Struggling

(10 Posts)
Supersue82 Sat 12-Oct-13 20:54:24

My doctor recommended me to look at this site and use for advice smile
I've been part of a step family for 3 years and to be honest I find it a struggle.
My oh is self employed but due to the down turn he ended up taking on. Part time job driving which means he works nights and has two nights off a week one with me and the other when the kids r with us.
I moved to where he and the kids live so in a seance I had to start a new but it has never felt like home I've struggled to make friends etc.
His ex took him to court last year and we spent all of the year on tender hooks. She went for sole residency and flexi contact, the judge threw this out the window but social works were involved and we had a cafcas report. Final outcome was joint residency and 45% contact for u which is more than we started with so really good for my oh but it's put so much pressure on everything mainly me. I struggle to cope with all the comings and goings...I have no contact when the kids aren't here but when they there I have to play mum I do it all. It's all or nothing. Coz my oh isn't here I spend so much time on my own and its taking its toll. I have a demanding job and work 50-60 hours a week. Last week I took the step in admitting I think I'm depressed and anxious I dont want to take tablets I want to sort the issue out but I feel lonely and struggle.
If any one has advice on coping with step families please help me smile

lunar1 Sat 12-Oct-13 21:33:52

I'm not surprised you are struggling. It sounds like your oh has gone for more contact so he could 'win' in court and has just dumped all the responsibility on you.

Did you get a say in any of this?

NumTumRedRum Sat 12-Oct-13 21:44:02

Oh dear. It is hard. I see it from both sides, I had three step children with my first husband, and now that we are divorced, his partner is now step mum to our daughter.

Tell us a little more about the set up. How old are they, how the contact works etc.

We'll try and help you if we can.

MatryoshkaDoll Sat 12-Oct-13 21:48:26

There's no point him having the extra contact if he's not there to spend the time with them.

It's not fair of your DP to put all that responsibility on you just so he can win a hollow victory against his ex.

Does he know how you feel? Does he care?

daisychain01 Sat 12-Oct-13 22:21:36

Hello Supersue, please could you give some more info about your DSCs.

For example how old they are, how do the arrangements work regarding schooling, ie are you all living in the same vicinity (incl their mum).

Also, how do you get on with the children, are they settled, which are the aspects that are upsetting you/giving you most challenge?

It must be tremendously tiring and difficult holding down a 50-60hr per week job plus all the demands of 3 children on you. No wonder you are feeling down!

Best to start thinking about which are the most difficult challenges and tackle them one at a time so it doesnt overwhelm you.

Beamur Sat 12-Oct-13 22:27:34

I'm not surprised you are struggling.
Without knowing all the details - from what you have said it really doesn't sound ideal or fair on you.
I'm a SM (and a SD) and it was a rare event for me to be in sole charge of the SC's when they were younger. For many years if DP was away during his contact time, he and his ex shifted it about so the kids were with her. I certainly didn't expect, or was expected to take up the slack.
Whilst I'm generally of the view the kids needs should come first, this situation is making you ill and that's no good for anyone.

Xalla Sun 13-Oct-13 08:54:02

Also not surprised you're struggling OP.

Your DP has basically gone for joint residency 'by proxy' where you are actually the one having most of the contact with his kids. It's something that you hear about surprisingly often on this forum. Rather than be seen to 'lose' in court Dads would rather leave their girlfriends / partners / wives to care for their kids while they work. It's not a usually a satisfactory arrangement for anyone involved (bar the Dad) and rarely ends in much but resentment and frustration in my experience. I don't believe it's good for the kids ultimately and I'm certain it's not good for the long suffering step-mums. I gave my DH an ultimatum a few months ago as I was in a similar situation; I was the unwilling main carer for my DSD while she was with us which was >50% of the time.

Things have changed now, my DSD spends less time in our home than she did but when she's here, DH almost always is too and he cares for her. I can't tell you how much happier I am, how much happier my children are and actually, I think my DSD is happier too.

