How should I respond?(31 Posts)
I'd appreciate some advice on something that has just happened as whenever my husband and I discuss his children we usually fall out. Back story is that we've been together 8 years, married for 4. We were both previously married for 10 years to other people, I have one surviving child from my 1st marriage, he has 3, and we have one child together. My child and our child live with us, and his 3 children stay with us regularly.
So, the 3 DSC have just gone back to their mums, around 20 minutes ago. They have been here for 5 days during which time I have cooked, tidied and cleaned for them. They all received generous Christmas gifts, which they all seemed to like. The older boys in particular (17 and 14) have spent most of their time on the xbox, watching films and on tablets. In short, they have had a nice time. However, all 3 have just walked out the door without any comment to me. I don't expect thanks, but a 'bye' would be nice. Then, having forgotten something my husband popped back. I told him that they hadn't said goodbye to me or their sister, and he said he asked them if they had said goodbye, and all answered that they had. So I said not to send them back in as I didn't want to make a big deal of it. As he stormed out he commented loudly enough for me to hear 'well, you just have'.
My DSC very rarely show affection - the older 2 have never ever hugged me and the youngest always turns her head away should I try to kiss her (although she always comes for a nightime kiss along with my daughter). This has also happened before, about 6 months ago after a week long stay, so I know we will end up arguing about it. I feel gutted that I have done everything I can to make them comfortable but they don't even say goodbye? Should I just ignore this or should I discuss with husband?
I have got to the point where I am resigned to not having any goodbyes or thank you from my dsd. It's rude and it grinds on me that she doesn't appreciate anything but expects things. But you are fighting a losing battle if you think your dh will ever see his kids in this way.
I'd try and talk to him but don't expect miracles.
I am just so upset. As I said, this has happened before so its not a one-off. I genuinely thought we get on, and they always seem happy enough to be here. They are back again on Friday. I absolutely would not accept this from my own children but I know that to discuss it with my husband will end in an almighty row. Yet not mentioning it seems weak - after all, this is my home and I would expect anyone to say goodbye - guest, family or friend.
It's rude of them to not say goodbye.
They're old enough for you to mention it to them the next time they visit. I don't really think you need to bring your DH in on the discussion.
It is down to the parent to try to install manners into the children they raise. Tbh I think this says more about the parent than the children/young people.
My DD has a step father who regularly gives her lefts to work or favours etc. Most of the time she says thank you andcis appreciativev of his assistance. Teens are though difficult creatures but I have tried to instil in her a sense of gratitude however hard a task that might be at times
Hmm, i think this is down to what has been modelled up to this point. In my house and my parents house when i was growing up anyone leaving or arriving at the house would say bye/hi to everyone that was in the house. Even now my DC when leaving my parent's house will call upstairs to my sister "bye, love you auntie X" and she calls back down.
I'm guessing this isnt something you all do as a family otherwise DH would have said to them before leaving "er are you not saying bye to sauvignon and siblings?" If it isnt an established practice in your house then i can see why they didnt do it. Not really worth falling out with DH over is it?
Also if you are feeling resentful of doing all the cleaning coooking etc then stop doing it.
Well it is something we all do, which is why I have noticed it. My husband has his head in the clouds a lot of the time when it comes to behaviour but he was probably loading up the car when they left - not sure as I was in the kitchen at the time. I'm not resentful of the chores I do either - I do these for my own children and husband so why would I do them for DSC? However, I want to make it clear that I do these things as I want to make their being here natural. If I didn't cook for them, then husband would and that's not really fair given his limited culinary skills!
Ok so had you not realised they were leaving? Couldnt you have gone to them to see them off if a "goodbye" is important to you?
I assumed you were resentful of the chores as you had mentioned them but if not then fair enough. Fwiw my cooking skills are next to none but my poor DC have no choice they wont die from eating a not fab meal. But if DH is great in other departments that you arent then thats fair enough if he doesnt cook.
Coffee is right, you are probably fighting a losing battle! If you make a fuss, you end up rowing with DH, if you say nothing, you feel you're being walked over....you can't win!
Maybe, follow them out to the door as they're leaving, loudly & pointedly calling out 'Well, goodbye then!' just as they're getting in the car....it'll probably have no effect, but at least you'll feel you made your point known!
Yes, Wdigin, you're probably right but it does feel a little childish!
Of course, I realised they were leaving but as with anything, the time between the call of 'get your shoes on' and them actually leaving the house can be anything from 5-15 minutes!! I only realised they actually weren't coming back from taking stuff to the car again when husband popped back in. But that's not really the point is it? They knew when they were leaving, and I didn't. Anyway, husband will be back soon so I need to decide if I bring it up or not .....
I don't really hug my mam and dad so they might of been brought up in the same way. I always felt uncomfortable when exs family tried to hug and kiss me goodbye and hello..they mught of said goodbye but you didn't hear them.
