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To ask if I need to do everything with my step kids?

(102 Posts)
Jacketpotatoes Mon 01-Apr-19 08:20:17

My DH has two children with his ex. Both lovely kids, we get on well.

I'm wondering if AIBU to think that I don't need to spend every minute of their contact time with them?

What I mean is, DH will not do anything without me. I.e. I'll suggest they go to the cinema together and he'll say I should come too because 'we do things together'.

If I want to go upstairs and read a book or have a lie down on a weekend I'm expected to do it in the living room with them otherwise I'm accused of not wanting to spend time with them.

They are with us one night under 50/50 so it's not a small amount.

I think contact time is for DH, not me. I do a lot with them, I'm not saying I avoid them the entire time they are here at all. We do a lot together, go to lots of places, watch films together, eat every meal together etc...

But I think if I want to do something on an evening like have a long bath or read a book upstairs I should be able to. As much as I do care for them (and I do!), I'm not a parent, it is not me they are here to see. And whilst DH may enjoy spending time with them watching their games on the console, I don't!

It's as though I'm made to feel guilty if I don't want to 'do things together' all the time. He even pulls his face if I don't want to go to their activities like swimming watch on a Saturday morning every time.

I never ever stop him doing things, in fact I try to actively encourage him to do things with them on his own but he thinks we should do it together every time. As I say, I do get on really well with the children so I don't believe they mind that I come to all of these things but I'm sure they'd be happy to go out and do something fun with Dad some time on their own.

I feel like I'm being expected to want to do all of this stuff as much as a parent would when in reality, I don't always want to. I'm kind, respectful, have a laugh with them, make them feel as welcome as possible in their home with us etc... But they aren't my children at the end of the day and that's okay isn't it?

MojoMoon Mon 01-Apr-19 08:29:32

You seem very reasonable.

Ohtherewearethen Mon 01-Apr-19 08:32:52

Absolutely! You sound like a lovely step mum who has made a very welcoming home for them but Christ you need some 'me' time too! Every parent would want this, and as you say, as much as you like them you can never love them as much as your husband does!

mumsiedarlingrevolta Mon 01-Apr-19 08:32:54

How old are the children?

I think it is perfectly reasonable to want/need some down time.
Birth mothers do as well shock
I think that if your DH keeps "forcing it" you will start to be resentful and he needs to know he is being unreasonable and needs to stop trying to control everything and relax a little. Im sure he has good intentions but think they will backfire...

WorkingItOutAsIGo Mon 01-Apr-19 08:35:39

Not only that but he should be doing things on his own with them. They need one to one time with him. Is he scared of that?

It’s about their needs primarily. But yes you should get downtime too if you want it.

Houseonahill Mon 01-Apr-19 08:37:26

Even if they were your children it's no unreasonable to want to have a long bath or read a book while they play on console, like you say sometimes it's nice to do stuff together but you don't need to be joined at the hip 100% of the time they are there.

Duchessgummybuns Mon 01-Apr-19 08:38:32


lovetheweekends Mon 01-Apr-19 08:38:32

It's so important that he also has time alone with them, it's lovely that he wants you included, but that time alone for the children in particular, is also very important.

GamesOfThrones Mon 01-Apr-19 08:39:36

I refused swimming with my own kids let alone someone else’s grin

Nowordsleft Mon 01-Apr-19 08:40:24

I think it’s fine but you will have a job convincing him so you will have to be firm.

Hereforthecake Mon 01-Apr-19 08:40:58

As the daughter of a dad who insisted our step mum join in everything with us too, I would have loved time alone with him. You sound very reasonable. I wonder why he is so resistant.

ScreamScreamIceCream Mon 01-Apr-19 08:41:42

The reason for contact is to spend time with their parent not you. So he should at least be spending some time with them on his own without you.

Ideally he should be spending some one-to-one time with each of them which would mean you or someone else would have to look after the other one.

Oh and wait for the hate to start...

Barbarafromblackpool Mon 01-Apr-19 08:41:48


mummmy2017 Mon 01-Apr-19 08:41:49

Just tell him, not this is your time with them, I will be doing X.
Keep saying it.

Connieston Mon 01-Apr-19 08:41:57

You're not unreasonable, it sounds claustrophobic for you all to do everything together. Like others have said even birth mums need some space for themselves (as do kids).

Inliverpool1 Mon 01-Apr-19 08:42:46


HennyPennyHorror Mon 01-Apr-19 08:44:21

God. Would he expect this if they were both your children? Do you have children together?

I'd just say a flat NO.

AmayaBuzzbee Mon 01-Apr-19 08:45:25

YANBU, Husband and I do plenty of things with our own kids both together and separately. This is completely normal. You are definitely not being unreasoable wanting some me time from any kids, your own or not, especially when the other parent is there!

ZippyBungleandGeorge Mon 01-Apr-19 08:46:53

How old are they? It's he not confident crying for them on his own? You absolutely deserve time for you and you seem very reasonable and balanced about the situation

CalmdownJanet Mon 01-Apr-19 08:47:29

Turn it around on him "Actually when I want to do things alone you say it's because I don't want to do things with the children when actually I have realised that you don't want me to do things alone so that YOU don't have to do things with the children on your own! This is about you not me!"

Can't even have a bath, for fuck sake that would be absurd if you were their mother! He sounds needy as fuck

Jacketpotatoes Mon 01-Apr-19 08:48:10

Hmm I've asked myself this question too (why does he insist so much) and I'm no psychologist but here's my take...

It's absolutely not because he wants to pass the book in terms of care. He does everything for them. I do all the cooking but I love cooking so it's not a chore and I'd fight him before I let him do that because it's my thing that I enjoy doing after work!! But other than that, I'm not expected to look after the children when they are with us.

He's a fantastic father, even his ex would say the same. He isn't a part time dad at all and he loves them intensely which is one of my favourite things about him.

However, I think he carries a lot of guilt. Not because he's done anything wrong, he and ex split amicably. But because he doesn't want them children to be affected by not having a 'together' family. I think he tries to substitute that for us when we are together. He very desperately wants us to be seen as a family (which we are!).

It's also about me too I think. He's very caring and I think he wants me to feel included in everything and absolutely like I'm his family as well (which I do!).

I don't know if any of that made sense grin but that's my attempt at understanding from what he says.

Hiddenaspie1973 Mon 01-Apr-19 08:49:24

Yanbu. Sounds like he's scared of being alone with his kids to, y'know, PARENT THEM 🙄
A Mickey mouse short of a Disney Dad.
You sound like you go above and beyond, you are fair to expect time alone.

Blondebakingmumma Mon 01-Apr-19 08:49:48

I have no experience in step parenting, but as a mum I need alone time too. It’s bonkers to try to be with them all the time. What if they want to quietly lay in bed or watch Netflix? Does their dad dictate that they have to be involved too?

MojoMoon Mon 01-Apr-19 08:50:27

Is he just a lazy sod who doesn't want to have to deal with them on his own?

Do you end up doing most of the packing lunch/coats/planning the schedule, logistics when you do go out with them?

Shoxfordian Mon 01-Apr-19 08:51:51

Keep doing what you're doing and take time to yourself as well. He's expecting you to be as involved as their mother presumably was which is unrealistic

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