Quality time with your own children. Do you manage to get it?

(45 Posts)
needaholidaynow Sun 03-Nov-13 12:26:31

I recently returned back to work after maternity leave, and I am really struggling with not seeing DS1 and 2 all week, but I suppose it's all about adjusting really.

I work Monday to Friday 9-5 and have weekends off. That's great, I can spend quality time with them at the weekend and in the evenings, but my attention is going to divided between them and DSD and it's making me really really fed up sad

I've been so used to being able to spend loads of bonding time with my boys and now it feels like most of the time DSD is going to be here too and I Have jump in to SM mode when is like to concentrate on being a mum.

Whereisegg Sun 03-Nov-13 12:39:17

Not really no.
Dss's dm wants him at ours fri-sun every weekend.

I feel for him tbh.
No chilling out in peace (he's an only at home and quite quiet), can't see his school friends, travelling, and he has often mused that he would like to be at home and spending time with mum.

purpleroses Sun 03-Nov-13 18:50:52

I struggle with that a bit too. Like the previous poster, we also have the DSC every weekend.

I think one thing that helps a bit is to try not to see the weekends as all the nice time and the weekdays as the time for getting chores done. It's much better to make some quality time after work with the DCs some of the time, and get some chores done at the weekends when your DSD is around too. You can even get things cooked at the weekend for heating up in the week, so that you make the most of the time you do have with just your own DCs in the week.

IT's also fine to just take your own ones out sometimes to spend some quality time with them.

needaholidaynow Sun 03-Nov-13 18:58:48

You see that's what I was worrying about. Taking them out at the weekend and stuff. We obviously do things as a family where all of the children will go, but whilst I was off I enjoyed taking the boys to the park, or to the Play centreopt play dates with some of my friends etc.. I used to also go to toddler groups as well but obviously I can't do that any more as they are during the week. But now I am restricted to weekends to do all of that and that is when DSD is here, and I really want to be able to spend time with the boys on my own. I need that time with them. sad

Whereisegg Sun 03-Nov-13 19:23:26

We can't do outings all weekend every weekend as just can't afford it on top of maintenance so to a certain extent weekends are still food shopping/cleaning/etc.

Dss also does several clubs after school so gets to do stuff mine don't.
Therefore I don't feel too bad about occasionally taking mine to the park/swimming/cheapy showing at the cinema, and also, it means dss gets time with his dad on his own.
Equally, dp will occasionally take dss somewhere just the 2 of them and dc and I bake/each films/play cards.

It's hard op, and the whole 'you knew what you were getting into' stuff is utter shite.

needaholidaynow Sun 03-Nov-13 19:29:11

Oh god I HATE that saying with a passion whereisegg!

A biological parent goes in to parenthood without a crystal ball, and has no idea how difficult it will be at times. But they are always supported.

A step parent equally takes on their role in a child's life without a crystal ball either but is quite often slated when things get overwhelming!

Whereisegg Sun 03-Nov-13 19:36:16

It's so hard because the fear of being The Evil Stepmother is huge!

There are no rules, and moaning is seen as not giving a shit about the dsc.

Well you know what, I do love my dss, he is a lovely boy, quiet and fairly easygoing, but it is hard not to feel frustrated with his dm's logic.

For instance, he must spend Fathers Day with us so he can spend it with his father. Of course, great.
But he must spend Mothers Day with us as she needs to relax on 'her' day.
Obviously, I don't need to relax on my mothers day.

needaholidaynow Sun 03-Nov-13 19:48:26

But he must spend Mothers Day with us as she needs to relax on 'her' day.

That is the most bizarre thing I've ever heard! Surely she'd want her son to be with her on Mother's Day! DSD is never here on that day because she's where she should rightly be and that's with her mum. It also then makes the day just about me and the boys and I really like it to be that way, instead of feeling like I must include DSD.

snowmummy Sun 03-Nov-13 19:56:41

Surry for saying so, but sounds like your stepson is not wanted anywhere.

Whereisegg Sun 03-Nov-13 20:00:02

How on earth have you come to that conclusion Snowmummy?

purpleroses Sun 03-Nov-13 20:06:35

It's absolutely fine to go out and do something just with your two I think - especially as I'm assuming DSD is a bit older and probably wouldn't want to do all the things they might enjoy.

But sounds like you're struggling partly just with the change of going back to work f/t - toddler groups, spending relaxed times drinking coffee with other new mums whilst all the men-folk and older DCs are off at work/school are a lovely part of being at home with a small one, and you've lost all that whether or not DSD is around at the weekend.

