Being a Step Mom, When does it get any easier?

Kimberly - posted on 02/11/2010 ( 46 moms have responded )

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Sorry , this is my first time using this part of circle of moms. What I had written didnt save.

I have three step children that I love with all of my heart and everything that I have. However, they are all teenagers 16, 18, 19 and they only seem to want something to do with their dad and I when they want something- holidays, birthdays, money, etc... Oh course I am the wicked step mom, but if it wasnt for me they all would have given up on relationships with their dad and themselves along time ago. I try to help me the mediator but I stopped doing that a year or so ago. I shouldnt have to do that. At least I dont feel I should have too.

My husband and I have been together for a little over 10 years. The kids were small when we met. I do realize that it hurts them as much as it hurts us. I have been there main target for hurt until recently. About a year ago my husband started feeling the blows from them as well. They are not babies anymore. My middle daughter has a baby of her own now. and lives with her mom. That is when it got even more complicated right before the holidays. We didnt even spen Christmas with them because my husband was upset as well as I was because AGAIN I was called a "glorified bitch". They are grown adults and know better than to treat anyone like this especially their parents. Thank you all for the support. I told my husband I joined a "support group for Step moms and he thinks that is a good thing. Not having anyone that knows has been hard for a very long time. I love ALL of my children very very much, and I am proud of each and every one of them. But enough is enough. I am tired...

2/14/10- ok so the newest conflict is that yesterday was my husbands grandson's 1st birthday. My husband had to work so we didnt get to end up going. My daughter and I have never been invited to anything without him. Now of course my step daughter is upset because we didnt at least go. It just seems like it is always something. However, I ended up crying last night because if I would have known that would have been ok we definately would have went. I love them kids with all my heart and soul and would move heaven and earth for any of them. Thats what makes it so very hard.

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Geri - posted on 02/16/2010

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Wow, first off, what is his relationship with his other mom? Is it healthy or does she give him interest only at times? You said this has been going on and off for about 3 years? Is she having financial problems, relationship problems? Is she wanting custody also or is this just him? How hard is she fighting with your husband about these issues? Does she pay child support?
It could be something as simple as she is having difficulty in her life and wishes for something steady, her child. Then again it could be something sinister like she is wanting payback to her husband or son for something.
All in all you need to find out from him what is going on and if he feels like he is being pushed into this switch-a-roo thing or if he really desires it, he may just need a change of pace teenagers all go through it but most don't have the alternative home. If your husband is sincerely concerned for his sons welfare you both need to talk to him, if he seems out just to hurt his ex then you may have to be the mediator. Get the basics and then get your husband involved in the deep talk. I know it is snooping but I am objectionable too, I listen into conversations and skip the things that could be detrimental to our relationship but nail the concerns I have for his welfare. You have to remember while talking that he probably just really needs a friend and advisor right now. There is no telling what has influenced him.
I am speaking only from the experiences I and those in my family have had. Your situation could be totally different most of our problems were the es trying to act like the child and use the children as leverage to get what they wanted - horrible people!
A tact that I use on my children is this! The y can come to me with any problem and I mean ANY PROBLEM from A - Z since they were 12, that time before those terrible teens, I talk to them about the Adult way to handle the situations and a lot of times they just drop the issue but they have said that my advise got them to thinking. I try not to be the mother first I try to be the friend first - then I remember that at that age most every knew just wanted someone they trusted to listen. It is really tough to be objectionable but you have to put yourself in their shoes - their mom and dad are not together anymore they don't speak and mostly fight (or ours all did) as they get older to that defining age they loose themselves wondering where they fit in. they become lost and can't define who they are even if you and your husband get along, your husband and his mother may not. You wouldn't believe all of the thoughts that go on in a teenagers brain!
Long story short - be there for him and try to be objectionable even if he was 3 when you started his care he still feels his life is torn! I really think that the kids however horrible or loving they seem to be need our guidance the tough times of separation and divorce and new families and old ones. Ask the tough questions, cry with him and in front of him, let him know that you understand he has been hurt and that you are hurting too!
I wish I had all the facts to help you and I hope some things of what I have said can help you. He may think you have gone off the deep end but let him know that you are there for him by confiding in him and asking for his guidance with like maybe your other son. Build the relationship stronger because he getting at that age where he tries to start the letting go of ties. It is tough but hopefully he will that you are only trying to be the mom, even if it is mom #2 and not the STEP mom.

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Kris - posted on 03/07/2010

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Hi Kim,
Well I completely understand where you are coming from. I am in a similar situation myself.
I also have made efforts only in vain. But I thought perhaps it might work for others. I ended up coming to the same conclusion you did. My kids are much younger so my issue right now is moslty with their mom. The kids also live with us so that helps too.
My daughter's dad and I get along great and are best friends so I find it hard to deal with all the drama on the other side of the spectrum.
Anyhow best of luck with your resolve and keep in touch.
Kris

Kimberly - posted on 03/07/2010

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Hi Kris,
Actually that is such great advise that I did have lunch with her and my grandson already for that reason, About 2 weeks ago. We were suppose to have birthday/dinner last night and it was cancelled of course because they are using the excuse WE didnt keep in contact with them this week and let them know it was still on. When in fact thats why we made plans and set a time and day for that exact purpose. They live only 23 miles with her mother and step father but we dont know exactly where. My husband and I actually asked her mother and step father along with our daughter and son in law for coffee about a month ago and all we got is some other time we are busy.
It doesnt go over well with my husband that his ex wife came to our house and asked for money in October and was so very positive at the time about helping me with the kids and their dad have a relaionship and now AGAIN she is just so negative because she didnt get what she wanted. SHe is a typical ex wife & biological mother that is happier when they are on the outs with us. I always try to be positive with all of them including the fact when the kids are angry at her for whatever reason and they are here I WILL NOT allow ANY of them to say anything negative about her including my husband.

I am not going to give up on my Bonus kids :o)
However, I am not going to try as hard anymore either. My husband and I are just going to take them when we can which is when they want something or when they are mad at that side of the county and take it as that. I am tired and we have another daughter that deserves better than all this negativity in her life all the time.

I really do like the Step Mom group. I will continue to vent, and I appreciate all of everyones input, and help.
It is nice knowing that we pretty much are a normal step family, but this is just not the way life should be. Noone should have to struggle all the time.

