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Christmas - Step Parent tips for survival?! [fwink]

(45 Posts)
Bananasinpyjamas1 Thu 17-Dec-15 18:27:23

Christmas is coming - is it the time to spead joy and forgiveness?!

Any tips on how to survive?

My DP has his 4 DSCs and our DSC all together for the day for the first time. The two eldest are quite tricky, one has avoided me for most of the year, pointedly ignoring me, the other treats DP like a cash machine.

DP and me have been rocky on and off for months because of resentment being thrown at me from his kids and ExW bitching about me. I'll miss my son as he's with his Dad.

And I'm cooking the dinner! fsmile

Despite all the mess or the tension, and the (6) years of trying to make it work, and the utter despondancy in the last year when all the kids seem to becoming more and more indifferent towards me - I'm determined to give it one last try!

TempusEedjit Thu 17-Dec-15 18:46:05

I don't have any tips for survival as I'm feeling rather overwhelmed by it all myself!

I hope your one last try works out and perhaps even dare to hope that we might all enjoy a peaceful new year fsmile

Bananasinpyjamas1 Thu 17-Dec-15 19:21:55

Thanks TempusEedjit - sorry that you are overwhelmed too! Who knows, maybe there is a relatively peaceful New Year!

purpledasies Thu 17-Dec-15 19:23:44

I'm just enjoying my last quiet day before the 4 DSC descend for the next ten days.

Not sure I'm overly full of useful tips either, except wine of course. DH is currently working and has just said he'll need to be working quite a bit of next week. I know his work is hard right now, but do also feel a bit angry that it's taking him away from family time, and leaving me with all the cooking, etc. I'm also working on Monday - when my DC are off to their dad's for the day - but DH has now said he'll be working from home that day, instead of being off. I've reminded him that I'm working so the DSC will just have to entertain themselves for the day. They can do that, but it's not really much fun for them. And DH's work from home involves back to back phone calls, so not easy to fit around if they need anything.

That must be hard when your own son's not there bananas. I'd miss mine too in that situation, but fortunately my ex doesn't really care about Christmas so I always get my kids with me. Ex is having them boxing day for a few days so I'll have a few days with just the DSC then. We're visiting DH's family for the day on boxing day, but after that I plan to get out and see friends as much as possible, and leave DH to have some time with just his kids. I guess that's my best tip to surviving without getting cabin fever

Fourormore Thu 17-Dec-15 19:27:33

Drop any expectations would be my first one and don't expect them to be grateful. I have a book called the Step-Parents Parachute and in there it suggests reframing what you do as being for the benefit of your partner rather than benefiting the children.

Failing that, gin.

My DSC's mum is emotionally abusive, potentially with a personality disorder. Making arrangements for Christmas and actually getting them here is a nightmare. This year includes a direct handover for the new year which is going to fail. And I'm pregnant so can't even have gin!! fconfused

WSM123 Thu 17-Dec-15 22:15:01

laxatives in the dinner then you go out alone?????????

Bananasinpyjamas1 Fri 18-Dec-15 01:56:16

Ha! I like the last suggestion. They will all be around for a week, glued to the Xbox probably which is right in the living room. Luckily my DP will be taking time off work though.

I'm thinking of drinking prosecco while I peel potatoes, or gin, and just letting it all flow from there. I mean, what could go wrong? fsmile

swingofthings Fri 18-Dec-15 08:34:09

When they drive you all crazy and desperately need to get away from them, make it clear that you do so out of the kindness of your heart because you know how much it means to them to spend time with their dad alone smile

AnneLovesGilbert Fri 18-Dec-15 12:50:43

Good luck everyone. This is my first one with the DSC and I'm feeling pretty excited about it. None of my siblings have DC and I don't have any of my own so it's a big change for everyone but everyone seems happy with the plans and pretty onboard.... If it all falls apart I have friends nearby to flee to for a couple of hours, a massive stack of new books and plenty of gin to hand. I'll be taking swings advice and suggesting some Dad/DSC time is good for everyone!

purpledasies Fri 18-Dec-15 14:28:35

That's a good tip swing - my other plan is to go out for a long walk at some point (with our without DH), and make sure the DSC know how kind I'm being in not dragging them on it, because they wouldn't want to come.

Bananasinpyjamas1 Fri 18-Dec-15 14:57:47

swing good advice. Although I don't think anyone would notice whether I was there or not tbh. I kind of get faded into the wallpaper and I'm outnumbered!

Anne Hope it goes well for your first time, if everyone is onboard could be really nice.

Creiddylad Fri 18-Dec-15 17:06:54

Good luck.

My tips would be, let the small stuff go.

Have somewhere to escape to, a quiet room, a long bath or a friends. Do something nice for yourself, a nice bottle of wine, favourite chocs or favourite food.

Detach when it gets hard and let them get on with it.

Bananasinpyjamas1 Fri 18-Dec-15 21:30:32

Anyone else looking forward or not looking forward to Christmas as a SM?

