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Very tired and sad step mum (long)

(22 Posts)
Monkeysmom Thu 02-Jun-05 13:31:54

My son was born 1 year ago. On the exact day I came out of hospital, my SD, 14,came to live with us as her mother could not “ cope “ with her anymore and they have agreed that she is better off with her dad.
From that moment, my relationship with my DH went down the hill. From two free, independent people, we suddenly had to learn to cope with a new born baby and what turn out to be a very stroppy teenager.
SD has started lying to us, throwing tantrums, not interested at all in studying, hanging out with the “wrong “crowd. Her values are very different from ours. She hates reading ( apart from Jordan's Autobiography), thinks that Libraries are the most uncool and sad place. She is very lazy and doesn’t like doing anything apart from putting make up on and doing her hair.This frustrates me soo much as I work full time, look after a 14 mo, do all the cooking and housework. I work hard and love my books and feel sad to see so much disrespect to things I treasure.
In our house, there are constant arguments between her and DH who is very frustrated. However, if I dare say anything to her, my DH takes her part, shouts at me and even swears at me.
I feel that I have not fully enjoyed my baby so far, the way 1st time mothers do.
In the past year, my DH has been too busy arguing about room tidiness, homework etc. He is always stressed out and the cosines a baby brings has gone out of the window.
I am concerned for my son growing up in this environment and taking her as an example of how to behave. I
I am also concerned about myself, as an individual who has to take all the crap without being allowed to say what they feel. I do feel like a prisoner in my own house.
Most days, I hate leaving work and going home ( how sad!!). The only thing that keeps me going is the smiling face of my baby. I realy have nothing else to look forward to. ( feeling guilty as this should be enough).
I had made up my mind to leave them but I am worried that I am a bad mother by taking my son away from his daddy. Of course, he will be allowed to see his daddy as much as possible.
I am so sad and don’t know what to do.

pixiefish Thu 02-Jun-05 13:36:45

Hugs monkeysmom. No ideas sorry- it's a very complex situation. She's probably jealous of the baby and trying to assert herself in her fathers affections. Not liking books is fairly typical teenage behaviour as is thinking that libraries are boring. Could you or your dh try to find some common ground with her and do something she enjoys.

New babies don't always bring cosiness- I know that it didn't here- there was a massive stress for months after dd was born- the responsibility is a massive shock.

Perhaps you could send her back to her mothers for a weekend so that you and your dh can talk and you can tell him how you feel

throckenholt Thu 02-Jun-05 13:44:32

sounds like you call all do with some counselling (sd included if you can persuade her) - you need some objective help in living with each other.

Hope you work something out soon.

otto Thu 02-Jun-05 13:49:55

What an awful situation to be in. It sounds as if you need to talk through some things with your dh before coming to any rash decisions though.

Does your sd spend any time with other mother? I just wondered if it was possible for you and your dh and ds to spend some time together.

Did she have any say in coming to live with you, or was it a decision that was forced upon her? It sounds as if you and your dh have very different standards and expectations to her mother, which is probably one of the reasons she is behaving in this way. I think this is always a problem in step families. It certainly is in ours and this is one of the things you need to discuss with your dh.

I know how you must worry about how this will affect your ds and that's one of the reasons why the shouting must stop. But I wouldn't worry too much about following her example. By the time your ds is old enough to follow your sd's example she will hopefully have gone through this stage and maybe a more reasonable human being - or have moved out. HTH

squirrel3 Thu 02-Jun-05 13:51:49

Great big hugs to you monkeysmum, being a step mum is hard at the best of times, I can't imagine how hard it was for you to have your SD move in with you the day you left hospital after having your DS. I think I might have 'lost it' on week one!

I agree with pixiefish, your SD may well be jealous of your DS and teenagers are notoriously stroppy (especially teenage girls IME).