Sincerely,
Kimberly
A Very Tired Step Mom


Sincerely,

Kris - posted on 03/06/2010

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Hi Kimbery,

Well in my opinion Step Parenting is never easy. Neither is Parenting but for some reason that biological connection keeps from from asking youself if it is worth it, because you know you aren't going anywhere (at least for most people anyway).

So here is my advice. Try to have some one on one relationships with each of your kids and grandkids seperate from your husband. Call your daughter that just had the birthday for her daughter (your grand daughter) and ask them to lunch. Tell her you are truely sorry for missing the party and it was all just a misunderstanding but that you would really like to get together. If she declines, just keep calling and making the effort to ask her to do things.

Over the holidays make sure to make a point of getting the grandkids gifts (easter, valentines, ect). Try engaging your stepkids on their level. I am sure you know what their interests are so try inviting them to do something with them you know they have an interest in. Drop by with a cup of coffee sometime. And if she is living with mom, bring mom a cup too. Let them both know that you know you are not their bio mom and that you are not trying to ever replace her. Let them know that you really honestly just want to be friends with them and get to know them better.

If you find yourself at a point where you cannot try anymore then live with the resolve that you did everything you could and that you cannot control other people.

Kimberly - posted on 03/06/2010

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Just dont loose yourself in being a step mom... Dont let so much negative consume the better part of life...

Kimberly - posted on 03/06/2010

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I have wanted to stop mediating so many times, it takes alot out of me emotionally as it does everyone. When we didnt have Christmas with them this year I was the one crying Christmas Day... But not anymore.. I dont want it to consume so much negative time in my life. Live, Laugh, & Love... It should be like that all the time... Family=True Love... Everyday of your life.. As least it is suppose too...

Kimberly - posted on 03/06/2010

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I hope I will be able to say that one day.. I do love them all very much and I am very proud of the young adults that they have become... One day I hope they realize what they do mean to their dad and I...

Annette - posted on 03/03/2010

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I have the stepkids who are in denial they do anything wrong... they are "perfect". We have little dealing with the BM....she knows how they are... they don't get along well with her either. Basically they can pull the wool over daddy's eyes, so they "get along" with him but they can't with their mom and they can't with me, so they don't get along with us very well.

Tracy - posted on 03/03/2010

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Your story strikes a chord for me. I am a stepmother to two beautiful girls. They were very young when I came into the picture. My husband did not have custody and their mother had an ax to grind with him. Unfortunately, she used the children every chance she had to further her cause. I don't know if she realized it or not.
It sounds like you are unsure of where you fit in this picture now that they are grown up. I know exactly how that feels. My husband and I have been together for 13 years, his oldest turned 18 last year and has only visited for vacations and holidays since. She and I were very close when she was young but her mom refused to allow her to visit for a year at one point and things were never the same. Now she is pulling back. I am letting it play out. I keep in touch once in a while on facebook and let her know I am still here but I guess I am trying to give her space.
Since you have been given the green light to show up without your husband - Do it! Next time go without him and let the chips fall where they may. It may be uncomfortable but it could open a whole new chapter for you.
You were lucky to be included in their celebrations, we are never included. Every birthday, Christmas, graduation, etc. were celebrated without us - we were never considered. (We had to schedule them separately for our sides of the family.)
I really hope your stepchildren see how much you love and support them and their relationship with their father! Keep your chin up and keep trying to do what you feel is right, it will pay off in the end! In the mean time, take care of yourself. Do not forget that you need some love and support too!

Andrea - posted on 03/03/2010

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does it get easier? i have been a step mother for 11 years. iam 29 years old with 3 children of my own. my husband and i have been together for 13 years.my step son moved in with us about 3 years ago, at first everyone adjusted quite well but now i feel so confused. his mother was addicted to vicoden and wasnt able to care for him, actually she really hadnt cared for him very well at all. his mom had told him things that a young boy shouldnt have ever been tolod. they moved all the time, in and out of differnt schools, and didnt have much food growing up. when he moved in we had to get him a counsiler. he thought i was the evil step-mother. he moved in with us, his dad was an otr truck driver so i was raising him along with our other 3 children. i treated them all equal. well his mom was living in a hotel up untill recently. we were suppost to keep in contact, meet half way when it was her visitation weekend. it started where we were dropping him off and picking him up all the time, then it was he had to call her she wouldnt call him. he hasnt seen his mom since november of 09 and hasnt spoke to her in over a month. now she has moved again and we dont know where she is at. she has not made an effort to see him nor call him. he is getting into trouble at school all the time. we have done everything we could. i dont know what to do anymore!!!! can someone help?

Carrie - posted on 03/03/2010

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Stepmothering is the WORST job in the world on top of being the hardest. I agree there are some situations when there are no worries, but it's very rare. I am a step mom of 2 boys who are poster children for birth control, I know a little harsh, but so true. I have a 7yr old step son who has been kicked out of school in kindergarten, first grade, and second grade, he was suspended 10 times last year alone, and the most recent incident was for 3 days, making gun noises, running from teachers, etc. They almost called the police last time. He has bit, spit in my husbands face, clawed him and drew blood, hit him, raised a hand to me, it was terrible. Although those things have gone away he's still having school issues. And all mom thinks is that he misses his other brother who molested him, and she is working. But he doesn't have anger issues at all. All of these things happen when he's mad. He has also humped a bed naked in front of my son, he puts dolls in sexual positions. As I said these things have died down, but he still has so many issues, but his BM is in deniel, BAD! Then I have a 9yr old SS, he lives with is full time, the other one lives with BM. Anyway this child has lied to me, lied to his mom about me, not listen, put a blanket over the baby's face, has hurt my 7yr old numerous times, has hit my other children, has hit the dog, lies about teachers, doesn't do homework, up until recently, he has raised his hand to me, yelled at me, tore a bunch of things up just because, locked a kid in the bathroom stall, does not listen, etc. His BM thinks it's not much, she refused to send him to residental living she wants him with her, dad refuses to send him to get which I get considering she can barely feed her kids, barely can pay rent, can't keep the water on, it's bad over there. She let's him do whatever when he's there except when he's being really bad. I do all the running, taking them and picking them up from their mom's, I cook for them, I do all of their doctor's visits, counseling, buy them things, and I get nothing in return. I've let them off grounding even when they didn't deserve it, and I'm still the monster. After 5yrs I don't care their not going to treat me like I'm nothing, end of story. They don't call me mom and it's good because I honestly wouldn't claim them half the time. I care about them, but I don't love them and my husband knows how I feel about them and all they bring, and yes we've had fights about it, but it's who I am, if my children are kept to a higher standard then so should my SK's. I have spanked one a few times, but that's it other than saying the words you're grounded, go to your room, unacceptable, I've done nothing, and they know this and they do push me, but it's not my place to do so, you know? It's good to have a good support system, I haven't always had one and it has led to talk of divorce. Some people say it's mean, sometimes people say go for it, I don't know how I've handled it this long. I do love my husband, and there are a lot of issues that still have yet to be worked through, but I face them head on, I don't hold back, I tell him honeslty how I feel, and we have a great connection because of it, he doesn't always agree, but at least he knows where I stand with all of.

