Need some advice - struggling(13 Posts)
I'm new to the site, but felt like it could be helpful. My partner and I have been together for a little of two years. We (me, her, and her 7 year old daughter) moved in together a year ago. It has literally been one of the toughest experiences for me. The move - blending my life with theirs, sharing everything, and being involved in the full time life of a kid, has been a lot. In the midst of everything, we got engaged and soon after broke it off. I have felt incredibly overwhelmed, anxious, and frustrated. Recently, my partner and I had a conversation where she was really able to hear what I'd been feeling, and I got some good insight into her perspective. I love her, I love my sd, and and I don't know what to do. My relationship with my partner is hanging on by a thread, I've contemplated getting my own space, but I don't want to not be with them. I just want feel better, to feel like I can breathe, to not feel so anxious.
Has anyone else experienced this? How did you overcome it? How did you recover?
I need help!!!
Hi Megpen88, sorry you are struggling, I find step parenting overwhelming too. Despite being married I now have my own place and pop over to see my DSC on DH's access weekends.
How old is your partner's DD? Many of the things I struggle with are just normal kids behaviour which I'm still adjusting to. It'll help a lot if you both have similar attitudes to discipline even if you're not the one actually doing it.
You may find the book Stepmonster by Wednesday Martin helpful, it doesn't provide any solutions as such but it explains why it is perfectly natural to be experiencing anxiety, frustration etc. I asked my DH to read it too and it gave him some insight as to why things were much tougher for me than he'd anticipated.
Many people find step parenting very rewarding, obviously you get a skewed picture on here as most people are posting because they have issues. I hope you can work things out.
Welcome to the forum Megpen! I would agree that your feelings are very natural with regard to your new set-up. I'm assuming this is your first experience of 'family life' and yes it can be bewildering, overwhelming and, tbh there are times even now when I feel I want to just walk!!
I've been a SM for many years, (all now grown) and even though I have my own DC, it was difficult to assimilate myself harmoniously into the DSC's lives....because they are NOT my children!
If you really want to stay in their lives, then it's going to have to be a softly, softly approach. If you can discuss things calmly with your partner, try to work out a set of household/family rules which you ALL agree with, (even the 7 year old where age appropriate) and stick to them, but there will have to be compromises on all sides!
Also, if you have babysitters, try to go out together on 'date nights' where you only talk about yourselves, just to re-charge and remember why you want to be together in the first place!
I wouldn't even think about engagements/marriage yet, you need to learn to be a family first, also if you have a hobby, get out there once a week and be yourself....but don't forget to return the favour for your partner, some one on one time with the 7 year old might help with the bonding....just for an hour or so at first!
Welcome Megpen. I don't post a huge amount but read a lot and have found so much invaluable advice.
I haven't yet read Stepmonster but I found two books incredibly helpful - How to be a Wonderful Stepparent (try and get past the cringe title) and How to be a Happy Stepmum.
The former was actually more helpful on specifics and is broken up into bite sized chunks that I tip into when I'm struggling.
I remind myself that it's all new to the DSC as well and while I'd give anything for a cupboard to hide in some days, I'm the adult and made a choice to be with my DP and all that entails, and they never chose me so a lot of it's on me/DP and me to find ways for our unit to work and be happy.
You are not alone. I've been a single parent for 8 years, juggled a tough job and finances, all sorts, but nothing was as tough as moving in with my BF and his kids. All the suggestions above are great.
Thanks! Her daughter is now 8. I feel like I have really struggled with the normal kid stuff as well! She's not some monster-kid, just and 8 year old doing average stuff. It's all just felt like a lot.
My partner and I are in conversation about next steps, whether getting my own place or remaining in the home is the best thing to do.
Wdigin2this, thank you for the validation! I appreciate it. Those tips are definitely helpful.
That is s helpful perspective. This is new and uncharted for all of us.
It can be really, really tough - but also wonderfully rewarding. I was a single parent for 12 years and that was far easier than being a step-parent. I dont think what you are describing is unusual - I still fantasise about moving out into my own place!
Some great books have already been suggested here, can I also recommend 'The step-parents parachute' which made a lot of sense for me. And with all these books, both people need to read them, not just the step parent. Like Wdigin says 'Me time' and 'couple time' is vital, so make sure you schedule that in. You could also investigate couple counselling.
Moving in to a relationship is a big enough deal, adding children into the mix makes it an even bigger change. My Mum has always reminded me that when you are on a plane in an emergency you put your own oxygen mask on before putting anyone else's on - that way you can support them, you are no good to anyone else unconscious! So be kind to yourself - this is a big thing you are doing and a huge life change to be going through.
Wow some good advice on this thread, thanx meg for starting it and thanx others for helpful (to several people) responses
I'm in a very similar situation to you. My partner has a 5 year old and I've been living with them for about a year now.
I love both of them very much but I've had many times where I've felt like I need my own home, somewhere to get away too. Sometimes I've even felt a bit trapped because I'm so overwhelmed but I love them both too much to leave.
What has helped me is making time for myself, just a few hours once or twice a week where I'll watch my own TV, play Xbox or unwind alone. At first my partner was unhappy about me having this space which caused some arguing but now she understands. It's essential otherwise you'll burn yourself out and feel like your no longer living your own life.
I do think single parents should be more aware/understanding of how hard it is for a non parent to fill the role of a parent, step parents have a VERY hard and mostly undervalued role.
stepdad I do think single parents should be more aware/understanding of how hard it is for a non parent to fill the role of a parent, step parents have a VERY hard and mostly undervalued role. I would agree totally! I never realised how hard this was myself either. Everyone has some great practical suggestions on this thread.
I have a 22 year old Sd who is lazy and here mom supports it. Need help
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