One way of getting time with your own, I've found to work sometimes, is to take them out to buy shoes, school uniform, etc - and then use the opportunity to have a bit of a nice time with them, go to a café, etc. I do try to avoid doing things with them that I know the DSC would really enjoy but there are things they don't care about missing. Eg going off to visit a friend of yours with similar aged DCs probably isn't going to make your DSD too jealous. You could also see if you can fix up play dates for your DSD - that way she gets some fun, and you get some time with just your two. Even having a friend over at yours might occupy her happily for a while and give you some time to concentrate on your DSs.

purpleroses Sun 03-Nov-13 20:08:10

I think maybe snowmummy has posted on the wrong thread - as the OP doesn't have a DSS confused

Whereisegg Sun 03-Nov-13 20:10:56

I assumed she was talking to me sad

snowmummy Sun 03-Nov-13 20:12:26

"I Have jump in to SM mode when is like to concentrate on being a mum.''

"But now I am restricted to weekends to do all of that and that is when DSD is here, and I really want to be able to spend time with the boys on my own. I need that time with them''

Just these comments above. I'm not judging, I have no experience of being a sm but it does seem, from these comments, that the op would rather the stepson hasn't around so much.

snowmummy Sun 03-Nov-13 20:13:48

Sorry step daughter

Bonsoir Sun 03-Nov-13 20:17:53

I think you need to have a frank conversation with your DH and try to get him to spend a large part of one day of the weekend with your DSD to give you time with your DSs.

needaholidaynow Sun 03-Nov-13 20:18:56

I'm just really missing them both at the moment. I think DS1 is struggling too, he keeps asking DP where I've gone and cries in the morning when I'm not there.

needaholidaynow Sun 03-Nov-13 20:21:38

Yea I agree Bonsoir. Maybe he take DSD to the cinema or bowling (when money allows it). She goes dancing in Saturday mornings so that does offer an opportunity to have some time with the boys.

Bonsoir Sun 03-Nov-13 20:23:18

Does DSD not have play dates and sleepovers? I'm sure she wouldn't need as much attention from you if she had a friend over.

Whereisegg Sun 03-Nov-13 20:24:47

Snowmummy, it is fucking hard to split yourself between children.

Children that are your own by birth are hard.
Children that are not your own by birth but that you have chosen nonetheless?
A bloody minefield!

You feel like you can't impose all the things you expect of your own children or you are constantly moaning at them.
Take them out all weekend and you are a Disney Parent.
Leave them at home while you take your own out and you are a heartless bitch.
Ask them about school/homework and you are interfering.
Don't ask them about school/homework and you couldn't care less.

I can't see a single hint of op not wanting her dsd at her house, I see a mother wanting some reassurance her relationship with her own dc won't suffer now that she is going back to work which is hard enough without trying to make sure you don't leave out dsc as well.

HTH

needaholidaynow Sun 03-Nov-13 20:27:46

She's friends with the girl next door who is around the same age as her, so she'll happily play with her for a bit. As for play dates, I don't know any of her friends or their parents and neither does DP, so anything like that is really her mum's thing to sort out as she's friends with the mums at school etc..

needaholidaynow Sun 03-Nov-13 20:29:31

Thankyou whereisegg

Whereisegg Sun 03-Nov-13 20:34:53

no problem smile

Sorry to have a bit of a rant but I really felt that was unwarranted.

Bonsoir Sun 03-Nov-13 20:35:11

If your DSD is going to be spending most of her weekends at your house, maybe now is an appropriate time to get proactively involved in cultivating some of her school friendships? Does she have a best friend she would like to invite over for a sleepover?

snowmummy Sun 03-Nov-13 20:35:26

whereis I never said it wasn't fucking hard. Being a parent is fucking hard. The op, like it or not, is part of a split family. The parts of her posts that made me think she would rather spend time with her birth dc rather than her dsd, are in quotes in my post above.

I wonder whether she'd be happy for dsd to read them, because, if I was dsd I know how those comments would make me feel.

HTH

Moxiegirl Sun 03-Nov-13 20:38:30

You're all one family now, it does take adjustment but in the same way parents of large families don't always get much individual time with each child, blended families don't either. We have 5 children between us - it's taken a few years to get used to the dynamics.

Bonsoir Sun 03-Nov-13 20:40:14

My DSS2 lives with us FT, as did DSS1 until he went to university in September. I didn't always think it ought to be left to me to organize them but ultimately, if you do, you get more time to do what you want IYSWIM.

Whereisegg Sun 03-Nov-13 20:50:59

But essentially it is no different to asking how you can spend time alone with one child at a time.

If you work full time why wouldn't you want to prioritise time with your dc?

There was no saying dsd is no longer welcome, or could her visits be reduced.

You seem to have read between lines that aren't even there!

snowmummy Sun 03-Nov-13 20:54:19

I have read the comments that are most definitely there and quoted above. If you were dsd and you read them how would you fee?

Dsd is part of this family. No one should get priority, they are all equal.

Whereisegg Sun 03-Nov-13 20:56:23

I am reading the same posts as you, but not getting from them what you are.

snowmummy Sun 03-Nov-13 21:01:49

But now I am restricted to weekends to do all of that and that is when DSD is here, and I really want to be able to spend time with the boys on my own. I need that time with them.

