Sometimes it's just so hard!
Hmm, that's a tough situation. First off, I would NOT make my child miss his or her naps and let my stepkids run amuck. Tell them that while the baby is napping, they can read, draw, or do another quiet activity and if that fails, they can go to bed too. And I would stick to my word on that. a couple days of laying in bed bored for two hours is sure to make them quiet down sooner or later. I would tell your hubby your frustrations in a nice way. Tell him what you said on here, that you love him and his children, but that you are getting overwhelmed. Give him a half hour to chill out after work, but after that Iwould insist that he help with the dinner hour, bathing the kids and putting them to bed. He might work, but so do you! you're not sitting on your fanny all day doing nothing. Also, I would tell him that one day a week, you are going to go out alone for a period of time, an hour or two, whatever you need, and leave him the kids. You need time away from the house as well as he does! good luck to you!
What did your husband do with his kids before you and he got together? Are the kids with you for large periods of time? I ask because I don't think my ex has ever washed even one of the kids socks, they just bring enough clothes for the weekend and come back with a back pack full of laundry for me. If that's at all feasible, then maybe stop doing the extra work. How old are the step kids?Tthe only meal I actually serve to my big kids is supper. They can prepare the rest themselves and have for many years... a 5 year old can make themself a sandwich, once you teach them. Maybe put on a movie for the baby's nap time, or if their dad is home he could take them to the park?
I would just go out without the kids, regularly. After he's been home relaxing for half an hour, hand him the baby and cheerfully let him know you're headed out for an hour or two. And then go. If he balks, act completely confused, and remind him that he sees your job as super easy, so what's the big deal?
Regarding the step kids, does he at least play with them when they visit, or does he just do his own thing while you manage the kids the whole time?
Oh limabean I love the way you think!
Oh yes he certainly plays with them, he is an unbelievable dad, his a child at heart himself, which means if you make a mess just leave it for a week.. Someone else will clean it up :-/
Ugh. One for my "I need an hour" book. Not sure how I didn't think of this phrase sooner.
Much of what you described, devoted mummy, I can really relate to. DSD waking baby up from her nap despite my constant requests to stop stomping and yelling through the house. DH does help with dinner or dishes much of the time, but after that he lounges on the couch while I try to take care of everything else that needs to be done. Although I work full time, I am still the primary parent. DH has never, ever, gotten up with our 1-year-old in the night! Tonight I got a scowl when I asked him to shush the baby back to sleep so I could keep working on my homework due tomorrow. I catch myself getting distracted at the silliest things at work--I think because it's as close to "me time" as I get these days.
I need to get out for an hour or two more often, even if just to drive around town or aimlessly walk around the mall. Alone "me time" really sounds like wonderful advice.
When baby came I decided that that some chores (erm, perfectly clean house) can wait. I would probably be pulling my hair out if I held myself up to perfectly clean house standards right now. I hope that I'll have an easier time fitting in more house cleaning as baby gets older and--gasp--can "help!" She tried to help me shampoo the carpet the other day. :-) Maybe relaxing your standards a bit during the baby years could help save your sanity too.
I almost forgot--I also stopped washing DH and DSD's laundry. They're not at all happy about it but it's helped (me) a lot too. It's enough of a task just to keep up with baby's and my (epic pile of spit-up, drooled on, food-covered, oops the diaper leaked) laundry. I do still fold their laundry if they ask, but I definitely don't pick it up off the floor or haul it around for them. Of course, YMMV if your stepkids are too little to help much with laundry. (I should admit the straw that broke the camel's back was finding many still-folded clothes in the laundry pile one too many times. I was tired of all the effort of cleaning clothes they were too lazy to put away or pay attention to whether they were clean or dirty. It wasn't a completely arbitrary task to cut from my work list.)