What is the hardest thing about being a step-parent for you?

(66 Posts)
CaptainBinker Wed 16-Oct-13 23:11:53

I have been a step-mum for 6 years now and like most others, it's been an up-and-down journey, mostly up though, thank goodness. Although I feel that all the adults involved are really amicable and that the whole situation is good, there are still things that bug me sometimes...

1. Knowing that someone I wouldn't normally choose to be part of my life (i.e. not someone I'd naturally choose as a friend) has actually now got quite a lot of control over my life

2. Having totally different views on parenting to DSS' mum but having to go along with what she wants even though I am not in agreement with it.

I don't want this to sound like a moan but I know that there's probably very few step-parents out there who can say that having stepchildren is always (and has always been) 100% a positive experience in every aspect.

I just wondered if I'm weird to feel this way and is there any way to get through it?

CaptainBinker Wed 16-Oct-13 23:12:54

And also what things do other people find most difficult?

TwoStepsBeyond Wed 16-Oct-13 23:29:06

For me it's knowing that I will never come first to DP. We are not married and don't actually live together, but he spends 50% of his time at mine and we usually spend one night a week all together, so I am only really a 'SP' once a week and that's probably enough

When he changes his plans with me because the DCs want to spend an extra night with him it does hurt, even though I know as an adult that his kids should be his priority. I feel so selfish for being bothered about it, but I suppose I want my DCs to learn that, while they are important to me, they don't always call the shots and I have a life of my own too.

Also our differing parenting styles. He is much more permissive than me, gives them anything they ask for, wants to do whatever it takes to make them happy, whereas I'm a bit stricter. Perhaps I look at the big picture a bit more as I'm the main carer for my DCs 90% of the time, so every decision I make is like some big 'learning opportunity' not just a yes or no.

TwoStepsBeyond Wed 16-Oct-13 23:32:20

And yes I agree with your points too. I am very different to his ex in lots of ways, so it's weird that her needs and opinions shape what happens in my life to a certain extent.

His DD's are lovely, I'm very lucky yo have found them all, but it is a strange situation where you are suddenly in a relationship with all these people!

daisychain01 Thu 17-Oct-13 06:50:47

The aspects of being a SP I have found most challenging have been

1. Like you, Captain, the hold that DSSs mum had to begin with. Over time it has diminished significantly and having a straight 50/50 split really helps. It was always around changeover times and holidays where the pattern was open to negotiation, that caused the headaches. Unfortunately the breakup was acrimonious. Nowadays things have settled down but those early days were ghastly and it used to upset my DH a lot

2. Not having DSS over any Christmases only New Year just to keep the peace. It was a sacrifice worth making but it didnt come without sadness.

3. To begin with, me not knowing how much to get involved in DSSs upbringing during our period of care. Time, patience and DHs support in me having "a say" and DSSs receptiveness towards me caring for him (without stepping on his mum's toes) has helped. I saw no value in doing or saying overtly controversial things that would stir up a hornets net. Over time it has paid off! We have zero contact with DHs ex due to proximity of homes and DSS using school transport as a means of transitioning between households. It works seamlessly and DSS will remember a largely trouble free childhood which is what we care about.

I got involved with DH with my eyes wide open that DSS was his world, and falling in with that was something I told DH I would take on board from our early days of dating. I havent felt I was second best, thankfully.

ChinaCupsandSaucers Thu 17-Oct-13 07:27:31

The feeling of total impotence when it comes to protecting the DSC from abuse at the hands of their Mum.
Even 'being here' for them is damaging in its own way because it creates more emotional conflict for them.

(Sorry - it's not been a good week).

Tuckshop Thu 17-Oct-13 07:54:48

Both the things you have put, what China said and that feckin' line you have to tread like tightrope. Too far one way and you're overstepping and that's not welcome, take a step back and that's not right either.

purpleroses Thu 17-Oct-13 08:33:39

Interesting thread. Unlike most of the posters above, I wouldn't say dealing with the ex is the biggest problem for me. She dictates our holiday schedules, and largely ignores me, but otherwise very much leaves the DSC up to us during our time. DP and I are free to decide between us how to parent them.

