AJanie's picture


I just started reading Stepmonster, so far I find it a little pretentious but very informative.

After reading the first few chapters, I have some questions for you all.

Do you feel walking into this life with young skids (infant to 9 years old) makes a difference in the quality of the skid/stepparent relationship? Is it "easier" for stepparents who are with their skids earlier in life?

Do you feel starting "fresh" in terms of housing (not living in the marital home BM and DH once shared) makes a difference in the quality of the romantic relationship... less resentment, etc?

I ask because 2 points the author touched on right away were the fact that she gave up her apartment and identity for her husband, and she walked into a house with a preteen and a teen. She stated that "professionals" suggested holding off on marriage if skids are between 10 years old and 16 years old (I may be off).


Solidshadow7's picture

Supposedly relationships are

Supposedly relationships are much better if the child is younger than 5. Younger than 5 they will probably not remember their parents being together and will not view you as the intruder. You also remember them little and cute and helpless and may be more tolerant of difficult things they do as preteens.

I haven't heard any research on this, but I think living in the marital home is bad. When you do, the kids see it as he got this girlfriend, and now she is making up all these new rules and they don't like it. But if its a new home, they see them more as house rules and not your rules so they don't blame you for things they are now expected to do differently. Logic tells me moving into the home they already live in is a bad plan.

AJanie's picture

DH still has a bit of a stick

DH still has a bit of a stick up his ass regarding the house he used to live in. In his mind it is such a gorgeous home. I think it is truly a shit hole. Far too rustic/country for my taste! Barf!

Logic also told me it would be a bad idea. Skids don't remember the house too well but there are so many photos of "baby's first Christmas" or "first steps" in that house. I am not interested in making a life there... but I understand for some it is a good choice financially or location wise.

downsouthinTX's picture

my EX still lives in the

my EX still lives in the marital home. the kids wish he would sell it and he get a different house. unlike most skids who want "daddy" to never change a thing.
but that wont happen unless he moves away(which hes also told them hes looking into).
mortgages arent as cheap as hes got it anymore.

but when his now ex(or whatever they may be) moved in everything stayed the same. the wall paint, the furniture(i left almost everything behind), the curtains(some of them i sewed myself), pictures on walls, the mattress...everything.
i dont know if that was a sore spot or not...but i am guessing not as much as other women as this lady was very young and was coming off an eviction of her 1 bedroom apartment she had with her 2 kids. so maybe she was grateful to live in a house that nice/large?

my kids had lived in that house since DS10 was 2 and now hes almost 11.

Acratopotes's picture

No regardless of how old

No regardless of how old skids are they still turn on you.... I've known Aergia since age 5.... she moved in with us age 12, everything was just fine, no problems, then BM contacted her age 13 and everything went to hell...

I've done the do not change the house thing immediately, blablablabla when Aergia left age 13 (only to be back 6 months later) I changed everything, I gave a shit... my house, my decor and my rules. If she does not like it she can stay with BM

Plenty of posters here started out with young skids and all have the same story, blood is thicker then water

I did not care one bit that SO and BM lived as a married couple in the house, I bought 50% of it, it's in a good area and resale value is brilliant, very good investment.... BM use to be queen of the castle, now I am... I give a flying duck that Aergia thinks she's the new Queen, I put her down from time to time just because I can (I moved back to my own place 4 years ago) My opinion on this... loads of time people buy houses where other people lived in before them... the structure is not the issue it's your mental mind that needs changing.

Oh I will be moving back next year when Aergia leaves and then sorry she will not be welcome back, SO started parenting past Sunday - hope he keeps it up Eye-wink

I should right a book for SM's - one thing.... do not even worry about the skids from day one regardless their age, never contribute financially or parenting them and you will be forever happy - parent your partner!!


