Stepmom who hates having kids around - and how to deal with thier dad?

Antoniatheduck - posted on 10/06/2016 ( 15 moms have responded )

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Hi All,
I've recently gotten married and I'm finding it really hard to be a stepmom to my husband's two kids, a boy, 14 and a girl, 12. Sometimes it's so hard, I think about leaving my husband. I've always liked kids and want to have some of my own as soon as I can, but I feel stressed, angry and resentful when the kids are around - mostly with husband - who seems to think I should just automatically "love" the kids and be as "delighted" as he is when they come over. The worst part is that my husband doesn't stick to the custody agreement. We are supposed to have the kids every Wednesday night and every second weekend. But his son always wants to come over at other times, and sometimes my husband just invites them over without telling me. So many times, I'm expecting to have a quiet, romantic weekend with my new husband, when boom! I am cooking and cleaning up after the kids and listening them watch football all weekend...I've come to love his daughter and I often enjoy her company, but his son still ignores me, does a lot of sulking, leaves the room when I enter, makes a mess and does things that damage the house (like playing soccer inside) and demands all of his father's attention. I hate the way my husband behaves around him. He won't discipline him, says yes to everything he asks for, completely ignores me when he's there and doesn't ever correct his son's behaviour towards me. I know how much my husband loves him, but I don't respect his parenting style and feel like his pussyfooting around his son makes everything worse. And I hate the way he just expects me to look after his daughter when he can't and rarely says thank you. Moreover, I hate that he's always "springing" the kids on me. Even biological parents look forward to time without their kids...but my husband often makes me feel like a bad person for not wanting them there. The truth is, it always ruins my weekend and I want to be as far away from them as I can. I feel so uncomfortable, in my own home! I love my husband but every time we try to talk about this we have horrible fights where he accuses me of being "unfair" to his kids like I was some wicked stepmother who is completely against them. Yet, it's not the kids I'm mad at or frustrated with - it's their dad and his fervent expectation that I should just automatically love his kids or else I must be a terrible person. I truly do want him to have a positive relationship with his kids, but it seems to be at the expense of my relationship with him. And how can I change his parenting style when they're not my kids? Does anyone have any advice about how to get through to him? And how to stop feeling like a bad person? Am I being unfair and is there a way to improve my feelings about his kids? Or do I need leave him?

MOST HELPFUL POSTS

Jodi - posted on 10/06/2016

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You clearly didn't think this marriage through very much. When you marry someone with kids, it isn't about what is written in the custody agreement. You have to decide if you believe you could possibly be with those children full time as part of your family. If something were to happen to the other biological parent, that's what would happen. And custody arrangements can change and be quite fluid. This is honestly something that should have been discussed and agreed before you married. Parenting is one of those discussions that should be had. The fact is, when you marry someone who has kids, you are never going to come first, especially until the kids are adults. I would suggest that you and your husband partake in some counselling to work through your issues and see if you can come to some agreement about how you should both deal with these things.

Nadine - posted on 10/08/2016

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I have both. The thing is, to not put too much pressure on how everyone feels, and focus on respect. Instant love does not happen. But respecting each other goes a long way toward that in the long run.