Lynda - posted on 03/02/2010

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It NEVER gets easier! I have been a stepmom for 10 years now! However...now that the kids are older (26,22, and 16) they DO seem to appreciate me more and realize how much I have done for them. We have definitely come a LONG way.

Annette - posted on 03/01/2010

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Seems being a stepmom is the same with different people and different circumstances, but overall it's the same. We're considered "evil" no matter how good we are.

Annette - posted on 03/01/2010

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I know what you mean. I have been the main target of two of my three stepdaughters. I love them, but I don't let them tell me what to do - they do tell their dad what to do and they don't like that. They throw fits on him and scream and yell and curse at him and he just takes it. They make fun of him behind his back! I've heard it numerous times when they've ridiculed him to their friends. He gets mad at me because I don't lie down and take it. I can't. I have a daughter of my own that I have to be the authority over and by allowing them to boss me around, I would be telling her it is okay to boss me around. I cannot do that. She is my youngest of 3. Her brothers are grown. I don't let any of my children talk to me the way his two girls talk to him, or treat me in that manner. About a year ago my 26 year old tried to disrespect me and I corrected him. He's 26! He said I was yelling at him and disrespecting him and I told him I wasn't (I wasn't - he just didn't want me to say anything) yelling and that he was the one disrespecting me (which he was then and at other times). He stopped because he realized I was right. I'm not always right...but my kids know me and they respect me enough to know that I won't be treated in that manner. I grew up in the time when children RESPECTED their parents and parents expected to be treated with that respect, and knew right from wrong. Seems that is not the case with a lot of kids today in my observation.

I can so identify with you on so many things you've said. I wasn't invited to my stepdaughter's high school graduation - I wasn't even told when and where it would be! I found out after the fact because my husband didn't even tell me. She invites him to go hang out with her and her friend and her friend's "mom". Even invited him to go hang out with her and her mom. I don't know about anyone else, but that bothers me.

I don't like that our names are on here in case one of them comes on and reads something I post. I can imagine the stories they would tell their dad greatly embellished so there's no truth at all. No matter what you do, it isn't right. They treat you like dirt and think that you owe THEM an apology, totally disregarding the fact that they are the ones who are doing the mistreating.

I'm called "controlling" because I like to know when they borrow our car and how long they're going to be out, how long we're expected to babysit and when they'll be back (long story), I want them to clean up after themselves, etc. I call it parenting and setting rules and boundaries. Amazing when it's applied to one's children, it's parenting but to a stepchild, it's "controlling".

Yes, been there done that with you. I so feel for you... I don't know if it ever gets better. I thought so briefly, but now I'm wondering as when the 21 year old moved back the tantrums started up again and our relationship started suffering again. It was great while she lived out of state, no tantrums, it was wonderful... he was my best friend. Now he's back to being a stranger again... all because of the tantrums.

Tina - posted on 03/01/2010

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I definitely understand how hard it it being a step-parent. My husband and i have been married for 3 1/2 years, and he has a 9 yr old from a previous marriage. My problem isn't w/ the Ex, -- she did the drug thing and hasn't had any contact w/ her daughter in years, - which is what we prefer, -- my problem is w/ my MIL. When my husband and his first wife got divorced, he was trucking over the road, - and she lost her custody rights to their daughter due to the drug thing - so she lived with HIS parents until he came home. Now, - don't get me wrong, i know that he kinda took the easy way out, he was young and wasn't quite ready to accept the responsibility of being a parent -- so his daughter did live w/ them for a couple years, until we got serious and moved her in with us. The problem i have, is that my MIL is so completely unhinged, that during those VERY CRUCIAL years, she molded his daughter into -- HER, and its taking a long time to undo those things, - the extreme religiousness, bad dinner habits, HORRIBLE hygiene, because she still wants to do things the way grandma let her... and thats now how we want her raised -- (again, yes, there is fault here on my husband for letting her continue to live w/ his parents for so long, ) And since neither my husband or me like his mother -- it makes it even harder competing w/ this woman.

Kimberly - posted on 02/27/2010

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Well the reason about the party we didnt ask is because they have never wanted me their and they knew that their dad had to work more than a week before. We cant even get the kids as of right not today Saturday Feb 27th to come to our house to pick up the presents that was bought for the 2 girls birthdays now and our grandsons birthday. When their mother is around we are the scum of the earth basically at least thats the way they have their dad feeling right now. They complain and when we try try try they dont want to do anything. My husband has called our middle daughter 2 weekends in a row and now on her birthday which was 2/22. SHe sent a text on her bday said she was eating she would call when she was done. An hour later she was on facebook and never called him back. The oldest daughter he did talk to on her birthday 2/18 for about 20 minutes when he got off the phone he says that was nice, but my husband just feels they dont love him and dont want anything to do with him anymore. There is NO try on any of their parts. AT ALL.

