Join Date: May 2003
Location: In the monkey cage...
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This conversation has gotten pretty heated, so I hesitate to step in, but I really want to share my experience with this.
When DH and I got married, we both already had children, and we intended to parent each other's children just as if they were all our own bio-kids. It flat out didn't work. My dh clashed with my ds; I clashed with his. Make no mistake. We both love all the kids in our care. I would sooner chew off my own arm than see my ds hurt in any way, but our relationship just didn't ever have the warm closeness that my relationships with my bio-kids had.
As the only SAHP in the mix (SS's bio mom and DS and DD's bio dad are all re-married), I was the natural choice for care during all non-school hours. We got to the point where my frustration was starting to show, and I DID NOT want that. I did not want to hurt my SS in any way. When we enrolled him at the YMCA for after-school care and for summer day camp, our relationship improved in huge ways. I adore him now for the wonderful child that he is, and I take care of him plenty, but I no longer have to deal with a resentment because of being expected to be the full-time, on-call babysitter.
What I was going to suggest was applying for a scholarship at the YMCA. My older kids go now, too, because we got a half-price scholarship. They all love going because there just aren't any kids in our neighborhood who are home during the day. Legos are fun, but much more fun with a buddy!
Now I keep all three kids home from the Y once or twice a week because we enjoy being together. My stress level is WAY down now, and I'm a much better mom and step-mom because of it.