Do you find you modify your behaviour when DSCs are with you?

(163 Posts)
MatryoshkaDoll Thu 13-Mar-14 18:13:10

DP's ex asked us to have DSD (6) tonight because she's 'feeling under the weather' hmm and DP has agreed.

I feel terribly guilty about the fact that I'm not overjoyed at this last minute dumping of DSD on us. And after analysing it a bit I think it's because I feel like I can't be as relaxed and slob out when DSD is here.

I've got a two month old baby and am spending a lot of time on the sofa with my boobs out breast feeding. I have the attendant wobbly blancmange tummy and generally still feel a bit wobbly as I try to get to grips with looking after a newborn.

I actually don't really like having DSD crawling all over me while I'm breast feeding. I feel self conscious about her seeing my breasts and lactating nipples. I don't want her to see my stretch marks and tummy and ask questions or make comments. I'm acutely aware that whatever goes on in our home has the potential to be reported back to her mum (who I have a cordial relationship with but whom privately I don't like). So I find I modify my behaviour when she's around to try and get as much privacy as possible. It makes me feel stressed and uncomfortable but I don't know what to do about it.

DP brought DSD to see me and DD in hospital less than a day after I'd had quite a tricky birth. He didn't warn me he'd be bringing DSD with him, just sprung her on me while I was still heavily bleeding lochia and leg naked in bed (having not had a shower yet due to epidural legs not working) trying to establish breast feeding. The whole time she was there I didn't move because I was lying on blood soaked padding and I didn't want her to see it.I realised today that i actually feel quite resentful about the sudden intrusion on what was a very private and emotional time for me. Am I wrong to feel that way?

In his head it's all fine because he sees us all as his family. But I simply don't feel as unself-conscious around DSD as parents do around their own children. How can I explain that to DP?

FrogbyAnotherName Thu 13-Mar-14 19:03:57

I'm guessing that your DP expects you to view his DD as your own and he assumes that you love her the way he does?

What do you fear will happen if you tell him what you have written? That you simply don't feel as unself-conscious around DSD as parents do around their own children.

You have worded it really clearly -its one of the most concise and accurate descriptions I've read of the difference between DSC and DCs.

So why not just tell him? Explain that it's not a criticism, it's not a judgement, it's not something you feel guilty or embarrassed about but your DSD is not your DD, she has her own parents, and you want him to support you to put in place the boundaries that you need to feel comfortable in your own home. Ask him to show you that level of respect.

Your DSD will not be scarred for life if she's not allowed to climb all over you - whether you are breast feeding or not. She would not have felt left out if she'd met her new half sibling in the visitors room with her Dad rather than at your bedside. She will not consider herself second-best if you maintain a level of personal privacy you are comfortable with.

MatryoshkaDoll Thu 13-Mar-14 19:53:10

I don't know what I'm scared of.

DSD's mum seems to prefer to live a childless lifestyle with her new partner and so we have DSD a lot of the time. We do more family stuff together.

I think DP is angling for DSD to naturally progress to live full time with us eventually, which would be totally fine, except that I think DP thinks that at that point we would become a proper 'nuclear family unit'. But I know that I would still feel the same way re: self-consciousness and I don't think that'll ever change. To admit that to DP would be like telling him he'll never have that proper 'nuclear family' and I'm worried he'd be disappointed in me or blame me because I can't/don't love DSD enough.

I think he wants the four if us to be as if I was DSD's mum but I think he's unrealistic because that's just not the case. And I feel like he prefers not to acknowledge my feelings on the matter because it will shatter the illusion he's built in his head.

purpleroses Thu 13-Mar-14 20:57:55

I certainly do modify it - I don't walk around half dressed, etc. But I'm lucky that my DP understands that and doesn't want me to take over the role of mum in DSC's lives. Maybe it's easier because I have my own DCs too, so he knows how it feels being around children that aren't your own.

There was a thread on here a few weeks back when someone was saying that some men didn't really move on from their divorces, instead they just tried to slot a new partner into the hole in their imaginary family.... sounds like what yours is doing.

I think you do need to tell DP that he won't ever have that simple nuclear family he's craving. That's not your fault though, and it doesn't mean his life is ruined. There's lots of different ways to enjoy being family with one another. Maybe buy him a book or two on step-parenting, or on co-parenting after separation (which kind of needs to be in place first)

chickenoriental Fri 14-Mar-14 10:32:05

I certainly know where you're coming from.

Luckily, dp and I have had the 'conversation'. Although it's still jot easy at times.

Tell him. Tell him now otherwise you'll find you may start to get resentful, and if dsd does come to live with you ft it'll be unbearable without some understanding from dp and house rules.

