"Fake it to make it", resentful and I need some help...please!(23 Posts)
I'm new to mumsnet but have been reading posts in this forum for a little while now. I'm really hoping for some replies from fellow step parents and not to be torn to shreds (I've read the Boop81 thread and saw how she was scared away!).
Anyway, to get up to speed- I've been with DH for 8 years. I have 1 teenage DD . Shared care with Dad until last year when she decided to live there predominantly (teen issues, butted heads, for another post!). DH has 1 child, my DSS aged 9. He is with us 4 nights per week and all day sat.
I'm having real problems. I'm beginning to really loathe the situation I have got myself in. Please, before anyone says "you knew he had a child when you met" or any of that, I did know obviously but like most of us, we have NO IDEA what step parenting and all it entails is really like until we are well into it. I'm becoming resentful of the time DSS spends here. When I met DH he had much less time time (closer to 1week night and EOW, although it varied). I never imagined we would end up with DSS living with us as much as he does. I know, with hindsight (isn't that a wonderful thing?!) that I should have thought of this much more but I didn't. I actually supported DH to have the time we have now. Mum wasn't so stable, for a time we had DSS all the time, gradually more stable now and hence the current arrangements. DSS needed to be here, I stepped up and did a lot of the care as I worked part-time, it wasn't possible for DH to do so. There was never any question this is what we'd do- we were needed, it's DH son, we did it.
Fast forward to now and I'm finding myself feeling resentful of the time DSS is here. I feel put upon, however unreasonable that may sound. This "wasn't what I signed up for" sort of thing. I find DSS irritating a lot of the time- I know all children can be, my own child was at times but as is the case we can overlook things with "our children". I'm really resenting having to give up so much of my time and have my entire schedule dictated by a child who isn't mine. It was less of an issue when DD was here as to an extent as my time was dictated by her contact arrangements with Dad. I try to be welcoming to DSS, I involve him, I care for him but I'm beginning to withdraw and DH has noticed. I've even considered leaving but I love my DH and don't want to be without him.
I've read so many posts on here and I'm now thinking my only option, if my marriage is to survive, is to "fake it til I make it" sort of thing...my question is how?? How do you deal with the things you could overlook in your own children but can't in DSC? We do so much for our own children as biologically the drive and love is there to do so, I feel it isn't with DSC. Do you feel resentful and how do you cope with this? I am well aware that I'm the adult and so the impetus is on me to deal with this. I know I'm not the first SM to feel like this so please, those with words of wisdom, help me.
I couldn't cope with it. In the end, we dealt with his son lying about how he is being treated in our home and he no longer stays at our home for visits. I think the thing is that my DH and I sat down and were honest and I also told him what I did and didn't want out of this. We've done this a few times. At first, I stopped cooking for his son, then I stopped treating him to things or buying him stuff. Then, I refused to be emergency daycare. My MIL was really bullying me too. Now, I've stopped all of that. My situation is different as even my DH is having a lot of problems with his son. We had to agree he will never be left alone with our LO now too and to limit the time they have together. It's sad, but that's how I've gotten through it. His son now stays at the ILs for EOWE visits. I also asked my DH not to talk to me about the news of his son or what annoying thing is ex is doing unless it affects me. Now, I'm no longer stressed out.
I now love my DSC and enjoy having them around. However, I do sometimes prefer my weekends when it's just me, DH and our DD. Life is simpler! I don't blame you for feeling like this (I have in the past) but it needs to change.
Don't withdraw from a 9 year old. It's not the child's fault his parents split up. He will want your love and attention as much as his Dad's. Being distant will likely store up issues for when he's older.
Advice? Cultivate a close relationship ... Become his confidante and partner in crime. Spend time one on one and get to know him. Go to the cinema, play football. When you're friends, life will be easier.
I've been there, done it and had my photo taken on the rollercoaster. It will get better if you work at the relationship.