Blended family life turned me into a pirate....
All I want to do is drink Rum and stab people

AJanie's picture

I certainly parent my

I certainly parent my partner. He is my third kid. He hasn't lost his keys or wallet in a few weeks (knock wood)... I must be doing something right. Eye-wink

BethAnne's picture

Right now things are ok for

Right now things are ok for me with sd9. I first met her when she was 3, moved into her dad's place (BM never lived there) when she was 5. I do though fully expect the tween - teen ages to be trying, I am trying to prepare myself for it.

The main problem for me right now is her mother, fortunately she lives a few states away so can cause a lot fewer problems than when we were in the same town.

AJanie's picture

Right now things are good

Right now things are good with me and skids. (7 & 10) SS10 is starting to mouth off a bit more though and occasionally giving me eye rolls. SD7 has always been mouthy. I entered the scene when they were 1 and 4 (BM and DH split when BM was pregnant, reconciled briefly after the birth and then split again). I didn't live with DH or see the skids regularly when they were that young, but they knew me and have no recollection of their parents together. I try to hold onto hope that they will not torture me too badly as teens... but I know it may be inevitable. I can handle the regular selfish teenager stuff but I do worry about the "I hate you, you are not my mom" kind of rebellion...

My rational mind knows that blood is thicker than water but my emotional mind has "mothered" them for a few years now and I know it will hurt. They are such affectionate kids.

Cooooookies's picture

In my experience and reading

In my experience and reading everything on here, it has nothing to do with skids age. It has to do with two main points:

1. Does your DH(DW) parent their child(ren). If they don't, you're in for a ride from h3ll;

2. Is their ex psycho and, if yes, do they manage them appropriately? If they don't, you're in for a ride from h3ll.

Everything else stems from those two issues. E-V-E-R-Y-T-H-I-N-G.


"She doesn't have the control over SS that she used to. She doesn't have control over DH. And I'm going to be the scapegoat." ~RosaluOsliar

AJanie's picture

I deal with a bit of a Disney

I deal with a bit of a Disney dad, no doubt about it. He does demand they respect me and has since day 1... that is one thing I will give him credit for.

Ex is definitely a psycho though. But in a mostly covert way. She is too busy taking selfies half the time to make waves, but when she gets in a mood she knows how to lash out and be vengeful.

LadyFace's picture

This. My skids were 4 and 6

This. My skids were 4 and 6 when DH moved in with me. It doesn't matter that sd has no memories of her parents together. She takes after her crazy mother enough to invent some. Shit didn't hit the fan until three years ago. At one time I actually thought my skids were great and that we wouldn't have serious problems with them.


Keep on keepin' on!

2badsosad's picture

I also thought things we

I also thought things we great in the beginning too. Then when BM decided to end that it was OVER. It's never been the same since she started with PAS. The rose colored glasses were fun while they lasted.

LadyFace's picture

The PAS was always there in

The PAS was always there in subtle ways. It simply becomes more overt as the kids age and the parent treats them more and more like a peer/ bff.


Keep on keepin' on!

Cooooookies's picture

I thought things were great

I thought things were great too. Until I figured out DH lives in Disney Land and BM2 is a Golden Uterus heartless wh*re. Then SS became a teenager.

Disengagement is my drug. Also Netflix and coffee and binge watching favorite shows. Sticking out tongue


"She doesn't have the control over SS that she used to. She doesn't have control over DH. And I'm going to be the scapegoat." ~RosaluOsliar

AJanie's picture

Shit. SD is mommy's clone. I

Shit. SD is mommy's clone. I always hoped with nature v. nurture... I could nurture her into not being a self centered, flighty moron like her mom. I know it isn't realistic. She told me she wanted to be a waitress like mom when she grew up... I suggested "Why not a veterinarian!?" Nothing wrong with attempting to set the bar a little higher.

Her mom and I are so different, from shallow things like clothing styles and tastes in music to bigger things like education, morals and values. Knowing she will likely morph into BM as a teen/adult sickens me. I am scared. Literally.

LadyFace's picture

Sorry, but you should be. Its

Sorry, but you should be. Its not impossible that the girl will turn out better, it's just not likely.


Keep on keepin' on!

