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I feel like a bad person(24 Posts)
My Dss is 7, he's with us this week for half term, which is lovely, dp obviously loves and adores his son so is really happy when we have him for a long time.
But I am struggling and I shouldn't be. I'm a teacher so work with children, and I do crave my alone time without any children to look after (I do love my job and children in general, but I do need a break sometimes) I have no children of my own and no plans to just yet.
This morning Dss got up and went on the Xbox. Not early, about 10. (He slept in as we were at his cousins family party yesterday so he was very tired!)
He is making lots of noise, shouting and singing (it's a football game, so he's doing lots of very loud football chants). This is all perfectly reasonable and normal I am sure.
But I am in my bedroom wishing I could just go in, curl up on the couch with a cup of tea, watch abit of Sunday morning TV and look forward to a lazy day with dp. But I can't.
Which is horribly selfish of me I know. My do is asking me what is wrong but I can't tell him. I don't want him to take it the wrong way and be upset.
I know I sound horrible and selfish, I'm not really I promise. I'm just really struggling and want to cry abit.
I don't want my dss to think I don't want to spend time with him, he's lovely and I do enjoy spending time with him. It's just so hard sometimes.
I feel like this sometimes. I wouldn't say you were a horrible person or selfish for that matter.
Just tell DH you really tired and could you have a few hours to yourself. Maybe suggest he take DSS out for a bit then when he comes back you may feel more inclined to interact. Play a board game/watch a movie/go out for lunch/play X Box with him.
A week of full-on child is hard. When you are used to being able to have some space and quiet in your home, it's even harder.
I'd suggest two things - first, yes, tell your DP you need a bit of quiet time and suggest that perhaps some one-on-one with his DS at teh park or cinema would be a good idea.
Second, are there any arrangements about the telly and screen time and so on? You ought to be able to go in and curl up with a cup of tea in front of your telly even if DS isn't out of the house, frankly. If he's been watching or playing for a while, are you comfortable enough to say to him "OK, that's enough now, I want to sit in here for a bit, and you've had your lot." If informal bumping along like that doesn't work, you and DP may need to discuss what limits should be set and make it more official (DSS can have x hours of screen time between such and such times, or whatever you and DP decide between you is reasonable).
I don't think it's selfish, you look after other people's kids all the time and only have school holidays off, when he comes to yours. So you just want a quiet break, it's totally normal!
Did you see my thread about dsd not going to see her mum this weekend or half term (she lives with us ft) and how disappointed I was that I couldn't have a few days off being 'mum' to just be with dp, despite loving her to bits! It's Normal to want you time!
I hope you can get dp to take him out early one day so you can have some sofa time or maybe ask if he can play in his room for an hour or two tomorrow morning, couples need alone time and if most of your free time is when he visits then a few hours can be spent with him entertaining himself!
Thank u so much for a your replies, knowing I'm not alone in feeling like this helps massively.
It's just gone from bad to worse, I'm having a bit of a cry now so sorry if this doesn't make sense.
I told my dp how I felt. Just to say, he is a fantastic dp and has been there for me during some difficult times. But when we talk about his son it seems abit difficult. The conversation went like this:
Me: I feel abit sad because I went into our bedroom to get a bit of me time, and I felt guilty for doing this. I feel as though I'm not very good at this whole thing and that I'm the odd one out in my own home.
Dp: you find it really hard when ds is here don't you? I don't understand why.
Me: it's not a personal thing. On a much smaller scale, it's like me having a child and people not expecting my life to change in any way.
Dp: but he's only here for a week.
I explained that I don't want to see it that way, I care about dss very much. He said he doesn't understand because I never find it hard with my nephew.
I explained that it was different, I don't live with my nephew, I see him for a few hours every week, and as much as I love him to bits I would feel the same way if I had him for a week!!
I got abit upset. He had to go and get his ds out of the bath and I asked if we could continue talking later. He said it depends if ds is in bed (he doesn't give him a strict bedtime at all when he is here as he sees it as though he is on holiday, this is something I would like to address as it means we get no couple time in the evening!)
I said that was unfair. That I was upset and I would happily leave it for now so that we could have a nice day, but that it would not be fair to leave it so long. I felt like I wasn't important at that point. Which is so unusual. I know how much he cares about me and will usually do anything to make sure we are both happy. But with his son it's just so different.