I can relate to the newborn thing. When dc met her siblings I was bf in scbu for the first time when they all walked in, I was stared at and lots of questions asked - all understandable from dcs pov, however I had to point out the dc are his not mine no matter how great the relationship ( with us most of / ft aside from contact). It never happened again.

Be honest, emphasise the positives of dsd and your relationship but do be honest . If I'm being straight, I still struggle with the fact that I know that significant info goes back to ex, especially as she pumps dc for info ( we hear her). However, I am slowly becoming more comfy and ' me ' around dc. I have to be, it's all of our homes, including my dcs. I realised this (finally ) after sleeping on my newborns floor so I could tend to them bf ASAP on stirring as ex complained that dc were being kept awake - which I still refute to this day. Point is though, I was paranoid and letting ex influence our lives. I realise that is an inevitable fact in our situation, but it can and must be minimised and managed. I massively regret what I did but can't dwell.

Things are now better that dp and I have an understanding of each other's pov. He realised that I'm not dscs mum, she has one of those. Even though we are a family, the composition is just different, but just as valid. Having said that, there is still a sense of shoulders dropping when dc is at mums, however I think that is because I know no info can go back ( we've ongoing court issues).

Sorry to blurt. Hope it helps.

Enjoy your baby. Don't look back on this time with regrets.grin

Kaluki Fri 14-Mar-14 11:22:50

I do. I had a real problem when we met of DSD jumping into bed with us in the morning. It just felt wrong to have a child that wasn't mine all over me first thing in the morning. I also had to put a stop to them bursting into our bedroom without knocking first.
Luckily DP understood - he felt the same.
I'm a lot more relaxed nowadays but still value my privacy from the DSC more than from my own dc.
You should talk to your DP - he has unrealistic expectations of you and needs to know this.

MatryoshkaDoll Fri 14-Mar-14 11:32:27

Thank you. I constantly feel so guilty. I'm glad that others feel the same.

I know what you mean about the bed thing. I had to fight really hard to get DP to make DSD stay in her own bed at night. Even now she gets in with us in the morning and I know DP loves us all being in bed together bit I don't like it. I often sleep with no underwear on and I feel really uncomfortable being semi naked in bed with a child that's not mine. But I know DP would be hurt if I told him.

It sort of doesn't help that her mum is crap, because it leaves a vacancy that DP wants me to fill and tbh I don't feel comfortable filling it.

Kaluki Fri 14-Mar-14 11:36:56

So don't. And set rules about her getting in your bed.
I had to insist that she only got in on his side and didn't wake me up after I woke up at 7 one Saturday morning nose to nose with her breathing in her nasty morning breath shock If my DS did that I would love it (his breath is divine) but he's mine and she's not.

Lostlou Fri 14-Mar-14 14:49:59

Really interesting comments kaluki about DSCs getting in bed with you and some great advice as always!! DP lets DSD (9.5) do this and I hate it.

Been going on since I moved in, in Oct and only at weekends admittedly. Is it too late to put a stop to it?

And OP I sympathise! Can't imagine how you were feeling having just given birth - it rankles with me that I can't even have a shower in privacy sad

MeepMeepVrooom Fri 14-Mar-14 15:09:53

I'm pretty surprised at some of the comments tbh. She is 6, if you don't want her to crawl over you when you're feeding then ask her not to. My daughter isn't 3 yet and is capable of understanding "can you not do that please".

I appreciate it was uncomfortable for you at the hospital however you have to accept that your child is you DSDs sibling and obviously your DH didn't want to exclude her from this. However I agree he should have told you he was bringing her in.

As for Kaluki not allowing your step daughter to wake you shock

It never fails to amaze me how many people get involved with other peoples children and then don't like the set up.

FrogbyAnotherName Fri 14-Mar-14 15:29:27

How do these scenarios begin? How do the DCs get the message that its ok to climb into bed with you?

I remember my DHs DS, then six, attempting to climb into bed with us the first night I stayed when the DCs were there - I was out of the bed the other side before he'd got his second foot off the floor!

DH had a choice - if he wanted his DS to feel welcome in bed with him, that was fine, but I wouldn't be there! DH made it clear to his DS where the boundaries were and After two or three attempts, his DS got the message and never tried it on again.

I do suspect that DHs DS has complained about it to his Mum, though - because his mum has used DHs refusal to allow his DS to sleep with us as evidence in court of DHs abuse of DS. Oh, the irony!

chickenoriental Fri 14-Mar-14 15:31:51

'...get involved with other peoples children and don't like the set up'

Not quite sure about the above.