Ev - posted on 10/06/2016

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{{I've recently gotten married and I'm finding it really hard to be a stepmom to my husband's two kids, a boy, 14 and a girl, 12. Sometimes it's so hard, I think about leaving my husband. I've always liked kids and want to have some of my own as soon as I can, but I feel stressed, angry and resentful when the kids are around - mostly with husband - who seems to think I should just automatically "love" the kids and be as "delighted" as he is when they come over.}
------How long have you been in their lives? Have you even tried to get to know them and spend some time with them one on one and on their level?
{The worst part is that my husband doesn't stick to the custody agreement. We are supposed to have the kids every Wednesday night and every second weekend. But his son always wants to come over at other times, and sometimes my husband just invites them over without telling me. So many times, I'm expecting to have a quiet, romantic weekend with my new husband, when boom! I am cooking and cleaning up after the kids and listening them watch football all weekend..}
------So you think he should strictly stay with the schedule for visitation? He is not breaking it if he has them extra and their mom is fine with it. It means he is a devoted father and thinks a lot of the kids. You should not be making demands on him not spending time extra with his kids. He should of course let you know when he has them come extra but you should not deny him that time with them.
{.I've come to love his daughter and I often enjoy her company, but his son still ignores me, does a lot of sulking, leaves the room when I enter, makes a mess and does things that damage the house (like playing soccer inside) and demands all of his father's attention. I hate the way my husband behaves around him. He won't discipline him, says yes to everything he asks for, completely ignores me when he's there and doesn't ever correct his son's behaviour towards me. I know how much my husband loves him, but I don't respect his parenting style and feel like his pussyfooting around his son makes everything worse.}
-----You need to talk to dad and let him know that he needs to step up and start to parent his son and correct his son’s behavior and quit letting him get away with not respecting you. But he has to man up and do it.
{ And I hate the way he just expects me to look after his daughter when he can't and rarely says thank you. Moreover, I hate that he's always "springing" the kids on me. Even biological parents look forward to time without their kids...but my husband often makes me feel like a bad person for not wanting them there. The truth is, it always ruins my weekend and I want to be as far away from them as I can. I feel so uncomfortable, in my own home!}
-----Is this just on the weekends he has them?

{I love my husband but every time we try to talk about this we have horrible fights where he accuses me of being "unfair" to his kids like I was some wicked stepmother who is completely against them. Yet, it's not the kids I'm mad at or frustrated with - it's their dad and his fervent expectation that I should just automatically love his kids or else I must be a terrible person.}
-----Did you two ever sit down and talk about this before you got married?
{I truly do want him to have a positive relationship with his kids, but it seems to be at the expense of my relationship with him.}
-----It sounds like there has not been a great communication in this relationship but you also knew that he was a father before hand and what that came with. You have to understand that he is trying to maintain a relationship with his kids and to keep it positive. Just because there is a order in place for him to see them on certain times does not mean that he should stick to just that.
{ And how can I change his parenting style when they're not my kids? Does anyone have any advice about how to get through to him? And how to stop feeling like a bad person? Am I being unfair and is there a way to improve my feelings about his kids? Or do I need leave him?}

You can not change his parenting style. You can only suggest he try to do so. You both need to go to counseling. You are not a bad person but you guys did not discuss how family life was going to be. You might have had some expectations and he might have had some as well about things that did not really end up being what you thought they should.

This is not just about you and how you feel. There are kids involved and you need to learn to communicate as a couple and so forth. If not this is not going to work.

Michelle - posted on 10/06/2016

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Your husband needs to get some help getting over the guilt. His son actually needs a Father, not just a male in his life that will bow to what he wants.
You can't control what the ex wife says but you can control how the son is behaving in your house, your husband needs to be on the same page though. He needs to be open to suggestions and not just shut down all the time. He also needs to be willing to get the help. You can't make him go and I don't know how receptive he will be to getting help. Only you know how he will react.

Jodi - posted on 10/06/2016

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Yep, I have both. When I married my current husband, he had a 5 year old and a 12 year old. I had a 6 year old. We now have a child together as well. We have been married 12 years. I agree it is hard. But it will be made harder if you can't discuss these things with your husband and if you can't be on the same page about what you believe your life together should look like. It is NEVER going to be what you seem to think it should be. Ever. And yes, this should have been a discussion before you both decided to commit to each other in marriage. You seem to want to have everything planned and then freak when it flies out the window because kid issues get in the way. It will NEVER be like that, ever. I think there are some compromises to be made by both of you here. You will NEVER come first (or rarely anyway - they will always be first on an as needed basis). But you also both need to make sure there is some time put aside for your relationship. Get that counselling. I assure you, it helps.

Also, just be aware, if he doesn't have primary custody, he is probably actually quite worried that if he doesn't give in to his children's needs and wants that they will not want to visit him. My husband used to feel the same. He needs to get past that and understand what children REALLY need when they are with him. Counselling can help with that too.