I'm sorry I don't have much advice for you ATM, just lots of sympathy, try having a look at this it might help, it might be cr@p, but theres no harm in looking.

tarantula Thu 02-Jun-05 13:52:35

I think there are a lot of issues here that need to be dealt with and I thin you need to sit down with your DH and tell him how you feel seriously. If you are thinking of leaving then you need to tell him that quietly and calmly and explain all the reasons why and how you think they may be resolved.
Firstly tho you should not be doing all the housework. you need to establish a routine where both dh and dsd take their share of the responsibility and if they wont they can live with themess. I dont mean that dsd does loads of housework but she should help out some. DH should be doing half tho if you both work full time.
Secondly is dsd is living with you then yes I thin you are entitled to have a say in what goes on in your house and you need to tell your dh this. Your dsd needs consistancy of approach from you both as does ds when he gets older and your dh needs to accept this.

I am a stepmum myself and I had to sit down with dp and tell him that while dss was with us that I had to be able to tell him off cos otherwise things would not work out. I ahd the full backing of dss's mum in thsi too I might add.

Good luck witheverything and I hope it all gets better soon

squirrel3 Thu 02-Jun-05 13:53:25

And oh yes! you def need some time alone with your DH to talk things through.

squirrel3 Thu 02-Jun-05 13:54:21

Wise words from Tarantula.

tarantula Thu 02-Jun-05 13:59:23

oooooo first time anyones every called me wise thanks Squirrel. Forgot to say come join us in the Nutty stepmums club Monkeysmom

aloha Thu 02-Jun-05 14:03:13

Poor you. What a dreadful situation. I am a stepmother but thankfully I am very lucky and have a lovely stepdaughter that I would be delighted to have living with us. I think it is totally unacceptable that your husband swears at you. That is devastating stuff to be happening in your home. I would also suggest counselling because that way you really know you have tried everything, and even if your relationship can't survive, you can at least work out a framework for the future.
Does your husband realise how you feel and that you want to leave him? How has he reacted to that? Would this be enough to encourage him to go to counselling with you?
And of course you shouldn't be doing all the housework and clearing up after an able-bodied teenager. You sound absolutely exhausted to be honest, and I'm not surprised.
Does your stepdaughter spend weekends with her mother? If so, then I think you need to sit down with your husband really talk about how bad you feel and suggest counselling.
I think you sound a decent, loving person in an intolerable situation.

Monkeysmom Thu 02-Jun-05 15:13:50

Thank you all for your replies. It does feel good to feel understood for once.
To answer some of your questions (sorry, long again)
Dsd coming to live with us was a shared decision between herself and her mum. They use to have massive rows and did not get on at all. So they decided it is better if she comes to leave with us. We were not asked. My DH received the call while I was in hospital recovering after the C section. She basically said :come and get me.

Yes,dsd goes to her mum every other weekend. She boasts about how well they get on now they no longer leave together.

I don’t think the baby is the problem ( she also has a younger brother and sister from her mum’s side).We just don’t have anything in common. Her mother is obsessed with fashion, make up, boyfriends (went through 12 boyfriends in a period of 5 yrs). I have different interests and I am sure that I don’t come across to her as “ glamourous” as her mum.

DH is very unreasonable, I have tried talking to him.
Unfortunately, he is the sort of person that cannot accept a different opinion. If I don’t agree with him he thinks that I want to be awkward and argumentative. He thinks he should do the disciplining of dsd and I should not get involved. This is fine with me but last night they had a massive raw at 11 pm and wake ds up. I thought this is unacceptable as poor ds did not know what is going on and started crying.
I told dh that I was upset and we need to sort out dsd attitude. That’s when he started shouting at me, and basically said that I should not get involved and he wished he did not have a child with me.

He knows I am considering living but don’t think he is that bothered.

There are 2 reasons I am still with him:
1. I do not want to take away ds bonding with his daddy.
2. I am not originally from UK so no family around to look after ds when he cannot go to nursery .i.e 3 days when he had conjunctivitis. At least at the moment we share the days off if needed.
I apologise for going on.

tarantula Thu 02-Jun-05 15:23:04

Oh Monkeysmom sounds like things are even tougher then I thought. I do think that you need to think clearly about your situation tho as you cannot live i a house where your feelings are not taken into considerstion at all. there is no way that Id accept dp coming home to me and announcing that dss was coming to live with us. Id certainly be open to him livig with us provided we had discussed the ins and outs etc first.

