Am I an evil stepmum?(141 Posts)
I am seeking an outside opinion from you over your morning cup of coffee.
To give you a quick summary; I am stepmum to a four year old and also have a one year old with my husband. I work full time and run the household finances, do the shopping, cooking, washing etc. Also due to the fact that my husband is currently on a driving ban I do all associated driving for our son, pick DH up from work and half the driving for DSS (mum doing the other half).
My husband is a great father and has a very generous custody arrangement. We have DSS one weekday evening and Saturday morning through to Sunday lunchtime every week. This has recently been informally extended to 4pm on a Sunday. At which point my husband is so exhausted that he typically collapses on the sofa and doesn't move.
DSS is, due to the nature of a split family, a demanding child. When he is with us he requires my husbands undivided attention. Which I do understand as he idolises DH and wants to make the most of any time with him.
The strain is starting to show and I have to confess that I am beginning to resent DH and DSS. I feel like I am cook, cleaner, taxi driver... really just at everyone's beck and call.
I also admit that I am envious of DSS mum who doesn't work and has the whole weekend off. I know this is irrelevant to my situation but I can't help but compare.
I have had some RELATE counselling to try and deal with this and out of that came the suggestion that we revert to the previous arrangement of DSS going back to his mums at lunchtime, giving us Sunday afternoon to relax and DH to help with the chores.
Having suggested this to DH, he has flipped out. Accusing me of hating his son (I think he has picked up on the building resentment), being jealous, asking me "how would you feel if someone took DS from you for half the week" etc. He has said that I am making him choose between me and DSS and he will choose DSS.
I know that DSS is not the problem here, but it seems like the most practical solution. Is it a reasonable request to ask DSS to visit for a few less hours per week?
Out of interest has your step son started school yet? I'm surprised his mother doesn't want contact EOW so that she gets some weekend time with him, but if she's at home with him during the week that could be why, but could also change once he starts school.
I can understand your DH wanting to see as much of his son as possible but he can't use that as an excuse not pull his weight at home. I can understand why his son wants his undivided attention but that isn't sustainable. When your child is older they will notice and it is likely to be negative for their relationship. If he wants his son to spend extra time with you then it needs to be regular family time with everyone pulling their weight and doing chores, he can't expect you to facilitate Disney Dad parenting.
Personally I think dh should step up to the plate and help more around the house.
The issue isn't with dss and a couple of extra hours.
DSS is not due to start school until September 2016. I might talk to mum about how she sees custody working then, the relationship is very amicable so I don't think this will be a problem. It might give me some light at the end of the tunnel.
DH really cannot see how much I do for our family (he must think fairies tidy the house whilst we are asleep!)
I agree with the above posters - I think you should be focusing your attention on your DH, pulling his weight around the house rather than the contact hours. You are right to feel the current situation is unfair but I can see why DH reacted as he did, it's such an emotional subject. Could DSS help DH with some chores so they are still spending time together?
Is 30odd hours a week what counts as generous these days?
You are correct, the problem you have is with your lazy husband. Tired or not at 4pm on a Sunday he needs to muck in.
YWBU to send the DSS away early just because your husband claims to be tired at 4.
How come he doesn't start school until September 2016?
DSS helping with chores is a great idea. DH has always been rubbish at housework, his mum and previous partner always did everything. This might well focus his attention!
No, make your HUSBAND do chores!
And as an aside, if he's got a driving ban then he should really be walking or getting the bus to work.
It's supposed to be a punishment for him, not you, OP.
If he is 4 now surely he would be started school this September? Although I could be wrong.
Your dh needs to step up, in the meantime I know it's difficult but you could go on some sort of "strike" in regards to housework, cooking etc. he will soon realise how much you do!
Are most custody agreements not alternative weekends?
The week where u don't have DSS at a weekend have extra time with him during the week.
DSS is almost 4, definitely starts until Sept 16.
I have said to husband that he might be an awesome dad but he is not the best husband. I don't think a strike would work, if I don't drive him to work we would lose an income. If I only cook and wash for myself & DS, I will create a divide.