It sounds tough but I agree with the above: don't withdraw from a 9 year old as you will fuck him up.
Your dh needs to be there more.
In 2-3 years it may be better as the child will be more self sufficient.
Are you missing your dd?
Are you still working part time? If so going full time might help. If you don't want to provide the bulk of the childcare (if that is what's happening) then you need to say so.
Your now 'child free' for the bulk of the time and that must have been a struggle to adjust to. Just bear in mind your DH has been with you throughout the challenging times with DD and if your Ex has a DP they may not have envisaged a full time life with your teen DD. If you love your DH don't withdraw from his DS it won't help.
We are a blended family.
Eldest dc is not biologically my dh son but younger two dd are.
We have never had step siblings or half siblings. We all call them siblings.
We are a close set family and my dh has been and still is an amazing parent to my eldest. It hasn't always been easy and the last two years have been very trying for everyone with dc usual teenage lying and hectic awkwardness but we have are getting through it. For a while I noticed my dh withdrawing and it's really sad. I felt like we weren't parenting as a team so we have talked at length about it without each other taking offence or getting upset so have been able to talk things through and compromise on many situations.
Maybe your dh isn't realising the bulk of childcare you are doing and that even though you guys are a family,ultimately he needs to be spending more one on one time with his son.
What you have been doing for your dds is creating a safe stable home for him so you should be really pleased with yourself that what your doing is teaching him he can trust you and he will respect you for that massively.
The fake it till you make it is one way of looking at it because you will get passed this feeling and reconnect again and it will be very helpful to have that solid relationship once he's in his teens. That's when he will need the emotional support and you will be the person he goes to.
Good luck op. Keep going x
Fast forward to now and I'm finding myself feeling resentful of the time DSS is here.
Does this coincide at all with your DD moving to her father's?
By the way, it is a parent issue rather than the child, as you don't really mention anything out of the ordinary with his behaviour. It seems more of something that you need to discuss with your DH than anything else. The only thing I commented on was your feelings, so apologies for not giving more constructive feedback. If a child is not your own, it's difficult sometimes to overlook bad behaviour because I felt I perceived my DH's son more as a person rather than my child. It would be more different if he were here more often. However, just be cautious of your feelings and resentment getting worse. It has been five years for me and my feelings are irreversible, whereas you still have time to make changes to ease the resentment. This would include childcare arrangements and less responsibility put on you and transferred to your DH. My situation is totally different to yours.
I read that your issue is that you might have always craved a level of independence, but was prepared to give it up in exchange of the pleasures that came with being a mum as well as acceptance that you had no choice. Now faced with the fact that you should be finally enjoying that freedom again, you are finding yourself trap again yet with none of the benefits that came with being a mum.
The question therefore is? Why are you feeling trapped? What are you being limited to because of your DSS? Does this mean that you are doing things for him that maybe you shouldn't have to, or are you resentful of not being to have as much time with your OH to do things just the two of you because of him?
It doesn't have to be this way. DH despite marrying me and taking me with my two kids has all his freedom. Yes, we are a bit limited in being able to take time off for more than a long week-end just the two of us, but then again, it's his fault because I would be happy living my two teenagers alone at home, it's him who won't have any of it! Otherwise, I have never once expected him to look after them, pick them up, cook, shop, clean for them. Next week, he is going away skiing with his friends as he does every year.
I think if you had more freedom, you'd most likely feel less resentful and then maybe you'd be able to appreciate your DSS better? I do agree with others, don't give up on him because if you do, he'll respond accordingly, and you might find you've missed an opportunity to bond with someone who will always be in your life and you might turn out to be a lovely person to have around.
Thank you all so much for these replies.
Kennington-In response, yes I am missing my DD terribly. I assumed she'd always want to live with me and so when she didn't it came as a massive shock. Also, in response to the question from SoupDragon I do think my change in feelings has coincided with DD going.
