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DP finding stepparenting overwhelming and having new baby

(35 Posts)
parapluiepliant Mon 14-Sep-15 11:34:36

My partner and I fell madly/badly. I have two DC from previous marriage and we decided to have our own baby together. She is now 3 weeks old.

DP is an older dad - first time parent used to a carefree life. He told me yesterday he's not coping and feels on the edge of a breakdown (although is prone to dramatic outbursts).

I'm protective of my DC (6 and 8) who adore their baby sister and have had to adjust to shared parental responsibility and two homes - their dad has them 50%.

It's too idealistic to expect DP to love them like his own but they're still little and I get angry because I feel DP isn't making enough effort. We're both knackered with new baby and he says he can't cope when my DC are here on their king stretch. I told him they will always be my priority/it's their home etc/he knew I had two children and they have done nothing wrong.

I think bcos I'm already a parent Im expecting him to do more?? I guess it's always a shock as a new dad - he says he feels like he's drowning and needs help. Yet I'm up BF all night and also looking after my other two and want to include them as much as possible.

Neverenuff Mon 14-Sep-15 19:24:00

If I were your dp I'd possibly feel the same.

Remember being a dad is new for him and will take him sometime to adjust to that. But he also has 2 other kids who are part of his life and he probably is still trying to get used to that too. Sounds all a bit whirlwind and if that's the case you really need to try and help dp out.

What is it that he isn't doing as you think he should be? What kind of effort should he be making. If he is really anxious then he should go to his gp or seek counselling maybe.

Always remember that your kids are not his (except baby) and he won't have the same connection as you do.

Speak to him and find out what he is not coping with see if you can help him in any way. Being a step parent isn't easy. X

Madmum24 Tue 15-Sep-15 08:12:58

How was he with yours before baby came along? Is this just "baby blues" or are there more deeply rooted issues?

Being a first time parent can be very overwhelming; however you need to keep your strength up to look after the three that you have so advise/support him to get counselling.

What is hoping that you, give up custody of your kids?

parapluiepliant Mon 05-Oct-15 15:17:31

Thanks both for your replies. I am thinking of him more and also remember there is nothing like the seismic shift of your 1st baby plus sleep dep.

We've agreed that he goes to his flat (which is usually rented out on air B and B) one night a week - possibly two on mid week nights my DC are with me. It's better for me not having him stressed around us or avoiding everyone. And it gives us both space, feels more like dating (as were a pretty new couple) and me time with my DC to hag out with their baby sister.

However, it does feel like being a single parent as I'm here on my own. So have asked him to help me by cooking me a batch load of food...

parapluiepliant Mon 05-Oct-15 15:18:16

Hag out!!! LOL...

Hang out I meant!!

riverboat1 Tue 06-Oct-15 20:42:21

Have to agree, I'm not surprised he feels overwhelmed. You say you are quite a new couple, so he has gone from no children to three very quickly. Probably too fast I'd think, but what's done is done.

As a stepparent, I'd say 'you knew what you were getting into' means very little. If he has never had children how could he have known the reality of living with 3 of them? The idea of something can't prepare us for the reality.

I would put aside hopes of him loving your two like his own, it is an unrealistic expectation. IF he ends up truly loving them that's great, but you cant force it or expect him to ever feel like that, he can still be an effective step parent without feeling parental love.

It is good that you have a solution to take the pressure off a bit, but obviously he has to find ways to support you and his child even when he isn't there, so I think the batch cooking thing is fair.

You obviously need and deserve support, and I suspect your DP will currently be more equipped to support YOU than the children. While you work out the child stuff, what can he do for you in the way of shoulder rubs, errands, cooking, shopping etc. Maybe start out getting him to do that stuff, rather than trying to get him to look after your 2 children/do their bedtimes etc.

parapluiepliant Tue 06-Oct-15 22:30:12

Thanks riverboat for your straight talking. It's tricky for me as I feel let down by him at times. But at least he's being honest.
Interesting to see perspectives - generally understanding where DP is coming from.

I feel a little abandoned tbh and do worry about it. But maybe space is a good thing. Our situation has changed super quick - from dating and falling in love to something more full on. However he was very insistent that he wanted us to have a baby to cement our relationship and so he didn't resent my kids (which is exactly what seems to be happening)

It's tough having to be superwoman. At least my DC can help me when yes not there.

He came with me today to see the health visitors and had a chat with them which is admire able. He's a musician/v creative and does set himself unattainable expectations. He thought he would be on a high all the time after having the baby but has been hit by the almighty tiredness and snappiness that comes with a new baby.

SchnitzelVonKrumm Tue 06-Oct-15 22:36:26

How long have you been together?

