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Does anyone else feel they have to 'reclaim' their home after the stepkids have gone?

(44 Posts)
Squirrel3 Sun 16-Apr-06 20:19:38

I always do it, as soon as they leave I start to tidy and clean until my home is 'normal'. I didn't realise what it was all about until this evening, I started to clean up after them and get the house straight, it wasn't until it was 'normal' and I thought to myself "Ahhhh, feels more like 'home' now I realised what it was all about.

The only way I can describe it is like I am 'reclaiming' my home, it certainly doesn't feel like it is my home when they are here, they tend to 'take over' and I almost feel like a guest (except for the fact I cook, clean and tidy after them). But when they have gone I know that it is my home and I can have things the way I want it.

Of course, I could be completely barking and nobody else does this...

Hattie05 Sun 16-Apr-06 20:45:31

I feel like i want to do this all the time, but she is my child and never leaves and so i never get to reclaim my home!

jampots Sun 16-Apr-06 21:02:54

I guess to your dh it's "normal" when they are there.

edam Sun 16-Apr-06 21:07:10

Gosh Squirrel, do you not get on with your step-kids? Only if I'd realised my own stepmother was doing anything like this I'd have been distraught.

roo28 Sun 16-Apr-06 21:11:17

hi squirrel - you are not barking at all - i do the same - have a mini spring clean and breath a sigh of relief following the departure of my step-children.

i have a habit of putting all the bath toys away and removing all 'their' toys from the livingroom, bedroom etc when they leave, it is wierd cause i dont think it's a case of 'out of sight, out of mind' more of a control thing.

i think when you are a step-parent, specifically a non-residential one life can totally feel out of control and you have to constantly put your feelings and needs second and in my case go along with decisions etc that are completley different to what i would have decided and so re-gaining control and decision making again is important to me and often starts with the house going back to 'normal'.

hope your fine...

NomDePlume Sun 16-Apr-06 21:17:25

I'm a step-parent and have never done this, although my stepsons are 60% residential. I think my DH would be pretty if I de-DS1 & DS2'd the house when they weren't with us. I think living like that would put a huge strain on my relationship. It sounds like you feel like you are in competition with his kids, or maybe not that, maybe like you are in denial of their significance in their father's life, and therefore your own.

I find this thread rather sad, tbh.

HappyMumof2 Sun 16-Apr-06 21:19:41

Message withdrawn

roo28 Sun 16-Apr-06 22:39:34

i take a little exception to the poor kids comments. i am 100% committed to the development and welbeing of my dsk's. i have a very complex situation and life can be difficult regarding our family dynamics on a daily basis for me.

everyone has different ways of coping with their situaion and as 'strange' as they may seem - i would rather have quirks that help me cope (and are not abvious to anyone except me may i add) than let everything get on top of me.

My step-children are certainly not 'poor' in fact continue to have a fantasitc relationship with me as they have for many years.

i feel saddened by the judgement - i have many conflicting emotions regarding my family situation, many of which can make me feel very isolated and alone. It is here that i can find support and reassurance and although not everyone will agree all the time maybe a helpful suggestion would be better than a 'poor kids' comment.

Thanks for your input anyway, take care, i am maybe being a bit sensitive am very tired this week follwong easter break.

rickman Sun 16-Apr-06 23:00:33

Message withdrawn

fireflyfairy2 Sun 16-Apr-06 23:17:34

Squirrel do you have children of your own?

If not then I can sort of see what you mean by reclaiming you space. If you do, then I wonder how your DH wouldn't find it hurtful for you to effectively tidy his children away into a cupboard until their next visit

edam Sun 16-Apr-06 23:39:47

roo28, are you the same person as Squirrel?

Look, children of divorced parents need lots of reassurance that their parents still love them. And quadruple that when their parents meet new partners. The idea that the new partner hates them to the point of having to spring clean them out of existence is just devastating. Speaking as an (ex) stepchild.

And it would be even more devastating if anyone ever treated ds in this awful manner. Good God.

edam Sun 16-Apr-06 23:41:35

I have a very clear memory of worrying about whether my father and stepmother's friends knew that my father already had children or just thought that stepmum and half-sister were his only family. It's hard enough losing a parent without acquiring an enemy.