I think this not a problem about your dsd tho but about your relationship with your dh. He has no right to impose this way of life on you and expect you to live with it without question. If he is not bothered about you and ds leaving then he has a major problem and he needs to sort it as I cant see how he is bonding with his ds if he wishes hed never had children with you.

I def think you need to look at counselling preferably for both of you or if not at least for you to help you with thsi situation. And please dont apologise for going on. Suredont we all at one time or another

otto Thu 02-Jun-05 15:34:06

Were you and your dh happy before sd came to live with you, or do you think there were problems that this intolerable situation has brought to the surface?

sunchowder Thu 02-Jun-05 15:52:34

Monkeysmom, I have a blended family also and have been through many difficult times. I wanted to try to join the board to discuss some of my "issues" also. Aloha is always brilliant and her advice got us to counseling the last time things were really rough. I hope the feedback you receive here (from everyone) will make you feel that you are not alone, but you still need very much to have an advocate which you will have when you go to counseling.

Teenage girls are difficult even when they are your own, but it is very difficult to "know" this when you are a stepmom. When you are so upset and exhausted to begin with, it is difficult to have confidence in your perception--I know this from experience. As for your DH saying he wished he never had a child with you, it was so cruel. Was this just said in anger and will he apologize? You have some very difficult decisions ahead of you, but I really think you should go to counsellng as soon as you can. Sending you my good thoughts for some peace and clarity.

Monkeysmom Thu 02-Jun-05 15:56:04

Tarantula, I will try counselling and maybe convince my DH to come along, although slim chance.

Otto, we were very happy and very much in love. I have practically watched our relationship crumble in 1 yr, DH becoming a different person, myself becoming a different person, sad and resentful.
But to be fair to him, in one day his whole life has changed. What worries did he have before? None. In one day he became a full time father to a baby and a teenager.
Families bring up their children from “scratch”. They have time to adapt mentally through the different stages of parenthood. To get to know that child inside out. And they still struggle with teenage years.
What chance did we stand ?
I also wanted to stay on maternity leave for longer but we needed to move house because dsd came to live with us ( DH wanted good catchment area). The new house is more expensive therefore I had to go back to work to afford the mortgage, more or less against my will ( he did not drag me by the hair to the office but made me feel very guilty). I was sad to leave my 6 mo baby at the nursery full time ( all my pregnant colleagues have returned part time), but this was not a choice that DH let me have. God knows how much I have resented him and the whole situation for this
BTW, dsd mother does not pay a penny in maintainance and DH paid all along.

sunchowder Thu 02-Jun-05 16:07:55

Monkeysmom, My DH's exwife did not pay one penny for support either. She called weekly when we first got married and tortured me and stirred up the children. She resented me so much. Her new life was private and my life was an open book. I went from being single to being married and having 3 stepchildren (ages 2.5, 7 and 11) and our baby on the way. It is possible to have the relationship "survive" and even flourish. There is a lot to read (if you can focus) and hopefully a counseller will recommend some good reading to you. My stepdaugher's natual Mom would tell her things like "I didn't have a CLUE about childrearing, etc". We got through it, not unscarred, but we did. After almost three years of this, my stepdaughter did go to live with her natual mother. She went from being a straight A student to dropping out of High School and becoming pregnant at 15. The pregnancy was hidden from us until after the baby was born (they live 1000 miles away). I could go on with this....the point is that you are not alone.

Monkeysmom Thu 02-Jun-05 16:28:27

Aloha, Sunchowder, and everybody else, thank you for your kind thoughts. I do want to try counselling.
At the moment I have that horrible feeling that I had enough and I have reached the point of no return. I hope however to feel different in a few days time.