Just to answer the question about the TV - I can't imagine ever being able to say that. I feel like his ds comes first and I just slot in quietly where ever it is convenient.
In my dps defence, I think he is struggling to get the balance right too. He is a really lovely dp and I love him very much. We just haven't got the balance right with his ds yet at all.
he sees it as though he is on holiday
I can't imagine ever being able to say that. I feel like his ds comes first and I just slot in quietly where ever it is convenient.
Whoa. These are huge red flags. Would you ever say to a friend that she should settle for this? That she should accept not being able to speak up in her own home when she wants to watch something on the telly? That she should be in a relationship that made her feel this way?
I really do understand, because I too find it very hard to assert myself in my home - but you know what, I am five years in, and if I could go back and tell myself one thing now, it would be this - be more conficdent, be more assertive, and begin as you mean to go on. I don't 'slot in' around my own daughter. It is one thing to make compromises, and another to compromise yourself - if you feel that you are coming second to your DP, and that you have to "quietly slot in where ever it is convenient", something is wrong.
As for the holiday business, that's just poor parenting on your DP's part. Not only detrimental to your relationship, but to his DS.
I recommend this book -Stepcoupling by Susan Wisdom - you and your DP should both read it.
If your DP understands that there is a balance to be struck, then I think you can work on it. If he doesn't - if he feels genuinely that his son's time with you both should be a perpetual holiday, or that you should be expected to roll along with the disruptions to your life without being an equal partner in the home - then I think you are going to have a long, miserable road ahead. Everyone is going to have to make compromises in this new family - not just you, but your DP, and his son too. That is how families are built, biological or otherwise.
House rules. Definitely. Some normalisation of DSS' time there, so that he's not on holiday, but a real part of a real family. Where he has privileges and age-appropriate expectations about behaviour and responsibility. And where his presence doesn't exclusively dominate the family unit when he is around.
I know how you feel op. My ss 14 has been with us all weekend every weekend for the last few weeks as he decided he'd rather be here than at his mums. Had to have a word with dh and explain that as much as I love ss I would like a little time on our own at the weekend. We have 2 younger ds but when they go to bed we can enjoy our evening and relax if ss is with us he doesn't go to bed until 11pm. My ss west home last night after dh realised I'd had enough! I feel a bit guilty now but it had to be said. Hope you get it sorted out
chazbomb - I feel sorry for your DP. You made him feel bad for having his son in his home.
You can enjoy and relax in the evening - kids get older and this is only the weekends.
It did not have to be said - you made him realise that his DS is not welcome in his fathers home.
Whatever21 I'm guessing you're not a stepparent?
I used to go out to the shops, or meet a friend for a glass of wine or six. It's a perfectly normal reaction.
And it is different when they aren't yours. I know my dp found it hard at times adjusting to being in a family situation again when he came here and stayed over. I had had all the experience of being in his shoes as a step parent so I got how it could feel - what I didn't realise was how strong the feeling is when someone says ... even nicely ... that they are finding being around your child hard. I'm sure there's an instinctive thing that kicks in. It was a really strong protective energy.
It can be a bit of a minefield to negotiate but it can be done with a bit if give and take.
My DSC are older now, so more and more they are doing things on their own. But my DD is small. At times both DSC and DC can be wearing, and there is nothing wrong with saying that the adults need time together, or that you need a bit of time to yourself. It's healthy for everyone.
I have said to DH "Look, I need more time with you. We need to get in a babysitter/leave DD to play on her own for a bit while we have this discussion/put her to bed earlier". And DH has agreed and rung for the sitter/set her up with some crayons/fixed dinner a bit earlier so she can get off to bed sooner.
Fortunately, he's been open to hearing this about any of the kids, not just DD.
You need limits on DSS's Xbox time - both for his sake and yours. Ours are allowed gaming time until midday only.
It's your home so not surprising you're unhappy if you have no rights over what goes on in your own living room because a child had to always come first. That's not how it should work at all. You're not a bad person for feeling upset in that situation. And if you did have your nephew to stay for a week you'd be able to decide when he could play Xbox not just be trying to fit in around him.
Is the Xbox ever played with socially or by you or DP? If not then move it to DSS's bedroom.