The hardest thing for me I would say is balancing being a stepmum with being a mum. My own DCs are similar ages to the DSC and I constantly feel I'm treading a tightrope between being what my DD needs me to be, and being a SM to the others. They need treating fairly, and a relationship slowly building up. DD still needs me to be her mum first and foremost.

The other hard thing is accepting that my DSC are not the children they would be if I'd been their main parent from the start. The lack of independence and life skills that the younger ones have is quite frustrating sometimes.

UC Thu 17-Oct-13 09:55:10

like purpleroses, balancing being a SM and a mum. Exactly what she says.

And although all amicable, and I like DP's exW, dealing with the different parenting between my DP and his ex. He is the stricter one, she's more permissive. sometimes I have to explain to him that it might be worth thinking how he's reacting to something so that he isn't ALWAYS the bad cop, leaving her the role of sympathetic good guy.

And actually, the regret that I sometimes feel that my kids aren't growing up with their own dad. Not really a step parenting issue though I suppose. They have a lovely relationship with him, he is a great dad, and they miss him in between seeing him. I wish things could have been different - but they aren't. Both DP and I have commented before that in an ideal world, we wouldn't be in this scenario - we'd both have chosen better the first time around!!!!

And sheer numbers.... I never set out to have this many children!

toomanypasswords Thu 17-Oct-13 10:11:41

Walking a tightrope is such a good analogy and fits how I've been feeling for a long time perfectly! The thing I find the most difficult is that there is barely any relationship between myself and my DP's DS, despite him spending every weekend with us. DP puts him largely ignoring me, not speaking to me unless I ask him a direct question down to him being shy (he's 12 yo). I can see this to a degree and also the fact that he is practically a teenager, so likely to be a bit more 'difficult' . The second thing I find difficult is that he's not expected to do anything to help or do anything for himself when he is here and DP still treats him like he's a much younger child, which I actually think isn't helping him to grow and develop into a balanced, responsible teen and, ultimately, adult although maybe I'm being unreasonable and expecting too much. Out of interest, how much do parents with 12 yo DCs expect them to be able to do for themselves and do around the house?? My own DC is still a toddler, so I'm a 'novice' with older children, with the exception of him!! We have discussed some of the issues previously but it didn't go particularly well and now I feel that I can't say anything that may be deemed vaguely negative as it's not an argument I'll win. I could go on all day but I won't!! smile

purpleroses Thu 17-Oct-13 11:02:54

And sheer numbers.... I never set out to have this many children!
Yes, that too grin

needaholidaynow Thu 17-Oct-13 11:25:02

Hardest thing about being a SM...

1) Trying to do my best and then seeing very damaging comments on here. Someone said on here a few months ago that my your DSC are your "first borns". I DO NOT see my DSD as my first born, because she isn't.

2) Again trying to balance being a mum and a stepmum. My most important relationships are the ones with my two children, so I need to put them first always. DSD has a mum already. When DSD was doing a dance show a few months ago, I couldn't attend because I had to look after my two young children. My DS1 wouldn't have sat still and it would have been a traumatic experience for him, but yet DSD's mum kicked off saying I am not making an effort to see DSD perform. I had to put my own children first.

There are many others as well.

FlyingBlind Thu 17-Oct-13 11:36:04

First post so please be kind!

Hardest things are:
1 DSD's Mum constantly rearranging plans and can't keep to a schedule.

2 Two of the three DSD'S are terrifically fussy eaters, this just does not compute as I love food.

3 Total culture shock of being in the thick of it with three girls off different ages all wanting something different at the same time, having absolutely no experience with kids.

Fortunately OH is a star and has made it all a painless ahem as possible.

