My husband and I have been together for 3 1/2 years. I met the kids (ages 4, 9, 12, and 15 at the time) 6 months into our relationship and we got married 6 months later. So, we have now been married for 2 1/2 years.
Our kids now live 3 hours away from us, but we still see them usually every other weekend (sometimes more or less) and for all of their school breaks.
About 5 months ago, we moved and for various reasons, we are able to spend much more time together, and I think, have gotten much closer.
I struggle because I really love and care about them as if they are my bio kids, but at the same time I don't want them to think I'm trying to replace their mom (which I'm not), but I love them and am a naturally very caring and giving person. Therefore I do a lot of things for them, buy things for them when I can, try to be as involved in their lives and help them/teach them as much as they will let me.
Ihave been reading A LOT about stepparenting and so much of it is soo negative. I really try to put myself in their position and their mom's position and I'mm sure that if I had a biological child who had a stepmom, I would probably have a hard time with it and probably wouldn't want someone else trying to be like a mother to my child, but at the same time, I feel like how can it be so wrong for me to simply be nice to them and try to help them and show them that I care for them? BTW, their mother has never made me feel like I'm doing something wrong and actually seems to appreciate my help, but I do think the older kids feel some sort of guilt about it. I'm not trying to compete with her. I'm really just trying to help out. We are all short on money and time and I just want to be as helpful as I possibly can, but then so many of the things I read make me feel like I'm being a total monster who's trying to act like they don't already have a mom.
Well, my DSD is only 11, but we've talked before about how nice it is for her to have so many adults that care for her, that she has 2 families and some extra grandparents. I've also told her that even though I love her very much I will never be a replacement for her mom, I'm another person that loves her, just like other family members do. I do pretty much care for her as I would a child that I gave birth to, after all, while she is here I am one of the adults that is responsible for her. She gets hugs, kisses, and discipline from me, just like she would from her biomom, and I go to some of her school things (not all because that is an hour away) and the birthday parties too. However, a lot of 'decisions' do not come from me, though I always give DP advice about what I think. This was the way DP and I agreed together to be from the beginning. It sounds like you have a good relationship with their mom, can you talk to her about this at all? See if she has any suggestions? Is the relationship good enough that the two of you can sit down together or separatly with the older/teen kids and reassure them that it's ok for you to love them too?