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Frazzled new step-mom to 11 y.o.

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 
Hi All-

My 11-year-old step-daughter (DSD) moved in with us last week for the next 8 months. She's been living in NM with DH's ex-wife for the past three years-- we've spent very little time together prior to last week.

I'm scared to death--I feel so unprepared to be step-mother to an 11-year-old. Our DD is only 8 months---and I'd only just been getting comfortable as a parent. Now all of our evolving routines have been thrown upside down and we're slowly trying to figure each other out and weave together as a family. I feel as though DH is really minimizing the challenges and transitions involved. I feel really overwhelmed and like a terrible step-mom. Feel as though I'm way too brittle and anxious around DSD. I really don't like who and how I am these days.

Have any of you been through this? Any words of wisdom?
post #2 of 5
Hi there,

No real words of advice, but a big hug of support. I am also a fairly new-step mom. My dsd was 9 when I came on the scene and is 12 now. I have to say, she brings out the worst and the best in me. She only lives with us part time.

Be yourself, go with your gut, and be VERY expressive with your love for her. Also, with a new babe around this might be difficult, but it has helped my DH and I to make sure we take some time for ourselves when DSD is around.

Finally, communicate with your husband. This was the hardest thing for me to do b/c there were a lot of jealousy issues involved on my part and who wants to admit they are jealous or any other "bad" feelings. But DH was amazingly understanding and talking about it helped him see how I was feeling and helped me feel better.


post #3 of 5
I have been in your shoes. I have never had a sdd but I have had 2 relationships that I had sds. On both occassions the dh were never married to their mothers but we had physical custody of the children. However with both kids they parent hopped. When it got to hot to handle in one place went to another and they kept playing the parents. If I can give you any advice it would be to never allow the back and forth. Make a decision where the kid will live and then all of you as parents put that childs happiness first and raise her together. Growing up as a child of divorce I know how easy it is to play parents when they hate each other. Thank God for me when push came to shove my parents were able to put their hate aside and put me first. My mother had many names for my father, none of them kind. To this day I have no respect for her. Luckily my father never said a bad word about her, that impressed me. For 8 years he was married to a wonderful woman. At the time I felt she loved me deeply and felt sorry for me because my mom was insane. I love this woman to this day and they have been divorced over 20 years. His current wife obviously hates me and even though they live in the same town now,after 13 years of being in different states, we never see one another. We know how she feels and we stay a way. He stays away from us because he doesn't want to upset her. It is painful. Try to love her and try to treat her as you would want a stepmom to treat your child. Let her know you don't want to take her daddy away or take the place of her mother . Try being friends with her and never say anything bad about her mother. Remember that no matter what her mom is like she is a part of this child. Good luck......
post #4 of 5
Thread Starter 

Thank you!

Thank you so much for your replies. I'm slowly starting to feel better about my relationship with DSD (of course, she's away with her grandparents this week...so that helps ). She's a wonderful kid. Just awkward beginning to co-parent a child when you meet them for the first time on their 11th birthday. I'm also just getting comfortable being a first time parent with my 9 month DD.

I'm trying to feel more confident going with my gut and expressing myself with her. I've been organizing more outings and activities specifically for her--that has helped a lot.

3girlsmom- You touched on several of our real and potential issues. DSD will be moving between homes in MI with us and NM with mom, who is less than stable. In fact, that is why DSD is with us for the coming school year. I do think that the distance is helpful. It could be diffiuclt if mom has to move back to MI because of financial problems.

I think DSD is already starting to see differences btween my parenting style and her early years with her mother and DH. Fortunately, DH, and EX and I all are on excellent terms. I think that we are all deeply committed to doing what is best for DSD. I'm hoping for the best and will do everything I can to have it be a healthy situation for all of us.
post #5 of 5
Thank God for all of you involved that you are on good terms with one another. As long as you stay in good communication and talk about everything you all should be able to raise her in a good environment. My stepson is grown now, or at least he thinks so. He will be 21 in Nov. Now that he is grown his mom wants to co-parent. I am thankful that she finally came around but wonder if it isn't to late at this point. My dss is 21 and married and wants everyone to support them but them. His dad, mom and I are finally showing a united front and it has him baffled. None of his games are working. Just think how much better his life would have been if we could have done this from the beginning. Good luck.
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