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Having a tough day as a step parent(19 Posts)
I know I'm bring unkind and selfish. But today I hate being a step parent, I resent my dsd and I wish she wasn't here.
Normally she's great and we get on brilliantly. She's 5.
But in the last month or so she's been so sulky and whingey and difficult. Can't play on her own for 5 minutes. Waking all the time for drinks, a wee, etc etc.
I know she's unsettled (her mum recently moved house). I know she's only 5. But I'm so irritated with her today. To be fair, she has no idea I'm irritated - I'm being normal with her and am ignoring the broken night we've all had. I really am a good step mum - she loves me and I'm often the parent she spends most time with during the week.
She was tiny when we met. Her parents divorced before she was born. And the contact time has just gone up and up ever since. Which is great for my dh but in reality it's me who does the school run, cooks her meals, washes her clothes, takes her to parties, ballet, swimming etc. because dh has a job with long hours.
And I do resent it. Sometimes not so much. Sometimes not at all. Watching her Christmas ballet show was incredible and I was in tears watching her - bursting with pride. But other times I feel so trapped.
And I'm not "allowed" to feel cross or annoyed with her because she's my dsd not my dd. None of my friends have step children. There's no-one I can talk to. Which is why I'm here. Ranting. Sorry...
I really am a good step mum. I do love her just not with that all consuming, unconditional love that I have for my own (very small) dc. And as my dsd gets older things just get more and more complicated. I feel trapped.
Sorry, this is long. While I typed a friend called and said "did you have an amazing Christmas?" And I said "yes, amazing!" through my tears because that is what everyone expects. It wasn't amazing. It was hard work and stressful. My normally lovely dsd was so sulky and ungrateful about everything. She just wanted to be at her Mum's house (but it was our turn). At one point I just wanted to say "fine, I'll take you to Mum's house!" but I couldn't. Not my call.
Ok, I've said enough. Thanks for reading.
Hugs aren't the done thing on MN, but have one anyway!
You're right; SM aren't allowed to get frustrated or exasperated with their DSC - even though the rest of MN is full of rants about how ungrateful/difficult/annoying people find their nephews, grandchildren or even their own DCs! You're likely to be flamed for your feelings - which are perfectly natural and to be expected.
It's hard work - especially if you are being taken for granted by your DP. It sounds like he has delegated a lot of his parenting responsibility to you in order to maximise his contact with his DD; you can say no. That is the advantage of being a SM - unlike being a parent, you can refuse to accept that responsibility and leave your DSD parenting to her parents.
If your own DC is losing out on your time/care because of the involvement you have in your DSD life, then it's time to make changes.
I don't think you deserve a flaming. Sounds like you're doing the lions share and that needs taking up with your DP. Perhaps it's time for a sit down with him?
Wow, thank you both for being so kind.
Thing is that dh fought hard in court to get access to dsd. And as she's got older it's increased. But to now ask her mum for less contact time... Well I don't think he could bring himself to. Because she is in her Dad's home - her second home. And I don't think I could manage to say no - I don't want to do so much looking after her on my own. Most of the time it's ok - but sometimes (like today) I just feel so helpless because whatever I do, however close we are, she'd rather be with her Mum. In her heart of hearts. Which I completely understand!
She has said in the past that she wishes I was her real mum. I think it's because she'd like a mummy and daddy who live together, but it does also say something about how close we are and how much time we spend together.
It's just a hard day. Tomorrow will be better. And I'm the adult and I have to get on with it and stop whining myself! It helps to know I'm not alone in this. So thank you
Sorry - wasn't v clear. I wouldn't want her to have less time in our home. Not really. I'd just like the expectation that I'll look after her lifted a bit. But dh can't change his job and we can't afford a babysitter/au pair etc. so I'm a bit stuck!
I think you are a lovely SM.
If you cannot find a solution for this ( but please talk to your DH about this, make sure he fully understands how you feel), then hold close to you the fact things change with children. This is not forever, it's for this moment. She will grow and need you less, challenge you in other ways and you'll still be tearing your hair out. But it will be different.
I think perhaps you need some time out of the family home on a regular basis. One evening away to recharge you.
But you do sound lovely, just frustrated and fed up.
Thank you pancake With my other dc I can TELL people if he's driving me nuts and that's ok. But with a dsc it's not as easy to say when it gets a bit much.
Lifeinblue I just wanted to say I totally understand the frustration of having a DH who is desperate to have as much contact as possible, only for them to be subsequently absent for the majority of the contact time. I call it 'access by proxy.'
The majority of men don't understand (or pretend not to understand) how unfair it is.
