News Article on Blending families.

Ev - posted on 04/17/2016 ( 4 moms have responded )

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I found this while reading through news articles online. It is about the blending of families. A woman wrote in asking advice on the subject and she got a "earful" so to speak. This link is to the article:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/style/if-you-cant-stand-his-children-dont-marry-their-father/2016/04/13/fba81bc4-fdd2-11e5-886f-a037dba38301_story.html

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Raye - posted on 04/18/2016

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If the lady had asked what she did on this forum, I think may of us would have touched on similar points. Her coming out and calling them brats would have been a red flag to many of us, and we probably would have given the same advice that she needed to wait before marriage to get on better footing regarding all the kids... classes, counseling, communication with the father, etc. While step-moms may be able to identify with the same feelings as this woman, I know we don't all handle it the same way. Each situation is different, but generally, if either person is unwilling to work together for the benefit of all the kids, then they should not continue in that relationship no matter how "perfect" it is when it's "just us". "Just us" is an illusion when there are kids involved.

I'm a step-mom with no kids of my own, and it is TOUGH. There are feelings of being an outsider, no matter how much I do or how long I've been around. I feel helpless sometimes because, no matter how much I love these kids and want what's best for them, they're not mine and I don't have final say. My husband is great, and very involved with the kids and their discipline. I really couldn't have asked for a better partner and loving father. He does a lot to reassure me. And he does a lot to try to instill values and good behavior in the kids. Their mother, on the other hand, pays no attention to them unless they're bleeding (sometimes not even then), or if they are interfering with whatever selfish thing she's trying to do. So it seems we have to work doubly hard to do right by these kids. It's not something that I would wish for anyone to experience unless they are whole-heartedly on board with the "job". I say job because it is a lot of work. So, that's why I would advise someone who's not totally committed to the whole package deal to get out of the relationship.

While my step-kids do sometimes exhibit "bratty" behavior (most often when we get them back from their mom), I wouldn't call them brats... because generally when they're home with us, they are a lot better. And I know they are good kids who are in less than ideal circumstances. When you and your partner/husband are on the same page, it makes it a lot easier to manage. If either of you are "checking out" and distancing yourself from the conflict, then that usually spells disaster. If you can't show compassion, empathy, and love to these kids, then you shouldn't continue the relationship. Even if you only see the kids twice a month, you still need to have their best interests at heart. And if you and the father disagree with how to raise the kids, then you either get on the same page with counseling and/or communication, or you move on. When parent and step-parent are divided, then the environment that the kids are exposed to is not conducive to their well-being.

My husband is the primary, so I had to go into it knowing that I would not have the "luxury" of down-time between visits. Even when the kids aren't home, we are still thinking of them and planning for what comes next. We go shopping, do laundry, get supplies for projects or scouts or sports, etc. We do get some time to sit and relax, and I relish those moments. But if you are any kind of parent (bio, step, or otherwise), the welfare of the kids needs to be your first priority.

Ev - posted on 04/18/2016

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MaryAnn-I agree to a certain extent that it is one of the hardest jobs stepping into a family already and having to work to make it work with a step parent. But when someone says they can not stand their step kids to me that is a red flag. Regardless of what is done or said, she and her man should have sat down and came up with rules from the get go for all the kids in the household. Held them accountable for the rules broken with some kind of consequences. It takes work to make a family work out but a blended family is more so. No one said she had to love those kids from the moment she met them. No one said she had to be the chief cook and bottle washer. No one said she had to give up all she is and all she does to make sure the kids have what they need while at her house. It is a two way street in all relationships. Take the kids that have a dad who marries and the step mom does not even try to make an effort to get on their level or make them feel a part of the family. Then that one is gone and he marries again. Once again the woman he marries this time is pretty much the same way even going as far as wanting to make sure that one of the kids does not ever come back to her house again but the kid has done nothing to deserve such talk. That was my kids' experiences. I know not all step moms or step dads are bad--I know quite a number of people who became one or the other and they are great with their step kids.
I just thought it interesting that it was there to see in a newspaper. We see this question all the time where the woman who has become a step mom or is about to be one blames the kids for her relationship not work when it is not entirely the kids' doing but the doing off the adults for not communicating with one another about how they wanta things to be in their blended family.

MaryAnn - posted on 04/17/2016

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There is no experience even remotely close to becoming a step mom.
This article very seriously disappointed me.
That woman does not hate her future step kids. I dont think any woman hates their sks. I mean... Maybe if she were a psychopath. But I think all stepmoms can identify with these feelings. Because of the lack of support they recieve (they didnt get divorced. They didnt have to share their children, they didnt have their family break up, they *chose* this), it is so easy to transfer the anger that should be directed in many other directions onto the children. Not mature. But. They dont have anyone they can talk to about it without being told theyre a selfish, terrible person, who needs to either leave or get shit tons of therapy.
The issue needs to be tackled as a feminist issue, but also a gaslighting issue.
The underlying deal here is that they chose this, so being disrespected and scapegoated and emotionally abused is what they should expect, and it must be done with a smile.
She had better love them like her own, and instantly, but she shouldnt DARE treat them like it, because shes not.
She needs to mind her own business, but be available to clean, cook, drive, comb nits... She resigns the right to privacy, her home, her sanctuary, her time, a normal or romantic relationship.
She must mourn the normal relationship, wedding, marriage, life she could have had in secrecy, lest be judged harshly.
Now. With a loving supportive husband, this isnt much an issue. And he likes to think he is. He tries so hard, and becomes so very defensive when hes told it is not enough... Because he is treating her and giving the expectations he would of any woman who is loved. BUT. The issues she is having arent just like the issues of any loved woman. It is much different.
The whole "you're a terrible person because of this" approach breaks my heart, because I love my husband and step daughter with all of it... And this is the hardest role I've ever had in my life... It brings out so many yucky emotions... But that love is soooo worth it.
Until I reached out to a closed stepmom suppor5 group, I felt so alone... Even posting here sometimes.
But nope. These feelings are normal. They're healthy. We just need some better ways to cope, and to figure out our best course of action. Which is HIGHLY individual... Because while we all experience some form of this (Unless Mr Perfect REALLY IS PERFECT), every situation is so very unique.
This article really perpetuated guilt and shame and actually offered nothing useful in return. Thumbs down.

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