So fed up of being a step mum!(22 Posts)
Dh and I have been together nearly 5 years. Whew do have a very large family as we both had children before we met. We knew this would be a hard road, but there doesn't seem to be any upsides currently. Perhaps if I could share some of it with you I might not feel so down?
To begin with we had it planned out easily, my dc lived with me and then of course dh moved in. Every other wkd my dc would go to my ex and we had a wkd to ourselves. (Sort of) then the following weekend my dc would be home and dhs dc would join us. This was the pattern for at least a year. It worked fine. As it meant I still got some time with my dc on my own. Which was important as I had been a single mum with them on my own for several years.
In stark contrast I now get about 3 days a year with them to myself. As dss moved in. This wasn't the plan from the beginning but his mother couldn't cope with his dreadful behaviour any more and sent him to live with us. Well me let's face it as dh is at work all day. At that point I had never met the woman. He arrived with no clothes, toys or anything not even a coat. The agreement was at the beginning she would have him for half the holidays etc. He was 10yrs old.
I've just realised this is going to be long.... Sorry and thankyou if you have the patience to read to the end.
So he's been living with me getting on for 4 years. I have done my absolute best for him. Nothing ever comes back the other way. I've had to teach him the basics from scratch, manners, right/wrong, other people's feelings, sharing... etc I used to think he had some sort of aspergers/autistic spectrum but now I think she just parented him so incredibly badly. It's been a very ahed awful road. I was totally nieave at the beginning. I had no idea of the opposition I would get in trying to get him support for his behaviour. Of course I just got the blame as I wasn't even his mother. Oh you don't give him enough attention etc etc.. We've heard it all. At one point he cried wolf and ss were involved momentarily. But that was about 3 years ago fortunately, that is very much behind us. It's been the most awful road. He is actually much better than he was and I am pleased if I have made a slight bit of difference to him.
However I miss my own children drastically. They are right here and yet every moment dss is here its soooo very much harder. He still struggles to flush a loo, close a fridge, ask for things instead of just taking, manners, rudeness, charging in when I'm getting dressed, demands, sometimes bullying. Example of behaviour, taking tic tax box to school filled with sugar, told teacher it was cocaine, so she thought we were drug dealers.
This week i had (despite huge protest from dhs ex) 1 whole day with my dc to myself! The whole weekend was spoilt as she announced she's be dropping him off Sunday even though it had been planned for months. However she didn't. We had such a wonderful time, just us! I now feel incredibly torn! The oldest ds is nearly 15, he'll be gone soon and I will have missed it! I've spent the last few years in this horrid spiral! I've now become financially dependant on dh. I feel as though I'm at the demands of this awful woman who tbh really fucked her son up. I didn't make him like that and yet I have to fight the daily battle because she wasn't up to her job as a parent. It's made me Ill and most importantly my dc have missed out on me and me on them. If I could wind the clock back I think perhaps I wouldn't have gone on that date with dh. I do love him, but its taken such a toll.
It's bloody tough, isn't it? There was a thread on here a while back asking step-parents if they'd do it all again. The answer from pretty much everyone was a resounding 'no'. They all thought that just loving and caring for their stepchildren would be enough, but realised there were so many aspects that you don't even consider until you're in the situation, that were completely out of their control.
Thanks Natasha! This is the arrest thing I have ever done in my life. And I've done some extraordinarily hard things.
Yep, I agree with you there. It dawned on me the other day that with all the stress and worry over DSD and her mother, DS hardly registers in our thoughts in comparison. I feed him, bath him, look after him, obviously - but so much of my day goes on dealing with and worrying the latest issue with DSD and her mother. We take a day off every month to take DSD to the airport to visit her mother but didnt even take a day off for DS first birthday last year as we didn't have enough holiday time left. I need to make sure that he gets the same priority that DSD does in our lives from now on and your DH needs to make sure you get time with your own kids too, you're not being at all unreasonable for wanting that.
You're very right. My dh clearly doesn't seem to realise that's important. He took on 2 tiny dsd's when he met his ex, then they had 2 more together. He felt the same towards all of them and their dads weren't around, so it was easier for him to step in. So when I say I need some time with mine he thinks we should just all have family time together. ( its just so hard.
I totally understand what you're saying. I have a dss who is now 23, a lovely young man now whom I love and get along with extremely well. But it was not always like that. We had awful problems when he was in his early teens, I was at my wits end! He rebelled against me taking up his father's attention (and i totally get that, but what's the answer?) and he resented me parenting him. his mother passed away when he was a baby, so slightly different situation to yours , but i had no idea what i was getting into. We got through those difficult years somehow and stated together as a family (with dd as well).