*they knew they were leaving and I didn't * Come off it OP, you knew quite well they were in process of leaving. You didn't make the effort to go and say goodbye to them, you knew they were all packing up to go, why didn't you go and say goodbye?
Your DH is right, you are making a big deal of it.
I think you are making too big a deal of it actually. It is just one moment in the time. They may well do the same when they leave their mum's house
I feel your pain, but am still training OH of some twenty five years, married for fifteen, to actually say goodbye and hello to me. He does it now because I insist and get really arsey if he forgets. Left to himself, he really wouldn't and doesn't see the point. Sigh. I feel your pain.
Wow! I'm exhausted just at the thought of either nagging at another adult or being nagged at for 25 years to say hello to someone! is he a very patient man? I'd have lost patience with you long before this stage.
It depends, if there is a general ignoring or indifference to you then yes I would make something of it. Don't wait for DP, just say bye yourself without trying to hug.
My DSCs do have a big barrier up with me and often totally exclude or ignore me. It's not something I can do much about, but DP has been good recently at lightheartedly reminding them to say hello and good bye to me, and after a weekend cooking for them etc it DOES make me feel a lot less invisible.
I didn't appreciate my step parents until well into my 30s I'm afraid. I quite like them now, mainly because they've always taken a back role and not been confrontational (I'm not a bad person, just never felt any deep feelings for them). Now they have grandchildren, the relationship has developed and matured. Maybe yours needs to as well. Give it time.
So it happened only once before and that was 6 months ago and you make a big deal of it? It happens to forget to say good bye, especially when there is a bit of confusion as their seemed to be on that day and as it's been pointed out, you also didn't bother to go to the door to say good bye either.
You seem to consider that saying good bye would have been their way to say thank you. Children don't normally feel thankful for being fed and looked after, they take it for granted. It is your OH who should be showing his appreciation for what you do on his behalf. Then again, maybe he does things for you and your children to without expecting you to show your gratitude all the time.
It has happened regularly that my kids have forgotten to say good bye to me as I drop them off to the train station on the way to their dad. It's not because they don't love me or respect me, it's because they are focus on making sure they have enough cash and the time the train is leaving. When it happens, I look at them and say in a pretending to be annoyed tone 'well good bye then' and then give them a big smile and tell them I love them, which prompts them to tell me the same. Don't take it personally.
I have to agree with PPs who say if it means that much to you (and it would to me), you need to be proactive and say goodbye to them. It may not elicit thankyous, but "See you on Friday"/"Have fun back at school"/"Lovely to see you" or similar every time shows them that you're acknowledging their departure and may lead to them reciprocating.
My sister aged late thirties didn't bother saying a thank you to my mother (her stepmum) when she sent her and my DN a christmas present. No excuse really, it's just downright rude.
is he a very patient man? I'd have lost patience with you long before this stage.
And this is proof why stepmothers are universally hated. OP you will never ever get any reqards for the work you for for them to keep them fed and comfortable when this attitude exists.
Come off it OP, you knew quite well they were in process of leaving. You didn't make the effort to go and say goodbye to them, you knew they were all packing up to go, why didn't you go and say goodbye?
Because as the OP explains, leaving is a long process, only the leaver knows when they have all their gear on them and they are ready to go. If a stepmother hovered at the door waiting it would look as if she couldn't wait for them to go.
Can't do right for doing wrong. I really do wonder why we bother.
As a child who grew up with a step mother, I like to think I have some iinsight to the dynamics involved, even though I am not a step mother myself.
I think they were rude not to have said goodbye and shown some affection and appreciation of the nice time they've spent with you.
But equally, I think you should have been at the door to wave them off after their stay - wouldn't you wave off any other person who'd spent time at your home? If your daughter was going to a friends for a sleepover, wouldn't you wave her off?
As a step-child, maybe they felt that you were indicating you'd done your job while they stayed over and weren't interested in saying goodbye to them? I know when I was a child I would have felt a bit off if my step parent didn't come to say goodbye to me as I was going away.
It's a shame there doesn't seem to be much warmth between you, but I hope that in time you'll grow closer. It's hard being a step-child too.
Why not ask your DP or your DSC to give you a shout before they leave. That way they know you want to say goodbye to them. I agree that lingering in the background may be giving them the impression that you aren't that fussed but it also seems unusual for people to leave without saying goodbye.
Mine don't usually say goodbye either, unless I hover in the hall and initiate it. And like you, that could be up to 15 minutes as they faff around and get their shoes on and get impatient at one another.
What I find works better is to kind of say goodbyes and discuss the week ahead and when I'll see them next at the last mealtime before they leave. It's more relaxed that way and I then tend to take myself off out of the way whilst DH faffs around getting them all into the car as I feel I've said goodbye
and don't enjoy the stress of it
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