Lozcat86 Thu 17-Oct-13 12:39:49

Completely agree with having DHs ex playing a larger part in our lives then I'd like, I.e we have to arrange things according to her needs too.
It's difficult trying to help raise 2 DSS when I disagree with a lot of things that their real mum does in terms of parenting. Nothing major or worrying just difference of opinions. But I feel very responsible for the boys when they are here and then have so little control over anything tat happens when they aren't e.g schooling. I realise it probably isn't my place but it's frustrating when you know that their real mum hasn't sorted out a dentist yet or been working with youngest DSS on his reading/writing....

Nellie72 Thu 17-Oct-13 14:19:25

seeing how much pain their dreadful behaviour and violent actions cause people I care about.

TwoStepsBeyond Thu 17-Oct-13 15:35:54

I also find birthdays and special occasions tricky. Having to be all grown up about your man going out for dinner with his ex and the kids like a big happy family, when really it's the last thing you want. And vice versa, having to play happy families with my ex and the kids at Xmas rather than spend it with the man I love. But it's only the odd day and it's worth it to make sure the kids are happy.

Petal02 Thu 17-Oct-13 16:37:24

The hardest things:

(a) DH’s Disney parenting
(b) Knowing that the pattern of our lives was, initially, controlled by a woman I’d never met – she was an anonymous and omnipresent dark cloud
(c) Having to spend 7 years watching DH obediently carrying out the most ridiculous logistic feats, purely in the name of Extreme Rota Compliance and Not Rocking The Boat.

DSS is now at Uni. Petal does celebratory backflips around the room

Since his departure I’ve been reflecting on that chapter of our lives. And I quickly came to the conclusion that DSS wasn’t the problem. It was (both) his parents.

missmargot Thu 17-Oct-13 16:43:42

For me it is the lack of control over my own life and the complete inability to plan things in advance- where and when we are going on holiday, where to spend Christmas etc. There is a court order in place for contact but unfortunately we still have a lot of issues.

I love my DSS very much but I glad we have waited until he is older (almost 14) to have a child of our own. By the time our child is old enough to really be aware of the issues DSS will be an adult and hopefully the majority of the conflict will have passed.

Aroundtheworldandback Thu 17-Oct-13 18:03:44

The word that comes through all these replies in one form or another, as in my own situation, is resentment.

In my case dh's ex lives far away and doesn't pose a problem on a day to day basis, but there is so much resentment on both my part and the dsc's, even jealousy, for so many reasons. And because they refuse to communicate, it just escalates, with dh feeling torn between us all.

I guess the one ingredient missing in a lot of step parent relationship is unconditional love, and that's what makes it so hard.

balia Thu 17-Oct-13 22:11:13

10 years down the line, lots of the things that used to be huge problems have now diminished (thanks mostly to a very robust court order). Some things that seemed like difficulties actually turned out to be quite positive (eg cooking for DSS whose mum is a strict veggie with MH issues that involve food - I'm now quite a reasonable veggie cook and found loads of recipes that we all like that I would never have tried.)

I still get irritated by little things like his Mum's refusal to do things like wash his football kit when he goes to matches on her weekends or to sort his tea out when DH picks him up for midweek football so we have to sort him out a pack-up or he'll go hungry. I'm aware that this resentment stems from the fact that DH and I both work full time and she doesn't work at all so it feels like she's just being difficult for the sake of it, and bloody lazy, too so i do try to quell my judgy-ness.