Kimberly - posted on 02/27/2010

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My step son was 6 when his dad and I met. My husbands ex wife wants nothing but for all of us NOT to get a long. My step son and oldest step daughter she is 20 now as of this week liev with their grandparents. The middle daughter lives with their mother. When my husband and his wife seperated my husband had a restraining order placed on him and was unable to see the kids for a bit because the mother eventually moved in with her parents. Well when she moved out she gave the kids legally to her parents. They have always lived with their grandparents except the middle daughter which when this started she and I were the closest of all of them all and thats a big thing I find hard to grasp. I love them all but they are grown enough to want to TRY to have a relationship as young adults with their father and I and stop the nonsence, but where their mother is concerned still she or course doesnt helo anything. That woman actually had the nerve to come to my house and as my husband and I to co sign a loan for her.. To my house.. I just cant believe that trying to be all nice saying its not just going to take you two to have a relationship with their dad it is going to take all of us and she will help now and then popped the loan thing.. She has been a problem once again just as before when my husband said ah no. As long as the kids are hearing whatever it is they are being told on that side of town it is going to influence the relationship or us and them. We are the "good " parents .. We dont give them and their underage friends alochol and whatever they want to be a friend to them first. Thats wheere my husband and I draw the line.. And NO the ex wife has NEVER paid child support. SHe is remarried for 5 years now and that too is a whole nother story...

Stephanie - posted on 02/18/2010

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Wow! I'm so glad that there is a place for us Bonus Moms to vent.
First let me add that I'm not a passive personality and when it comes to my children and my bonus children I rarely hesitate to voice my oppion. Although with his ex I've almost gnwaed my tongue off. If for no other reason that I learned early on she will take it out on my bonus kids.
To Sheila- Honey you are in a be dang if you do be dang if you don't. I can only give you what I'm going through now and what I've done. My bonus son is 14 too. I've been in his life only 4 short years. Since I've know him he's been an excellerated student. LOTS of book smarts and little common sense. It can and has caused much frustration. The mundane tasks escape him, but ask him about quatum physics and he can make your head hurt with the info. This is his first year of high school and all that brain seems to have been put in a box some where. If he brought home a passing grade it was just barely. We've always been heavly involved in historical reenacting (him and his little sister since they were babies) and when his dad and I married it continued. The trouble started last school year. We live in Georgia (and remember what I said about reenacting) 90% of the events we do are in GA. He has grown up with this. He had GA history last year and barely passed. I thought his dad would have a stroke. There are many references in that history book to the places and battles we portray. So it's not like he didn't know. It has went down hill from there. and keeps getting worse. I lost my job in "08" so I have the kids after school everyday. My husband and the ex have joint physical and legal custody. Some some nights they're here, some there. It can get confusing for the adults. Just imagine what it's like for the kids. I know some of what he's going through is just because of his age. I have a 20 year old son so I have had previous exposure to what a teenage boy can throw at you. Added to my son was the fact I was a single mom for many years.
My bonus son has lost interest in everything! I've went through the gambit of "mothering" and "friend" techniques to see which one will help him and me. I've tried talking gentley, involving him in discussions about family decisions (even just the mundane ie: what's for dinner) I've taken him out just the two of us to see if he'll talk (that worked until his mother found out) I've even tried badgering. When he brought home failing grades WE(my husband and I) took away the games, phone privledges ect.(but we can only control what's done at our house) That hasn't worked yet. My hands we're tied as far as his school is concerned till I finally got my belly full and TOLD my husband that enough was enough. If he and the ex didn't do something I would! As a side note this is the second time my husband and I had this talk.
The first time was about my bonus daughter year before last. She was barely passing second grade when I met her. Now she is an A-B student. but that's another story for another time.
I THINK that some(only some) of my bonus son's problems are self esteem. He was used to being "top dog" in school and now he's discovering that he isn't the only one that's got the smarts and now he's at the bottom of the food chain socially speaking. Add to that the crappy way GA has done the school system about putting 9th graders at the high school. Most 9th graders are not socialy ready to be with that age group. So now I'm trying tough love. A tricky thing with a bonus kid. In front of his mom and dad. I told him that if his grades didn't improve that I would be at his school everyday. It's so not a cool thing to have a "mom" at school with you. And I force him to "hang" with the family. I've made it a point to sit and talk with him even if it's just a few minutes everyday. I have the advantage that my 20 year old has come on board with me on some of these talks. The talks are just whatever comes up. I guess my best advise to you Shelia is not to give up on the important stuff. Sometimes it's hard to know what the important stuff is. Most boys pull away from mom(that includes bonus moms) during this time of their lives that's normal but they do come back. If you make it clear they can. My son did. It makes me laugh and cry to hear him say "you know mom you were right" Some battles you just can't win when your the Bonus Mom. When you have kids of your own too. There is so many outside influences that can and probably will tear down what you do. It's frustrating and heart breaking at times. BUT you CAN NOT let it rule your "self" life. As women and moms you have to have a balance or none of your efforts will work. Learning when to step in and when to keep your mouth shut is hard. I have a hard time in that I've always raised my children to know that there is nothing they can't do if they really want it and work at it. I've incouraged their individuality. With my bonus kids their mom is clingy and doesn't do that. So I get very discouraged when they can't or won't do the simplest of things. I've had to learn to take a step back and let them learn in smaller stages. Not an easy task for me. My daughter gets frustrated too because I raised her like my son. So she sometimes misses out on some things because we have to slow down for my bonus kids.And they get discouraged when she can do the stuff were doing and they can't seem to get the hang of it. I try and balance that with doing things for just the two of us. Then doing little things with the bonus kids to balance that out. Whew! It's a full time job and now that I'm not working I have more time for all of them. Helping raise your bonus children can be a like walking through a mind field sometimes. There have been so many times that my husbands ex has taken credit for things I've done with them (ie school projects ect.) It still ticks me off but for them I have to let it go. Like so many things communication is key. It makes it even harder when the ex is reluctant to talk with you about the most important part of your lives. Bonus moms have few if any rights to there bonus kids, and sometimes it seems that we are just around to pick up the pieces when the birth parents can't agree. One important lesson I learned is not to let the pitfalls of being a bonus mom come between you and your husband. That relationship is more important. The better the relationship you have with him the easier you will have coping with your bonus kids. Reread that! I said coping! Because that is usually what you have to do. While I may not go to church regularly the saying " Lord give me the strength to change the things I can and accept the things I can't and the Wisdom to know the difference." You can apply that saying to every area of your life, especially to you being a bonus mom.