Purple A long walk sounds good too. From the advice so far I am going to a) Drink b) have zero expectations c) Go out for a walk alone and let them know I'm giving them time with their Dad d) If they still do the 'indifferent ignore' thing with me I will ban their Ipads for the day and insist on watching the Queens Speech loudlly with all the chocolate on my lap.

purpledasies Fri 18-Dec-15 21:52:28

I have another tip - encourage your DH to take everyone out to see the new star

I'm currently enjoying a lovely quiet house to myself as I just don't get star wars Need it to recover from having supervised DD and DSD deciding to make a cake this afternoon. Took them about 3 hours in between arguing about who's still in Strictly, arguing over which celebrity is better looking (and demanding that I pass judgement to arbitrate), stropping that the cake tins didn't match, and why didn't we have caster sugar, and singing loudly to radio 1 chart show (and arguing some more over whether Justin Beiber is any good)...... Cake was good though in the end.

I reckon you should make sure you own all the chocolates bananas then they'll have to be nice to you so you feel like sharing.

80sWaistcoat Fri 18-Dec-15 21:58:25

Accept that you'll fade into wallpaper, give own family a call. Make some space for yourself. Really low expectations. I can go into work if all else fails.

Bananasinpyjamas1 Fri 18-Dec-15 23:03:49

Thanks purple - we are going to the Star Wars very soon! Actually really looking forward to it, it'll be with my DS and DSC3 who has always been OK, the others won't go. But good idea! The interaction between your step kid and child sounds really nice, normal!

80s yes that's true, I'm not going to be suddenly 'seen' as a warm blooded human any time soon... sigh. But expecting that I will won't help. Is your set up OK? Will you have to go into work do you think? (Hope not :-)).

chocoraisin Fri 18-Dec-15 23:44:52

Right now I'm not looking forward to it. Nothing to do with the kids, everything to do with DP. He's so frustratingly sensitive to any conversation about our kids, always feels like his youngest is hard done by. Which he isn't. believe me. This has now spilled out into almost every part of our relationship so much so that I daren't have normal conversations with him anymore. Depressing isn't the half of it. Time will tell how we make it out the other side... last year I did dinner etc for him and his DC and honestly felt like it was a pointless waste of energy for all the thanks I got! Step parenting is occasionally marvellous, often shit. I guess it all depends on how thick your skin becomes!! Good luck!

Bananasinpyjamas1 Sat 19-Dec-15 01:08:37

Sympathy chocoraisin Is that your youngest DSC? My DP also totally blindsighted about his children - we can't talk about them most of the time because he can't see any other point of view, even when I'm being really diplomatic, SO defensive. Yep I've spent 6 years making dinners for the DSCs most weekends up until recently, with no relationship with any of them that is worth having tbh. So imagine Xmas dinner will be more of the same. I can't remember the last 'occasionally marvellous' moment I had either!

But maybe there is a Christmas miracle out there! fhmm

OutToGetYou Sat 19-Dec-15 10:29:09

We are going away with some of my family and I am hopeful dss will behave, partly because he's better around other people and partly because he's the only 'child' so will feel very grown up as we all just treat everyone the same, as adults.

Things to keep an eye on - everyone getting enough sleep, everyone getting some fresh air each day. Everyone taking their share of tasks.

Bananasinpyjamas1 Sat 19-Dec-15 11:45:29

Out - hopefully as your DSS is in the midst of adults and you have some of your family there will be a good balance! Hope it is a good one.

glentherednosedbattleostrich Sat 19-Dec-15 11:53:39

Well I wouldn't be cooking for the ungrateful sods. I'd be retiring to the lounge in my pj's with all the Christmas chocolate and wine and watching what I want.

Cadburyhome Sat 19-Dec-15 15:45:43

I agree getting some time away from the situation always helps.

Lowering your expectations is also really important. If the kids don't get on the rest of the year or DP's aren't on hand to help day to day it's unlikely to change because it's Christmas. If you can alter your thinking and prioritise your needs so they aren't bottom on the pile (this applies to step mums and bio mums) then you might find it slightly easier to cope with the predictable tensions that come with family gatherings!

Peach1886 Sat 19-Dec-15 16:21:46

Don't make the success of YOUR day dependent on the success of THEIR day - build in some special time for you, and for you and DP, when they've gone to bed, before they get up, a few minutes here and there, so that the success of YOUR Christmas is not measured by what the DSC are willing to engage with...or even enjoy (in spite of themselves).

Bananasinpyjamas1 Sat 19-Dec-15 18:38:02

glen great name! Yep, am tempted to ditch lunch. But as he still is kind to my DS I should extend the same.

Cadbury and peach - great advice, will definitely think about what would make it a good day for me. It sounds so obvious but I do it all the time. Maybe because it does feel really weird to be in a family and not think of everyone - maybe we all as step parents try too hard!

Bananasinpyjamas1 Sat 19-Dec-15 18:49:43

Also if I'm honest I do get tetchy if everyone isn't happy, because I feel judged and blamed. In the past two of my DSCs have gone off and complained to DP and their mum about me, I wasn't nice enough, it was too 'awkward', I dared to cook something different from their mum.

I'm ashamed to say I am nervous about the day. I feel like every potato and gravy is compared silently to 'their mums'. The eldest DSD has decided she'd rather be at her mums. DP just let's them do whatever they like. But so what! I should not let any of this dampen my day.

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