But worst is the helplessness. DSS shares a room - and bed - with his gran, despite the fact that his mum has a 3-bedroomed house paid for by the tax payer and his life is massively limited by his mum's MH issues and there is nothing we can do about it.

brdgrl Fri 18-Oct-13 00:04:17

1. Disney parenting by DH
and
2. Having to negotiate the different habits/expectations/values of the DSC with my own values and the lifestyle I want for my DD. The DSC are not small kids, so there are some things which I cannot reasonably expect to change (there are others I do!), but which I find very difficult to accept.

heidiwine Fri 18-Oct-13 07:42:00

Very interesting thread. I don't have my own children so I don't have any of the stresses that come with that. For me the most difficult things are:
- my life and choices being inhibited by the entitled, lazy (and most worryingly) manipulative woman that my DP married. In my view the way that she treats children is emotionally abusive and I feel completely powerless an unable to help.
- watching the eldest child grow up to be insecure and always worried that she's not liked
- being a mum in respect of all the household stuff and lots of the emotional stuff but not getting the the thanks that a mum gets (not feeling appreciated by the children)

VerySmallSqueak Fri 18-Oct-13 07:49:07

I found it tricky to find a line between caring, and interfering.

I firmly felt it wasn't my place to interfere - I felt in a caretaker role,and I didn't want to overstep my boundaries while still showing that I really did care.

MsColour Fri 18-Oct-13 09:52:04

It's early days for us but think the things I'm struggling with are similar to others.

1. Balancing my own children's needs with dss's.
2. The ex trying to control what happens in this household.
3. Me and dp having already developed styles of parenting before we got together and having to reach compromises that suit every one.
4. We both admit that we find it harder to 'forgive' each other's children when they play up because that unconditional love you have for your own children isn't there.

Petal02 Fri 18-Oct-13 10:12:59

I don’t think blended families, shared residency etc work very well at all, but I’m at a loss to come up with any alternatives. What else can you do when families break down?

cappy123 Fri 18-Oct-13 10:16:15

DSD is 13 and resident. Ex not problematic and sees her daughter daily. We're married now after 2 years dating. My challenges have been:

1. Too much too soon.
Usually you hear this about over eager stepparents. We did family things like camping, adventures & theme parks, cinema and restaurants. After initial wariness DSD openly initiated hugs of me in front of her grandparents, other parents etc, and was forever asking when we'd get married and the baby question came up almost daily. She was also elated to be my bridesmaid; and we've done make-up tutorials together and watched films etc together too.

But honestly, sometimes the pace and level of closeness from DSD and DH has felt overwhelming, like they both wanted a perfect family, which I knew from myself being a stepchild was unrealistic, esp with DSD's own mum being so active in her life. So now I've moved in after marriage (I was there 50% of time before) and DSD closeness has dropped off big time, but more suprisingly than I expected. Am wondering about school / hormones / what's going on in the other home e.g. whether mum is being supportive about us or firing darts...

2. DH communication and learning to step up and take the lead.
To his credit we are reading step family books together which feel like a life saver. I think he's still getting to grips with his pivotal role of leader, bad cop (when needs be), standing firm in our marriage so his daughter gets the best from us. Especially given point 1 above. She and I both need him to take the lead, it's getting weird when he's not at home for a couple hours; DSD and I will barely talk.

3. In-laws. They live in the flat below us and we rent from them the flat above! It's not a major problem, emotional independence from parents is a bigger factor for me, but just one to watch. DH's mum has seen hubby's past relationship trials and sometimes asks how we're getting on as a 'trio'. If things are going well I might say, but I keep my mouth shut if not. (We are saving to move out - DH seems keener than me on this front, so I'm not concerned, we'll get there)!

4. Grief. We all experience it but I still feel unsettled in the city I moved to join my hubby, and miss my friends, old colleagues, old home etc. Even when change is for a good reason (marriage - and I do love my hubby), it can remind me good things I miss from before.

FrauMoose Fri 18-Oct-13 11:11:57

I hated the wet beds. Both my stepchildren ended up with wet sheets nearly every night until they were in (more than) double figures. My stepdaughter would wake us in the small hours tearfully. My stepson slept through but would then occupy the (only) bathroom for hours in the morning having a nice leisurely soak to clean up. We didn't have central heating or a tumble drier and sometimes the laundry from one weekend/holiday stay etc wasn't done before the next one started.

It was all very well the ex saying they would grow out of it in their own time. She had the financial settlement, the modern house, the central heating and the tumble drier. We were skint, I had a new baby, and am a terrible sleeper.

