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Stepmom blues

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 
My husbands son came to live with us 2 years ago and I am having a hard time adjusting to being a full time stepmom. He is 11 years old and has ADHD, which in one sense means that he cannot follow directions and he can't remember ANYTHING, so I am constantly repeating myself. I'm very frustrated, I feel depressed today. I also don't like it that my stepson started calling me mom as soon as he moved with us. I don't feel like I am his mom, so I would prefer to be called by my first name. Why is it SO hard to embrace a child that is not biologically yours? I feel horrible about it, but I just do not have any maternal feelings for this poor child.
post #2 of 17
I see that this is your first post and no one has responded yet.

First of all,

Second, I really, really know how you feel. It is so hard being a stepparent. It's one of the hardest things I've ever done, and my dss is a good kid and isn't with us full time. I really feel for you - you've got a much tougher situation. I constantly beat myself up for not loving my dss like I love my biological children. I would throw myself in front of a train without thinking twice for my two bio children, but I don't think I would do the same thing for dss. I feel so guilty for that!

I don't have many answers to your questions because I struggle with them, too. But I just wanted to let you know that you're not alone.
post #3 of 17
me too.

I always wonder why I was able to love my pets like children, and yet I have trouble feeling connected to my sd.

makes me feel so inadequate, and yes, guilty.

It doesn't help that we have nearly opposite personality traits, I'm quick to action, she moves at a snail's pace. I read appx 400 wpm, she is struggling with school. I have read books and researched online, and I just don't get how her mind works. We are in therapy, but I don't know how long it will take to see results.

Is there anything your ss likes to do that you can share together? While my feelings are not progressing as I would like, dsd is happier now that we practice belly dancing together, for example.

I don't know if it gets any easier, but you are not the only one who feels this way.

post #4 of 17
I realize what you're going through must be so tough. My dss (11) lives with us, and although we've all been together for 7 yrs now, it's still rough.

I wanted to address a couple things. First, I noticed that you mentioned that he calls you mom, and has since the beginning. I don't know what circumstances led to him living with you, how long you and your husband have been together, or what the situation with you dss' biomother is, but it's got to be a lot for your dss to be going through, also. He wants to be close to you, to be accepted by you, to honor what you are doing in his life, and to be a part of your family - that's why he would call you mom. I realize that the title feels like an overwhelming responsibility and obligation that he has pinned on you. My dss refers to me as his mom when he's talking to other people, and I remember the first time I heard it - I was excited, honored, and terrified, all at the same time. What you're feeling is completely normal, so don't feel bad about it. But, as I'm sure you know, there's not really any nice way to ask him to not call you mom without making him feel rejected by you, so, unless HE decides to call you by your name, you're stuck with the "Mom" title. Your dh could try to bring it up with him, I suppose, to ask dss if he wants to call you mom, or if he's just doing it because he feels like he has to, but that's still a sensitive slippery subject that I'd be kinda scared of your dss taking negatively.

I really liked and got along (pretty well) with my dss before me and dh were married, so I was lucky there, but it was still hard to build that relationship of family. Heck, it still is difficult! Some days I love that kid with all my heart - some days, I really can't stand him. And on those days I can't stand him, I feel incredibly guilty, like I'm failing to love him like I should. But, truth be told, I am not his mother, and I don't feel about him the way I do with my own children, no matter how hard I try. It's a completely different relationship. However, I try to look at it this way - I have a different love/relationship with my children than with my dss, true - but I also love my children differently than I love my husband, which is different than how I love my mother, which is different than how I love my cousins, my grandparents, my inlaws - you get my drift. Try not to feel so bad of the lack of maternal bond/feelings (easier said than done, I know). You don't have (I hope ) a maternal bond with your dh either. Different relationships, that's all.

I hope things get better for you soon. Being a step parent is so hard. I'm sure you're doing a great job (as evidenced by being "mom"). Maybe find a chance to take a "you" break, a chance to get away and recharge your batteries.

post #5 of 17
Ugh, I know what you mean.

Guilt is quite overwhelming at times. I love DSD, but she is a teenager, with a "healthy" teenage attitude. I often wonder if I would be more forgiving of it if she was my biological child.

All I can do, is to repeat to myself that she has two loving parents. And that's that.
post #6 of 17
in my case, I'm it. Dh was married to her mom, but she finally succeeded in her last suicide attempt when dd was 6. We got along great until I became a member of the household and actually became her parent. I know she needs and deserves to be loved, and the guilt about the way I feel eats me up.

I've always heard that people with similar personali8ties have a hard time getting along, but most of our friction comes from opposites. I wish I didn't feel this way. Dh has raised another child that wasn't his own, and he is 'dad' to him, and to my ds also. I don't understand why I don't seem to have the capacity to love her like my own. Maybe it would be easier if we were more alike, I don't know, I just know she has personality traits that I dislike intensely, such as lying and sneakiness. I wish therapy worked instantly, this is such a long process.

post #7 of 17
I wish I had more maternal feelings for my STBSD. Thing is, she is 4. Which, if you go over to the Childhood Years board, you will see thread after thread about how difficult it can be to parent at that age.

To me, she seems like a generally unhappy kid. She wakes up unhappy; shrieking, whining, and kicking the wall. She is grumpy pretty much until she leaves for daycare. Finding something that she wants for breakfast is a nightmare. When DF picks her up, she is often in a crabby mood. After they get home, everything that doesn't go her way results in a meltdown. Crying, slamming doors. She hit DF yesterday. Kicked her infant brother (Maybe an accident because it was during a tantrum, but still). I know this is normal behavior for our age, but sometimes it feels like she is running our house. The environment is really tense most of the time.