Squirrel3 Mon 17-Apr-06 07:23:15

Blimey I didn't want to start a row! I think my post was misunderstood.

(BTW, no, Roo isn’t me, sorry I had to go out.)

Yes, I do have kids, they are grown up and I have two grandkids, who incidentally when I have them for the weekend when they go back to dd I clean up and breathe a sigh of relief, its not that I don't love them, or enjoy having them, I love them to bits but its nice to get back to normal.

'Poor kids', what is that about? My stepkids want for nothing they are very lucky that they have two sets of parents who love them very much; more people to love them can only be a good thing can’t it? They are step aunties and step uncles to my grandkids (whom they adore BTW). My step children are very much part of my life and my family, (as are my grandchildren) we joke about me being the wicked stepmum and I have a good relationship with them (mostly, of course there are hic-cups but those happen in families where mum and dad are together).

I totally resent the remark 'effectively tidy his children away into a cupboard until their next visit' as if wiping chocolate off the doors, furniture and carpets, tidying toys ect is tidying the kids away until the next visit, I don't think so. My stepchildren feel very much at home when they come here and they enjoy their visits, infact they refer to it as 'home'. One of the first things I did when dp moved in with me was to make sure that their photo's went up along side my own kids photo's, he hadn't even unpacked anything else but I felt it was important to show that they were part of my family first. Yes, being a stepmum is difficult but the kids always get put first, no matter what. Edam they have not acquired an enemy, they may have acquired a stepmum with some ‘strange quirks’ but it is a stepmum that loves them and they know it.

I suppose 'reclaim' might have been the wrong word, like I say, it’s just nice to get my space back at the end of the weekend.

Mytwopenceworth Mon 17-Apr-06 08:11:23

I'm not a step mum, but i feel the exact way you describe whenever i have had guests to stay (including parents, sister, neice so not just mates!). it is lovely having them, i go all out to make them welcome (they are most welcome!) i am sad when the visit ends and I look forward to the next one, but still, when i wave byebye and close the door, i go <sigh>, shoulders go down and i am pleased i got my house back. it's a very normal feeling at the end of any houseguest stay. whether it is supposed to be the way to feel when the houseguests are your stepkids, i cannot say cos i am not a stepmum, but i guess you are going to feel this whenever you have someone to stay who isnt a permanent resident in your home. i dont think it has to be a reflection on how you feel about them.

Squirrel3 Mon 17-Apr-06 09:06:40

Exactly! Mytwopenceworth, thank you. You put it far my eloquently than I did.

I must admit (re: the having the stepchildren)the 'reclaiming' was the wrong word to use, when they are here the whole household dynamics change, we go from having no kids here to having two (not to say that it is a bad thing, I enjoy their visits most of the time) but dp does tend to let them take over the TV, they seem to take over the whole house, the whole weekend is devoted to them, as it should be, well maybe not the TV, it winds me up no end that if I want to watch anything I have to go to my bedroom to watch it (that is one little gripe I have).

It is sad to see them go at the end of the weekend but at the same time it’s nice to have control over the TV etc and have some time and space to ourselves.

BTW, I told dp about the slating I got here and he said "But you do exactly the same thing when the grandkids come, it doesn't mean that you don't love them".

roo28 Mon 17-Apr-06 09:10:03

what a thread!

Tis good to have all opinions i think i'll leave this thread now but woulld like to mention that normally i wouldn't feel the need to recite my upbringing to anyone but i too ahve divorced parents (very messy and traumatic) and i too have a step dad (who brought me up from 12) and a step-mum.
I have a great relatinship with them and know that they also found their roles very difficult - i have a complicated but very strong family network and like my bm and sd and sm i too am a compitent and loving parent to my 2 sk's and own son...whose things are also tidyed away...things arent always what theyu seem and the symbolism of tidiying things away is not about quality and quantity of love - my house is littered with photos, pictures and giftsd from all my children - step and 'own'.
however less of the explaining and contraversal chat, i'm tidy!!!

gigglinggoblin Mon 17-Apr-06 09:19:28

i feel this way when my kids go to bed! i tidy up the toys, put on music i cant listen to or a video i cant watch when they are around, have a glass of wine or a cup of tea without having to watch the glass/mug like a hawk or put it up too high for kids to reach etc etc. i think its a totally normal thing to do, everyone needs their own space.

in fact we are moving soon to a house with 2 reception rooms and i am telling anyone who will listen that we are going to have a child free living room so i can have ornaments out and stuff. i cant wait, i dont think its being cruel to want a bit of space that belongs to you, and i dont think it is necessarily down to whether kids are biologically yours or not

mistressmiggins Mon 17-Apr-06 10:02:08

I do this every night when my children have gone to bed - reclaiming my lounge !!

