I feel 'mothered out' with my own children ... don't have energy for stepmothering(6 Posts)
Please someone listen to me ramble.
I don’t understand how to be a stepmother or how this is all supposed to work… We have been together for three years but living together for just a few months. We have shared care 50/50 for all three dc (two mine/1 DH’s).
DSD is 16 (mine are considerably younger). She is a good girl but very immature (tries to get into our bed / cannot remotely fend for herself – which I find frustrating). She is very clingy to her dad and to me. Even though this might sound lovely, I find it quite tiring and REALLY difficult to be warm towards her. I just feel that I am “mothered out” with my own children and don’t have the energy to ‘give’ to her all the time. This makes me feel like a horrible person!
I don’t think she is very happy but she really doesn’t have many friends (or social skills to be honest) and I just don’t have the patience for her that I do for my own DCs. I also find myself really wanting to do things with my own DCs without her around all the time. This is partly because she really don’t have many social skills and does tend to make social situations quite awkward.
AIBAHS? (Am I being a horrible stepmother?!)
I think I don't really know how I am supposed to DO the stepmothering thing. It feels really draining.
Just wanted to send a sympathetic virtual hug. I don't have kids myself but my SD(13) lacks social skills too and I find it quite embarrassing and frustrating. I can identify with feeling drained by the role of a SM
Do you try to teach her these social skills? I guess from an outsiders perspective it's easy to feel sorry for her that she hasn't been taught such necessary basic skills.
Are you getting any 'you' time, to recharge your batteries?
It is embarassing and frustrating. (And with my own children, I can tell them to be quiet or correct them, but I really can't with an almost fully grown woman!) It makes me recoil a bit from taking her places or to join in things with my children and my friends.
I don't have any 'me' time or space, no. That is something I really need. But the children are here almost all the time (the 50-50 overlaps but not completely).
I find her very hard to understand because I was very independent at 16 and could not have thought of anything more awful than spending time with my parents! But she wants to be with us all the time. I feel awful for not enjoying it, like I'm rejecting her.
Hmm yes as she's 16 you're in a difficult position trying to bring her up on manners when you're out an about. Have you told your OH how her behaviour makes you feel? Is it something he would notice and pick her up on so you don't have to? I know with my OH it goes over his head.
It seems one of the most common difficulties about having Skids is the feeling that you wouldn't bring up your own kids that way. And that your own upbringing was different so it's hard to relate to your Skid. Also dealing with the legacy of how BM has brought them up is very difficult. It's not always easy to celebrate the differences!
Can you book an evening out with a friend every so often? If you can't get an evening in without the kids then can you go out for a break from it all?
I have been reading this and other step parenting forums for years and immature teens seem to be a common theme in step children.
I too was very independent at 16, and I watch my own dp pander to my dsd now aged 18 and am struck by the contrast.
It's hard going having kids all the time especially when you don't have your own. There must be a lot of resentment that dsd isn't getting her own life and spreading her wings?
How does your dp treat her? Is he scared to "let her go" and grow up in case she doesn't see him anymore.
I posted in the Teenagers forum for some useful books for teen relationships.
Most of the suggestions are books about the overall teenage experience, with sections about relationships.
You both might find them quite a helpful read. They might help her understand how certain situations come about and how to react to them, which will build her self confidence and break down that awkwardness.
One of them's called the Rough Guide to Girl Stuff, looked quite useful.
She may also be feeling she has to compete for her dad's time with you, and with your kids. How much effort does he put in to having time alone with her? If he's trying to treat her as just 'one of the family' this may not be working and he might need to go back a step, spend more time with her until she's confident enough in her relationship with him to not feel threatened.
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