Mothering Forum banner
1 - 5 of 5 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
3 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi there all! I'm new to this community and pretty much parenting in general. I've been with a great man for almost a year now. He has two wonderful children ages 7 and 8 and their mother is incredibly difficult to deal with all around.

I'm constantly getting backlash from the kids out of the blue when we'd been having a great day and I have been going out of my way to do things that make them feel loved and safe. But then all of a sudden they'll give me responses to my requests (brush your teeth, clean your room, go help your dad... etc) that are so incredibly rude. "That's none of your business; my mom said you're not the boss of me..." things like that. and it hurts my feelings so badly.

Additionally, their mom is violating so many parts of the court order and all in all creating a very unhealthy environment for the kids. It's so frustrating and as a result I'm battling some depression and feeling very unmotivated. I'm seeing a therapist and that does help to a certain extent, but I think I need to get help from fellow blended family "mothers" or "step-mothers." I just want to do the right things and make sure their father and I are good influences on them. Any thoughts or words of inspiration?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
62 Posts
the best support you can get is from your spouse. Work together to come up with a plan to counter-act this kind of thing.
If they aren't ready for you to be a second mom, demote yourself to cool friend lady who takes us places and make him tell them to brush teeth take showers etc.
That's what I did...and it has helped.
The only thing I still ask is before we get in the car all of us, I ask the boys as a whole ' everybody got deodorant on?' -- you have no idea...
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,143 Posts
I agree, I would stop all the "parenting". That can be dad's job. It's probably seemed a long time to you ;-) but a year is not *that* long to have established a relationship with kids of that age.

Regarding the violated court orders, what does their father think of it? There's really nothing you can do unfortunately but he could take advice from his lawyer about how to proceed.

I think the counselling is a good idea, I would definitely continue that. All the best. I hope things get better soon.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
18 Posts
I agree with everyone else on leaving the parenting to him. It's hard - especially when the thing you are parenting about seems so insignificant (e.g. brushing teeth).

Here's what worked/works for us: when DH and I first started dating and involving the kids, I would ask if I could help or assist them with something parent-like (e.g. can I help you with your homework, can I help you tie your shoes). This gave them the option to accept help or reject me, and I had to be okay with them saying no (which was hard and hurtful sometimes, but I had to remember that their dad chose me, not them, so they had every right to reject me).

Then, as we got more serious and I was around more for the "daily" parenting tasks like showers and teeth brushing, DH, in front of the kids, would say "Hey Rosie, can you help Little Kitten brush his teeth?" or "Will you make sure Big Kitten gets in the shower in 10 minutes?" This showed his sons that I wasn't parenting them, but I was ensuring that DH's parenting was getting done because he needed the assistance for whatever reason.

Now, we've established a rough list of things I can parent on independently (e.g. brushing teeth, doing homework, getting showered and ready to go) and a rough list of consequences for not following through (e.g. losing video game privileges), which are the same as if they misbehaved for DH. If there is ever something that needs a decisive parenting action (like this weekend - Little Kitten didn't finish his vegetables at dinner because he was full, but managed to find another compartment in his stomach for cake, so he wanted cake and asked me if he could have some), I divert to DH. I do it in front of the kids, too, so they understand that their dad is still the authority and that I do have limitations on what I can/will do.

Is this a perfect method? Absolutely not, and I've ruffled feathers (sometimes the boys, sometimes DH's, sometimes their mom's, and sometimes their grandparents) and gotten hurt. It's all a learning process for everyone, not just you. Your partner has to be the anchor for it all, though, and ultimately he has to be the one to set boundaries for how he expects them to behave and respond to your parenting requests and how he expects you to execute parenting requests. I find it easier to think of myself as an extension of DH's parenting arm (very similar to how his parents are with their grandkids, though they get the added bonus of spoiling them) versus a parent on my own.