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Ive been a step mom for 14 years my stepdaughter is 25 is married and has two kids of her own and she can still turn our lives upside down. She hates me the last contact i had with her she text me to tell me i had ruined her fathers life and i was scum that my husband had dragged out of the gutter. My sons are just spoiled little brats that are stealing her inheritance. I hate her guts too, it hasnt always been that way i have tried my best to be on good terms with her but from day one her mother made sure she hated me. That never stopped either of them using me when it suited their purposes like when i looked after my granddaughter for my stepdaughter to go back to college or when she needed someone to pay for her wedding. After the last argument with her in june over money again we havent spoken to her and i hope we never will again.

April - posted on 02/17/2010

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Well, as a step mom for over 15 years now, I can say that I am sorry that you are in this situation. I think that now that they are older it is on them. You and your husband have done your job, but communication is the key. I call my step sons if I do not hear from them and find out how they are doing, if they will not contact us. I have five children all together. When I became their mother, the oldest was 9, then the middle son was 8 and my sweet step daughter was 6, I had a son from a previous marriage and he was 3, then I had a new baby to tie us all together. The bio mom in my situation was not involved so it took some doing to get these children to trust me that I was not going to leave them like their momma had. But, I can understand the confusion with the birthday party and all, but keep in mind, call and ask if you wonder if you are welcome. Ask them this way "Well, since you are having his or hers birthday, are me and so and so welcome to come, I would really like to bring what I bought for this person or something to that affect. I try to draw my older children back to me in that way, not demand it. The oldest is 25 now the middle is 24, and my sweet girl just turned 21, and my baby is 17 and the one we had together is 11 almost 12. I wish you good luck. I know how tough it is I really do.

Shannon - posted on 02/17/2010

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I have been a step-mom for 12 years since my 2 step children were 16 months and 3 years old. i have a daughter from my previous marriage and my husband i have one togather. we are one of those blended familys too.. its tough. My 2 step children sees their mom every other weekend and they are teenagers now they are 14 and 16 and they are " forced to see Mom". my husband alwasy told them you dont have to go if you dont want to. you can stay home its up to you.but they always complain but they do go the bio mom gets mad if she dont get her visits with her kids. She will blame me for keeping them home. there are days my step daughter will tell me she hates me and i am not her mom and i been with her since she was 16 months old. i will do everything for that child i will walk through fire for them.but its hard. There are times we get into a arugement about them.The kids do live with us full time. there are days i want to give up.

Sheila - posted on 02/16/2010

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I could really use some help here. I've been reading down at the post and decided to give this a whirl. Even though I'm not really good at opening up at my own personal problems. Love helping others but really bite at talking about myself someday..would rather laugh and look forward. This time though I'm in need of some input myself. I have 2 children..1 is my stepson he is 14. He is a wonderful kid, funny, loving personality, quite the little charmer and everyone loves him and laughs around him too. He is confusing though, he does not know what he wants out of life but keeps wanting to quit everything as well. Every year since 6th grade 1/2 way thru the year...he is failing school. Me being the step mom and the one who spends the majority of the time with him for I'm the one that is at home. Well...I'm always to blame for everything except this time its different. This time he came home and said he wants to live with his mom. This is ripping my heart out for I've been here for so long in this position I have no clue what to say. Well really I can't say much I guess since I'm only the step mom..but I did speak to my husband and he wanted my input as well. My husband knows I love both of the boys equally and I show no favoritism...and this is the hardest things I've had to face. I know my son loves me...b/c the ones you love the most are the ones you hurt the most and well I'm the one that is always to blame for his hurt and visa versa. Although my younger son that is 11 is being affected by this too. This is really confusing but I'm not knowing what to do or what to say or anything. Funny thing is...I'm the one who raises him everyday of his life and I have really no say. The courts awarded us full custody and I've been with him since he has been 3 years old. My husband told him that he is not going to leave and he is staying with us. Tonight he decided to play another doozy on us and say that he wants to quit Scouts now too. he is at Star Rank and one merit badge away from Life rank. I'm at a loss..why is he wanting to quit everything in his life? Why is he running or what is it that we are doing wrong? This is so confusing and my husband and his ex...well I'm in the middle and I do the communicating..but only when its not about this. When it comes to my step son getting mad at me....than she wants to talk to my husband. This time and the 1st time my husband is seeing a the light and standing by me this is going on every year now for 3 years and I'm the one who gets blamed, hurt and I'm really really tired of it. Has anyone been thru this or know anything I don't or any advice? I'm really scared...I do not want to see him fail but at the same time I want to back away. oh and I was blamed for always turning things that he does into something about school when I was just asked and continually asked..Why do I need school? Why English, Why History and so forth..instead of coming right out like I usually do this time I tried a different approach. I was showing him instead of answering him...using Video games as the key. But...his love for video games goes beyond anything and yet it still was turned around to I'm the wicked bad step mom. I do not know what to do..so any advice...I'm all ears. Thank you!

Geri - posted on 02/16/2010

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My husband is the same way sadly it seems easier for them to just cut the ties, not so easy for us females.

Kimberly - posted on 02/16/2010

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AMEN.. God is a Good God... I pray every night that we can just finally be the loving family that we should be. My middle bonus daughter is married with a baby now. When it was time for a baby shower she called me and was crying upset that noone was doing anything for her. So she asked me to do the invitations and she would get me a list. Of course I agreed, I would do anything for any of them. Knowing later it would come back to bite me. Yousee I am a big scrapbooker and my sister and I took and afternoon and scrapbooked 50 hand made invitations. He b/m looked at them and said they are ugly and tossed them to the side. Which is ok because they werent for her and had she not been so involved with her own life she would have been the one to make them. So of course the minute I found out she was pregnant I cried for 2 days... Stephainee was my baby .. She and I have always been the closest of the kids, until she moved in with her mom... So the minute I found out I bought something for her and the baby at every store I went too for months. Then we were asked to buy her crib. So we told her to pick out the one she wanted and then her grandmother decided she was going to buy it because it was less that $100.00 and told us we could buy the stroller/carseat combo... Knowing there wasnt alot of effort going on and knowing how much I love her we bought it the stroller/car seat combo, along with the highchair, playpen, and matching diaper bag, a 383 piece diaper cake, I covered a photo album with his name and had a lady make a recieving blanket with his name "Kodee", and a basket with soaps, lotions, diapers, wipes, like 8-10 outfits, a wall switch cover I ordered with cars on it to match the blanket and book and things for his brand new room. I also made the thank you lollipops which were all made of chocolate. While at the baby shower it was male/female shower so my husband was there. The kids grandmother made an accouncement that all the stuff here which was the stuff we bought them was from grandpa. Oh course that hurt because if it wasnt for me my husband would have bought her an outfit and left it at that. Stephainee my bonus daughter has always been close with me, no matter what happens I want her to always know that when she feels like the world and others have shut the door on her she can always come home to dad and I... Husband and son in hand too.. We will be here for all of them no matter what.

