Miserable weekend(20 Posts)
I just need somewhere to vent as DP won't hear me.
I'm really struggling. I dread EOW. I'm glad they feel at home here but it's my home too and Im not respected as a part of this family. I'm tired of treading on eggshells around DP who seems to undergo a personality transplant the moment they arrive. I can't say anything right and if I dare have anything negative to say I'm shot down as they can do no wrong in his eyes.
I really don't feel I'm asking too much and neither does DP when they aren't here and we are able to have a sensible conversation.
We've pretty much argued all weekend as small changes (bringing plates/glasses down from their rooms/flushing the loo/making their beds etc) have all been forgotten about. They do all this stuff at home but don't bother here. DP spends all weekend running around and picking up after them and then moans that he doesn't get a break and takes it out on me.
Your DP is probably racked with guilt and that is why he lets them walk all over him.
The whole situation is fraught because it is so difficult. ( jealousy etc) You presumably have no Dcs and no children together? If this is the case then it is a bit difficult for you to understand how he feels about his children and why he behaves like he does. He just CANNOT choose you over them.
Believe me it is nothing to do with him not loving you, he probably loves you very much, but blood is thicker than water.
So what can you do to protect yourself from getting so angry and fed up?
Not a lot I am afraid. The only thing that you can do is try and RELAX.
OK, they leave plates and stuff about your house, one weekend in two, but you have each other weekend to yourself, yippee!
Don't moan about his children to him. How would YOU like to love someone and have to listen to someone else saying derogatory things about them to you? It is making him tense every weekend because he knows how you feel. He has no choice as he has to have them there and he can sense your disapproval and tension. That is probably why he is being grumpy and defensive.
What about actively trying to like them? Trying to look at their positive points? If they have any? They must have some?
Your relationship with them is important to your relationship with your DP. It could end up breaking you apart.
However, they are not going to make the effort. You are the ADULT here so it is up to you.
You can let your DP clear up after them without comment and plan a meal out every Sunday night for you and your DP as a reward for holding your tongue and counting to ten.
I am sure that you want to be known as a smiley, kind, and patient , Step Mother rather than grumpy, miserable one.
It will pass. When they get to young adulthood you won't see them for dust as they will be too busy with their own lives.
Patricia Papernow has some great books on stepparenting which covers the balance of the dynamics. Yes your DP will be acting in the way he does because he feels guilty or insecure in his role as a parent but that should not mean your needs get completed ignored. Well worth a read.
Sounds like he needs to put down some house rules for his kids. I do get your frustration, I deal with the same. Dsd leaves everything lying about while dp waits on her hand and do it, picks up after her and generally does the whole Disney dad/precious princess thing. Problem is I have two kids and its very different rules for them. It causes no end of grief.
All you can do is tell him to get the kids to do the basics. Bring stuff out of rooms, pick up their own things etc. If he moans at you then point out the only person causing this problem is him.
When they were smaller we used to be exhausted after EOW, and would nearly always have a meal out on the Monday night and use it as time to try and get ourselves back together again and remember why we liked each other!
It wasn't planned that way - but that's what it turned into - and it really helped to put things in perspective.
I'd also go and do things with my friends and leave them to it. Again to get some perspective and also to give them some time together.
Also - as another poster suggests, find the stuff you do like about them and about them visiting. There's got to be something, even if some weekends its just the peace and quiet when they are gone!
Don't underestimate the guilt involved from your DH...
I also learnt, and it took a while, to let DH do things his own way - which included picking up after them and doing everything - that seemed to help him in some way - so I just learnt to ignore stuff otherwise I ended up feeling like a housekeeper rather than his partner. (That may not be the best way for everyone but it sure helped my stress levels!).
Setting basic ground rules and ensuring those are abided by is NOT about 'choosing' the OP over his children !!
It sounds as if OP and her DP have already had discussions about behaviour/rules in their home, yet he then goes back on his word once confronted with the reality .... and yes, that's very possibly down to 'guilt', and/or not wanting to 'spoil' limited contact time, and/or a fear that the kids will vote with their feet if told off, but nonetheless, it doesn't alter the fact it must be terribly frustrating for OP to have had what she considers to be a fair and amicable conversation which her DP then all but ignores. In other words, he pays her lip service, tells her what she wants to hear, but has no intention of sticking to his word. Which is disrespectful IMO.