Also, anything dealing with the ex falls on your partner's shoulders. If he is okay with her violating the court order, then there is little you can do about it aside from talking to him about your concerns (ideal) and walking away (far less ideal). That's a tough pill to swallow, feeling like someone outside your life that you have absolutely no reason to tolerate has that much power over it's happiness, freedom, and even finances (if you have joint finances). There's times when it gets easier and harder, but the important thing to do is talk to your partner and have a plan for what you collectively want and supporting him in his journey to get your family there since he's ultimately the one that's going to have to do it.

And there is absolutely no way of knowing how any of this is going to make you feel or how to prepare for it until you're in the situation (which is why I think the idea of telling stepparents that they knew what they were getting into before they got into it is utter manure because nothing can prepare you for the subtle differences that make every family dynamic unique in both good and bad ways). But keep talking to your therapist. Find ways to take care of yourself (do you need to take an hour to yourself when the kids are over so you can decompress and they can get some dad time?) and take as much time as you need to figure out what role you can play in the kids' lives.

There isn't a time limit on when this has to be figured out, and there is no prescriptive formula on what stepparents can or should do. Be a good influence in the way you want to be a good influence and your stepkids will either embrace or reject it, just like any other person would. My DH emphasizes to me to be me and not try to be something I'm not. That has helped alleviate A TON of anxiety and his kids prefer the "real me" over "trying-to-be-a-stepmom me".

You'll find a groove. It may not be the kind of relationship and/or family that you had in your head, but with a lot of communication and flexibility, you'll find a rhythm that works (though I can't promise it'll be strife and grief-free).
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 · (Edited)
Thank you @RosieButterfly, @katelove and @Ogirl74 for your responses. It's been a bit overwhelming for me!

So first of all, several of you have mentioned the court order violations. My boyfriend (DH? I'm learning lingo... not sure what all the acronyms are yet) has a big problem with the violations and we are currently seeking help from an attorney because he would like to get full custody. It's a long story, and I would rather not get into the greasy details, but basically the kids are getting hurt or neglected on a regular basis. They aren't being taught proper grooming and/or hygiene at their mom's and they aren't getting homework help there either.

My boyfriend and I love each other very much, and I love the kids a lot and they show signs of accepting me all the time - seeking hugs, snuggles, and "tickle parties" (basically the whole group- dad, me and kids run around and try to tickle each other under the armpits) they ask me to help them with things... but sometimes things come out of the blue because of things they have heard in the other home. They want to fight with me sometimes, probably to protect their mom.

I have no doubts about my BF as a parent. But we actually got in a HUGE fight yesterday about all of this. Basically, I'm burning out because of the stress of it all. The mom fights me over everything, has called me a "whore" to my BF and says terrible things about the kid's dad and me at their home. She screams obscenities at Dad in front of the kids for no real reason. We try so hard not to badmouth HER in front of the kids because of how harmful it is to their emotions. I know they have to be soooo confused. Our fight started over something simple and then all of the sudden I'm unloading on him, screaming at him because I feel the weight of the world on my shoulders. I was sobbing for hours. It just overtook me all at once, and no one in my family or circle of friends understand. They all think I'm crazy for taking so much on.

The fight ended up kind of being good because I got some things off my chest, and told him I was taking on too much responsibility and I needed him to step up and be the boss. But it wasn't exactly the ideal way of going about it and my BF thought I was going to leave him because I got so angry. It wasn't my best moment.

Because of the neglect on the other end and because my BF and my BF's mom are so happy that I'm now involved as a positive female role in their lives (and tell me so all the time- which is nice but also kind of heavy) I feel so much pressure to be perfect. I don't think I'm necessarily being a false version of myself, but maybe rather trying to be the 110% kicking-ass best version of myself all the time instead of giving myself slack for being new to the whole thing. Obviously it all caught up with me yesterday. I'm trying an we have to figure out some solutions together, but I'm hoping we'll be strong enough to tackle everything together. And I'm hoping I'll develop better communication skills so our argument yesterday doesn't repeat itself.
 
1 - 5 of 5 Posts
Top