So, as sps we have to accept, put up and shut up? Even if uncomfortable, inappropriate or upsetting?

Sorry if this seems harsh but another case of damned if you do, damned if you don't?

Think that children need to and can learn that there are different rules for different places / situations.

chickenoriental Fri 14-Mar-14 15:34:53

Really Frog ( re 'abuse'). Sadly sounds all too familiar. Guaranteed, had you allowed it you would have been wrong ( in ex's) eyes ?

theredchicken Fri 14-Mar-14 15:42:15

And why is it so wrong to expect a child not to wake you?

My ds was always told not to disturb me til 8am at weekends.

I often read on other boards about fro clocks and the like.

Are you saying as a step parent you should not expect to sleep?! hmm

MeepMeepVrooom Fri 14-Mar-14 15:43:22

No I'm talking about getting involved and then simply not liking the children being there because you feel uncomfortable around them.

For example the OP not liking it because sheis breastfeeding. Sorry but tough.

MeepMeepVrooom Fri 14-Mar-14 15:44:30

No again saying it's unacceptable for a sc towake you but ok for your own dc.

SoonToBeSix Fri 14-Mar-14 15:45:47

She is only six though so it shouldn't matter if she sees you breast feeding it's not like she is an older teen. Maybe if you relaxed a bit Moreland tried to include her it is her sibling after all.

SoonToBeSix Fri 14-Mar-14 15:46:25

More and

Russianfudge Fri 14-Mar-14 16:01:23

She may only be six but the truth is that with step children, what happens in your home doesn't stay there. That could be said of all children - we've all had embarrassing "reveals" at the worst of times. But when the person Who is receiving all the ins and out of what your lactating nipples look like is the woman your DH used to share a marriage with... Well, with the best will in the world, it is uncomfortable!

No, it's not the child's fault. But everyone deserves their dignity and if a new mother doesn't want someone else's child sharing that "moment" with them then I think that comes first. It could be managed a lot better.

And yes, I modify my behaviour when dsd is here... The kitchen doesn't see quite so much action winkwinkwink.

Regards the bed sharing, I think it's hard for kids when their previously single parent who was welcoming of them in the bed is saying "no someone else is sleeping their now". So on this I would say it's a bad idea to let older kids share your bed in the first place unless they're sick etc.

MeepMeepVrooom Fri 14-Mar-14 16:06:24

Well maybe the women who feel uncomfortable with that should have thought of that and should take themselves elsewhere?

Viviennemary Fri 14-Mar-14 16:07:36

I think it must be quite difficult to be involved with somebody who has children and shares the care if you don't like the set up. I don't think there is an easy answer to this. It is sad that the poor little girl probably gets your vibes she isn't wanted there and is a bit of an intruder and inconvenience.

QueenTea33 Fri 14-Mar-14 16:32:25

Op isn't saying she's unhappy with the whole shebang, she just wants to keep her wobbly bits to herself and not have dsc telling her mum about the ins and outs of breastfeeding. She feels a bit self conscious and uncomfortable at this present time. I very much doubt she would have envisaged this particular scenario, Meepmeepvroom. You tend to feel a bit yuk after giving birth.

FrogbyAnotherName Fri 14-Mar-14 16:35:30

She is only six though so it shouldn't matter if she sees you breast feeding

And she's not just seeing, she's climbing all over the OP while she's trying to establish feeding.

Thinking back, I'm not sure I'd be happy to share those moments with my own DC to be honest - I used to have tears rolling down my cheeks and be curling my toes with pain when I was trying to establish feeding; not something Id want any young child to witness sad

Russianfudge Fri 14-Mar-14 17:51:19

I thought breast feeding would involve me wrapped in some kind of pale cashmere wrap, bathed in sunlight as my tiny angelic baby calmly fed at my beautiful full breasts. It didn't quite turn out like that. Sat on the hottest day of the year wearing nothing but my big pants and a giant sanitary pad with a breast pump attached to me as I frantically tried to produce milk for my jaundice baby - it wasn't quite what I imagined.

Nothing about becoming a mum is, but stepmums are expected to just get on with it because "what did you expect" ffs.

MatryoshkaDoll Fri 14-Mar-14 18:12:16

Well maybe the women who feel uncomfortable with that should have thought of that and should take themselves elsewhere?

Where was I supposed to go when I was in a hospital bed and still suffering the effects of an epidural? I literally couldn't walk! It was physically impossible to go anywhere. If I'd have asked DP to take DSD away i would've felt like a bitch. And also, he'd got DSD by then so it would've meant I wouldn't have seen DP either.

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