It is a) a wonder that my marriage lasted and b) that I am on good terms with my - now adult - stepkids.

MsColour Fri 18-Oct-13 11:18:56

Oh and another one - the perception of the outside world. You either pretend you are a 'normal' family or have to explain the complications.

E.g. kids were playing out last night and dss had stopped to stroke dog (spoken to him about stranger danger). The owner asked if the kids were mine when I came over. Just said yes cos it was easier than trying to explain "well those two are mine, he is my stepson, well not really my stepson cos we aren't married, I'm still technically married to someone else..." and couldn't help wondering what she thought about these 3 children, two of whom look very alike and one who looks completely different all trailing after me. But had already explained my family at the school gate once that day.

Doesn't bother me that much but worry about people being judgmental.

Kaluki Fri 18-Oct-13 11:50:55

Here’s my twopence worth:
1 Our feelings for our dc are so different. DS2 passed his 11+ this week and although DP was pleased for him and said the right things, I know he isn’t as proud as me. I don’t expect him to be but I miss that connection you have when you share a child together.
2 The fact that DP and I can never go on holiday together without him having to take it unpaid because he has his dc for 4 weeks in the school holidays and that is all his holiday used up.
3 That everything we do has to tie in to ‘the contract’ so if we are invited to a wedding or family event our first thought is whether it falls on a weekend he has his dc, and if it does and they aren’t invited we have the drama about who will look after them because DP will die before he misses a contact weekend.
4 Never coming first. sad
5 Hardly ever getting time on my own with my dc.

JaquelineHyde Fri 18-Oct-13 11:57:11

I am stepmum to my two beautiful daughters (6 and 8). I also have a son (7) from a previous relationship and my husband and I have just had our first child together (5 months).

My daughters don't see their birth mother, DD1 was abandoned at a year old and DD2 was removed at birth. DH has full residency of them both and we have been together since they were 1 and 2.

My biggest problems have been;

1, The knowledge that no matter what I/we do our DDs will, we expect, want to find their birth Mum and despite us knowing all the nasty stuff we know about the abuse and neglect she caused we will have to smile sweetly, support both DDs and just be ready to pick up the pieces.

2, The attitude of others when they discover you are only a step parent (both dh and I have experience of this) and then the utter contempt they hold you in when they find out that both DDs were subject to care proceedings. Step parent + social services = evil, nasty and untrustworthy to most people.

3, I am the only Mum they have ever known, they both call me Mummy, something they both chose to do and lead the way with. Other people are disgusted by this.

4, DH would say from his point of view as a step parent to my son that it is the competitive attitude of ds's dad and how he tries to belittle dh at every turn. Why can't he just bloody acknowledge that dh is the main carer for ds and is doing a bloody good job of it!

I have loads more, but apart from being able to wave a magic wand and just make all the children mine and DH's and no one elses, I wouldn't change a thing! grin

TwoStepsBeyond Fri 18-Oct-13 12:32:16

Mscolour, I know what you mean. You don't want to correct people as they feel embarrassed for assuming, and then you have to go into who belongs to whom, but equally you don't want the SDCs to think you're 'pretending' to be their mum.

I was really touched when we were on holiday with our 5 DCs and DP would just answer 'yes' whenever we were asked if they were all ours. Someone said to him once "I'm sure you didn't have this many children when I saw you last" and he just joked "we've been busy!"

TwoStepsBeyond Fri 18-Oct-13 12:33:19

Jacqueline, it sounds like you have a wonderful family, anyone who judges you or your children for the actions of their mum isn't worth thinking about.

flowerpotgirl12 Fri 18-Oct-13 13:48:34

I have a feeling I may come across as horrible but the main problem is not really getting along with my dsd, a lot of it is the way she's been raised but her attitude, her language (foul) the way she dresses (very provocatively, not yet a teen) and her general deemener in our home, smashing my stuff "by accident", knocking over stuff and pretending she hadn't noticed, so I have to clear up. She is also very spoiled by dh. I have tried so hard to get along with her but it's hard and very sad.

