newstepmomnj's picture

New stepmom here

Hi everyone, let me just start out by saying I am so thankful to have found this forum.

A little backstory, I married an amazing man who has a 3 year old daughter (L) with a one night stand. BM is a total nightmare but DH is disengaged from her and it is strictly about raising their daughter. Before I moved in he had his daughter one night a week. After me living in his house for a few months we talked about having her more because we noticed how L would often misbehave and we heard people talking that BM is not doing the best job in teaching her right from wrong. My DH works until late at night so much of the responsibility fell on me. I now realize how misguided this decision was and that was my fault, so please no one point out that I shouldn't of been so eager to be a stepmom right away.

At times L is great but other times she drives me crazy. She acts like a little brat and is my DH's apple of his eye. I understand a daughter is an amazing gift but the little girl really isn't well behaved. I have little patience for this so I will put her in time out, take away things, etc. I am trying to disengage from her and my parenting responsibilities but this causes extreme blowouts between DH and me by him claiming I don't love L and don't want to be a stepmom towards her. I love my husband dearly and when L isn't here things are fine between us. Once he's around she refuses to do anything with me and only wants her father to do everything for her. It sometimes sucks because I bend over backwards sometimes to make sure she is in our house so my husband can see his daughter, but I feel like a babysitter.

I'm looking for advice or suggestions to somehow try to disengage from both of them so I can have my sanity back.

downsouthinTX's picture

she only wants dad when hes

she only wants dad when hes there and drops you like yesterdays news because hes gone so much.
shes had her fill of you but lacks dad time. so she wants every ounce she can get.
when parents work a lot many resort to spoiling and gifts as a way to ease their own guilt for being gone all the time.

have you ever suggested to him that you put the cart before the horse with L and now you have come to realize the mistake you have made.
you went in with optimism and excitement and it has since been replaced with dread and realism?
you bit off more than you can chew?

if you havent already you need to discuss how this "lifestyle" is draining you mentally and you can't continue to function on this level for much longer. You need to re-evaluate the situation/lifestyle and find a better way to go about daily life before you are all used up.

newstepmomnj's picture

Yes I get that she craves dad

Yes I get that she craves dad time with him and that is fine. When it happened more often I actually began to cry after it happening for 2 weeks straight and my husband laughed and told me to get over it.

I have had conversations with how I feel like I took on too much and his reply back is always defensive and he wonders what kind of mom I will be with our own children if I can't handle his own? I find that extremely insensitive and rude considering it should show the type of person I am, love for a child like they are my own and being selfless so he can spend time with her. He becomes defensive/frustrated when I discuss anything about her so I'm at a loss.

newstepmomnj's picture

Exactly! He gaslights me on

Exactly! He gaslights me on my capabilities of a mother because I expect a toddler to be raised a certain way, especially if I'm doing half of it. It makes me feel like I'm crazy but I have yet to question myself as a mother because I know I will be just fine in that department.

yolo222's picture

your hubby sounds like a real

your hubby sounds like a real piece of work. Honestly he should not expect you to love and take care of that child as if it were your own. You are doing it because you love your hubby and the child. Since you are expected to and you are taking care of the child you should be able to discipline how you see fit. Of course you and your husband need to be on the same page to be consistant.

He it questioning your mothering skills? Seriously I would be so mad. This guy seems like a complete and utter moron. Sorry for the harsh words but he does.

My ex used to tell me that I "wasn't good for his kids" because I wanted a bit of space from BM. Every time we had an argument about something small this was his comment. I literally bent over backwards to deal with his kids and exes schedules etc. Never said a bad word about BM to the kids.. never had issues with the kids. ... nothing. It's like he was just making things up. Anyway I digress about my own situation. I don't like the way you are being treated here. It struck a nerve with me as I was being told similar things for no reason. Please do not put up with this. It's not right for your husband to say things like that to you when it's not true.

I hope things get better for you...

newstepmomnj's picture

Thank you.. I've been

Thank you.. I've been disengaging as much as I can and I'm also hoping it gets better. Thank you so much for the insight.