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Antoniatheduck - posted on 10/07/2016

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Thanks,

I asked because I do feel like the parents of kids, like my husband, have this way of assuming that if the stepmom doesn't love the kids like they were her own, she's somehow a bad or irresponsible person. I haven't met many other stepmoms and did come here looking for some support, but my experience is that no step-mom ever really understands what she's getting into and how she will feel about everything until she really finds herself in a position where she raising and paying for someone else's kids - especially when those kids are bitter (not because of anything you've done, but because you married their dad, period.) I've tried to bond with the kids, but I've not had the loving cute cuddly moments that parents have raising their kids when they are small.

Reading all these comments, I'm just so glad I've never told anyone out loud how I feel. I just don't understand how despite that I do everything I can for those kids outwardly, but how feeling inwardly resentful and unhappy about it, makes me a bad person. I've been really down about it and am crying all the time. This is just so. hard. I try to support my husband, but I don't feel supported in return. Isn't there a way to build a family so that EVERYBODY'S happiness matters?

Antoniatheduck - posted on 10/07/2016

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Thanks for your advice. All very helpful. To clarify your question, I do look forward to the times that we're supposed to have the kids, and I go out of my way to plan meals and activities while they're here, but it's when we are not supposed to have the kids...I'll be honest, I find that time less stressful, and feel more comfortable. Sometimes I get so excited about having a long weekend alone with my husband, but then suddenly, without even asking me, they are here and I'm working my butt off...I just wished I enjoyed it the way he does.

Dove - posted on 10/06/2016

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OK... I was a bit too blunt and not very nice/helpful. Sorry about that. Listen to the way all the other ladies have worded it.

Dove - posted on 10/06/2016

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I just read your first few sentences, so maybe it gets better from there... but I just have to say that you had no business marrying this man. His kids should come first and if you can't 100% accept them you need to get out of their lives.

♫ Shawnn ♪♫♫ - posted on 10/06/2016

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I agree with both Jodi and Michelle. And, before you ask, I have both as well.

Why is it that, the moment people read a response that doesn't completely validate their feelings or point of view, the first question asked is always "do you have kids/are you a mother/ step parent"? We wouldn't BE HERE if we didn't have kids!

Well, granted, we do get trolls, but you can tell by the number of a person's posts whether or not they have been here for awhile, and if they have, it's guaranteed that you are interacting with other parents.

Anyhoo....your husband needs to work on his guilt, you need to understand that when you marry someone with kids, you can expect those kids to become a MAJOR part of your life, and you all would probably benefit from counseling.

Antoniatheduck - posted on 10/06/2016

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Thanks for your comments. He does feel guilty about the divorce, for sure. His son tells him all the time that the divorce "ruined his life". The mom is really bitter and angry too and always makes it out to be my husband's fault (and/or my fault) that they divorced and even though that's not true, my husband always acts like he's guilty of something around his son - like he's trying to make amends - which I think just reinforced his son's position. I suppose I should have seen this coming, but I didn't. I met the kids plenty of times, but we moved in together when we got married (actually I left a great job and moved to Canada to be with my husband - who, understandably, wanted to be near his kids) - but it all adds the resentment. We were together for years before this, and even though I knew the kids, living with them is very different.

Michelle - posted on 10/06/2016

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Jodi actually has both so she knows where you are coming from.
I do agree with Jodi's comments though. Surely you saw all of that before you actually got married. If you don't agree with your husband's parenting style then I suggest you don't have children with him. You will be disagreeing all the time with your children.
I agree that some counseling could help, only if he is willing to listen. It may help to have the 3rd party so he will hopefully listen to what you are actually saying.
Has he said why he lets his son get away with everything? He could possibly feel guilty over the divorce (a lot of men do the same). It's not an excuse for not disciplining the children though.

Antoniatheduck - posted on 10/06/2016

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Thanks for your comment, but can I ask, do you have step kids, and/or are you a biological mom?

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