Kimberly - posted on 02/16/2010

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Reading what you and alot of others has really touched home. My bonus kids feel my daughter & I have taken their daddy away as well, but we know that is not the case at all. I have actually heard the more present bit from my step son. Which he is a whole nother story on his own. The kids b/m would call our house when the kids would come over when they were little the same as yours to check and see what they were doing. They too aparently were being questioned about what we did, were we nice to them, was my house cleaned, did daddy look happy etc etc ... My bonus son now going to be 18 in December being use to all of that since he was little feels the need to still come over to our house and go back and tell everything that happened over here.
He and I use to be close thats what is hard for me to grasp. You see my bonus son in the past year has come out to be gay. I am told by the kids that I am the first person he told, but his mother got upset when she found that out of course. My bonus sons b/m told him that he better not tell his dad because his dad would disown him. When I spoke to my bonus son I reassured him that his mother DOES NOT know his father in the least bit anymore and that is so far from the truth, He loves you all unconditionally you are his children and nothing would ever change that. When he and I talked about that 2 weeks later he was here for the weekend came into our bedroom and laid on our bed with open heart and thoughts and had a wonderful heart felt discussion with his dad and I. I asked him if he wanted me to leave and he says "no mom I need you". Between everything that has happened through the last 10 years my husband has wanted to give up on them so many times even as of a month ago. He doesnt want me or our daughter to be hurt anymore, and I understand that. I dont want any of us to be hurt anymore. I have tried to express to ALL of them we are FAMILY. We have all been hurt enough and it is time to stop hurting each other becuase live is too short for this. Sometimes I feel like I have gotten through to them and sometimes feels like it goes back to square one. My husband tells me he doesnt understand why I of all people just cant let them go. They are OUR children and thats not what parents are suppose to do. As my girls would put it we are FAM {ILY}...

Geri - posted on 02/15/2010

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My husband and I have been married for 10 years also my step kids are 21 and 17 my children are 20 and 19! The oldest daughter (my step daughter) was actually adopted by husband after him and his first wife got married. Whew! Well, that makes me the "glorified bitch" twice :) Their mother is unreal! She would call them up while they were at our house and literally cuss them like dogs (F word and all) for enjoying themselves! Laughing, having fun watching a movie with us, eating with us as a family it didn't matter. So I was told by the 17 y/o that when they got home they would get the third degree about what we did and they would get in trouble. When they wanted us to get custody of them she began leaving presents on their beds they could not have until they got home! As they got older she went back to cussing them, well she never really stopped! My husbands son would get cussed out by her for looking like his dad! To this day that goes on. We finally got custody but not before the eldest girl went into the Air Force. I tried everything except bribery! I refuse to bribe my kids to LOVE me, (The love between a mother and her children is only as good as the love she gives) The others (my 2 and his son) love me. The Daughter refuses BECAUSE she said I treat her more like a daughter than her own mother. To this day she will not call me or see me and does not visit her father because of me. The last time she was here there was a debate about her brothers responsibility. He works with my dad in his self-owned business and got paid for a day of work before he was to work and then left and was not here to work with my dad. We told him it was only right for him to work a day without pay. Teaching him the right from the wrong and she went off on me because it was he missed because of her and then it was all my fault and she had another reason to say she hated me. She called yesterday to talk with her father and brother tell them happy valentines day and let them know she was back in the states, she never talked to me. She also hates my daughter because she feels my daughter stole her daddy and all his love! The other 3 feel as if their family has been extended as a joke they say it just means more presents on holiday's. She is the only one and I have no idea, other than her telling me that I was treating her more like a daughter than her own mother, what the hell is going on! I continue to support her, I continue to love her as my own, I continue to let her know my home IS her home and hope that one day she can come into my home and give me a hug without any thoughts other than I do love her like my own and I will always be here for her.

Susan - posted on 02/15/2010

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my biggest issue is that my BONUS kids mom and i have VERY different ideas of how kids should be raised. i have known these kids since they were born and they've basically been allowed total freedom. they are allowed to walk, jump and stand all over the furniture, never clean up after themselves, throw trash right in the floor, go all over the house with food and leave it there, throw their toys and clothes everywhere and all of this is a huge nono in my house. my kids have been taught to clean up after themselves, sit on furniture and all that from the start but since ive been a BONUS mom my kids habits have gone downhill because they see the other kids acting a different way and its driving me crazy. don't get me wrong, i love them and they're sweet kids and if you ask them to do something, they will, but it's very obvious they're not taught that at home. i can't understand parents who won't teach their kids any kind of responsibility and then can't understand why their children have problems at school and in public. when they're here though, tey're expected to do their share but it is a constant struggle. even though i end up being the bad guy a lot because their dad doesn't want to make them mad cause "he only sees them 4 days a month" i refuse to slack on it becausei feel that whats expected out of my kids should be expected out of all the kids. then every other weekend we have to start all over again....

Lucia - posted on 02/15/2010

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I have two step-sons (12 and 16) and my husband and I have a daughter together (13 months). I think you need to develop relationships with the children independent of their father. Then you would know when you are welcome and when you are not. If you are called names by the kids...You have to tell them that you will not accept being treated that way. Not by them or anyone else. You are not the 'evil stepmother'. You have a right to be respected. If they only want a relationship with you and your husband when it is convenient for them...then they are just kids...selfish...but normal. They won't know what you mean to them until they grow up....30s or later. You can't force it. Just like when you first met them. Sometimes it is difficult for children of divorce to know where their loyalties should lie. I have a great relationship with my 16 year old...but the one with my 12 year old is strained because he doesn't know how he is supposed to feel about me. I have told him that I will love him no matter what and all he has to do is what feels right to him.
I wish you the best of luck. I know it's tough...but it's not your job to make everyone happy and love each other in this situation. You just have to do what feels right to you.

