Learning to be a stepmom at 21

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I'm 21 and have no children of my own but I'm in a relationship with my boyfriend who has an 8 year old daughter. I'm currently living with him and his daughter. I've become very close to her and we have a great relationship. I have 2 major problems that I do need advise on tho. One, I'm trying to figure out how to balance being a stepmom and being 21. Its becoming very difficult because my life has gone from partying and hanging out with friends to Disney movies and family weekends. My friends feel like I don't spend enough time with them because I'm busy cooking dinner, playing with my stepdaughter, being a girlfriend, being a daughter, being a worker at my job, being a student at my university. So it does become difficult to balance. My second issue is my stepdaughters mother she is 23 and has seemed to bother me more than anything else in my life. She has not gotten over her ex my current boyfriend and dislikes me a lot for coming into his life and her daughters life. I completely understand her side as far as not taking her spot as a mother which I would never do and how shes frustrated with all these changes. She keeps in contact by text messages which really bother me because I feel like I need to constantly check my boyfriends phone the minute he gets home to see if she said anything inappropriate or rude. I've thought about asking her to talk with me so that we can discuss some of the problems that were having so that we can be on the same page for the child.
I don't like to say I'm jealous or insure but having to deal with your boyfriends ex is a lot harder then it seemed. I just wish we could be ok with each other I mean we don't have to like each other but we do need to be polite for the child. Obviously as you can see I'm lost in these areas and feel like I'm the only one. I talk to my boyfriend about this and he tells me to just not let it get to me but it continues to. I have no worry what so ever that my boyfriend has any feelings for his ex that is not a problem what so ever thank God. But there are times where get sad because having a baby and going through a pregnancy is such an intimate and special thing to share with someone else and to think my boyfriends already done that is heart wrenching because it makes me feel like our experience is going to be less than because it was not his first. Am I wrong to think this? Besides all this my boyfriend and I are great he's the best man I've ever dated and treats me like a queen so I'm very happy there and he backs me up and supports me in front of his ex so I'm glad he tells her that I'm here and she needs to realize that I'm not going anywhere.
I defiantly need some advise because this is very hard to handle on my own I get depressed a lot and my moods are constantly changing.

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MaryAnn - posted on 10/22/2015

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Life is about choices. Choose to not let bm in your headspace. Choose not to give weight to your friends pressure. You've chosen to be a family woman. A student. A hard working woman. A step mom. You dont need to feel bad for choosing these things.
Dove's a smart lady. But I'm going to share a bit of my experience with the pregnancy thing.
Pregnancy is awkward in an inconsolable way. It looks far more beautiful when its someone elses. Im not going to say its not worth it-it totally is. But I dont want you to rose tint it and be disappointed.
It doesnt change your relationship. Its intimate in the SAME exact way it is when tou have a headache and hr brings you an advil and a glass of water. Picking outa crib is just as imtimate as picking put a new couch. Looking at your sonograms is about as intimate as picking out a dog from a shelter. You'll date (pretty well) the same ways, have sex the same way (or at least wish you could if you have physical limitations), and fight about the same things.
Its the TIME you spend together that is intimate. You dont actually KNOW what kind of time they spent together. You dont actually know how well they used it together. Even if either of them tell you, it probably wouldnt be acurate. Their memories are spoiled by their current realities. Dont give it your headspace.
You DO get the time now. Make intimate memories. Plan a day you have her to go to a new museum. The pumpkin patch. A different park, a hike... The intimacy is watching her learn. Trying new things. You DO have that, and so long as you are a family, and take the time, NO ONE can take that away from you.

Raye - posted on 10/22/2015

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I am a step-mom of two, with no kids of my own. Currently, you are NOT the step-mom. You are the father's GF. This is a legality, because you're not married, and not meant to be negative against you or diminish your role as a mother figure in that house. I know it's easier to explain the situation by using that term, but it's inaccurate.

Even if you were married and the step-mom, the co-parenting should mostly be done between your BF and the child's mother. You are there to support your BF, and help the child learn and grow. You definitely should NOT be prying into his text messages with her. Trust him. Talk to him, and make sure you're on the same page with HIM. You don't have to be on the same page with HER. You should try to get along with her for the sake of the child, if you have to have any interaction with her at all. But that should be at a minimum if you two don't really get along.

I have posted about this before, but one of my favorite things is the saying: "not my circus, not my monkeys". As a step-parent (or equivalent), you sometimes need to step-back and realize this isn't your show. You're one of the ring-leaders to help direct a few of the acts, but there are two bigger ringleaders in this circus (the natural mother and father), and you really should not try to control what goes on outside of your own ring. This should be freeing, actually, so that you don't have to expend your energy on things that don't concern you. You just love that little monkey and help teach her, and leave the rest up to the natural mother and father.