Swingofthings- I think you've hit the nail on the head,I'm resentful of the time I don't get with DH due to DSC. It sounds so petty to see it in words but that is how I feel.
My DH is a wonderful father and does spend a lot of time with DSC, I should have clarified this- he does take him to activities etc and does spend time with him. This does however eat in to family time- I feel our time is planned around DSC activities and plans and my time is arranged around school drop offs and pick ups.
I'll be having a long chat with DH about how I'm feeling (carefully!) and making a concerted effort to not withdraw. I don't foresee it being easy at all but it's what needs to be done. Interestingly I used to enjoy DSCs company, he's not a bad kid and the things I find irritating I know are just usual childhood things but as I said we can overlook these more easily in our biological children.
I think when it comes down to it I feel put upon as I've almost been expected to take the role of Mum as DSC own mum has at times been unable/unwilling. We've almost been thrown together and expected to love and like each other...DSC seems to have done better with this than me but I will work on it. My DH never had to do this with my DD.
I really am thankful for all of the responses x
It's a very difficult thing, working out how to be a step-parent! I can fully understand all your feelings and emotions....I've been there too!
My own DC & DSC were all grown up when DH and I got together, but I still had those feelings like, 'Do we have to spend Saturday night with them?' Sort of thing. Now it's the same thing with DSGC...,and so it goes on!
Do you make time with your OH that is quality time, just for the two of us? DH and I have very busy lives and don't spend a lot of time together, but we have worked out to make sure that we do make time and more importantly, make it real quality time.
For instance, instead of buying each other pointless Christmas presents, we instead buy each other surprised week-ends away. DH will take me away late January, when we feel a bit down with weather, money etc... and I'll take him away in May. We are lucky to be able to afford it (at a stretch) but otherwise, we would make it a day out instead.
We also make sure to have one Saturday afternoon a month just for the two of us and go out to eat once a month too.
Every two or three years, we also try to go away abroad just the two of us. It's not easy because my kids can't stay with their father easily, and we don't have much family to help, but we plan in advance and beg (well ask with a 'we are soooo grateful' and then make sure to show our appreciation in another way).
Agree with PP who said that if you're feeling this way it'd make sense for your H to reduce his working hours or for him to arrange childcare for DS.
Might it help to try to improve your relationship and increase your time with your DD? Were your H and/or his son a factor in her decision to live with her father?
Hi. I completely get you. I'm a mum of 2, but mine are 19 and 20. Only one lives at home and is hardly here. My DSS is 14 and we have him once a week and every other weekend. Like you I knew what I was taking on but as he goes further into his teens and me into my late 40's I do find it harder. He's been allowed to get away with far more than my own have been and I find that hard.
But I'm honest with DH and the every other weekend we do stuff just us. That certainly helps.
I know it's only for a couple of years. He's not a bad kid and on the whole we get on well. I'm also a very good influence on him- he listens to me (on a good day). But it isn't easy.
Thank you all.
Loopytiles- I'm not sure if DD's decision was influenced by DH and DSS. She left after a row (a large one)! Her dad appeared to back me then folded, went back on everything he'd said, gave in to everything and so she went there. She's been there a year now. She blamed me but it did cross my mind that if H and DSC weren't here if she would have stayed. She appears to get on well with both of them but the thought does still cross my mind. Out of interest there is just her and dad at his home.
Swingofthings- DH and I do the same as you do at Christmas with your DH re trips away. We do make time for each other (we too are mad busy at the mo!) but I still find myself at times feeling that if only DSC wasn't here we'd have so much time. I feel (and I suppose I am) selfish feeling this way, like a petulant child who can't share. But I do feel this way.
It's a pretty difficult situation, with what's happened with and really missing DD and having a LOT of time with DSS, and limited time with your now H. Don't beat yourself up for struggling at times.