Stephanie - posted on 02/15/2010

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To Susan Stephens and other new "Bonus Moms"
First notice I wrote Bonus Mom and not step-mom. I call my husbands children my Bonus Children. If you think about it that's excatly what they are. There isn't an easy course for blended families. It's alot of trail and error. Kudos to those bonus moms that have an open line of communication with the birth mom. I'm one of thousands of bonus moms that do not. I have two of my own as well. The biggest difference I have to deal with is the way mine were raised compared to hers. My education and how I was raised plays a big part in it. As well as my childrens grandparents that took every opportunity to expand on there lives. When my husband and I met his children had never been to a museum of any kind. That's remarkable to me only because my husband has been an active historical reenactor for many years. Soooo I decide to remedy that. We all had a blast. I made plans for us to do all sorts of things that his children hadn't done that mine had. The kids had fun and it gave us some bonding time as a family.
That blew up in my face and my bonus kids payed the price. Their mother turned it into a "she's just tryin to be better than me" story. Needless to say the guilt trip she put on my bonus kids was awful. They felt they were being disloyal to their mom. I being the outspoken person I am was TICKED OFF! and that led to me and my husband arguing. I fell right into her trap. 3 years later things have gotten better but as the bonus mom you will realize that you do the bending just so your bonus kids don't pay the price. It's a very fine line you walk. You and your husband have to set the ground rules and stick to them. I have so many "for instant" storys I could right for days. I made it lovingly clear to my husband that her infulence stops at the front door. It will never be smooth sailing but you can make it less choppy. Best wishes! Feel free to email me @ sjfoster@bellsouth.net

Jacqui - posted on 02/14/2010

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It is very difficult and you have to remember that you can't keep everyone happy all the time, it's impossible! As your step children are older, I think they need to be empathetic to the situation and your feelings too. Explain to your step daughter that you would've gone had you known that you were welcome. They need to make an effort too at this age and it works both ways. Maybe pull back a bit and let them come to you - you cannot be the one making the effort all the time. It sounds as if you have shown them that you care about them and that you support them, there is not much more that you can do than this. Step children have an amazing way of focussing their resentment towards their parents for their break up, onto the step parent and it's up to you whether you accept this or not. In my situation I refuse to and will not be burdened with guilt that is not mine to feel. This is the only power they have over you, otherwise they are simply someone elses children, with no power over your emotions at all. Let them know that you love them and that's all, try not to get drawn in. They will always do their best to make you feel bad that you're with their father and their mother is not, but don't let them use you like that. Just be you!

Sharron - posted on 02/14/2010

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I have been a step mom to 2 girls for 11 yrs. They were 5 & 8 when we married.....They have lived w/US for most of these 11 yrs! it's been a BATTLE everyday! the now 19 yr old just got married & I was the one she turned to for planning the wedding, fixing her hair, decorating.......It was an honor. She appreciates me(us) for what we do.......the younger one.......HA! we let her go back to her mother's finally! whole 'nother story! it does NOT get easier i'm so sorry to tell u that.......Just pray for them & the situation.....God is a big God & HE can bring u though it!

Karen - posted on 02/14/2010

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don't try to be the hero anymore. My step daughter is about to got to uni and i can't wait until she goes. Don't get me wrong the love is there but i must admit not as strong as it used to be. I am tired of the bullshit. They no where you are , live your life for you not them anymore. I am sick and tired of bieng the bitch the one that apparently dosen't care and never has and is just out for myself even though i have help raise her for the past 15 years. So just say what ever, i am over their bullshit and let it be. You can't change it,you opinion means nothing so don't bet yourself up anymore.

Jude - posted on 02/14/2010

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I can realate i have 3 step sons and they were very young when i got with their father now 12yrs later they are all teenagers. The middle one lived with us for most of that time and we got the other 2 on occasions when their mum would allow it. we have had alot of dramas over the yrs with their mum and when the oldest was 14 he came to live with us as well leaving the youngets still with her. she is and has not been a gr8 mum which has affected things alot> the boys have done some really stupid things and nasty things in the last yr or so and now they are out of control and back with their mum because we put our foot down after all the crap thats gone on. There is only so much u can do or say to help them. so now they have to sort their own lives because we are very tired too. we love them very much but sadly cant do much more for them.

Patti - posted on 02/14/2010

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My husband's kids are in their 30s and they still only communicate with him when they want something. I keep my distance stay out of the relationship between he and his older kids. If he wants to invite them over that's fine, and if not that's fine. He also has sole custody of a 15 year old who is always wanting things, which is pretty normal, and his dad often gives in to him. I stay out of that, also, and just focus on my biological daughter. I realized one day that no matter what I said or did I ended up being the bad guy, so I've learned I have to just let it go and stay out of their relationship. I see how my husband created his older children by teaching them to associate love with "things." I hope someday he will learn it for himself, but he doesn't want to hear it from me!



Step-kids like to create conflict between their biological parent and step-parent, and they know what buttons to push. It makes them feel powerful. I have to say at this point I live my own life and involve myself with my step-son as little as possible. It's almost as though we are roommates. But this works best for the entire family. Otherwise there would be drama every day, and there used to be, but I reached a point where I couldn't live that way anymore! Find something that brings you joy, and focus on that as much as possible.

Rachael - posted on 02/14/2010

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I help raise my stepson who is 10. It does not seem to get easier. I think he resents me because he doesn't see his mother. (for good reasons) He defies me daily and can be very disrespectful. When dad isn't around he takes advantage of it and back talks then is sweet as pie infront of his father. I get so irritated and sometimes think "this is not what I signed up for." I wish I could help you but I can't even help myself. It is a constant stuggle especially when his father stands up for him... uggghhh!!!!

Trish - posted on 02/13/2010

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im so sorry you are having this trouble i had nearly the same thing the 2 girls told me they loved me but i know they only put up with me because i was with there dad, like you they were very young when i married there dad and we were close till they got older and when fried died 8 months ago the son turned on me it was that bad i had to move interstate. so i know what your going through and im here for you if you want to talk my email is pj.little52@yahoo.com.au try and keep your chin up and its important that you try and not let them get to you take care trish

Ansie - posted on 02/13/2010

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I am a little bit older than most of the moms in this group. My first husband passed away in 1991, and I remarried in 1995. It only lasted for 18 months, due to our different views about our children, and divorced in 1997. After that I didn't want to do the marrige thing again, but luckily I met a very nice guy. I was still afraid to get the knot tied, but we did just that in 1999.