Furthermore, it's clear his approach - apart from anything else - is making a rod for his own back, yet he then takes it out on her because he doesn't like the extra work he's caused himself, which is ridiculously unfair. Maybe he thinks they should both be running about after these kids - or worse, maybe he thinks that as she's 'the woman', the OP should be doing it all instead!
Sorry Hole but (IMO) your response to OP was far too idealistic. I really don't think it's about her seeing the stepkids in a more positive light .... it's about her DP stepping up and parenting responsibly - for everyone's benefit, including the children. 'Accepting' that they are going to be lazy and ignore house rules - which is probably stuff that's been mentioned several times before - while their father picks up the slack and runs around after them is crazy .... what sort of message does that give them, and when will they ever learn to do stuff for themselves, or respect the household generally, and everyone who lives in it ?
This isn't about OP's perception of children - as is so often the case it's a DP issue. A dad who isn't parenting, who's taking the easy option (except he doesn't like it as he gets more work and is then unfairly snarky with OP). He could go a long way to making himself happier, his partner happier and raising two more thoughtful and well balanced kids if he simply attempted to implement house rules.
I doubt the OP has said anything 'derogatory' to him about them - I doubt very much she's called them names for example. But, in her own home, she is quite entitled to expect minimum standards of behaviour and respect - and this is borne out by her disclosure that when the children aren't there he too feels what is asked of them is reasonable. Having a moan when this doesn't happen is quite understandable - and it's very wrong she should feel she must walk on eggshells because he's so touchy about the whole business. Either he agrees with the house rules they've previously discussed, or he doesn't. If he doesn't, he should explain why that is and get on with the resultant skivvying without bloody moaning as the answer is in his hands.
But that of course would be the cowardly solution and his kids are likely to grow up spoilt and selfish if he does everything for them. Perhaps OP, in one of his more lucid moments, when the children aren't there, he needs that pointing out to him - does he really want to raise children like that ?
I think one mistake that often takes place is when one the step-parent becomes the 'no' parent and the 'no' parent only. It is hard enough to impose yourself with the role of disciplinarian, but when all the focus is on what they do wrong, then it is inevitable that you will be seen as the bad cop.
If some rules are especially important for you and you want to impose new things they are not used to, then make sure these a countered with new things that are positive. Ie, new rules is that they have to make their beds (not fun), but new rule is also that they get to have something special for breakfast that they love but don't normally have.
Kids have most respect for figures of authorities who provide rules, but only if they also provide joy and fun in exchange.
As has been said above, if you haven't actually done it, you can never understand the guilt a parent feels when they leave a partner/spouse and children (father or mother and for whatever reason) and consequently sets up home in a new environment with a new partner! When your DP has his children EOW, he wants it to be perfect for them, he doesn't want the negativity of telling them to do such mundane stuff as making beds etc, he wants it be fun, fun, fun! The slightest sign of distress, upset or mutiny from his DC will have him wrung with fear that they're not having a good time and won't want to come again...and of course, the little darlings soon cotton on to this chink in daddy's armour! Unfortunately, if you don't just go along with it, you're perceived as the bad guy, who's no fun! So, for the time being anyway I'd suggest, grit your teeth, plaster on a smile and throw yourself into whatever game/fun their having, if it's age appropriate, get on the floor and play dollies/cars/Lego...whatever! BUT!! Be kind to yourself and on the last day they're there, in the afternoon, go off meet friends, have a spa treatment/shopping....anything that keeps you out of the house til they go home, but agree with DP that a) you'll bring a take away/bottle of wine/etc home and b) he'll have the place back to normal!!! Try it, it's worked for lots of my friends!!
It definitely doesn't need to be like this. My ex values our dd very very highly indeed and for that exact reason she is expected to respect her step mum and their home and to toe the line just like every other kid.
Your dpis failing his children, and you I'm afraid. But I don't actually know how to get him to see that because my DH never really did.
It has a lot to do with mums attitude toward the situation. It's never easy to share your weekend with other people's kids but I know for my dd's step mum it isn't so bad because she actually has the respect that the adult woman of the house deserves. It doesn't have to be an "either/or", favouritism/ jealousy thing. Each family member should be given consideration.
You need a stern word with your DP and firm plans to change things or i think best be on your way x
Or... If you're superhuman try wigdin's idea
Agree about your Dp feeling guilty, most divorced dads too including my dh. I feel for you op.
