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It isn't getting easier, I really don't like being a step parent

(49 Posts)
LazySusan11 Wed 12-Oct-16 18:59:28

Have been with my dh for over 10 yrs, we have shared care of my dsd 50/50. She's now a teen and has a set of keys and can come and go as she pleases.

We live close to her school and she can walk to both our house and her mums from school. Her mum and partner have bought a house a stones throw away from us making us all far to close for my liking.

I don't have much to do with dsd mum, we get along we're amicable. Having read threads on here I know I could have it a lot worse.

The issue for me and it is my issue is that I really don't like being a 'step mum' I hate the phrase I feel it's completely unnecessary as dsd has a mum and I am in no way trying to replicate, undermine or be another parent to dsd. I struggle with the lack of routine since dsd has become a teen and just wandering to ours when she feels like it, usually because she wants a lift to her mums because it's a little further away from her school.

I get on with dsd we have had our moments, she's a child and there's no guide book. I don't have my own dcs so I have nothing to gauge my feelings by.

I just know that I struggle, I feel like my space is invaded without any clear boundaries. Dh and I have talked about how I feel, we're very open and able to talk. I can't put my finger on it it's not my dsd and I certainly would never want her to feel unwelcome.

How can I make this easier, I get really anxious whenever she's coming to ours and after so many years I had hoped I'd be feeling better not worse.

AyeAmarok Wed 12-Oct-16 19:03:29

On the DSD coming and going as she pleases, you'll need to suck it up I'm afraid, as her dad's is her home.

However, walking to yours to get a lift to her mum's? Nah. That's just laziness. Make her walk back to her mum's.

Somerville Wed 12-Oct-16 19:17:55

Do you think some counselling would help for the anxiety? Is anxiety over routine an issue for you aside from this?

It's good that you can be honest with your DH and also good that you recognise that it's not his daughter's fault.

Since she's a teen and you've been together 10 years, you're well over half way to her not being a dependant child anymore. Does thinking about that help?

ChipmunkSundays Wed 12-Oct-16 20:12:31

Why is there no routine as to when she is at your house and when at her mum´s? Not only would I not be happy with that for myself (I don´t like people just turning up unexpectedly, no matter who they are), but as a parent I would want to know where my daughter is. What if something went wrong and each parent just assumed she were at the other´s house? I don´t think it would be at all unreasonable to ask her to text from school if she is on her way over. My parents expected to know when we were coming home, and we were also not given keys until we were much older, as the freedom to "come and go as you please" was very much an older teen/adult thing in their view. Just sort out some more routine/boundaries so that everyone is comfortable.

LazySusan11 Wed 12-Oct-16 20:34:08

She had a routine in so much that we have her 3/4 nights each week however the nights she's not with us sometimes after school she will come over, she does text her mum to let her know and calls dh to say she's on her way however I am not privy to this info until she arrives. Some would probably say I don't actually need to know as it is dsd home also.

I struggle with the whole aspect of dh having a child, I didn't for the first 5 years but suddenly when dsd got older, she's not a naughty child per se but we have had a fair few turbulent times and I guess most go through it I'm pretty sure I wasn't a dream child!

I know it's my issue, I think I've started to struggle with the lack of privacy the lack of time I have with my dh as I also have some weeks where I am away with work so time is limited. As it stands 1 night in 10 is mine on my own with dh.

None of this is my dsd fault, it's just the way it is and I somehow have to work on sorting myself out but boy am I struggling. I'm quite a private person and enjoy peace and quiet at times I feel a little overwhelmed with the amount of time spent with dsd or the amout her mum is in contact with dh.

I am very likely being very unreasonable and I'm aware I need to do something.

Somerville Wed 12-Oct-16 20:39:27

Would going out on your own help, some of the time she is over? Or asking your DH to take her out one night a week so you know you can rely on having a relaxed evening at home?

ChipmunkSundays Wed 12-Oct-16 20:50:23

I think you need to talk to your DH tbh, probably more than one conversation. The issue of lack of time with him sounds important. Successful parenting needs time and attention, but so does a successful marriage... Can you talk to him about prioritising more time together?

LazySusan11 Wed 12-Oct-16 20:56:56

I can ask dh about perhaps taking her out 1 night, but then why should either of them have to do that when the problem is mine?