I think to be fair to Squirrel she used the wrong word - reclaiming sounded like you were wiping away evidence.

I agree with Rickman & Happymumof2 - we are just worried that our children end up with stepmums who DO treat them differently or reclaim their houses when kids have gone home.

lockets Mon 17-Apr-06 10:07:53

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

edam Mon 17-Apr-06 10:18:35

I can understand breathing a sigh of relief after houseguests have gone. Or wanting some grown-up space. But step-kids aren't houseguests. They are immediate family - and vulnerable to feeling left out because they have lost a parent as part of their daily life.

Don't think grandchildren are an exact comparison either, because your home isn't your grandchildren's home. Yet it should be your stepchildren's second home.

Step relationships are difficult and potentially fraught with tension. It's very, very easy to make step-children feel like cuckoos in the nest. Even if you don't consciously intend to. The thing is it's incumbent upon the grown-ups to put the children first. They are the victims of the choices made by the adults.

Two things alarmed me about your initial post. The picture of you wiping out all evidence of your stepchildren. And the grin and wink as if this was funny. Not very funny when your parents get divorced and your stepmother can't wait for you to leave the house.

Squirrel3 Mon 17-Apr-06 10:21:17

Lockets, thats horrible, my stepkids have their own rooms and their own 'stuff' here, they do bring some things here when they stay the weekend and it does go home with them (more because their Mum demands it than anything), I never slate their Mum infront of them, rather the oposite most of the time, got to admit they do tend to 'try to play one off against the other' but I won't have it, "if Mum has moaned at you you probably deserved it", is my opinion when they try that one!

Thank you everyone for understanding that I used the wrong word (still not entirely sure of the correct one).

Surfermum Mon 17-Apr-06 10:21:26

I know exactly what you mean Squirrel. I think what people sometimes misunderstand is that we step-mums come on here and offload about what we find hard about being a step-mum, but there is no way in the world that we would ever let our step-children know how we feel.

That is so awful Lockets, to say that in front of you. I must admit I sometimes get cross with the mess when dsd is around - but I also get cross with the mess when she isn't around. So the getting cross isn't about her, it's about the mess and, I would have thought, perfectly normal in any house.

Squirrel3 Mon 17-Apr-06 10:28:26

~sigh~ Edam, my home is my grandchildren’s second home, my dd is disabled and I have them quite a lot of the time, they do see it as their home too.

You seem to have a huge chip on your shoulder, if you had read my subsequent posts you will realise that I love my step children dearly (as much as I love my own). I really don't want to get into more arguments with you about it because obviously anything I say to you will be misunderstood.

NotActuallyAMum Mon 17-Apr-06 13:21:16

I too feel like this when anyone had been to our house - whether it's DPs family or mine. I've been trying to think of a word which describes it but haven't come up with anything yet

Then again my house doesn't feel like it's mine anyway so it is a bit different for me

Hope you're OK squirrel

Squirrel3 Tue 18-Apr-06 06:14:52

I'm ok thanks Naam,

BTW incase anybody else thought that the 'grin, wink, blush' was a bit odd, if you look the grin, wink and blush was directed at my comment about me being completely barking, I was laughing at myself not at "when your parents get divorced and your stepmother can't wait for you to leave the house." I can imagine that is not very funny at all, the step-parents on MN try their very best to make sure that doesn't happen. I can't think of one step-mum on here that doesn't love their step-kids. Ok they may come on here to rant about the situation etc because being a step-mum is very different to being a Mum but that doesn't mean that they are evil step-mums and can't wait to get rid of the step-kids. They come on here to rant to get it into perspective and to ask for advice because they don't want it to affect their step-kids, hardly the actions of someone who hates them and wants to wipe out their existence.

And BTW, I can't think of one step-parent on here that has caused the marriage break-up. My dp's ex threw him out and moved in a much younger man long before I met him.

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