I don't get sick of the responsibility. But I do get worn down from having all the responsibility while having little say in the "big stuff" in her life. And it gets tiring to have a schedule that has an enormous effect on my life, over which I have no control or influence. It's an incredibly difficult balancing act, and always has been, to love and care enough that I *don't* mind the responsibility, but to at the same time find a way to not care about stuff that should matter to me when it comes to all the children I raise, like their education, medical care, religion, etc.
I know exactly what you are trying to say. The same thing happens to me when my boyfriends kids go to their mom's over the weekend. She tells them not to listen to me and, if they are in trouble for something they did at school, like not do homework, she doesn't even attempt to be on the same page as us. It's the feeling of being under appreciated and undermined at every turn for all of the work.
I understand. I love ALL of our kids, but the baggage is real and it hurts to be the one who does all the work and has little to NO say over the important things... We are the ones cooking, cleaning, providing for these kids but "they" make the decisions that affect our lives *sigh* i understand...
My husband also has custody of his son from before. My DSS is probably close in age to yours (he's 11), but he's only lived with us since he was 8. But his mom's across the country, so instead of him being with her on weekends, we have to go almost 2 straight months without seeing him at all (summer), then he's with us almost all the time, the rest of the year. We also have 3 other kids. 2 are mine, from before, and they spend nearly half their time with their Dad. So I actually spend more time with DSS and do a greater share of the day-to-day parenting of him, than I do for 2 of "my own" kids!
Even if a mother is really crummy, nature and society both impress upon her how unnatural it is, for her child to live with anyone but her, especially another woman! So your husband's ex undermining you is simply inevitable. Truthfully: wouldn't you hate "you", if you were her? We get a lot of undermining from DH's ex, too! Ay-yi-yi! And It exhausts you, thinking about the fact that you have all the responsibilities of being this kid's mother; yet:
* You don't get the title or the special, just-for-mothers perks
* The kid may very well put his mom on a pedestal, because she's usually not the one disciplining him, making him do his homework and clean up his room...YOU are.
* If someone *else* in your child's life regularly, intentionally and maliciously undermined your parenting, you'd be perfectly justified in cutting that person out of the kid's life, because that relationship isn't healthy for him to maintain. But, of course, if you were to even contemplate doing that to your step-child's mother, you would be in the wrong - morally and legally! Instead, you're obligated to do everything you can to FOSTER his relationship with her. Not an easy tightrope to walk.
This weekend, DSS had a major take-home test, in math. Normally, DH would be the one to go over it with him, but he had 2 big projects for work and was swamped. So I basically took a 6th grade algebra exam, since there was really no other way to determine whether DSS's answers, graphs, etc. were correct. Well, I knew he had felt resentful about having such a big workload on the weekend and he sure made his teacher pay (wink), by doing a crummy job! So, then I had to spend MORE time making him do corrections and trying to discern which things he knew how to do, but just hadn't put any effort into and where he actually needed some help. Meanwhile, I didn't even LOOK at my older kids' homework. I found out Monday THEY had math over the weekend, which they needed help with, but didn't ask, because I was so busy with DSS. I felt like such an awful parent. But I am only one person and there are only so many hours in the day. If I had the day to do over, I'd probably handle things exactly the same way - and still wound up feeling guilty.
So, there are definitely times when I see that the responsibilities I've assumed for DSS detracts from things I'd otherwise be doing with my time. But that applies to ANY child we choose to raise. Whether he came from our body; we adopted him; we agreed to let our sister name us godmother and then she died, leaving us to raise our nephew; or we married a guy with a kid... Kids are a lot of work and inconvenience, if we let ourselves focus on it! Better to focus on the fact that we're the adults and we CHOSE our lives. (Whereas, our step-kids by no means chose to have separated parents.) Long before I married DH, I knew there was a good chance he'd wind up with custody. In fact, I hoped he would. I was sure it was the best thing for DSS (also the only thing that could fix DH's broken heart). So, I signed up for this. And it has its benefits, too. Doesn't it, for you?
I was the oldest of 4 and once, as a bratty teen, I remember complaining to my Dad about his and my mother's choice to have so many kids. (Probably in reaction to him telling me there was something we couldn't do, or couldn't afford, because our family was so big.) Dad just smiled and asked me which kid I'd like him to get rid of? Surely, if you've been raising your step-son almost all his life, you wouldn't actually want to get rid of him, if you could? I know I wouldn't choose to get rid of mine, to lessen my workload. So, then, that's really the end of it. Back to the trenches!
One woman in a house full of men: my soul mate: or... twin sons:(HS seniors) ... step-son: (a sophomore) ... our little man: (a first grader) ... and there is another female in the house, after all: our.