But I think your dh needs to step up. It's his son and his responsibility. It also sounds like your dss is seeking attention through difficult behavior?? Your poor dcs are having to take a back seat to him, that's not right.
Unfortunately as mothers, it's assumed we will do the "mothering" thing, whether they are our responsibility or not.
It's good to hear things can improve over time. My worry is that in that time my dc will have grown up too. I resent it Currently. Which isn't good.
I have made dh step up some what. When dss went up to secondary school I made sure my details weren't on his registration. I didn't want to be the first port of contact as I had been before when everything went wrong. Now dh gets the call, sometimes up to 3 a week from the school. I used to have to then explain it all to dh and if course being the barer of bad tidings would get head bitten off. I've removed myself from that situ, thank god.
I care dss is ok I really do and I've supported him as much as I could. But to protect myself and my dc I've had to take a back seat a bit. I don't think I love him? I'm supposed to arent I?
Sadsong, you're doing a great job - beyond the call of duty IMHO.
Well done for taking a bit of a step back. It is your dh who needs to take action, and that is what your dss needs; his Dad. No matter how much you do for him, it won't be enough. And you are not his mother, she should step up as well, but I understand this does not always happen.
I know what you mean when you have to discuss issues with your dh. This happened to me, and still does. I think dh can't handle anything negative being said about 'his son' even though I have been the mum for 20 years!!! I think I'm entitled to my opinion!!! Mind you I also point out the good things, I'm just being honest, either way!
Be kind to yourself - you really do deserve appreciation and respect from all of your family .
Thanks wundawoman! It's actually so nice to hear from others in the same boat. Clearly you've been doing this a lot longer than me, you could probably write the book !
It sounds like you are doing a great job but you are putting the blame in the wrong person.
You have chosen to be with your dh, yet the ex is getting the blame for all the bad behaviour. Where is his responsibility in all this. It it worth staying with him when you are missing out on precious time with your children? Your dh needs to step up
Yes some of the blame if you call it that is dhs but ex has done some quite awful things that have screwed dss up a bit. For instance after dh left when ex kicked my dh out, she moved her new boyfriend in after 6 weeks. This must have been very confusing and devastating for the dc at the time. Dh had no say in that. It was purely her doing. Since that bf she had a few others all of which she moved in, another man. Another set of rules. The first time I met dhs dc I they were riddled in nits. Crawling down the side of dsds face. she's been a pretty bad role model tbh. She blamed dss behaviour and not being able to cope with him anymore. A few months later we found out she was actually having another baby and wanted space to make a nursery.
None of this is dhs fault. I agree though he should have done more. I just feel like I've had enough at the moment.
First rule of step parenting-don't bad mouth the mother. And yes some of it is your dh's fault.
Her behaviour and the impact it has had on her dc is evident In their behaviour. I haven't bad mouthed to them. I am in an impossible situation. I can't make it any better myself. I can't make them be better parents. I'm doing my best.
Oh sadsong I feel so sorry for you and your dc I really do. Again, as the first person said about the thread asking if we'd do it again....no. I haven't read all the responses to see what advice anyone may have come up with but will look back. Life is too short.... I have been with my DH 5 years now and have a dss12. & dsd 6 and our own ds 21 wks...it's soooo difficult some times (most the time) don't loose time as it only speeds up x
I'm glad you've made some small steps to get your DH to take on more of the responsibility, but it is not enough.
You need - really need - to set aside time for yourself, and also time for you to be with your own kids. Don't negotiate this anymore, insist on it.
You need some financial independence, too. Easier said than done, I know...but having been in the situation of being financially dependent on my DH, I know just how that makes the situation feel so much more hopeless. If you can't earn an independent income at present, can you start putting money aside in a separate savings that is yours alone? It is important to have money not only as a sort of 'just in case' fund, but also money that you can use to treat yourself and your kids when you need to.
What does 'work' for you with DSS? Are there any times with him that you enjoy, or any activities that are successful? Are you getting anything out of your relationship with him? If not, maybe that is something you can work on...it might make life more tolerable if you find a way to get some satisfaction from all the effort you have to put in, even if it is just a change in perspective. And if there are some things that are enjoyable, perhaps you can spend more time on those things and hand off some of the more challenging things back to DH.