AJanie's picture

May I ask what your BM is

May I ask what your BM is like? Is she extremely high conflict or covert about it like our BM? Is she employed? And were you and your DH non-custodial or was it joint? I somewhat relate to you because (correct me if I am wrong) you also have an SD and SS, came into their lives when they were little and you now have one of your own (one and done?). I would like to have one of my own at some point.

Everyone has such a different step situation. I know not one person in "real life" in my situation. The only steps I know, brought their own kids into their situation.

LadyFace's picture

Damn girl, fine, here is my

Damn girl, fine, here is my life story: Sticking out tongue

Succubus was "subtle" when the skids were younger. Dh had every other weekend and week on/ week off in the summers. Bm would call the skids crying about how much she missed them and repeatedly asked them if they missed her. Calls always ended in tears. They were interrogated after every visit. She wouldn't obviously badmouth dh (she let her mother do that) but we found out three years ago that she had been showing sd all of the texts between her and dh. She has badmouthed me from Day 1.

Dh was awarded 50/50 3.5 years ago. She has undermined his every attempt to issue consequences. She has always worked part time jobs at gas stations or super stores -- never enough hours to jeopardise those welfare benefits.

Succubus alternates between being extremely high conflict (screaming/threatening) and being manipulatively accomodating, only to do the exact opposite of what dh discussed with her.

And yep! One and done. Pregnancy was not magical for me, breastfeeding is nothing like those creepy photos plastered all over fb, and I want to be able to retire one day rather than spend every single penny I have ever earned in the money pit that is children lol.


Keep on keepin' on!

AJanie's picture

We have the same visitation

We have the same visitation arrangement as the one you used to have, BM also does the "do you miss me" calls, skids are also interrogated after every visit. BM's mother thinks she is another one of the skids parents and she openly despises DH. I one time had BM and the mother at our car during a pick up, one at each window, inspecting the car seat situation.

I am not sure if BM bad mouths me to skids. I know she does to everyone else in her shit hole town.

Thanks for sharing. Laughing out loud

LadyFace's picture

Eek! I am the ghost of your

Eek! I am the ghost of your SM future!!! Hang on to your hat, chicka!


Keep on keepin' on!

AJanie's picture

I know, you really are. Feel

I know, you really are. Feel free to tell me lies about how WORTH IT this all is and how you wouldn't have it any other way, haha. There is still a piece of me that thinks maybe I should take off and attempt to find normalcy while I have about 3 good childbearing years left. Perhaps an elderly man with a lot of money, on his death bed. I think I would miss DH terribly though. Sad

LadyFace's picture

I was a rebel as a teen, but

I was a rebel as a teen, but I never wanted to run away more than I have in the past three years lol. I don't know if it's all worth it yet. My ride isn't over! I don't regret marrying dh. I love him with all of me. I don't regret having my son. He is amazing. But worth it? We shall see.


Keep on keepin' on!

granny goose's picture

Yo, LadyFace, As your son

Yo, LadyFace,

As your son gets older, you will be increasingly glad that you had him. Apart from their unapologetic honesty and directness, boys love their moms in an uncomplicated way and are very protective.

When my girls were horrible teens and would snap at me, my son (14 years younger) would yell, "Leave Mummy alone!" Even as a teenager himself, my son was respectful and loving almost all of the time.

I had convinced myself that I preferred girls and did not want a little boy but I was wrong. Having me son was SO worth it. My sainted Nana used to say that there is no more perfect love than that between a mother and her son and I believe that she was correct.

LadyFace's picture

Oh we breathed a huge sigh of

Oh we breathed a huge sigh of relief and celebrated when we found out he would he a boy!


Keep on keepin' on!

NoWireCoatHangarsEVER's picture

That's why I wanted a boy so

That's why I wanted a boy so very badly and kept trying. I have four daddies girls.

Llilac's picture

When we knew we were having a

When we knew we were having a boy my mom was so excited. She said "He will want to take care of you!" Laughing out loud

Little boys are so fun. I would have loved a girl as well, but in my experience the boys are much more FUN. Crazy fun.