My DH isn't too happy but as with often the case with blended families; there was no 'one shoe fits all' solution.

Supersue82 Sun 13-Oct-13 20:00:49

My oh is an excellent dad and the kids love him, he took on the evenin driving job as he needed to provide and it's such good money, but he know things have to change
My skids are 14,12,10 they are well settled with us they all have bedrooms in our house, seperate, at their mums the boys share but we saw the boys need the space at their ages. We all live in the same small town which is hard. It's been this way for two years I have very much stepped into the mum role, this has caused many arguments between the two of us but we are at the stages that we know its not forever and needs must. We have high outgoings due to maintenance and all the extras we pay for plus clothes school trips and we live in a 4 bed house to accommodate everyone (again a cause of arguments) I see the benefits of living where the kids do, it's ease for them to still carry on just at another house we are not up routing them every week where they have no friends. But it is hard.
Contact works on a 4 week rota...thus,fri,sat,sun week two thus,fri, and sat am then repeating for week 1 then week for is just a Thursday night plus half holidays and an extra 7 nights any time in the year, Xmas is spilt by Xmas day they take it in turns if one doesn't have them Xmas day then they get them New Year's Eve.
The two eldest are at secondary school which they can walk to from both houses and the youngest is in primary at the next village my oh takes and picks him on our time. Everything is more or less 50/50 between the houses.
I think the hardest is my oh not around I don't feel settled in my home so I don't feel I can relax this is where some of the anxiety lies. The all or nothing is difficult, one min the house is full the next empty and I feel I've been left. I feel I have lost me some where in the last few years and I'm not who I p was but I now don't know who I am...
Many thanks so far smile

mumtobealloveragain Sun 13-Oct-13 20:27:50

Working 50-60hrs a week is exhausting by itself - I'm not surprised you feel worn out having to look after 3 children too!

So, your OH has taken on the extra work to be able to better afford things for the children. That's admirable, but why does he need to? Couldn't you look at reducing outgoings allowing him to not have to work the second job and/or you be able to reduce your working hours a little perhaps?

Firstly, do you need a 4 bed house - you mention that this is a cause of many arguments. Surely a 3 bed house or even a large 2 bed house (perhaps a dining room to use as an extra bedroom or one room to be split into two with a partition wall?) children don't need to have a bedroom each, especially when their dad and step mum are working themselves into the ground to afford it and the room is empty 50% of the time!

As for high outgoings due to maintenance and other costs. Is your OH paying his ex a fair amount of maintenance and is the by mutual agreement or via the CSA? You have the kids with you half the time, pay her maintenance AND pay for clubs, clothes and school trips - that seems a little unfair. Does she also get Child Benefit and perhaps Tax Credits for all 3 children?

Supersue82 Mon 14-Oct-13 10:45:35

Hi thank you to every one for you comments i felt a lot better reading them last night, thank you.
I personally dont think we need the house we do we could easily have a 3 bed house which would still accomidate everyone my OH is very concerned about moving house as we moved serveral times in the first year part of this was due to me feeling so unsettled. We have been in our current house for 2 years and it still doesnt feel like home, i try to put my soul into it but the kids have very little respect for the house which means then it is another job to do, my OH does help around the house (even though he think washing up means he doesnt have to wash pans up) if this makes sense i dont feel i can walk freely around the house, it doesnt feel like mine.
As my OH is self employed his income can be all or nothing so working nights means he can still do his job and also have a steady income. With maintence we pay throught the CSA and becasue of the contact we have we pay a small amount, but on top of that we pay for school lunchs (they now decided they dont want school meals so we buy them food for their mums house) half of all trips & school uniforms. Casual clothes we also pay for sports memberships and clubs and any clothing for clubs then the larger house, food etc! its expensive. Their mum gets all the benifts etc and works and has her own ebay shops which she makes an income from but does not delcare.
I very much feel we get the hard end of everything.

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