SchnitzelVonKrumm Tue 06-Oct-15 22:37:04

And how old is he?

parapluiepliant Wed 07-Oct-15 08:58:35

We got together June 14. Complex but very intense. He is older - 50! Hence a long life of having no kids. But I also thought as I'm 40 that it would take a couple of years if we decided to try for a baby and - it took 1 month!!

tribpot Wed 07-Oct-15 09:19:07

So he's had nearly 18 months of step-parenting? I guess in fairness you probably didn't move him in immediately, so somewhat less but certainly the entire duration of your pregnancy.

It's early days but I wouldn't be overly sympathetic if I were you, I'd set expectations that this is his life now and he needs to get on with adjusting. Christ, we'd all like to go and spend 2 nights a week in another flat when we've got a 3 week old, it sounds blissful. Perhaps you should suggest you do the same on the week when your older kids aren't with you?

parapluiepliant Wed 07-Oct-15 10:04:29

We purposely didn't introduce my kids to him until we'd been together 6 months (New Years eve 2014) - by which time I was 7 weeks pregnant LOL.

Tribpot - he didn't move in immediately until I was much further along in pregnancy so he hasn't had that long (10 months he's known my DC) . And really we should have still been dating but - flew headfirst into the joys of pregnancy (says wryly as its my third).

Anyway - we both knew what we were doing, just happened much quicker than I thought plus I didn't want to be 43and pregnant to minimise risk. This baby is adored by all of us - but we need to work out a way forward.

I agree with aspects Trib says but also guess I'm a bit unconventional in the fact I like my own space too and although it's hard at times actually like the space when it's me and my 3 DC and it makes me and DP miss each other.

NerdyBird Wed 07-Oct-15 13:03:13

Step-parenting is very hard. Parents who aren't step-parents often have no idea what it's like and that's not their fault but it helps if they try to understand and I think you are.
I was in a similar position to your DP just after my partner and I had our baby, except I am the step-parent. We weren't getting on and when talking about it he admitted that he was acting like it was my third baby rather than my first and not taking into account I'm really a first time mum. He also said he'd forgotten what it was like to have a small baby and how hard it is.
Things are better now but still a bit bumpy.

You do need to keep talking and agree expectations. Some things just have to be got on with so he will have to make adjustments and compromises too.
I'm sure you'll find a way to make it work but it might take time for everyone to settle. Good luck.

parapluiepliant Mon 30-Nov-15 10:36:00

Bumping this thread again guys...
I'm torn in half - gut tells me I should leave him... Now we have our own baby (something of his own) he's written my DC out of the picture and says it hasn't worked out for him with all of us together but he has no problem when it's me, the baby and him. I'm furious just looking at what I'm writing here.

I love him, but my children have to come first. Selfish bastard. My DS may have ADHD - currently in talks with school and DP has decided he didn't sign up for this (as clearly he thinks all children are perfectly behaved).

NoSmileToday Mon 30-Nov-15 10:44:17

He cannot get rid of your children and you cannot force him to want to be around them and care for them. It is very much a stalemate.

Your first priority is the children and they deserve to be around adults who care for them and like them. I am afraid I would have to end the relationship.
You were both very foolish to rush in to this but it is done now and all that is left is for you to make better future choices for your children.
Being any kind of parent is damn hard and it doesn't sound like he is committed to his family at all. I doubt very much his change of heart is just down to your children and more to do with the responsibility he now has to his own child.

ImperialBlether Mon 30-Nov-15 10:44:35

No, I wouldn't let someone do that. I couldn't let someone cut out my children.

I can see that at 50 he's going to struggle living with small children - but how come he didn't see that? I can also see that having a baby at that age will be very tiring - how come he couldn't see that? And living with a child with ADHD must be incredibly hard, particularly if it's not your own child - again, he should've anticipated that.

Maybe you should stay friends - he should live in his home, you live in yours with the children and he can have the baby occasionally, but not spend time with you and the baby as a unit?

Devilishpyjamas Mon 30-Nov-15 10:49:56

Oh dear. I'd be livid with him. He sounds a selfish arse, but it doesn't sound as if you have much choice. Does he want to have a relationship with his child?

I found the jump from two to three quite hard (much harder than having my first). How are you coping? Do you have any support other than your wet blanket partner? How are you financially?

parapluiepliant Mon 30-Nov-15 11:13:34

I really thought this was it after being in a dead relationship and married far too long with dull/financially irresponsible ex husband.

my new DP is like jekyll and hyde - he promised me the earth (I sound like a bloody mills and boon novel), he wanted our baby (born from love) so we could be a family and so he wouldn't resent my existing children who he used to be v good with.

Financially - I'm due back at work next August, but its very tight for me. He used to talk about selling his flat and me getting a new mortgage and us living together - now he's saying he'd never sell his flat and won't seem to commit to a future.

The baby is amazing - so chilled out. She's good as gold - he's v lucky. I think it's probably a red flag that he'd never had children before. But I was loved up. I don't have family nearby.

He blows hot and cold. The other week I said stay away, and he couldn't bear it and said it felt weird not being with us and he missed us and he'd try harder with my DC.