We have talked about prioritising time together, I had hoped we would have a holiday the 2 of us next year however I have discovered that dh promised dsd a holiday with us. I told him I was pissed off he had 1 included me and 2 not even discussed it with me. So now I have a week away looming over me. I sound like an awful person!

It's taken a good few years for dh to be less of a Disney dad, he's much much better than he was but sometimes I wish he'd bloody include me in the plans he's lumped me in with!

Somerville Wed 12-Oct-16 21:17:48

Listen, I'm a massive advocate of children from before a current marriage having full access to the house and it being viewed as their home. I regularly get a kicking on threads by some step-parents because of it. I just say this to show that I'm not someone who would tell you it's okay to feel as you do because I'm instinctively on the 'side' of a step parent who wants their spouse to prioritise them over the children. I'm not!

And to me it sounds like you probably have a point. All couples need time together, whether regular nights alone or occasional holidays. If she were your daughter you would still need that - it's not about her being a step-daughter, it's about all the things a couple can't do while they're looking after a child.

My fiance has been reading lots of books on step-parenting in the run up to our marriage and moving in together. One of the first things we realised from all the reading and our observations is that we need to eke out space in my very busy life for us to continue to have time together. (I'm widowed so I have my children 100% of the time.) thankfully I have supportive extended family, and my eldest is now old enough to babysit for her siblings.
And it's also important for him to have time alone and me and the children to have time without him around. So he has regular evenings he goes out with friends or has friends over here while I take the kids out.

My children don't miss out because of this - they still spend the majority of time with both of us. And in fact seeing great, loving marriages is good for children.

So I don't think you should feel guilty at putting your foot down over getting a week away. Or at having evenings alone without her.
Obviously, the odd one will need to be cancelled because it clashes with something important that she has on. But in general it should be easy enough to arrange - if he is prepared to...?

ChipmunkSundays Wed 12-Oct-16 21:19:04

Why would you be an awful person just for needing some privacy sometimes, and for being pissed off that your DH hasn´t discussed holiday plans with you, his wife, before discussing them with DSD? That would be silly. smile

Why can´t you have a holiday with DSD and a holiday with just your DH? If the answer is time/money then why not do a family long weekend somewhere she´d love to go (maybe let her be part of choosing it?) and an adults´ long weekend at another point, somewhere you and your DH would enjoy going just the two of you.

ChipmunkSundays Wed 12-Oct-16 21:21:33

All couples need time together, whether regular nights alone or occasional holidays. If she were your daughter you would still need that - it's not about her being a step-daughter, it's about all the things a couple can't do while they're looking after a child.

This.

in fact seeing great, loving marriages is good for children

And this!

AppleJac Wed 12-Oct-16 21:24:28

I totally understand when you say you struggled with him having a child from a previous relationship.

Im not a fan of step parenting myself. I had a go and just couldnt do it, i just couldnt be that person who is accepting of a mans children and the issues it can bring.

museumum Wed 12-Oct-16 21:30:04

If you have a teenager and are still together you generally know if they're going to walk in the door or not at any given moment.
I think you need to know too. My dh lives with me but I still like to know if he's due home or I'm in alone.
Can you ask dsd to text you as well as your dh her plans? Or if not then your dh to forward the info?

LazySusan11 Wed 12-Oct-16 21:35:05

I'm starting to feel like I'm not cut out for this but I love my dh so very much parting company would be a very very last resort. On the one hand she's his child of course he can take her on holiday and promise her things if he likes. It's the fact he promised her we'd all go knowing how much I struggle anyway. Why couldn't he just have said the 2 of them would go away?!

I try to be a good role model, I do spend time with dsd doing things she enjoys but I find it all so wearing. God love her but she never shuts up it's constant chatter or noise or needing to be the centre of attention. By the time she's due back at her mums I am so pleased to have a little peace only to have it shattered again when she turns up after school!

I'm glad she feels comfortable enough to drop in whenever but there are no boundaries!

Bananasinpyjamas1 Wed 12-Oct-16 21:58:41

You need to take some control lazy - have you read the other thread on this issue? You need to put down some boundaries. It is OK to do this! It is not a very healthy recognition that you have limits, there are limits, and that you need privacy, and you and DP need time alone too sometimes.

