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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?

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

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.

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?

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

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

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

34d, I really admire your approach grin

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

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

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

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

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.

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.

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).

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

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

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?

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.

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).

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.

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.

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.

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...

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'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.


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

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.

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

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 19:06:13

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

eslteacher 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.

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