I've been so used to being able to spend loads of bonding time with my boys and now it feels like most of the time DSD is going to be here too and I Have jump in to SM mode when is like to concentrate on being a mum.

These 2 quotes in particular would make me feel awful is I was dsd. I don't see how you don't see that.

Whereisegg Sun 03-Nov-13 21:08:17

It sounds like a mum in turmoil to me.

Are you saying that step parents shouldn't spend time with their own children without dsc then?

What about the other side of that when the children are older? I would hate for my dc to feel they never got me to themselves (both seperately and as a pair) because I never went anywhere without dss.
I would equally hate for dss to feel I never did anything with him because I disappeared with my dc for the whole weekend.

So I don't do either of those things.
I balance, and it's hard. It is just so hard.

Op can have a great relationship with her dsd without spending every second of her visits with her.

theredhen Sun 03-Nov-13 21:14:27

Dsd is part of the family but she's not the op's child.

Op needs to spend time with her children on her own. Her kids need it. Just like dsd needs time with her dad (or mum) without step siblings around.

It's very difficult to achieve in op's situation but its not impossible. There could possibly be issues regarding jealousy etc. but that doesn't mean it shouldn't happen.

There are some things that aren't for the eyes and ears of children and the op's post is one of those things, like discussing finances or your sex life or something else that is for adult ears only. That doesn't make it wrong to talk about.

needaholidaynow Sun 03-Nov-13 21:15:50

Snow mummy I never meant that I didn't want her to be here. As whereiseggs said, it's all about ensuring that the relationship with my own children doesn't suffer now I've gone back to work. Certain relationships you need to prioritise at times, such as this, where its hard enough just leaving them never mind then having to divide my attention and having no quality time with them whatsoever.

DSD always had that time with her mum when she was very little, and I think my children deserve the same. There's absolutely nothing wrong with DSD being here, as she can spend some quality time with her dad (the boys get to see him all week as he's unfortunately unemployed at the moment just to add) so its their chance to spend time together too whilst I see the boys on my own. That's as we'll as family time with us all together.

Moxiegirl Sun 03-Nov-13 21:16:59

So when does her dp get to spend time on his own with the boys?
A lone parent of several children doesn't necessarily get to spend time individually with her children. Quality time doesn't have to mean without the others. They are a family.

Moxiegirl Sun 03-Nov-13 21:17:52

Xpost re dp spending time.

needaholidaynow Sun 03-Nov-13 21:21:44

Sorry moxie Should have added that point re my DP earlier on!

Petal02 Sun 03-Nov-13 21:33:50

But even if the OP didn't want her step child around such a lot, I think a lot of us can empathise with that. It somehow seems acceptable for a bio mum to happily despatch a child every weekend, but if the recipient step mum isn't quite so keen on the arrangement, she gets flamed!

YesterdayI Sun 03-Nov-13 21:41:39

Might DS1 and DS2 think it strange if their sister (sorry I don't know if this is the right word to use) isn't included in their trips?

I would have thought with two younger boys and an older girl that there would be plenty of time for seperate time with the DCs especially if there is a biggish age gap.

Also do you think that having your DSD around will prevent you from having bonding time with your boys. I can't see how having another child about would prevent you from being affectionate and having fun with your boys.

theredhen Sun 03-Nov-13 21:42:43

A lone mother with several children won't always get one to one time with her children but the fundamental difference is that they are ALL her children.

A step situation is different. It's perfectly normal and natural to not want to share every minute you have with your children with your step children. I would also say its unhealthy for all the children to try and do so.

Petal02 Sun 03-Nov-13 21:44:44

Excellent post Redhen.

Moxiegirl Sun 03-Nov-13 21:46:21

Luckily my dp doesn't feel the same as my children are here all the time, his half the time and I work f/t while he is at home!
His dd annoys me sometimes, my kids annoy him (and our joint children!) but it's family life.

needaholidaynow Sun 03-Nov-13 21:50:55

Moxie Every family is different I suppose. I just know that I wouldn't like to be in a blended family where I saw my partner's children more than my own. That is no disrespect to you or your family, but it just wouldn't be my cup of tea.

Moxiegirl Sun 03-Nov-13 21:58:00

Fair enough smile
If your dp is around at weekends then I'm sure you can arrange to do things together and separately to keep everyone happy.
I do get how it feels - the feeling of not seeing enough of your children. I'm a bit torn between my eldest and youngest and working f/t as my eldest teen is in a psych unit and I'm off visiting her a lot, parenting is all about guilt eh?confused
Maybe going back to f/t work has thrown you more than anything, I hate going back to work after time off as I like time with my little ones too.
I'm sure it will all settle down. thanks

Whereisegg Sun 03-Nov-13 22:06:29

Redhen is much better than me at this!

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