It is too wearing to be the only one with absolutely no say in a triangle of 'adults who are responsible for a dependent teenager' for want of a better word.

I know I've been there, done that! If I had my time as a SM I would move out rather than have a loose arrangement with the step children again.

Wdigin2this Wed 12-Oct-16 23:02:16

OMGoodness, every time I read a post like this, it reminds me again why I so avoided men with young DC. All our kids were grown when we got together, and like you, I would have found it soooo hard to accept another person turning up, as and when they liked!
I realise your DSD's home is where her father is, but there surely have to be some limits, and certainly you should be kept totally in the loop.
As for the holiday, if your DH promised/offered you a coupe only time, and he's now all telling you his DD is coming along, then basically you're still owed a holiday with your husband....so I'd get booking!

Jinglebellsandv0dka Wed 12-Oct-16 23:12:47

I don't think you found like a bad person at all.

Don't go on that holiday - let him take her by himself. You don't have to go, he knew how you were feeling. Go away later with Dh.

I'm not sure what your going to do regarding the just dropping in, I hate that too - no step kids just bloody pils! Have you told your Dh to text you to let you know if she is coming?

Do you think your anxiety is making it worse OR the situation is making your anxiety worse - as I know when my anxiety is bad I can get fixated on stuff and make myself feel really unhappy

steppinstone Thu 13-Oct-16 00:06:25

Gosh I feel just the same as you and am dithering about moving out.

I am so introverted and need space and quiet. I am a nervous wreck at the moment as dsd is almost always here. I start shaking as I enter the front door.

I want to change but don't see how I can cope with it all, really. But then if we live apart, I'll hardly see DH! I don't know what to do for the best.

swingofthings Thu 13-Oct-16 09:49:50

For a start surely it wouldn't much trouble to ask that when she text her dad she copies you in? Then maybe her dad can add that he and you want more notice as much as possible. I suspect just knowing will make it easier.

I think it's nothing to do with being a step parent. As a mum I would want to know where my teenagers are and when I can expect them to be home or at their dad. They have long learn to inform all concerned so it's never an issue.

Findingpeace Thu 13-Oct-16 19:40:43

I feel like this at times too op. But my dsd lives with us. I really struggle with not knowing if she'll be home in the evening or not. She's 19 and works some evenings. I just want to know if I'll have the evening to myself or with dh (he also works most evenings) or not.
For me it is the unpredictability of it as when she was in school I knew she'd be home most evenings and that was ok.
I think you need to explain your feelings to your dh and come up with a plan together, perhaps as others suggested she add you to the texts to her dad.
Your needs are important too and shouldn't be ignored by your dh. That's the road to resentment.

daftgeranium Fri 21-Oct-16 15:37:26

For what it's worth, op, I think your dh is being selfish and inconsiderate, and you need some serious discussions to try and secure some boundaries for your relationship - and how he values it. Sounds like he has been allowed to assume too much for too long, and hasn't given his child a structure that respects your relationship as well.
Good luck!

Bananasinpyjamas1 Fri 21-Oct-16 19:20:49

hasn't given his child a structure that respects your relationship as well. that is a good phrase! Children will follow the lead of their parents... (mostly!). I told DP this who was quite shocked to think he had anything to do with my DSCs rudeness.

Wordsaremything Sat 29-Oct-16 18:03:42

OP - no words of wisdom, but it sounds you're a bit of an introvert as I am , and therefore absolutely need that quiet downtime away from noise and other people to re charge and settle. ( even when it's been enjoyable!)

So the boundaries thing is even more important I think.

You sound like a lovely person, and I wish you well.

chilleddrywhite Sun 30-Oct-16 12:32:46

I feel as if 'I'm not cut out for this' every day! Step-parenting is hard. And it is unnatural to expect you to have a policy of 100% open house but not keep you in the loop regarding arrangements. That is your DH separating you from the household structure. Perhaps you need to remind him that you are a non-optional part of the household.

Wdigin2this Mon 31-Oct-16 23:13:51

I know full well I wouldn't cope with the open house policy (good description by the way). But how you can tackle it without offending everyone, and branding yourself the bad guy in this scenario...I really don't know!

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