Purple, thank you for your post, I think you might have just described my life! I'm so relieved to hear I'm not the only one finding it tough. My DD has not yet moved out but it won't be long now till she leaves home and is already mentally moving on because of her age, but this has coincided with my DSCs' mum limiting her contact time with her kids so much that they hardly ever see her now. In my case I feel increasingly resentful of her that I'm having to do what she should really be doing for her kids because she won't and the excuses she comes up with are even starting to make her kids question her. I feel so sad that in the final few months before my DD leaves home I'm not getting to spend the time with her that she deserves and that I want to spend with her (I'm having a really good cry here right now as I hadn't realised quite how much I miss my time with her now I'm split so many ways looking after this whole family) Thank you for your post which has allowed me to be honest with myself just how sad I'm feeling about my situation - so sorry I can't offer advice but I'm struggling my way through this and there are no easy answers. I hope you find a way through.
Do you think (subconsciously?) that DD may have wanted to be with her dad more because DSS was around more? That perhaps you might feel bad that she has gone partly because of him being there so he is (subconsciously) the cause of DD not being there?
What a tough situation for you.
It would maybe be fairer if your DP was home more.
You may as well work full time (for example) and then your DP would have to step up regarding "looking after DS"
It seems to be always the woman who ends up doing most of the caring for the step kids
And of course you miss DD....
swingofthings Sun 05-Mar-17 15:18:50 "Otherwise, I have never once expected him to look after them, pick them up, cook, shop, clean for them".
This sentence encapsulates why being a stepmum is so hard compared with being a stepdad. IME the woman is always expected to step up and provide a level of care that stepdads aren't, then when we eventually find it gets all too much we're accused of withdrawing/acting funny etc. Not saying that stepdads never help out but in together families it's nearly always the mum who sorts out all the family logistics etc and women somehow seem to end up stepping into that role even when it's not their own DC.
I agree with PPs, your DH absolutely needs to be there more, he'd find a way to cope if you weren't on the scene. You say DH is a wonderful father who spends lots of time with his DS but that sounds like fun time? Does he actually do the grunt work of parenting such as laundry, shopping, cooking etc? If so then why were you left in a position where you had to do so much? Fake it till you make it won't work if you are feeling/being taken for granted.
Sorry for the late reply, I just wanted to say thank you for the additional replies.
Artiface- yes, I think I had been feeling that way. Actually seeing it written out has helped me realise that part of my resentment has been unfairly blaming DSS for DD not being here.
I've since had a long chat with DH and we're working on improving things. I'm glad I posted this as, despite expecting a slating, you've made me realise I'm not the evil stepmother for feeling like this! Thank you
Just the other day he texted her saying he knows he wants them to be together but the fact he ended it and found someone else so quickly is something he could never forgive himself for, and that is the reason things are the way they are
Just read this response and wanted to comment. I personally think that the issue most commonly comes from the SM. I think as a whole (not always of course), women feel that they have to show that they can be a surrogate mum making life a lot easier for their OH for their boyfriend to want to make a commitment to them. Then when commitment is established, they realise that it's not what they've imagined, they get little appreciation, their support is taken for granted and they become unhappy.
My OH made it clear from the start that he valued his independence, and that although he was totally accepting my children as part of the 'package' (never said like that of course!), he had no interest in taking on a parenting role. As it is, it suited me perfectly. I'd been a single mum for 5 years, was satisfied with the way I was raising them and had no interest myself in sharing the role of parenting. We had that frank discussion before we agreed to commit to each other because we both agreed that there was no point in taking things further if we were not on the same page about this.
That doesn't mean that we are not a family of some sort! When the kids were smaller, we used to go on many days out all together, had a family holiday every year, went to meals etc... and of course, OH has always helped when I've asked him, but I've never taken for granted that he could look after them if he had a day off and I didn't, or that he could pick take them to an activity if I had to be elsewhere, or cook their meal if I felt poorly, but I've never considered that he had any duty to do so, more something you do to help the person you love.
Glad you've worked things out with your OH Purple and that this thread has helped you towards it.
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