In all honesty, they are his children so let him deal with them. Stop tidying their room. Don't try to get involved in discipline it's just not worth the headache. Leave it to daddy. It's him who they are coming to visit and want to spend time with.
Don't over invest emotionally in step children. Trying to raise them is a thankless task.
Be nice and polite and make your own plans when they visit.
Yes, what quite likely said. I invested sooooo much and have never, ever, in nine years got any reward what so ever
Haha, yes I know you'd need to be a 'superwoman' for my idea but I meant it as a partial detaching devise! By not getting involved in the discipline aspects, you won't be the 'meanie' in their lives! And, by leaving their DF to deal with them entirely alone for a reasonable part of the weekend you; a) give them time together, b) get yourself out of the situation to recover and c) you are letting your DP see just how difficult life can be when children have no rules or boundaries! My friend was in your situation with 3 SC under 10 and no DC of her own. She was tearing her hair out EOW as the kids ran riot around the house, with DF imposing no discipline...and so was he tbh! Eventually she spent most of Saturday's getting them to do cooking, arts etc with her and DH, or they took them to the park, cinema etc...anything to use up their energies, but each Sunday she planned a day out with single fiends, came to my house for lunch, even occasionally (finance permitting) booked herself into a spa! She feels it's not now so chaotic, or such a chore and DH has reached the point where he's asking (begging) for her advise on controling them on Sunday's!!!
It's actually what catsmother said. I am in exactly the same situation - an OH who has much lower standards of cleanliness and household than I do, making me feel like the bad guy when in fact he isn't stepping up to his own responsibilities. Guilt is no excuse for poor parenting.
If you don't battle it out with him it will only get worse. Detaching will help, but in the end you will feel shut out and a stranger in your own home. So you need to detach, but also be clear about the standards you will tolerate. Kids need reminding time and time again. Stepkids are no different.
Another one for catsmother and daftgeranium here. When DSS used to visit I swear my DH morphed into some lunatic house servant. Nothing was too much trouble for him to fetch carry and tiptoe around his DS. Did my effing head in.
What stopped it? Probably me, being very scornful of his behaviour, me asking DSS why he is letting his DF get him this, get him that. Me asking DH "why are you being so unfair to DSS? Why won't you let him just be part of the family?" and "DS knows how to do that/this/whatever why won't you let DSS learn how to do it?", deliberately phrasing it so that DSS thought it unfair.
In the beginning, DSS used to play up especially for it - eg., "I don't know how to butter my toast" provoked my response "No, really? That's OK, I'll get DS (4 years younger) to do it for you". DSS grew up and stopped playing up. And he's great now. Love him to bits.
Don't let it continue. Keep reminding your DH that's he not letting them grow up, or learn life skills. And there's other ways to be a SuperDad (which is what he wants to be) than being a HouseServant or a DisneyDad (yup had that too) and that is spending time playing xbox together or going to the movies together or football or whatever. Which he won't have the time to do if he's fetching and carrying.
I think for some SM's we tiptoed around in the beginning trying to be the fairy godmother type of SM! But that behaviour is sometimes viewed as weak, and so the habit forms whereby unacceptable behaviour of any sort, becomes the norm...you have to break eggs to make omelettes, so get cracking ladies!
I've found the same, Chin. dp jumps up to get tea for dss when he's home from school, I say let him make our tea.
One time he told me he didn't know how to heat a tin of soup, I told him he'd have to have it cold then.
Last weekend, he went out and when he cane back I didn't jump up to do stuff for him and before I knew it he had cooked his own pizza! And he brought me tea in bed the next morning. He's far more self reliant when dp isn't around.
We had some of this but it wasn't all DH's fault as DSD did (and still does) nothing for herself at her mum's.
I'm talking not emptying bathwater, helping clear table after eating, not making bed or putting dirty laundry in laundry basket etc etc. Very simple things which I thought an 11-year-old should be doing without thinking. It's a mystery why her mum doesn't encourage her to do them, even now.
I've brought my family up and am now a GM and SGM, and my DC definitely learned, from a very young age to help with household chores. Shoot me down in flames...but I think we're now, (in general) bringing up a generation of entitled, selfish and demanding citizens! Goodness knows how some of today's teens will fare in the cut throat world of grown-up reality!
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