Dove - posted on 10/22/2015

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If the ex contacts your boyfriend... that is between him and her. If she messages anything inappropriate it is up to him to tell her to stop and to ignore the inappropriate comments. You are going to have to deal w/ this woman for at least the next decade, so if she is doing things that upset you it is up to you to either learn to let it go or rethink staying in a relationship w/ a man w/ so much baggage.

Yes, of course it is best for the child if you can all get along... but all YOU can do about that is to support your boyfriend and love his child. If the mother does not want to deal w/ you... she shouldn't have to... whether her reasons are legitimate or not. Hopefully in time you can all get along and you can certainly offer to take her out for coffee or something and try to make peace, but that isn't something you can MAKE happen on your own. It takes her being willing as well.

As for you eventually having a child w/ your boyfriend... EVERY pregnancy/child is special. You don't lose that specialness just because it's a second child or a child w/ a different person.

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Ev - posted on 10/22/2015

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{{I'm 21 and have no children of my own but I'm in a relationship with my boyfriend who has an 8 year old daughter. I'm currently living with him and his daughter. I've become very close to her and we have a great relationship. I have 2 major problems that I do need advise on tho.}}

{{One, I'm trying to figure out how to balance being a stepmom and being 21. Its becoming very difficult because my life has gone from partying and hanging out with friends to Disney movies and family weekends. My friends feel like I don't spend enough time with them because I'm busy cooking dinner, playing with my stepdaughter, being a girlfriend, being a daughter, being a worker at my job, being a student at my university. So it does become difficult to balance.}}-----One, you are not a step mom yet. You have to be married to the BF first. But it is good that you are doing the things that you are doing for this child. Its an amazing ride if you go into it with knowing that it is a roller coaster ride. You will have ups and downs.

{{ My second issue is my stepdaughters mother she is 23 and has seemed to bother me more than anything else in my life. She has not gotten over her ex my current boyfriend and dislikes me a lot for coming into his life and her daughters life.}}-----What she likes or does not like about you being in the picture is her own thing she has to deal with. You do not have to communicate with her really.
{{ I completely understand her side as far as not taking her spot as a mother which I would never do and how shes frustrated with all these changes.}}-----You do not understand where she comes from. You said you had no kids. I am not trying to be mean here but you can not understand something you have not yet experienced.

{{ She keeps in contact by text messages which really bother me because I feel like I need to constantly check my boyfriends phone the minute he gets home to see if she said anything inappropriate or rude. I've thought about asking her to talk with me so that we can discuss some of the problems that were having so that we can be on the same page for the child.}}----She has a aright to text or talk to your BF where their child is concerned. You however do not have the right to go on his phone and read the texts that concern the child in the decisions they have to make. Its not your place to talk to her about things to get on the same page. It is his place to make the choices with her and then to discuss them with you.

{{I don't like to say I'm jealous or insure but having to deal with your boyfriends ex is a lot harder then it seemed. I just wish we could be ok with each other I mean we don't have to like each other but we do need to be polite for the child. Obviously as you can see I'm lost in these areas and feel like I'm the only one. I talk to my boyfriend about this and he tells me to just not let it get to me but it continues to. I have no worry what so ever that my boyfriend has any feelings for his ex that is not a problem what so ever thank God. But there are times where get sad because having a baby and going through a pregnancy is such an intimate and special thing to share with someone else and to think my boyfriends already done that is heart wrenching because it makes me feel like our experience is going to be less than because it was not his first. Am I wrong to think this?}}-----His having his first child with her is not going to be anything like his first with you. It can be just as special. Do not even begin to compare it.

{{ Besides all this my boyfriend and I are great he's the best man I've ever dated and treats me like a queen so I'm very happy there and he backs me up and supports me in front of his ex so I'm glad he tells her that I'm here and she needs to realize that I'm not going anywhere.))-----I am glad this is working for you. But honestly, take my advice give your suggestions to him and let him and his ex handle the big things concerning their daughter. When the child is with you, its your time and make it special.

Raye - posted on 10/22/2015

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I also want to say that it takes a LOT of patience to be in the situation you are in, and I think you're brave for getting involved with a man that has a child. There's a lot of baby-mama-drama, even in the best circumstances, I think. So, it will keep you on your toes. I know, because I'm living through similar circumstances. But it is rewarding as well. You really just have to let some things go, and not let it get to you.

And if/when you have your won child with him, yes, it will still be special.

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