DanielleR's picture

his reply back is always

his reply back is always defensive and he wonders what kind of mom I will be with our own children if I can't handle his own?

I would inform him that since you are watching unrelated children already that you are both going to apply to be foster parents, so you will actually get paid to do what your husband expects too to do for free. You will also see how good his parenting is of children not biologically related to him. I would have the apps printed out already and watch his look of horror as you excitedly pull out all the info. Make sure you have plenty of stuff on parenting kids with mental issues/ kids that have lived through trauma. If he expresses concern about SD being around foster kids, I would flip that one aroundbon his butt and tell him, but what if SD is a bad influence on MY future child? Would you send her away? Oh, no? But SD isn't related to me either, just like foster kids aren't related to you. Also let him know he will have to rearrange his schedule to help you take care of these unrelated kids. I'm sure he will balk, just look at him stupidly and tell him, but you expected me to do it for a child I am unrelated to????

DirtyDiane's picture

Welcome! I am in a similar


I am in a similar situation. I jumped right in when I met my future I wish I could take it back now! When we met, his daughter was 2 and very sweet. Now she is a four year old who hits, spits, kicks, and cusses out teachers.

My DH tells me all the time that I don't love SD as my own. And I tell him you're right, because she isn't my own.

My advice to you is to take a step back. Let your husband do the discipline, make plans for yourself out of the house when she is going to be there. It may help you keep some of your sanity.

newstepmomnj's picture

Thank you for the advice!

Thank you for the advice! It's sometimes so difficult to love her like she's my own when she's acting like a brat and I lose my patience. I have been disengaging in the sense that I make plans on the weekends when she is here. It sucks that I have to leave my own house to feel comfortable Sad

justanothergurlNJ's picture

With out to much detail what

With out to much detail what part of NJ south, central or northern?


The custodial parent is the parent who has physical custody of his or her child/ren for the majority of the time. As such, the custodial parent carries most of the responsibility for raising the child, even though the non-custodial parent may be involved.

newstepmomnj's picture

North Jersey, close to NYC

North Jersey, close to NYC

justanothergurlNJ's picture

HAHA ME TOOOOO!! 10 minutes

HAHA ME TOOOOO!! 10 minutes from Garden State Plaza!


The custodial parent is the parent who has physical custody of his or her child/ren for the majority of the time. As such, the custodial parent carries most of the responsibility for raising the child, even though the non-custodial parent may be involved.

newstepmomnj's picture

Best mall ever!! Glad to know

Best mall ever!! Glad to know I have someone so close to home Smiling

justanothergurlNJ's picture

I do not share that opinion

I do not share that opinion with you, but I have a 15 year old daughter so that mall is the devil to me lol!!!! Best pizza and bagels in the damn country! lol


The custodial parent is the parent who has physical custody of his or her child/ren for the majority of the time. As such, the custodial parent carries most of the responsibility for raising the child, even though the non-custodial parent may be involved.

newstepmomnj's picture

Carbs are my weakness!

Carbs are my weakness!

justanothergurlNJ's picture

LOL bagels with cream cheese

LOL bagels with cream cheese and lox are my fav! I am also A DUNKIN girl don't care much for Starbucks. Dinners we have the best dinners here too.


The custodial parent is the parent who has physical custody of his or her child/ren for the majority of the time. As such, the custodial parent carries most of the responsibility for raising the child, even though the non-custodial parent may be involved.