FrauMoose Fri 18-Oct-13 14:40:08

Although this isn't thread about the positives, sometimes people's negative assumptions have a more favourable side.

A lot of people have made very positive comments when they've seen me, partner, stepchildren plus daughter out together. They've commented on the obvious affection between my child and my stepchildren, and the apparent ease of communication between me and the two older children. Often there's been stuff like, 'We'd never have guessed they were your stepchildren'. Or 'you seem like a "real" family. And though I realised there was some stereotypical thinking behind such remarks, I was still pleased...

TeaandCakes1983 Fri 18-Oct-13 15:32:59

First post for me so be kind smile

I find it hard to watch the DSCs BM continue to emotionally upset and damage the children. To the extent that DSD told me the other day that she feels much more settled and safe at our house than at mummies house. That both she and her brother are argumentative and unhappy there and that their mum shouts at them a lot. It's very hard, by what can I do?

In the same respect I find it hard to send them back to BAn for half the time. We have 50/50 split childcare.

I find the attitude of other mums hard to deal with. Lots of them get very funny when they find out I am JUST a SM (I don't have children of my own) and therefore can't possibly know what I am talking about or possibly love the children or that the children could love me. It happens quite a lot.

There are other niggles like those that have been mentioned above like the dates and things like that.

Fortunately I have never felt second best with my DH but CNN completely see how this can happen. DH is very good at making sure we are a team and the fact that my relationship with the children is so good also helps too I would imagine

TeaandCakes1983 Fri 18-Oct-13 15:33:33

Can not CNN!!

FrauMoose Fri 18-Oct-13 16:04:13

Hi. Welcome. Or something. There are people on these boards who hate the terms Biological Mother/Birth Mother - which I suppose is part of the whole minefield that is stepmothering.

onlysettleforbutterflies Fri 18-Oct-13 16:10:13

I find it difficult having a very different parenting style to mine ffeature so dominantly in my life and home. I worry their negative things will influence my ds who worships them. On the whole though they enhance our lives so much, wouldn't be without them.

TwoStepsBeyond Fri 18-Oct-13 17:49:43

I have slightly feminist leanings while DP and his ex most definitely don't, so while I am trying to teach my DD that she won't be treated any differently from my DSs, the DSDs are very girly girls and DP finds my attitude towards my DD a bit odd!

Bonsoir Fri 18-Oct-13 17:54:03

The additional constraints upon our lives - undoubtedly. Though I have got very good at managing them!

mignonette Fri 18-Oct-13 18:05:42

I've never called myself their stepmother and do not refer to them IRL as my stepchildren even though at one time, they have all spent half the week living with us. We have a cordial relationship but I don't parent them per se although there are ground rules for all the children. They have all, in their time, been difficult but that is to be expected after divorce.

We refused to have a set one weekend om/one weekend off and moved streets away with the proviso that they children could come over whenever it suited them not their Mother and her delinquent BF. That irritated her no end but was better for the children who had their own lives/hobbies that didn't necessarily fit into a timetable that suited all of us.

I do find it difficult and so does DH. He is fabulous with my two children and tells people he has 5 children. He doesn't call himself a stepfather. My children call him Dadette and love him very much. He is the Father that my daughter didn't have in her original Father.

riverboat Fri 18-Oct-13 18:36:51

I think it can ultimately boil it down to the fact that I don't have that huge all-conquering parental love for DSS, which makes all the inevitable annoyances and difficulties of having a child around so much harder to forgive and seem so much bigger than they are.

TeaandCakes1983 Fri 18-Oct-13 19:06:13

Fraumoose - thank you for letting me know. I won't use that again smile

JaquelineHyde Fri 18-Oct-13 20:18:53

I shall continue to use the term birth/biological mother because that is all she has ever been to my daughters. She does not deserve the title mother and in all honesty it pains me to call her any kind of mother.