And no, you are not "supposed" to love him. If you do, that's wonderful, but it is not a realistic expectation, and it is not necessary for his well-being. You say he's better behaved than he was when you started as a family - so take a lot of pride and hope from that! (I do understand...my DSCs had some semi-serious behavioral issues when I met them...they've come a long way -mostly due to DH slowly making changes and recognizing boundaries, but I think I can take some credit too - and even though things are not perfect, I do feel proud of all of us for having got this far.)
Emilyeggs and birdgrl, thankyou for your input. It did all come tumbling out on Friday night, with a rather large argument between me and dh. He has said he will legalise it better. When I got divorced my ex and I had an "arrangements for children" drawn up. at times it has been a god send to know where we all stand. He wasn't married to his ex so nothing was ever drawn up. More than anything I find it hard to be dictated to by a woman who simply doesn't care about her son. My ex has his faults but without fail every other weekend he collects our dc at 5pm and drops them off at 5pm Sunday. Then 3 further full weeks. Where I know I will get a rest. Every one of these weeks even though they are booked a year in advance ends up with dhs dc encroaching into them. The other 49 weeks of the year I really don't mind so much. But I need a rest too.
This week has been so stressful not knowing where I stand. I have made myself very ill.
Regarding money, I run my own business well actually we run 2. I took on premesis when dss came to live with us as working purely from home became an impossibility. Before that I had my own money. I'm tied to it until the end of this year. Then I will have my own money again. Another sacrifice I Made for his son in all good faith and yet I'm left out of pocket.
I really feel for you. Taking on a child who's been booted out by birth parents - either for behaviour or because they wouldn't look after them - is no joke. At least professional foster carers get training for these often very damaged children.
I think you need to start minimising the damage to your own life. You've been royally screwed so far - the placement of DSS has cost you financial independence, for instance, and missing parenting your own children has been often upsetting.
I would start with the financial stuff, to be honest, in the discussions you need to have with DSS' father - it's more neutral territory.
There is no need for DSS' stepmum (you) to ruin her life to look after him, to be honest. You have to set boundaries in what you will and won't do - you need money again, and you need time and energy to do that. Arrange that. DSS needs a more active father - insist on that. If you can spare the time (unlikely) look into getting professional help for dealing with troubled children - insist his parents attend before you do.
Be strong with negotiations here - to put it bluntly, it seems as if you're the only person who is prepared to care full-time for DSS and that puts you in a very strong bargaining position. How old is he? How long do you have to go?
Oh, and your DSS will probably love you most, by the way - children ain't stupid.
Thankyou corygal, actually that all made a lot of sense. I re read it several times yesterday.
Dss is 14 in the autumn. So in some ways not long to go. But parenting doesn't end at 18 does it. When things came to a crunch a couple of years ago with ss and the dreadful school he was at, we moved. I was desperate to get him to be independent. Which tbh though he hated it, because it meant him having to take a bit of responsibility it has been very good for him. He was very immature for his age. And In Fact still curls up on his dads lap for a cuddle.
Previously he did have some counselling but this wasn't very helpful and cost a fortune. The situ with his parents means family counselling is out if the question. We also had a family support worker who was horrendous. Anyway that's all behind us and things have improved since then but I will not be opening that can of worms again myself.
I will be purely working from home as of January and in time will have my own money again. I have maintenance from my ex and child Ben, but this isn't enough for me to be independant. But working from home again brings its own troubles and stresses. Our house is arranged better for that now though. So fingers crossed.
Dh is prone to giving in a lot although better than he was its very frustrating when I try to keep everything consistent. I would say I can't think of a single benefit of having a dss. Although dsd and my dd do get on really well. She has no actual sisters so this is nice for her. Mostly they really get on well.
Well at least that's something - the two girls getting on well. I still think that you are in the strongest position of everyone about putting your foot down - your life suffering is not an option, and it won't benefit DSS in any way either.
Another weekend and another drama. This time exs car won't start! Funny how it will miraculously work tomorrow though! So she can't collect dss for the 99th time. Dh will have to take him there, which means taking our ds too because I'm working. So ds will fall asleep and not sleep tonight.
There's nothing good about this is there.
The first Friday perhaps forever I am breathing a sign of relief! Dh has stood up to his dsd. It does mean she isn't coming this wkd, but he actually stuck to his guns. She wouldn't apologise for bad behaviour. Dss is going away for the wkd. So hopefully we can celebrate dhs other dds bday without ructions!
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