Thanks Petal I do understand that dh wants his daughter to have the maximum time in our home - as it's also her home. But yes, it is annoying that he doesn't fully grasp that it's meant to be contact time with him. And if he's not there then it's contact time with me. But I am her family too and my dc is her family. So... It's fair enough.
I suppose there's a big difference between the tiny girl I first met who had 2 nights a month with her Dad and the 5 year old who has at least 10 nights a month with us but often many more. But I just have to get on with it and try hard. I try to focus on the fact that having a relationship with her is a privilege and hopefully the time I put in now will mean something to her when she's older. Children do appreciate their parents eventually, don't they?!
Don't feel ashamed for wanting a break from your Dsd sometimes; she's got two bio parents and it shouldn't be you who does the lions share of the child-care.
I agree totally with your point that "access" should be time that your DH spends with his daughter. Your problem is not uncommon, there are a good few ladies, who post here, who will sympathise.
I don't have anything constructive to say, my situation is not really the same as yours, yet I think I can understand just how you feel. You sound lovely. Don't put too much pressure on yourself, don't blame yourself OR your DSD for feelings of annoyance. I think they're just inevitable. The hardest thing is to know the best way forward - acceptance and finding a coping technique, or trying to change the status quo somehow. I wish I knew the answer...
My 3yo DS drives me bloody crazy a lot of the time too and he's my own flesh and blood, but my god sometimes I wish he would just sit still and keep quiet.
I know what you mean, it's pretty acceptable to have a moan about your own child but the minute you say something remotely negative about a child that's not your own you're automatically deemed to be the wicked step mother.
Kids do just have periods of being unsettled/whingey etc, my DS is even more annoying at the moment because he's been a little poorly and it leaves him whingey for a good week or 2. Team that up with all the excitement of Xmas + being stuck in the house too much cos school holidays and crap weather + eating too much chocolate etc = difficult child.
Just know that you are normal to get annoyed with any child whether it be your own child, a step child or a friends child, they can just be really hard work at times. But it will pass and soon you'll be back to having fun and enjoying her again.
You are being very tough on yourself, all children can be irritating, whether there is a biological link or not.
You need to speak to your DH about spending more time with his DD, particularly if she is feeling insecure about a house move.
OP, I've only just read your thread, otherwise I'd have told you earlier that I know exactly where you're coming from, and I sympathise. I have no DCs but 3 DSCs (8, 4, 2) who are with us half the time, EOweek. During the school term it's easier in that I'm the one that works long hours; I'm simply not there to be relied on. (DP is self-employed therefore flexible). Holidays and weekends are a different matter though, and I struggle. I'm happy to step in and help out but I resent it being assumed that I'll do so. I'm trying to get DP to understand that he needs to ask me, not inform me like he did this morning (despite my having told him last week that whilst I might be at home, I was unavailable yesterday & today as I'm no longer on holiday and could be called out).
Anyway, Op, I just wanted to say that you don't sound at all 'unkind and selfish'. Just human - because SMs are human beings too .
I would be so unhappy if I were this girls mum, not because of you, but because this child wants to spend time with her parents, and if her dad is working, it should be her mum. But her dad has fussed in court until the child spends more time at his house, although he's spending no more time with her, so she has to be looked after by you.
I'd be very angry with your husband.
Your SD is not the issue - your husband is. He's dragged things through the court to fight for as much contact as possible and then leaves you to deal with all the crappy bits? Not fair on you, the little girl or her mum.
I agree the issue here is your DH and the extent he has increased contact time with the responsibility for that on your shoulders. Were you ever asked if x-amount of extra time was ok, knowing that would fall on you as opposed to him? Is he able to request a change to his working hours/pattern to give him more opportunity to spend time with your DSD as opposed to the 'by proxy' situation you have now?
I think you need to have an honest chat with him, framed to make it clear the time DSD is there is for her benefit and he needs to be there more for her sake.
Op you sound lovely. I agree with other posters, we all get fed up and worn out with our children. Its such a shame that just because you're the step mum you can't voice those frustrations. I think your dh is very inconsiderate - you are doing all the parenting! I'm not a sm but I'm a mum and if xp insisted on taking our dd more and more but not spending that time with her id really be asking him why. And that wouldn't be anything personal against you!
Agree you need to speak to your dh. If he doesn't want to 'back down' over contact he needs to do something about his work on the days she is at yours. You do sound like you care about her a lot but you aren't her parent and that is who she wants to spend time with, understandabley.
I've read on mn that 5 is a common age for children to find having two families difficult, even if they never remember a time of the parents being together. At that age they start taking more notice of friend's families and things come up at school.
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