Ravenhead's picture

I would say it gets easier

I would say it gets easier but that really depends on many variables. I too am glad to have found this forum. Its hard dealing with someone elses kids. And dont let peope stepmom shame you!!! When you marry someone you are not expected to like nor love your in laws. Where in hells bells does it say we have to love someone elses kids like they are our own. I tell my step kids you may not like me and thats fine but you will respectfully follow my rules. Its an up hill battle. I cried at first too. I straight up told my husband i cant stand his kids anymore. He is ok with that. He has me, our daughter thats 1& 1/2 years old. And his 2 girls 11 and 9. He knows with a home full of females there will be drama and fights for his attention. He doesnt expect me to love his kids. I will say it gets much worse before it gets better. I went from no kids to 2 kids over night it felt like. And it was so overwhelming. Luckily i dont have one of those husbands that always sides with the kids.
He does get onto them when they act up but its still hard. And the people that judge you dont understand. Here we were falling in love with a man with baggage and it all happened so fast. You dont get to go on dates cuz the kids are always there. Everyday two faces that arent related to you just staring you down every day. You dont get to be the couple that fell in love and dated and then moved in together and then have a baby of your own. No mam that fairy tell is for someone else. Instead we have to stay up late on weekends just to be alone together. We dont get to go out ever. No one wants to baby sit 3 kids especially when one is the spawn of her parasitic devil of a mother.

justanothergurlNJ's picture

Welcome. There are a few

Welcome. There are a few Jersey girls here. I have no advise on this. I am mostly un involved with skids. SO does most the disciplining and he only has them EOWE. Most of the ladies here are awesome and funny. On occasion the claws come out but you're from Jersey you can take it. Good luck on your journey into step parenting.

This place has saved my sanity many times!


The custodial parent is the parent who has physical custody of his or her child/ren for the majority of the time. As such, the custodial parent carries most of the responsibility for raising the child, even though the non-custodial parent may be involved.

newstepmomnj's picture

Love my jersey girls! Thanks

Love my jersey girls! Thanks for the encouraging words. Smiling

HeavenLike's picture

It's okay that you don't love

It's okay that you don't love his daughter like your own or that you don't love her like he does.

You are not her parent. You do not have a mother's love for his child, she has a mother already.

The child needs her father not a "step in" mother. It's ironic that you claim BM is not parenting well but neither is the father. Pushing parenting off on someone else is not responsible parenting.

Don't do anything to have the child more often. It is his kid. If he wants to be with her and parent her, he will figure it out. There's no reason to take her from mother only to spend time with you. She needs her Dad.

Only have the child when Dad is available. The next time kid comes over, make yourself scarce. Have an appointment, take your mother to one, anything... avoid them as much as you possibly can so that he has to deal with her.

You had a kind and generous thought however you could not have known that the decision for you to take over his parenting job was a bad one. He does not need someone to make him weaker, he needs to grow stronger every day as a parent.

Trust me when I say it's shocking and dismaying to find out this partner you love, who you think loves you, does not love your child. You feel your child is an extension of yourself, how could new partner not love the child? You love him, right? Therefore you should love his child with all your being.

Your man needs to be educated that he is having magical fantastical thinking. The step relationship takes time to grow. It may be the you and SD never get on like besties, and that's okay. Your role in your relationship is not to take over parenting from Daddy but to be a wife to your husband.

Give him moral support when he's discouraged about parenting but do not offer to do the work for him. He needs to do ALL the parenting of his child including laundry, homework, activities, bedtime, etc etc etc. Think of it as much the same as if he's down or discouraged about something at work, you encourage him, you don't run down to the workplace and do his job for him.

newstepmomnj's picture

I do love her and think she's

I do love her and think she's an adorable little girl, especially when it's just me and her. But you're right. I'm in my late twenties and constantly exhausted because I'm so stressed about my home life. I'm tired of walking on eggshells or afraid to discipline her. I will be making myself less available more and more often. Thank you for the advice! Smiling

sunshinex's picture

Here's what I did when I

Here's what I did when I found myself in the babysitter role when I didn't want to be...

About 30 minutes before SO would usually head to work, I'd start getting ready to go out. If he noticed, I'd say "oh, I'm leaving to go XYZ it's really important sorry" and if he got upset or whatever I'd say "well why wouldn't you ask me if i'm available to babysit first?"

Now since you've started watching his daughter and it's become routine, you need to explain that you're going to start XYZ hobby so he will need to find a sitter at night. Even if it's just for 3 days a week or something. Give him a couple days to prepare something. If he's anything like a lot of the dads on here, he won't prepare anything.