So at the moment, she is just not that likable. I want so badly to love her close to how a mother loves her children, but I just don't. I don't get the things from her that endear biological parents to their children even when they are acting up. DF at least gets some smiles, hugs, etc. It's hard to try to unconditionally love someone who is essentially a stranger.

Wow. That was longer than I had intended it to be. Can you tell it has been a long week at the Ranchero De-Luxe? I am so glad that it is Friday and she goes back to BM's house. We all need a break.
post #8 of 17
Thread Starter 

Stepmom Blues

Thanks everyone for the great things that you have shared with me. It is comforting to know that there are other people who can relate to what I'm going through.
post #9 of 17
I am very much feeling this. we have officially been living together for 1 month now, and dp works in retail: meaning he is very often working evenings and always working weekends. his 8 yo son has adhd and odd. and it's very frequently just me with him, and my 2 yo son. I used to get along with him much better but now that it's me alone with him so much... I am losing my mind. I have so little patience. I don't really know what to do at this point. I am thinking we need some parenting classes and that I need to learn more about how to parent this child.

add to it that dp also has 2 daughters (aged 2 and 1) that we rarely see, as he and his ex are having serious communication problems, and I am starting to feel like I'm just not up to the task of being part of a family with him. does anyone else ever feel that way? I love my dp and I really feel like we are a great couple, I wouldn't want to leave him, but it's so hard. there's so much more work required just to be with him.
post #10 of 17
In the beginning, I questioned it a lot - did I really want to get involved with a man who had a child? And a babymomma? (I can't say that word without laughing)

It hasn't been easy. And I can't say that I have loved DSD like my own child... But I do love her, and I really miss her now that her mom moved her away from us. I am really looking forward to the month we get this summer.

As for calling you mom, well, I guess that if it has been two years it's a bit too late to change it now. Does your stepson see his biomom?

I suspect that sometimes, you feel love for this child. But for the stepparent, the frustrated feelings often seem to overwhelm the loving feelings. I think that's just the way it is. It's easier for us to detach, because, after all, it's not OUR kid. As they so often remind us...
post #11 of 17
I wish it was better . . . i am definately feeling the stepmom blues today. Hugs to you
post #12 of 17
Thread Starter 
My stepsons mom died October 4th 2004 and he came to live with us that same day. I know the date so well because my life drastically changed that day. I agree with the Laggie, the frustration overshadows the love a lot of times and I do feel like it is so overwhelming because of his ADHD. I am going to counseling and my therapist told me that biological parents of children with this condition a lot of times want to throw in the towel, so I have quite a struggle on my hands. Today I really have the blues.......like walking away from the whole situation...husband and everything. :
post #13 of 17
That sounds really hard shakermom. Are you able to maybe go away for a weekend and get some perspective?

Your stepson must have a lot of conflicting feelings too. For his mom to have died and for you to so suddenly take over that role, including the title of mom, is just... wow. I can't even imagine. Where is your husband in all of this? You really sound like you need a break.

Is your husband going to counselling as well? And your stepson?

You haven't said much but I get the feeling that this has all been dumped in your lap and you aren't getting much support. I think that the situation you describe would be overwhelming without the ADHD. FWIW, I have to repeat myself a million times to DSD too, and she is just a typical kid. I think that age 11 is a very absent-minded age for all kids.

Sending hugs to you, and hoping things are looking up... We're in those peak spring months for depression right now so please, be gentle with yourself.
post #14 of 17
[/quote=shakermom]My husbands son came to live with us 2 years ago and I am having a hard time adjusting to being a full time stepmom. He is 11 years old and has ADHD, which in one sense means that he cannot follow directions and he can't remember ANYTHING, so I am constantly repeating myself. I'm very frustrated, I feel depressed today. I also don't like it that my stepson started calling me mom as soon as he moved with us. I don't feel like I am his mom, so I would prefer to be called by my first name. Why is it SO hard to embrace a child that is not biologically yours? I feel horrible about it, but I just do not have any maternal feelings for this poor child.[quote]
It is hard adjusting to being a stepmom when the child is already 9 before coming into your life.
ADHD can also be frustrating.
My stepson was 8 when he came into my life and at the time was diagnosed with ADHD (the therapist now says he doesn't have it, but I still think he does).
I often feel like a broken record, too.
It is frustrating and I empathize with you.
It is hard for some, and not so hard for others to embrace a child that is not theirs.
Please don't feel badly for not feeling as you think you ought to.
It's not easy for everyone, myself included.
post #15 of 17
Thread Starter 

stepmom blues

Today is a bad day for me. I spent all day yesterday doing laundry and this morning I woke up to a pile of wet linen on the floor in the laundry room. My 11 year old stepson wet the bed AGAIN!! He does this quite a bit and I am just sick of it!!!!!:
post #16 of 17
is your DSS in therapy. sounds like he's been traumatized by his mom's death. he really probably can't help the bedwetting, also ADHD can wreak havoc on a family. maybe some whole family therapy?
post #17 of 17
I'll second that. I am quite sure dh rushing dd and I into a relationship is part of the problem.

He seems to think all of her actions are 'normal' and acceptable, but I keep wondering if she'll be 17 and he'll still be making excuses. Counseling is key, and I wish I had been able to get him convinced sooner. By taking so long to get started we've allowed our feelings to progress into a very strong dislike for each other. It was so preventable that it makes me mad at dh for being so stubborn about the whole thing.

And yk what? I don't care how old she gets, or how obnoxious and blatant her actions are, he will continue to look the other way and tell me that I'm the adult and I should be able to deal with it. That would carry a little more weight with me if she were four. So, when she is legally an adult and still acts like this, is he gonna give her the same speech? Are years of dysfunction just going to fall away with that magical 18th birthday? Yeah, right.
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