Help! New full time stepmom(32 Posts)
I am writing this in desperation. I have been with my wonderful partner for 3 years and am about to marry him next year February. He has full custody of a lovely 12 year old girl. The birth mother sees her maybe for a couple hours every few weeks. He and the birth mother never had a relationship. I get on very well with his daughter, lets call her L. She loves and respects me as I do her. I couldn't ask for a better relationship with her.
The problem: We have been slowly moving them into my place so that L can adjust and feel comfortable with it. But I'd say they have been living permanently with me in my 2 bedroom flat for about 6 months now. I had to make some major adjustments and get rid of a lot of things but we are making it work. He works full time and studies part time and only gets home around 7 in the evening. My hours are more flexible and I do some work from home, and I am also studying part time. Because my hours are more flexible I am able to fetch her from school, take her to extra murals etc. But because I am with her for most of the day and he isnt I feel like the primary parent and its overwhelming. I have to fetch her, make sure homework is done, shes showered, take her here and there for this book or that project, help with homework, discipline her, get dinner going (she has recently decided that she is vegetarian, so thats also now more complicated and time consuming) all on my own.
I feel like a baby sitter and dinner maker and thats it. My partner is very busy so I feel distant from him. I just feel overwhelmed in my new position. I feel guilty as I have started to resent them both. Is this just what being a mom and wife is? Must I just suck it up and deal? I have zero experience in both fields so any advice would be greatly appreciated.
That's exactly what a mum does op, so you will need to accept that this is how it will be for the next x years.
By all means discuss it with your partner but don't expect things to change much, if you're around more than him then you will be doing the major share.
What did he do before they moved in? How did he manage then?
What is he doing when he gets home? If he gets home at 7 he should still be in time to be responsible for some of the things you describe. It's a worry that you feel distant from him. Why? Tell us what happens after 7pm.
I disagree. I don't think it's fair for your partner to just expect you pick up the lions share. Thus should have been discussed.
I'm also however; interested to know how he managed before they moved in with you.
Yes, sorry, that is pretty much what being mum and wife is.
But you haven't had the lead into it that you would have had if she'd been your own baby, it's been pretty full-on from the start.
However - she's 12, not 7. So there are things that she could and should do for herself, like the showering, homework etc. Not your responsibility, she's well old enough to be taking responsibility for those things herself.
In fact, if she's creating more work by deciding to be vegetarian, then getting her to help out with dinner etc. as well. Sounds like you're just doing everything for her - that's not an ideal set-up, she needs to learn how to be part of the "family team" and start helping out.
Sorry you're feeling unsupported and resentful - but you're not alone in that either, that's quite common even when you're not the stepmother, but the actual mother!
I realise this isn't the most positive of posts, but hopefully it will help you to know that you're not alone. and for you.
He only got full custody around the time we started dating 3 years ago. Before that he was a weekend dad. It was very sudden. He found out the birth mom was using drugs and straight away got a court interdict to get full custody. It happened over night. He had to move out of his flat and back in with his parents and they helped take care of her. Which must have been difficult for him. We arent young. We are in our mid 30s.
When he gets home we sit down and eat dinner. Ive asked that we dont do it in front of TV so we can talk as a family and that has helped. He and I do the washing up. Then we say goodnight to L and go to bed ourselves. We go to bed pretty early as we are usually both exhausted. We usually watch an episode of something then bed. I like to sort of numb my mind with TV a bit before sleep. I know, maybe not so healthy
What about weekends? Do you have a chance to re charge your batteries and have some quality time together?
Yes, what did he do for after school care etc before moving in with you? It seems really unfair to simply expect you to cover everything until 7pm five days a week.
Poor girl has been through a lot.
When he got full custody and moved back in with his parents they helped with after school care. His mom also has flexible work hours so she helped with all after school stuff.
Weekends are mainly spent focussing on our studies. We do spend some quality time. However he and I dont really have any alone time for just us to connect. We dont get alone time without L
My DP does quite a lot of extra parenting for my kids. This week he is away and I have all 4 kids and it's hard work. I did say something to him on Tuesday evening and last night he did say a proper thank you. It's the same deal next month too.
It's ok stepping up but you do need thanking for it. Probably time for a chat. Lovely for him and DSD but not lovely for you.
It will get better and worse though as she gets older. Maybe time for a talk about how he sees things developing and you saying that you don't want the current status quo to be the future one.
If you don't tell him he won't know. He will just assume that you think it's as brilliant as he does. Parents are very blind about their own kids.