My first real chat with all the children was: "I am not your mother", to his 2 children, and to my 2 boys: "He is not your father. If you like me, that is good, but if you have a problem with it, deal with it". My situation may not be simmelar to yours as our children was alraedy grown up, the eldest being 22 at that time (his daughter), and the youngest 17 (my son)



We still had our fair share of problems through the years, but I was adamant in my opinion. When his daughter got married, I offered my help, as you all know, you are not sure what and where is your place in this situation. To keep the story short, we have bonded, really as mother and daughter, especially when she asked me if she can call me Mom. That only happened in November 2008.



His son, thereafter called me sometimes when he needed advice, which I gave him where I could. He got involved with a girl, they had a baby-boy, which was born on my husband's birthday, last year. About 2 weeks before he was killed in a moto-bike accident, we finally made our peace, as there were still times where he didn't accept my role in his fathers life. I could be there for my husband, and my daughter, I was given the chance to arrange his funeral, and I did that with all my love. (I also had my husband's support when my eldest son passed away, after a short battle with leukemia)



I think the biggest issue is that you are trying so hard to be perfect, and acceptable for them, that you forget that you are your own person. One can't hurry on such a process, as it takes time. In our community, I'm from South Africa, we have a saying, which I don't know how to expess. It means that you cannot press to get something ripe, it must take it time.



But I sure know how you feel currently, keep faith, and keep on being yourself. 9/10-times the stephmon didn't ask for the situation in which your husband's children are in.

Tammy - posted on 02/12/2010

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I have 2. When they came to live with us they were 8 and 10. Now they are 22 and 24. They are not your children, they have a mom, they need a person that gives them a hug when no one else will and will listen, if you treat them like step children they will act like step children. The hardest thing for me was realizing that they were there with my husband before I was. They have parents already. It does get better. My 22 year old is one of my dearest friends, when she wants an honest answer, she calls me. As a step parent you can help them without judging them the way you would your own child. Not that you dont love them, its just a different kind of love, you didnt go through the sleepness nights, sickness, terrible twos, those things that make you appreciate how your own child has grown and turned out because that child is how you make them. A step child is already how they are going to be and you arent going to change them to fit you.

Melissa - posted on 02/12/2010

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Oh my word I can most cetainly sympathise. I am a step mom however we have very little access to my husbands son. it all boils down to money, pay if you want to see him, increased maintenance if you want to see him. In this recession my husband has been made redundant twice and each time when we are not in a position to pay the child support ..bam there goes all access...lawyers letter etc... I am also tired....one day I am hoping we can show him all the correspondance and maybe he will understand!

Sami - posted on 02/12/2010

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i have been doing the step mom thing for four years. I have dealt with the "shes not your mother" every time he calls me mommy. I have been the mother figure for quite some time. I dont want to take away her place, but she never really made one for herself to start with. THere are ALWAYS going to be hard moments in step parenting. There is never an easy out either. bio moms dont have to experience this, and are often cruel without prompt. Kimberly, I cant say that i know exactly how you feel, but i know its hard. When my son was two he ran up to me and wraapped his arms around my neck and greeted me happily as "bitch" he didnt know what it meant, but apparently that is what his mothers name for me is. And now that he can talk much more fluently I get asked questions like: "mommy Sami, why does mommy jessica say i cant love you?" its so hard to tell him to try to honor his bio mom, but there are just simply times when i cry. i hope it gets better for you, but it is the hardest job Ive ever known. And im pretty sure it will not get any easier.

Susan - posted on 02/11/2010

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i have been a step-mom for just under two years and i am lost!! i never know if im doing the right thing or if im messing up! ive been married before and i have children of my own, but this is brand new territory! the worst part is having to deal with the ex. i may not be able to give you advice but i can certainly sympathize.

Kimberly - posted on 02/11/2010

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My husband and I have been together for a little over 10 years. The kids were small when we met. I do realize that it hurts them as much as it hurts us. I have been there main target for hurt until recently. About a year ago my husband started feeling the blows from them as well. They are not babies anymore. My middle daughter has a baby of her own now. and lives with her mom. That is when it got even more complicated right before the holidays. We didnt even spen Christmas with them because my husband was upset as well as I was because AGAIN I was called a "glorified bitch". They are grown adults and know better than to treat anyone like this especially their parents. Thank you all for the support. I told my husband I joined a "support group for Step moms and he thinks that is a good thing. Not having anyone that knows has been hard for a very long time. I love ALL of my children very very much, and I am proud of each and every one of them. But enough is enough. I am tired...

Karen - posted on 02/11/2010

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You are between a rock and a hard place! If you chose to stop mediating then it was for a good reason. Good clear boundaries is what is needed in a stepfamily. Teens are hard to fathom at the best of times, let alone the stepfamily that doesn't get along. Good luck!

Cathi - posted on 02/11/2010

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Being a step mom is the hardest job out there. I have three step children who seem to like me better than they like their dad.....well now at least. They are now 19, 11, 5. In the beginning only the 19 year old liked me mainly because he could make up his own mind the mom was certainly a huge influence. The 11 year old thought I was a bitch and the 5 year old did not have a lot to say. He was told he could not hug or kiss me because I am not his mom. Broke my heart. The mom is very jealous and insecure which makes it harder. They are not even allowed to talk to me on the phone only to their dad because "I am nothing to them" sometimes as hard as it is you need to think about what they are going through and the directions they are being pulled in. I let go and the kids hated it. They actually missed me. We discussed how it is crazy not to love eachother and especially that their mom will never know what happens at our house unless they choose to tell her. Seems to have helped all ages.

Rebecca - posted on 02/11/2010

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Oh your step children are much older than mine I dont know how long you have been there sm but I dont think it ever gets easier! Being a step mum of a 9 and 6 year old it has been hard althou I have had them since they were very young they know im not there REAL mum but it is still hard. Im the mediator with his ex and I hate it ,all I have to think is that im helping the kids out and im making life easy 4 all of us and thats all thats counts

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