I am sorry if that narks some people on here but tough.

TeaandCakes1983 Fri 18-Oct-13 20:37:38

J.H I think you are fully justified in thinking this and would hope that in your situation nobody minds

MadameGazelleIsMyMum Sat 19-Oct-13 08:43:25

Totally agree with other posters about someone else having that level of control. Different parenting styles and coping with behaviour/issues too - I'm a stepmum who is good enough to babysit but not to discipline etc. I don't feel the same way about DSD as I do my DC but I treat all the DC the same. I also sometimes lament the fact that DH will always have one more child than me. It's such a hard role, I had no idea.

TheMumsRush Sat 19-Oct-13 11:17:06

Interesting thread
For me I think it's the difference in parenting styles, not so much on my dh part but their mum and what she does/doesn't teach them. She's a great mum, but we just have different views.

Some of the things dsd (of primary age) wears I think are not age appropriate but I keep my mouth shut to keep the peace

CaptainBinker Sat 19-Oct-13 12:25:09

Wow, lots of replies, it's good to know what I feel is normal!

I've got a number 3 to add to my original list...it's a bit controversial but you all seem lovely so hopefully you'll understand...

3. Knowing that whether or not I want any more children in the future, DH has reached his perfect number, so I'll never have more than one of my own sad

It's so hard not to blame anyone for this (in my head obviously, it's not DSS' fault that he happens to exist!) but I hate it when people ask when the next one is coming and I have to say "no, we don't want any more", whilst in my head I'm thinking "DH doesn't want any more".

He didn't mention this at all until dd was born so I had no way of knowing this beforehand. I asked him if she'd been a boy, would he have wanted to try again for a girl and he said yes he probably would.

sad

Natanotherone Sun 20-Oct-13 08:10:07

For me it's the ex influence.

I hate that someone that is not a part of this family tries to upset the balance of it whenever she can seemingly just for kicks.

We ended up in court because contact was regular, then she would get annoyed and stop it... Then start it, then tell us we were bad parents. It got ridiculous!

Also lately I feel the bond I had with DSD has diminished (mostly due to cow bag mother) so now I find DSD irritating more than loveable...

glasscompletelybroken Sun 20-Oct-13 14:33:29

Lots of the above but also the fact that everything else I have done and been in my life means nothing within this role of step-mother. It's as if everything I have ever acheived and been proud of has been erased and I am now just a step-mother and therefore always wrong. I'm either too involved or not involved enough, say too much or not enough. I am wrongly accused of treating my dsd's badly and there is nothing I can do about it. Their mother holds all the cards - she just "wants what's best for them" so people will believe that I am bad. I'm really not.

SweetSeraphim Sun 20-Oct-13 15:09:34

This ^^

The thing I find the hardest is keeping my mouth shut 90% of the time. I'm not in control in my own house and I hate it.

TwoStepsBeyond Mon 21-Oct-13 11:24:34

Captain that's really sad to think that he may have wanted more DCs if you'd had a boy.

I can't help thinking that if I could guarantee having a boy my DP might be more open to it, as his family is very girl-heavy, but he has said he wouldn't take a chance on any more DCs due partly to my age (I am nearly 40, not exactly past it, but I suppose more risky) and the impact it would have on his DDs to have another child who lived with him full time when they are 50/50.

I know in my head that I don't need any more DCs and neither does DP (I have 3, he has 2) but there is a little part of me that feels sad that I'll never have that bond of a shared life between us. I remember saying early on that I felt a little bit sad that we wouldn't have something that was a perfect combination of him and me, but then I realised we already did - us

It made me feel a bit better about him having created small people with somebody unworthy else!

