Heather - posted on 07/20/2015 ( no moms have responded yet )
I'm a brand new step mom to 7 kids ranging from 4 years old to 20 years old . . . lots of ages and stages happening. Unfortunately things are not very civil between their mom and dad (often from mom's side) so they're getting a lot of different messages. They haven't really had a lot of structure or consistency in the home because dad has been in reaction/survival mode for a long time, and us getting married along with some treatment needs caused a rift so a couple of the kids who were living with their dad are now living with their mom. I've been working as a therapist for high risk kids for a long time, but don't have any of my own. Balancing the need for structure and clear expectations with the understanding that this is a LOT of change and adjustment for all of us has been interesting. A lot of it is new for their dad too, and I'm trying to keep my "professional" hat in check and keep it more to "what do we want a healthy household to look like?" It's hard because it's been chaotic for a long time and so things are literally being destroyed in the house, and nothing seems to have been off limits to them. For my own sanity, I've been giving them some clear expectations while I'm there like fighting and arguing doesn't happen in our bedroom, demanding and being disrespectful does not get them what they want, and when they're finished with food, it needs to be thrown away or put away along with their dishes. Basic things, but even those are new. I'm trying in the busyness of all of it to remember to keep snuggle time in there (which happened pretty regularly before I was stepmom) and to listen well when they're telling me stories about their day. At the moment I'm pretty sure I haven't stopped moving in the two weeks we've been married and am exhausted. So maybe just a little advice - does it start settling down a bit when the newness wears off? There are things like moving out of my old house that will free up a lot of time, but for now I'm running on fumes.