not coping with being a sm - please be understanding..(40 Posts)
I feel so awful even writing this but I need to ge this off my chest as it were. My dh and i have been together for 7 years, the first 2 of these he had no contact with his dd due to his ex being generally obstructive and stopping him from seeing dd. When i had my dd (now 4) contact began again alternate weekends and i was thrust into being a sm and mother all at once which was hard going.
Now here we are 4 years later, with 2 kids of our own. Dsd is 13 and is really no bother at all, except for being extremely clingy and attention seeking towards my Dh. When she is here, she follows him from room to room like his shadow, hardly makes conversation with me (perhaps i should try a little harder too). What i find so irritating is that when she is here we get no time to ourselves as she doesn't seem to be able or willing to entertain herself. She sits up til late with us, meaning that we can't watch grown up tv or movies. Then if she is told she has to go to bed at half 9, she has a strop as if she is entitled to stay up until we go to bed.
To be honest i am wondering if i made a mistake in marrying someone with a child as i am obviously too childish to share my husband. I also feel guilty as i can't feel anything towards her apart from irritation and resentment. Surely by now i should feel love or at least warmth towards her.
I guess by posting this i was hoping i am not the first sp to ever feel like this....
So there is a 13 year old girl whos Dad hasn't been in her life for 2 years and you dislike her because every 2nd weekend you can't watch grown up tv and she is taking your DHs attention away from you now that she is finally in his life again?
Imagine if your children were in her shoes? Would you like them to be palmed off to bed early in the 4 days a month they see their Dad because his new wife wants to watch a film?
Really it doesn't sound like you are even willing to try with her. I'm not surprised she doesn't really talk to you in all honesty. You really need to make more of an effort.
In the two years I have been a step mum I have felt a lot of guilt, resentment and irritation. Me and DP have his dcs every weekend and I often feel that we have no time together. I have a great relationship with my dsc and can honestly say I love them but it has taken a while!
My advice would be to go out somewhere as a family when Dsd is with you even just to the park or somewhere where there are plenty of distractions to stop the clingyness. Or use contact weekends to take your dcs to visit family and leave dh to have some alone time with his dd.
The evenings would annoy me greatly - thankfully not at that stage yet. If Dsd has her own room could she have a tv/DVD player to watch?
I don't think you are being childish just human. I think it is okay to feel like this from time to time as long as you talk to your dh about it and don't ever let your dd pick up on your negative feelings.
But you and your children have him so often. It's sad that she follows him. I feel so touched by that. She obviously wants more than she can have. Sorry. I'm sure it's tough for you too but she's only young.
Get a TV for you bedroom and go to bed at 10 to watch your adult movies there.
And dont begrudge the child time with her dad. In the next 3 years or so, he will become less important, as her friendships and social life take over. However, her relationship with her dad will colour her relationships with men throughout her life, so encourage her to develop a strong sense of being treated well and treated respectfully by men. And by women - you especially. SHe is not a second class citizen in your home, which is how it reads. SHe has as much right to be there as your own children. Maybe she follows her dad around so she doesnt have to spend time alone with someone that resents her??
Try making a bit more effort because you are the adult. Teenage girls are difficult, but they are also delightful. Take her shopping for a new outfit or some cool boots or even a bottle of nail varnish - doesnt have to cost the earth,. Stop in for a coffee/hot chocolate half way round, maybe even lunch. Treat her like you welcome her and you like her. Leave the little ones with their dad. Get a baby sitter and take her out with you and your DH for a movie. Include her.
Its not as if she is sent off to bed early every night we have her. We have spent the last week with her here (she has later school start date) so she has had all day long with her dad (with me going out so they can spend time together without me being there. She has had 2 nights out with her dad while i have been stuck in with the little ones. All I expect is that for some of those nights she spends with us, she might go to bed at a reasonable time. What is a reasonable time anyway for a 13 year old? I am pretty sure i wasn't staying up past 10 at that age on a regular basis.
Strops are normal for teenagers being packed off to bed. What is upsetting about your post is the detail about her following him. She is attention seeking, I would suggest, because she is not getting enough attention or enough of the right attention from him.
Do you know if she does this with her mother too?
I feel for your dsd, two weekends a month and you begrudge her staying up with you and her Dad you begrudge her having his attention so much she is following him about.
I've had feelings like this before - clingy children, constant cry of 'daddy!' and feeling like all I want to do is cuddle up to DP on the sofa but there's a child either side and no room for me... but essentially, I've just had to learn to suck it up! They're his children, and as much as sometimes I want to stamp my feet and have attention, they're always going to come first for him, or at least equal first. And yes, that's frustrating sometimes - but I wouldn't want it any other way. I couldn't respect DP if he could put my insecurities ahead of making sure his children felt loved and cared for.
Do DP and DSD have any alone time together? Sounds like she needs that attention from him - even something like cooking dinner together or watching a tv programme, doesn't have to be going out somewhere etc.
She's a part of his life and always will be, and you'll be a lot happier if you can get that into a good place. If you're feeling like you're not getting enough quality time with DH, can you set aside some proper 'you' time? I don't have any children, so not quite the same, but on the weekends DSCs aren't here, we try to make sure that at least every other one we do something for us - go out for dinner, watch a film, go out somewhere etc.
littlelamby is right. It's not a case of being wrong for having those feelings, more a case of learning to manage it.
It's really hard sometimes.
I think that you need to get to know her - leave your DH looking after the younger ones and do some fun things alone with her.
She will be clingy when her sisters get her father full time and she gets part time - she needs to feel more secure in that she is a full part of the family.