Major Blunder's picture

"At one time I actually

"At one time I actually thought my skids were great and that we wouldn't have serious problems with them."

Exactly how is was for me at the beginning.


I don't know what is wrong with you but I bet it is hard to pronounce.

momjeans's picture

I agree with

I agree with Cooooookies.

Skid was 3 when DH and BM split. DH and I dated a good 6 months before I met Skid right before she turned 6. All was fine and dandy until BM caught wind of DH dating - the poo really hit the fan once skid began speaking about me. How fun I was, how she wanted to go to daddy's house so she could see me, etcetera. BM basically had a mental breakdown, at that point, because she felt threatened. That was the beginning of the end when it came to the possibility of skid and I every having any sort of relationship.

Little did I know that DH was basically Disney Dad, and on ice at that. BM wanted her feeedom, but a husband and life as a mom to fall back on at her disposal. Things were definitely rough sharing a place that BM used to spend Christmas Day in with skid and DH. The first Christmas she wasn't welcome, and I had moved in, she tried to bust down and through our front door. We moved after the first of the year, asap, to a place she wouldn't know the location.

I disengaged.

There's just NO looking back when you're dealing with a crazy BM.


If you don't want to be part of the show, don't heckle the comedian.

2badsosad's picture

I love that book. It's my

I love that book. It's my bible.

NO, your step kids will turn on you eventually. If your BM is NOT on board, you're screwed. Period.

AJanie's picture

I will make the most of these

I will make the most of these next few years then. I hate teenagers.

Cooooookies's picture

They are horrible horrible

They are horrible horrible things. Horrible smelly attitude snarly things.


"She doesn't have the control over SS that she used to. She doesn't have control over DH. And I'm going to be the scapegoat." ~RosaluOsliar

AJanie's picture

My niece is a senior in high

My niece is a senior in high school. She uses me whenever she hates her parents or needs something. We used to be very close, now I only hear from her when she has some crisis. Sickening.

granny goose's picture

Cooooookies, .... Horrible


.... Horrible smelly attitude snarly things....

What a perfect description! No more needs to be added.

monkeyseemonkeydo's picture

I hate teens too, not only

I hate teens too, not only steps either, don't care for my own much at this age to be honest lol

SD IS like her mother, replica. If you have a crazy bm w/mental illness, you're screwed. My only relief these days is that she doesn't live with us. I can completely disengage.


*Cyber Bullies, the Bored, the Weak, and the Pathetic*

sunshinex's picture

Why do you say if she's crazy

Why do you say if she's crazy with mental illness you're screwed? Just curious because BM has a ton of mental illness but rarely sees or talks to SD... Do you think it's something that'll still affect her? I know mental illnesses can impact children but surely our chances are better considering she's not around much?

I'm hoping SD doesnt end up anything like BM regardless of blood haha

AJanie's picture

Are we really that much like

Are we really that much like our parents? If so, that explains a lot.

downsouthinTX's picture

SD17 mom died when she was

SD17 mom died when she was 11.
SO thought that after so many years of living with him and his ways that SD17 would not be so messy/clutter anymore. BUT when she was 15 he had basically resigned the fact that its in her DNA.
her mom was the same and they just dont even care about messy/dirtiness. she can see a bleached down bathroom and then her bathroom and think nothing is wrong with her bathroom. her closet can be piled thigh high on the floor and she thinks nothing of it.
recently she told SO and i that her 9 drawer big long dresser has no clothes in it. its ALL junk. SO said wth!?
she only uses her high/chest of drawers for clothes. i asked her what kind of junk is in there? where did it come from? she said she doesn't know she just adds junk.

hes waiting on any carpet replacement until after SD moves out.

my DD14 is like me...but i think its taught. the other day i was color coding my pocket calendar and she rolled her eyes. i said "DD14 you are just jealous because you want to color code too"
she laughed and said "actually yes. i do. i want to be like that. thats why i bought a planner last year"
i said "when you get a job or more involved in stuff you will have stuff to write down and keep track of"
shes a clean freak, orderly etc.