Then when the day comes, you just leave. Go out. Stay out. If he calls you, ask why he didn't prepare because he knew you'd be doing XYZ. If he throws a fit about you not taking care of his child, that's when you need to make it firm: You are NOT mom and you do NOT love her like her mother would and there is NOTHING wrong with that.

Make sure you let him know that it's only natural and a relationship MAY form some day, but certainly not with him rushing you into it or forcing you into it. If he can't understand that, than I hate to say it, but it's not a relationship worth being in.

EDIT: and if he gets upset... don't forget to ask him how he could possibly be so selfish as to think HIS need for a babysitter is more important than YOUR need to have hobbies you enjoy. Bring up maslows hyierchy of human needs too lmao I was a big fan of that... "How dare you think I don't deserve basic human needs like spending time with friends and family and feeling accomplished socially? How dare you insinuate that YOUR need for a babysitter for YOUR child is more important than my basic needs?!"


newstepmomnj's picture

I don't see this being a

I don't see this being a forever situation anymore because I'm looking into changing jobs by June which means no more working from home 2x/week and being flexible to leave early to pick her up. I told him this tonight and he was completely aware this would be a possibility and he said he knows and he appreciates me being able to help....hmmm

sueu2's picture

Newstepmomnj, everybody

Newstepmomnj, everybody thinks they are or will be a great mom/parent. I have to suffer the stories from a lady at work talking about her daughter aaalll the time. She gets on my nerves talking about that brat of a daughter of hers and how she enables the girl, but she thinks her stories are cute, and I've too often heard her state "I'm a GREAT mom!" Really, it's sickening.

What I've learned is a lot of people don't really know what good parenting practices are. It seems to me, for example, that this lady thinks being a good mom is communicating with her daughter. Thus, their endless conversations while her daughter gets smart-lipped, and mommy thinks it's cute. Another example is a lady who felt she was doing the best she could do, when the best she could do was picking her daughter up when the 3/4 year old had one of her frequent screaming tantrums no matter where they were, including being called from daycare/preschool to come and get her brat. I'm saying people don't always know how to parent even though they think they do. So, relying on their own devices is ineffective.

I think it would be a good idea for you to read some articles or books or watch reruns of Super Nanny. They will come in handy when you need skills and tools for your own kid but right now for this one you are trying to deal with.

Here are some places to begin.....

StepAside's picture

newstepmomnj, you stepped in

newstepmomnj, you stepped in it. Others stepped in it. I did too!!

I had a brilliant plan!! We could bring YSD to live with us, so she could be close to her father. What a huge mistake. I wish I never made that decision.

If it makes you feel better, lots of women do the exact same thing. Walk in, see a problem, and get busy solving the problem. Maybe it's so everybody can see just how miraculous, generous, loving and ideal we are for our spouses? Really it is like asking for a kick to the head. But most women, during this time period, will.not.listen. I wouldn't either.

My YSD was a teen. She was okay at first, but then decided she wanted to go live with her mother. She intentionally caused all sorts of chaos in our home to get what she wanted. Eventually we bought her a plane ticket and she got what she wanted. 8 short months later, DH told me YSD called him. She had time to think about it, realized the grass was greener on the other side, and wanted to come back.

Took me 1/2 of 1 second to say, "NO". I had retired my Super Shiny Stepmom cape.

You say your husband works until late at night. 3rd shift? Perhaps he should put in for a different shift. Or, he just works a lot of overtime? Time to reign that in. He has a kid.

Kinda ballsy of him to laugh at you and tell you to get over it. "It" meaning, frustration from raising the kid he brought into this world, from a one night stand.

He needs some skin in this game. He now finds it his responsibility to raise his kid, then he needs to be more involved. He doesn't need to whip the horse more, that's only going to make things worse.

And pardon me, if it sounds to me as though there's a veiled threat in there about how you will be when you raise the kids you have with him. So you'd better do better, or maybe he won't have kids with you.

No wonder you're frustrated. And you're not really in a position to disengage, the kid could lock herself in the fridge. I think the answer if for Daddy to be more of a Dad.