HI, I just wanted to offer some sympathy. I came into my DH's life when his daughter was 13. Based on my own experience and that of other stepmums - I think that entering a relationship with a 13 year-old girl in the mix (and lets face it, you have entered a relationship with her as well as your DH) is particularly fraught and difficult.
Don't beat yourself up or allow others to drag you over the coals for wanting a 'normal' and healthy relationship with your partner. You will have to make compromises, as I am sure you already have realised, but you will also have to learn to set boundaries and communicate with your DH about your needs and your feelings. And know that it can get much, much, better.
If you have not already, I'd suggest a long, long read of this board - there are a number of posts from other women with teenage DSDs that might be helpful to you! And do some research. I personally found the book 'Stepcoupling' to be very insightful and reassuring. Good luck.
OP you feelings are very understandable, please don't feel guilty. It can be extremely Difficult as these access visits can be very intense and artificial. You are only being human to feel unsettled by it. I still, after 10 years, find the access weekends suffocating. I deal with this by doing my own thing a lot, either with DS , or even alone while letting DS spend time with his dad and brothers. We too have the staying up all hours to watch crap films. Sometimes there isn't actually anywhere for me to even sit and do I just go upstairs. Sympathies
I feel the same as you about DSC staying up til adult bedtime. I always get mine in bed by 9 (oldest is 12) and really need that small bit of time at the end of the day alone with DP to relax, to chat about the day, and to feel that we are the adults in the house and we are in charge.
Before I moved in I successfully negotiated a compromise of 10pm for the teenagers. DP takes prodding to enforce it, and we do let them up later on the odd ocassion (eg to watch the end of a film) but mostly it's working.
If you can pick on a few practical changes you can make, like the bedtimes, and get something that meets your needs as well as DSD's then maybe you might find it easier coping with the rest of the time. Planning I find helps a bit too - so we agree (for instance) that we will go to a party on the Saturday evening, and than Friday evening, DP can watch crap on TV with his DCs whilst I do something else. Then maybe we all do something together on the Sunday pm.
I have a 14 year old dd, and an 11 year old dsd - luckily I have been through a lot of it with my own, but my dsd is just starting the teenager thing... it is hard - and much harder with a step because you're not sure of the boundaries that the bm puts in place
i don't like my steps staying up til 11.30pm, after I have gone to bed. Nor do i like my DD doing it.
To keep the peace DH/ Disney Dad put in a second sky subscription so now I can sit up in my bedroom and watch adult themed programmes. I don't feel the need to spend quality time with DH I just want to watch Dexter for example which is not ok for under 16yr olds.
OP after reading your post, im wondering if this is the cause for your resentment...
When you met your partner, it was like he was basically childless. You had children of your own, you then had your own little close knit family.
Then his daughter came back on the scene and reminded you that he had a previous life before you and his daughter being a regular visitor ar yours has made you feel like she has invaded your life.
You find it irriating that she wants to be around your DP, you feel resentful that she wants to be near you partner when she isnt one of your own children.
If this is true, im just guessing here, then i think its normal to feel like this.
You cant help the way you feel, But i think its how you deal with your feelings that count.
Another one who doesn't like kids hanging around all evening. When dsd's tv broke in her room, we offered to buy them another one. they were both adamant they didn't want one, they never watched tv and preferred to read apparently. Made it quite clear that tv is for losers etc. Were very adamant about it.
So what happens now? They sit in the front room criticising whatever we are watching, talking loudly so no one can hear the tv and generally being a pain in the arse.
It is true they don't watch tv until its time to for them to go to bed, then they come in and interrupt "our" time.
Dp thinks they're being sociable and as we haven't seem them all evening, we should encourage them to sit with us. Sigh!
As your DCs get older you don't have an evening- the downside is that you have an older child and are experiencing it earlier - the upside is that it isn't every night.
I wouldn't feel awful, having some adult time is an important part of a relationship, however unless your DP is willing to change this it seems you are stuck between a rock and a hard place. You can do as much as you can with her but when evening comes and it's her time for bed why shouldn't you have your time with your husband. All parents are entitled to some time alone.
Can you maybe talk to your husband about how you're feeling before the resentment builds up?
There are ways though - I send both mine up at 9pm to chill in their room, that way they're not being sent to bed early but we still get a bit of an evening. I think it's imperative to get some time alone with your partner - and I know for definite that I wasn't allowed to sit downstairs until really late with my mum and dad for exactly that reason. That's what a tv in the bedroom is for.
To my mind, children have too much control. They think they run the house and make the rules - they do not
I don't have TVs in the bedroom. The useful part is that they start going out and you get the evening back-you just have to lie awake waiting for them to get in.
On the bedtime thing I have no idea there as my Step daughter stays up as late as she pleases, often way past 12/1 o'clock
I take myself off up to bed at about 10pm and DH joins me after not too long. I can understand her wanting to stay up and spend time with him and him her if it's only alternate weekends, particularly if he missed out on a few years. Is more contact out of the question? It's probably the last thing you want but if they had more time together then it might be more natural rather than the following around...
I have felt the way that you do often. But now DSD never comes here (long story) and I really miss the little girl that I grew to love.
Do you have anything in common with her at all?
Your SD is only with you alternate weekends, not every night, not even every weekend! Let her have that time with her Dad. Your DH could set it that he goes to bed at ten or half ten regardless, and that that is when she goes to bed too.
I was a SM for 9 years and genuinely enjoyed having the 2 boys round, I liked to see them bonding with their dad. Are you really so jealous and insecure you can't let her spend those alternate weekend evenings with him?
You admit you could make more effort with her. Why not think about making sure you have asked her an open question once a day when she is with you, paid her a compliment once a day when she is with you, that kind of thing.
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