LadyFace's picture

Mental illness can be

Mental illness can be hereditary.


Keep on keepin' on!

AJanie's picture

My mom is 2 faced and my dad

My mom is 2 faced and my dad is neurotic. My sister is 2 faced and I am neurotic. Lol, yay for genetics.

sunshinex's picture

Very good point. I think a

Very good point. I think a lot of it is hereditary but I have hopes it's also learned behaviour.. I'm hoping for my own sanity because if SD is anything like BM and her psychotic breakdowns, I'm in for an interesting time...

DanielleR's picture

Yup, definitely hereditary

Yup, definitely hereditary with BM's family. BM, her sister and her mom all have severe mental illness. Skid#1 is seeing a counselor for anxiety issues already and skid#2 is seeing a counselor for anger issues at home. I can pick out features in both skids that I think will manifest in serious mental instability when they are older. I would be more surprised if neither skid had mental issues.

So_Annoyed's picture

UGHHHH. SD was 9 when she

UGHHHH. SD was 9 when she came to live with us. I naively thought that being away from BM, being raised by DH and I would change how she turned out. Well, she's 14 and a small replica of her crazy ass mother. Being a teen is bad enough, but she's manipulative, she lies, she's irresponsible and just has a shitty attitude most of the time. I hated teenagers since I was in my 20's and it has not changed. My son had his moments, but he also had a sane mom and rules.

I'm in a period where I'm questioning if any of this is worth it. Only time will tell.

AJanie's picture

I consider 9 the last year of

I consider 9 the last year of cuteness. I have been in the "questioning if it is worth it" period for quite some time.

So_Annoyed's picture

Even at 9 she wasn't "cute",

Even at 9 she wasn't "cute", she was more tolerable though. And DH is quite the disneydad, so I'm not happy with either of them currently.

ntm's picture

Yep. It depends on the

Yep. It depends on the hormones. As soon as they kick in, which is different ages for different kids. forget it. They turn. I say don't marry until they are launched and all their crap is out of the house you will be living in. Seriously. And then have a pre-nup that they can't return to the house you live in.

Justkeepsteppin's picture

Ehhh, with my skids the

Ehhh, with my skids the "cuteness" stopped around 5/6 years old.

With DS is was between 9 and 10 when his kiddie cuteness went away. He grew a foot and an attitude this past summer. Puberty stinks Barf! Literally! It's even worse when you have 2 boys a year apart that share a room and both have the stinky sweaty hormone smell.


Hey, look. "Es-ca-pay". I wonder what that means? That's funny, it's spelled just like the word "escape."

Llilac's picture

My SD was 2 when DH and I

My SD was 2 when DH and I started dating. She has manufactured memories of her parents together thanks to her personality disordered mother and laments them still not being together. She talks to me about this which I am ok with.

Being so young, at first it was rocky with her, but around 4 1/2 or 5 she finally started liking me. She's 9 now and we get along but I catch glimpses of her moving away from me already: staying in her bedroom till I leave the house, sometimes just staring at me when she walks in the house instead of saying hello. I'm sure she wishes that I didn't exist sometimes but to be honest I wish that about her and her mother sometimes so maybe that's normal. Besides this we do have a decent relationship and she comes to me if she needs help or to talk. She knows I am there for her and I will stick up for her. I wonder what our baby coming in the next couple months will bring. She's all about attention.

DH always says that she loves me more than she does him. I tell him just wait a few years and she will hate me. Laughing out loud Of course he doesn't believe it. I definitely think it would have been harder if I had stepped into this position now while she's older instead of so many years ago.

We live in a house DH bought long before he met BM but they did live there together. I've lived here longer (and he married me and not her) so maybe that's why it doesn't bother me at all. She also had no fingerprint on the house. None of her stuff was here when I moved in. She never decorated. When I first moved in she still acted like this was her home though. Walking into the house and into SD's bedroom when she's knock on the door and we'd answer. She's finally stopped this and waits at the door now. I don't remember when that all started and ended.