I also question the clothes choices sometimes, their mum has no qualms about showing off quite a lot of skin when she goes out and I can see her DDs following suit, whereas I am a lot more modest and will expect my DD to be too, but with the influence of her older step-sister it will a difficult line to tread. I will encourage my DD to wear appropriate clothes for playing outside, whereas his DDs will turn up in little vests and sandals in winter.

bottomoftheheap Fri 06-Dec-13 23:22:12

The hardest things have been my dsd's mother use her in games of bitter warfare against her father. It's her mother disappearing for months then suddenly reappearing with altera motives. Its the secrecy and the lies. It's having to pick up the pieces AGAIN when her mother disappears again (usually to 'punish' dsd) and deal with the next time dsd wants to believe her mother has changed.

It's seeing dsd loved by so many but her self worth and self esteem is so shattered all because her mother cannot love her unconditionally.

Its feeling helpless to make it better for dsd (and us around her).

impatienceisavirtue Sat 11-Jan-14 00:49:07

Quite possibly, not launching DSD out of the window when she puts on a baby voice when she wants something from her father. It doesn't work, but she continues to do it no matter when she's pulled up on it. I don't react, but in all honesty, it makes my skin crawl. I know that's horrible, but I can't help it. She is 10, and exceptionally manipulative and just plain rude unless she gets her own way.

Dodo76 Sat 11-Jan-14 11:11:18

For me, it's the feeling of being a stranger in my own home when I see DSCs clinging to DH/following him around and really just wanting him for themselves. Makes me wonder why we are even thinking about blending families and that we are better staying as we are. He has them 50% of the time, spends the other 50% with me. We tend to spend 1 night a week together but even during that night and morning it is difficult. Does anyone else find this hard?

Dodo76 Sat 11-Jan-14 11:11:48

Sorry, he is my DP not DH! DSCs are 8 and 10.

shey02 Mon 13-Jan-14 10:05:55

Having schedules dictated by a woman that dislikes us. Having schedules altered depending on dsc's mood... having a dp that is afraid to take control of the situation and 'parent' his dc, frustration takes hold and the personality change when he is around them is pretty hurtful (for me).

shey02 Mon 13-Jan-14 11:17:13

Dodo, I am starting to appreciate this way of life a bit more, the separate houses. I had so wanted to be living together, married, as we have always talked about. But I just cannot see how that can ever happen. My dp is probably 75% of the time with us living as a happy family, his other time is spent at his place with his dc who are not that fussed on me. I'm excluded from stuff, told not to come to events, the oldest dislikes me and dp's approach is to keep us more separate. I feel he has the best of both worlds and feel it is Team X when they are together, despite him being full integrated and loved within my family. It's the double standard that I constantly struggle with.

theredhen Mon 13-Jan-14 13:38:17

Like others have said it's the balancing act between dsc and dc.

Always managing to feel some guilt. If I spend lots of time with dsc, I feel guilty in not spending it with ds. If I spend time with ds, I feel worried the dsc will be jealous and cause me more problems in the long run.

The Disney parenting, the constantly angry and bitter ex, the insecure step kids are all issues too.

34DD Mon 13-Jan-14 20:15:00

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

34DD Mon 13-Jan-14 20:23:47

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

theredhen Mon 13-Jan-14 22:07:13

34d, I really admire your approach grin

34DD Tue 14-Jan-14 10:00:39

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

croquet Tue 14-Jan-14 11:07:27

It seems really obvious that the presence of a poisonous Ex is one of the main reasons why a) step-parenting fails and b) 2nd marriages fail.

Why do exes do it? Were they always horrid or just turned the volume up on it since divorce?

shey02 Tue 14-Jan-14 14:26:33

Croquet, you hit the nail on the head unfortunately. My dpexw is toxic I am very sorry to say. That is the single hardest part, as it controls and turns the children and makes everyone miserable, ESPECIALLY the children. I guess the ex does not want to share the children and is jealous the exh is happy maybe? That's the impression I get.

allnewtaketwo Tue 14-Jan-14 20:40:53

Having to accommodate a young adult who does not share the family and household values and behaviours, whilst being unable to say or do anything about it

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