my voice to them MAYBE 10 times in 13 years, far less than I did for my own daughter. I don't scream at them, have never hit them, and I've always tried to show my support, but it's gotten me nowhere. I parented my own child with the credo that I am her mom first, and then her friend. We have always been extremely close, and still are, but there was no confusion about who was in charge when she was growing up, whereas my SKs rule the roost when it comes to DH.
We are about to try couples counseling for the first time, but I don't see the situation getting better in regards to the kids' behavior.
In 2.5 years, both SDs will presumably be away at college. I am counting down the days, and praying that having them out of the house will solve most of these issues. I know he will always be a helicopter dad and will always coddle these kids, but I am hoping that when it's not in my face everyday, it will be easier to handle. Has anyone successfully made it through living with horrible SKs and come out on the other end alive & intact??