I did give up a lot for my DH. I had zero baggage. I had never lived with a man before him and I had never had any children before him. He came with a personality disordered ex, a child with emotional problems (I've never touched on this but my SD is slightly troubled), and drama. I was so carefree. He was looking at facebook a couple weeks ago and found this picture of me from a few months before we started dating. I was out with friends with my head thrown back laughing. He said "You don't laugh like this anymore!" I didn't have an answer. I love him with all of my heart. I don't regret being with him at all. But I wish in the beginning I had known how to protect myself better and to keep being who I was. Maybe some of that changed because I'm older, but I do believe some of it is also because of the drama of life with SD and BM, what I thought I should be and what others expected of me as a SM. I found this site about a year into our relationship but it took me years to actually sign up with a username. I totally credit it with helping me to be sane and not feeling alone in my situation. Stepmonster was a good book, but it didn't tell me anything I didn't already learn here.

AJanie's picture

DH says SD likes me more

DH says SD likes me more than him, too. I also say "just wait!"

I wish you the best with the arrival of your baby. That is very exciting.

Llilac's picture

Thank you! I was reading your

Thank you!

I was reading your posts up above. My DH and all of this is totally worth it. I don't think I could love him more than I do right now. And I cannot wait to meet our little nugget! I hope everything comes together for you both!

Maxwell09's picture

The only perk of entering the

The only perk of entering the lives of a skid while they are younger is that they trust more easily at that age. It's harder to start a foundation of a relationship with a preteen/teen whereas babies and toddlers are naturally more trusting. Other than getting in a few good years of happy family memories before SS5 turns on us, I don't think there's much of a difference in the outcome based on age.

As for living together...I think how welcomed you feel is based on the boundaries in the household. If Dad lets his kids mark their territory and keep SM from making any part of the OG House as her own then I can see the point of starting fresh. But that has more to do with the Bio Parent dealing with his kids and boundaries.

From reading here and other books and forums; I think if SS had been an older kid/preteen/teen I would just dated DH and waited until he aged out to live together.

DanielleR's picture

Youngest skid was 5 when I

Youngest skid was 5 when I first met her, I didn't find her cute at all. Both skids look like BM and BM is not a pretty lady unfortunately- just a fact, not me being hateful (a few friends have commented on it). DH made himself very scarce when youngest skid was born, he never wanted kids with BM at all and was pissed for both of them (BM just stopped BC cause she wanted DH's babies). They were divorced by the time youngest was 4 and that is the child that pushes the most for BM and DH to get back together. I think her mom puts happy memories of DH and her into her head because there is no way she has an actual memory of her parents together. Heck, DH use to go to military balls solo cause he didn't want BM around. What would you ladies think if your husband attended military balls without you?

Skids and I were always doomed to have a poor relationship because they are rude, self entitled brats and I am not ok with them treating my youngest horribly and trying to physically assault me. I am also not ok with the youngest trying to manipulate and constantly bringing up mommy every other sentence, it is very rude and she knew what she was doing. DH's family even gets quickly annoyed with the skid rudeness, so no, it isn't just me being a step monster.

In the beginning skids liked me then I think they had loyalty issues or their mom said something to them. Youngest skid wanted me to do her hair like mine so she could look like me and both always wanted to come over to my house. That changed pretty quick when I wouldn't let them run around screaming while my youngest napped, wouldn't let them scream in people's faces, run me over or talk down to adults. Ya know, crap I shouldn't even have to correct. BM also started a huge PAS campaign. Oh well, if she wants to give her kids serious issues (more than the genetic issues they will most likely inherit) that is on her.

I would never move into a marital home. DH moved into my house and that definitely helped with skids. I could see them being total brats if I moved into a house they viewed as mommy and daddy's. As it was, they knew it was my house, my rules and routines were already established. I guess I am a control freak, moving into a marital home just does not appeal to me whatsoever.