It does sound pretty normal OP. Especially your description of your evening sounds identical to our house. 12 yr olds are quite hard work. They can be rewarding too. I am assuming your DP will finish his studies at some point and this will free up some time? I would recommend spending some time after school doing things you enjoy with your DSD like cinema, trip a coffee shop on the way home from school, a quick shopping trip for make up or something she will engage in. This might help you feel less fed up the after school part iyswim.
The other thing I have done with my DD 13 is to teach her to cook. It helped us bond but has also given her confidence and helped me out no end. She can cook things like white sauce on her own and so I can go off and do other things whilst she prepares some of the dinner.
Well done for caring for your DSD so well OP.
12 year old like a lot of downtime so I don't think you should be running around after her. When you say you fetch her, what do you mean? Doesn't she make her own way to and from school?
The 12 year olds I know, dd included, crash out on iPads/phones after school and are on social media half the night.
They are also starting to build up a life independently eg meeting up with friends. Can you encourage that a bit more?
Can't she go to his mums say two evenings a week then he can pick her up from there ?At least you'll get a bit of time to yourself?
it sounds like you are feeling a bit overwhelmed.
can your OH not organize after school club for SD to go?
can SD get the bus home after school/clubs?
why are you being left with all of the after school duties?
Was it discussed or been assumed that you get to do it?
are you feeling like being taken for granted or something? have a discussion with your OH about all these things your doing - surely there can be a split between responsibilities?
I actually live in Johannesburg South Africa. There isnt a forum like this for S.A so I joined this one. Hope its allowed... So we dont have reliable public transport here and thats why I need to collect her from school everyday. He takes her to school. My partner doesnt feel too comfortable leaving her home alone a lot because of crime in the area, I am a little more relaxed about it as I think I grew up a little more independently than him. So I have to be home when she is home. Also, because of her past with her mom and the issues she must have had growing up with a mother like that I think my partner wants to protect her more.
So as far as taking her to his moms for a couple nights would be difficult as I think she was moved around a lot when she lived with her mother and we want her to feel as secure as possible that she is wanted here and we wont abandon her like she was before. So there are so many elements to this that need to be taken into account.
I have started teaching her to cook and she enjoys helping me.
No helpful advice - I just wanted to say that the way you speak about your stepdaughter is lovely.
Of course you're allowed to post here! You actually sound amazing. What you describe is fairly normal for teens (possibly better than most teens...!) but you've jumped/been pushed in with both feet.
You sound as though you are doing all the right things, but maybe a family meeting is needed to agree some ground rules. This can be all done in the context of ensuring your DSD is happy and comfortable - a kind of annual review of responsibilities. Would your DH go for that?
I also think a day a week spending some time with her GPs for fun visiting, rather than as childcare, might be good for everyone? Presumably they miss her?
I think he's not making necessary adjustments to his working life to be there for his daughter, and should do so. He relied on his mum, and now (conveniently) you. She is his primary responsibility and he should "step up" and either pick her up himself for some of the days or organise good (paid for) help.
You are currently doing more than you feel able to, to compensate for him.
What do you mean "focus on your studies"? You're both studying at weekends? That doesn't sound good if he works FT too.
Yes we are both studying part time. He is doing his masters and will be finished at the end of next year and I am doing a B.A.
You sound like you are doing a great job. As you are in SA is getting help an option? Maybe someone who can help you in the house and who in time you can leave DSD with. I know from friends that it's harder to give kids freedom in SA (hence why so many of them are now here in the UK). I agree with the others though, she should be able to help you with a bit of cooking and to take responsibility for her homework etc. Unfortunately though, 12 year olds are still pretty full on and it's hard work esp if it's new to you.
I think I do feel taken advantage of. But I know he has a good heart he can sometimes just be a bit of a dunce for lack of a better word. I think part of the issue is I need some alone time with him too. So I can be reminded of why I'm in this relationship to begin with. I feel like when We aren't studying or working all the focus is on L from both of us. I think perhaps we both lack experience in these things. But I think you are all right. I need to communicate my feelings. Or the resentment will grow
It's unrealistic in the circumstances for him to work FT, study for a masters, care for his vulnerable DD and maintain a relationship with you. He should get real and make changes (work and/or studies). Not expect you to enable him to continue as before.
He'd been a father for many years before the recent sad events: putting his DD first should be second nature already if he's a good father.
You are being taken advantage of . She's his child not yours, and yet you are the one making all the accommodations for him.
Much like his ex and his mother did before you.
Can you see a pattern? He chose to be a father yet he wants his life to continue without any inconvenience . Dozer is right - he needs to make changes now . I'm sure it won't be easy. But guess what, that's what being a parent is about .
Don't, whatever you do , have a baby while this situation remains unchanged . Because that will make things a lot worse and you will feel even more resentful .
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