Good grief, I think you're focusing on entirely the wrong thing here. Your husband should be pulling his weight around the house. Unless he has a very valid reason not to be, that should be non negotiable. You need to put your foot down.
This isn't about an extra couple of hours, it's about someone who isn't pulling his weight at home, and tbh a four year old isn't that stressful that his time with his dad should be cut short. After all, the one year old isn't going anywhere and your dh won't be able to do anything about that when he is being demanding.
I have 0 sympathy for your dh being tired at 4:00 on a sunday tbh, how on earth does he think that parents who have their children full time manage along with running a household as well?
I agree that when dss starts school things may change anyway, but I don't think that this should be brought up with his mum. If my xh's partner started to suggest that ds spend more time with me because xh is exhausted I would tell her to do one in no uncertain terms and would suggest to xh that he find a new partner.
You need to tell your dh that he needs to start pulling his weight, and time with dss needs to be family time not constant treat time iyswim. If he lives there part of the time then he lives there and is an integral part of the family not an honoured guest.
Agree with all the others, your Dh needs to get off his arse, he needs to sort his own (and maybe his sons) travel out, not dump his mistake on you to deal with and pick up the pieces.
Going forward, EOW contact may be more beneficial for all. You get some down time with Dh and mum gets time with her ds.
Of the DS's mum is a SAHM and he's not yet at school then weekends don't make much difference to her. They are the only time the dad is off though to see him, so current arrangements work well, (except that it's OP having to do all the work).
Don't punish dss for your dh's laziness by reducing contact. Your dss is not the issue here.
Stop doing so much! You are making a martyr of yourself.
When he collapses with exhaustion you either kick his arse and give him stuff to do or you sit down and relax too.
It's supposed to be a partnership and it seems a bit one sided.
I agree you shouldn't be his driver. If he's irresponsible enough to get banned then he should suffer the consequences.
Yup, when my dp does his "I'm so wiped out" routine and goes to bed in the day, or falls asleep on the sofa, I sit down and read a book.
We both work fulltime and dss is his son, so I think we should do the same amount of chores. To be fair, he does LOADS. But I do get a bit cross at his 'so wiped out' nonsense. Especially as he sleeps like a log and works from home - where as I sleep really badly most nights and get up at 5.30am for work.
But the issue for you guys is his lack of input. I agree if he has a driving ban he must sort out his own arrangements for getting to work. And he needs to take on half the chores as well.
Or seriously lower your standards.
DSS is, due to the nature of a split family, a demanding child.
"Due to" really?
Playing devils advocate here but why dont you say "Fine, if DSS is staying until 4pm, I'm going to <insert an activity you enjoy to do> from midday and you can have time with both DSS and DS - yknow, proper DH, DSS and DS time oh dear DH"
Or, just tell DH that you are exhausted and could do with some help. If he doesnt help, don't do it yourself. We once had "bingate" at our house for about 3 days
which drove me insane because I asked DH to take the bin out and he didnt.
I agree DSS isnt the issue here but DH is. I would be gobsmacked if I was told he would pick DSS over me over something as minor as this.
Hope you get a resolve
Basically you need help with your workload.
So tell him he either pitches in with housework, or he pays for the help. Cleaner, gardener, ironing lady, taxi's. Whatever it takes for you to get your downtime too.
Perhaps you could draw up 2 charts, 1 that shows a typical week divided into DH tasks and DW tasks and the other is blank.
Sit him down (with a nice drink for the 2 of you) and show him the breadth of your tasks and what you estimate he does. Invite him to add in tasks he does that you have forgotten about/not noticed perhaps. Invite him to decide if the split of tasks is fair and, if not fair on you, what he could take on to even things up.
Include on there a proposal that you have some time out for yourself as you get so exhausted . Perhaps you could go out for a solo evening meal every sunday .
Perhaps you could also suggest that DSS has an additional weekday evening at yours to off set the Sunday PM thing? Say how much you enjoy having DSS around and that you hope being with you more often might make him less inclined to be superglued to DH and have some fun with you and his sibling also.
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