I also have this nagging thought that I should be happy that my ds is healthy and thriving and not moaning and complaining.
I used to be a confident, happy person and cannot believe how this situation has taken its toll on my personality. I feel useless, helpless and very Guilty.
I sometimes think : If something happens to ds tomorrow, I would not forgive myself that instead of enjoying him I have spent my past year feeling miserable.I do not want to carry on like this even if this means being a single mom and struggling. But it is not about my happpiness, it is about ds's best interests.

bossykate Thu 02-Jun-05 17:00:06

i think you are creating a false dichotomy between your happiness and your ds's best interests. imho, it will be in his best interests to have a mother who is happy rather than resentful, guilty and miserable. it sounds as though you very much resent your husband for making you go back to work f/t, and for the other things you mention - i don't blame you for that. but please try counselling - on your own if need be - because continuing to live like this can't be an option.

good luck.

Stepmaman Thu 02-Jun-05 18:23:18

Hi Monkeysmom ---

I risk being tarred and feathered for one of my suggestions below (you'll figure out which one).

First, go to Relate. I don't know where you live, but my DH and I had a great counsellor. DH was dubious when I suggested premarital counselling ("preventative medicine"!) but loved the experience. Highly recommend them.

Secondly, has your SD ever considered boarding school? She would have to be keen, but frankly, at this age, many kids just want to be with their friends. If you can't afford a more expensive boarding school, there are also fabulous state boarding schools where you only pay for a subsidised rate. (Check out STABIS on Google.) If you guys are on the breadline, there are some great schools with fab bursary programmes. For example, check out Christ's Hospital School in Horsham, Sussex. I'd love it if my own kids could qualify. Great results, great facilities. This may allow your SD to have the stability and structure...and friends!...that she needs around her and allow all of you (ex, DH, you) to enjoy the more limited times she spends with you. You can all look forward to a differently-defined relationship. If this is workable, I would suggest you look into it. As you know, public schools (private for you...I gather from your spelling of "mom" that you're American!) are rather expensive: up to £22k per year. But state boarding schools are in the £5-7k region, and Christ's Hospital is practically free...if you qualify. Look at may be a solution for all. Your SD now has a better relationship with her mother now that she doesn't live with her. Well...maybe the same will be said for you and DH's relationship with her!

Good luck, Monkeysmom. I really do feel your pain.

aloha Thu 02-Jun-05 18:45:28

Sunchowder! - thank you. It's easier to give advice than live with it sometimes, eh?
Monkey'smum, Bossykate makes an excellent point - you are a better mother if you aren't unhappy. And also, you deserve to be happy in your own right, as a person, aside from as a mother.
I think your situation sounds pretty grim but also that both you and your husband are suffering, but separately.
Does he have a lot of guilt about his daughter? What was the split like? Is he trying to make it up to her because he feels responsible for her bad situation now? Is he taking out the guilt and stress on you because, well, you are handy?
As you know, you can go to counselling on your own if necessary and maybe that will make him want to come even if he is reluctant at first.
I can understand why you resent him, you aren't a bad person for your feelings.

Monkeysmom Fri 03-Jun-05 09:14:06

Stepmaman, we have talked about private education because she had bad reports from school, not doing her homework and being disruptive in class. When she came to live with us, we bought a new house to be in the catchment area for a good school but unfortunately there are no places, we are on the waiting list.. She has now a group of friends at the current school, that both dh and myself utterly dislike and there are always tears and tantrums every time we mention the better school . She threatened to leave and I know boarding school would be out of question. She just would not go and she said that if we force her to go to another school, she would do everything possible to be excluded. And I believe her.

Aloha, you are so right. He does feel guilty for how his daughter is now. It wasn’t a split as such with bm. He had a very short relationship, on and off when he was very young and at one point when the relationship was “on”, bm fell pregnant. They didn’t have much in common, and argued a lot but DH was always a good dad. However, he wanted to further his education and took the decision to go to University away from the town where bm and dsd lived. He lost some contact during Uni years but started seeing her regularly when Uni was over. He says he didn’t have a clue of what was going on. Every time he asked bm about school, she said dsd is doing great.

I know he is feeling guilty as every time we do share family moments with ds such as bath him, cuddle in bed at night or in the morning he always says sadly :” I didn’t have any of this with dsd “.

jojo38 Sat 04-Jun-05 09:43:48

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