I agree about the xbox, particularly because this is your home too not you visiting dp. He must understand that in your holiday time you need to be able to relax in your home, so sometimes dss comes first, sometimes you do, sometimes dp does. As I have 3 dsds, we take it in turns to choose what goes on TV or what we do and if some one doesn't like it they go and do something else! Maybe you need to try this? He should be doing something that isn't xbox related with his son anyway!
I think you acted appropriately in how you approached it. I think this is particularly big for you because you are a teacher and only get school holidays off. Great if you're a mum, not great if your a step mum who wants some alone time with dp! Could you arrange a week or so away for in the summer holidays, just you two? His sonshould come first in his life but you shouldn't have to put him first too! You should be able to say right I want to watch something on my tv please, It's my turn now!
Could you buy some quiet things for them to do together like jigsaws, one of those make a castle out of cardboard you cut out things, something in the garden.... etc?
My life was transformed when I insisted on an 8pm bedtime for my dss. He and DH resisted in their different ways but got used to it.
You have to have child free time - nobody bats an eyelid when you say that about your own children but for some reason you are not allowed to say it about a stepchild.
We have 2 DC of our own now. DH is way less tolerant, wants early bedtimes and time to himself. Just makes me wish I'd set more boundaries earlier with dss!
Er yes Petal I am.
5 days of the week stepchild free but Chaz bomb resented 2 days per week, everyweek for a few weeks.
Have 2 SCs - 1 lovely, 1 difficult for various reasons - but would no more ask DP to make them go home because I had had enough in thelittle time he ash them here.
But the 2 days Chazbomb was struggling with, were the weekend days. And to have no real down-time for a run of consecutive weekends must be really tough.
I agree, I cope fine with dsd 3 being here full time because she's in a routine and it's normal lofe, if dsd 1 and 2 came every weekend then I couldn't cope as the weekends they come are quite full on with busy trips etc.
To have a teen who won't go to bed until you do there every weekend would bother me too, not everyone has much couple time during the week due to long hours or commutes or even having to tidy the house and things, so a bit at the weekend can be important to some couples.
Yes, in a "normal routine/adults in charge" situation, it's probably do-able - but not when you've got "special guests" who have visitor/holiday status every weekend. Sounds exhausting.
I just wanted to say a massive thank you for all your replies.
Reading all your replies really helped me feel as though I wasn't the only person to feel this way and that I wasn't alone. It also helped me to think about what I wanted to say to do.
We had a conversation on Monday night, and dp put dss to bed a little earlier so that we could.
It went really really well dp said that he does feel defensive sometimes when talking about it because he takes it personally, even though it isn't a personal thing at all.
I explained exactly how I felt and he was really understanding. He said he was really sorry that I felt like I had no control in my own home, and that I can say at any point if I would like to watch something on the TV or if I need dss to be a little quieter at any point.
We spoke about the summer holidays and he said he felt it was important that we got some adult time/couple time too, so would make sure that dss had his normal 8pm bedtime at that point. He said he finds it hard because he doesn't get to see his ds as much as he would like (ds's mum moved to a different city 300 miles away so he normally only sees him every other weekend plus some holidays) so he likes to make the most of it. However he said with the summer holidays being quite long it's different, and he wouldn't want our relationship to suffer as a result of us not getting any time together.
We are also going to book a little weekend break at the end of the holidays when dss is with his mum, just me and him
So I am really really happy and feel like we are on the same page! I feel very positive about it now.
Thank you again for all the replies, I felt really low when posting and the replies helped massively, thank you
Getting my days confused - it must be half term we had the conversation on Sunday night, not Monday night. I wanted to point that out so people didn't think it had been left for a whole day
I'm so pleased for you! It sounds like you're going to be able to find the balance where everyone's happy.
Glad it has gone well. I remember the feeling many years ago, you understand that dsc are hugely important to their father but it can be hard being on the side and sometimes feeling not at ease in your own house.
This is something only step-parents would understand and I'm SO glad that the OP got such good advice, as non step parents might well take the line "oh he's only 7 FGS" or something similar. I was/am a SP but they and birth children have long since flown the nest. We had some very tense unhappy years when I was SPing and yes "feeling like a bad person for the way I was feeling" and there was no MN then of course!
Now we have grandchildren and I have step grandchildren and the tensions of the past are long gone. I'm so glad that this issue can now be brought out into the open and discussed without people being judgemental. I did have a good friend who I used to "sound off" to as any "discussion" with DP always ended in an argument.
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