This thread is making me kind of sad.
I fancy myself a pretty good mother and step-mother. I genuinely care about ALL of my kiddos, I generally learn from my mistakes, and I can honestly say that at all times I'm doing the best that I can.
I have to believe (because not to is unthinkable) that most parents - and step-parents - out there feel the same way I do. I have to believe that most parents are doing the best they can. I have to believe that most parents love and care for their children and want what's best for them.
Some of my biggest fears as a step-parent are exactly what are being expressed here: that my DSC will grow up to think I overstepped my bounds, forced them to spend time with my family, loved my biological children more, wished they didn't live in the home, monopolized their father, etc.
As a grown-up, I can look back at my upbringing and know that the things that bothered me about my parents then were things I didn't understand as a child. Things like: when a single mom meets a single dad and they decide to get married and blend families, it's REALLY HARD for the grown-ups, too! These are grown-ups who didn't have the bliss of child-free years to get to know one another and build a strong relationship before starting a family together. They got married and PRESTO, instant family! They're having to deal with all the fits and starts of step-families (children who are hurt, confused, resentful, angry, sad, etc) while at the same time falling in love, learning to communicate with one another and simply developing all of those important interpersonal "traditions" that make relationships so special.
To think, for even one instant, that my children and step-children - as adults - won't be able to understand this and forgive myself and DH for our bumbling mistakes and occassional tempers, makes me incredibly sad.