Next week because I insisted he paid me some money - he said he was depressed/stressed out and couldn't see how we can afford everything. I challenged him about everything he had said/promised in the past and he admitted he had his head up his arse - was living in a fantasy world.

I'm so angry. He's really fucked me over. But this baby is still mine and she has a brother and sister who adore her. WE are a family. I will have to work FT to support us all. That's ok. I'm not a victim.

However, we have something me and DP and seem to be intrinsically entwined. We are a little unorthodox. I don't think I could live with him full time anyway and would dearly love to go back to having a boyfriend I see 2/3 times a week who takes me out.

So tricky. I'm going into work today to show the baby but am going to keep my emotional situation close to my chest as I have some management responsibility etc...

callMeMaybe Mon 30-Nov-15 11:27:27

I'm afraid this is one of the pitfalls of rushing into things too soon. The only victims here are your children.

Trying for a baby and getting pregnant before this man had even met your children was an incredibly stupid thing to do. What the hell were you both thinking? You especially op - you already had two children, you surely know how much difference a baby makes to a family dynamic.

Fact is this man had no idea of what he was doing by taking on step children. These boards are full of women who have realised far too late how hard it is, and yet for him he had no choice because you had already fallen pregnant with a planned baby.

Having only been together for eighteen months this might be the time at which a relationship might fizzle out anyway because the honeymoon period wears off and you start to realise each other's differences, except you now have a baby between you which binds you together for the rest of your lives.

You both need to sit down and have an honest discussion about where you are going. The reality is that he won't feel the same about your dc as you do, especially now that he has his own child - that changes things. But you need to decide whether your relationship is strong enough to get through the foreseeable future, and if not, then perhaps it's best that you split sooner rather than later for the benefit of everyone concerned.

Devilishpyjamas Mon 30-Nov-15 15:07:29

Honestly? I'd draw a line under it. Unconventional is tricky when you have children & one part of the couple is completely unable to take on board s/he has responsibilities. Blowing hot & cold & being unreliable as fuck with you is one thing, but you need to protect your child/ren from him before he destabilises them.

He sounds rather self obsessed to be honest.

parapluiepliant Mon 30-Nov-15 15:12:17

callMeMaybe "The only victims here are your children... What the hell were you both thinking?"

I suspect there is a deep seated reason why you have decided to get your claws out and judge me. Not at all helpful. I assume you are happily married with perfect DC and the perfect parent...Good luck to you.

My children are not victims thankyou. He had spoken to them through facetime and we assumed (due to my age - 41) it would take years. Unfortunately I did not have the luxury of time and if it did happen wanted to have a safe/healthy pregnancy.

I'll take constructive advice from anybody but not bitter wranglings thankyou.

Thymeout Mon 30-Nov-15 19:38:49

You say you are a bit unconventional. Your dcs are with their father 50% of the time. If you want to stay with your dp, is there any way you could be a family unit with him and your joint dd for the 50% when your dcs aren't there?

You don't have to stick to it rigidly so there could be times when you are all together with him. But as a basic principle to work to?

I think I'd find it hard to get over the fact that he's rejected my older dcs. But if you could, then it might be better for your joint dd to have her father living with her at least half the time? It sounds as if neither of you really thought this through, so it's perhaps a bit unfair to blame it all on him.

TheSecondViola Mon 30-Nov-15 20:24:21

You didn't even try to find out if he would be a good stepparent, you didn't introduce him to your children until you were already pregnant, and you didn't move him in until later still
Yes he sounds like a bit of an arse but you have to take responsibility for this mess as well. Its not conventional to put your children first, it's just good parenting. You older DC have had a very unsetlling year with a new man, new baby, then rows and he's leaving's not good for them. You might like the idea of having a boyfriend who takes you out, but what your children need is stability, which you haven't been providing.
I imagine you'll complain this post is judgy, but you must know that most people will think the same, I'm betting your family and your ex,and in the future, your children too.

So split up or don't, but do something and stuck with it. Give those children a break.

winterswan Mon 30-Nov-15 20:31:22

I'm sorry, but I agree with callmymaybe. Maybe it's shutting the stable door after the horse has bolted, but maybe someone else will realise.

This must be a horrible situation for the older children.

purpledasies Mon 30-Nov-15 21:10:21

Can you remain a couple, but not live together? If he keeps a place of his own he can spend most of his time there when you have your DC with you, and be at yours when they're with their dad.

Sadly, though with a new baby, being taken out 2-3 times a week is gong to be tricky. It's not like being a 50-50 parent with your ex so getting half your nights off from parenting to enjoy dating. And for you, one of the joys of having a new baby is clearly going to be sharing her with your DC as part of the family. That's gonig to be difficult if your DP doesn't want to be part of that unit or isn't up to it. Step parenting is hard, and a child with ASD type behaviour I assume will be harder still. IF your DP is around, can he take on more a lead role with the new baby, to give you some time to focus on your older DC? Even start letting him take her out on his own a bit if she's bottle fed, or can go long enough between feeds.

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