My Step-Son Situation

Jennifer - posted on 10/03/2009 ( 17 moms have responded )

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I have been taking care of my step son since he was born and my husband and I have always had him full time. His mother has always been involved in one way or another at her convenience and over time that has sort become involved on a more regular basis. He is now 9 years old and I have since had two daughters. She is and has been more than capable of being able to take of her son on her own for quite some time now and I was hoping she would be more interested in being a mother by now.
My husband works a lot and mostly nights so I may stay home until our daughters are in pre-school. So, out of my husbands time and the mother of my step-son's time combined I am still the one who spends the most time with my step-son. With my two young ones now in the mix I just don't want to have to take care of him as much. Some days I just can't handle it.

I feel guilty for feeling like I deserve a break but at the same time my step-son deserves to be with someone who has the time to be with him, my husband and I don't. At least not like we used to. I don't mean to cast him out, I would just like to be able to switch things and have my step-son around on the week-ends. His own mother has never had to get him up and get him ready for school and on the bus in the morning, or attended a parent teacher conference, and any time something goes wrong at school guess who gets the phone call? She does not schedule and take him to his appointments, all she gets to do are the fun things. isn't that supposed to be the other way around for a step-mom?

My husband says he has "sort of" (whatever that means) talked about this with the mother from time to time over the years and according to my husband she is too afraid that she will "mess up" (and my husband is afraid too) and somehow ruin a part of his life when she has him. HELLOOOO don't we all mess up at some point? Children are resilient, I know I was. I just don't understand this but I do know that I can't keep this up. He's at an age where he needs someone who understands him and is able to be active in his interests and the thing is my step-son's mother and he have soooo much in common. Only makes sense right??

I know when I married my husband the role I was assuming but there are lines somewhere aren't there?? Can anyone relate?

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17 Comments

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Heather - posted on 10/09/2009

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Quoting Jennifer:

But I am bitter full of resentment..not good for him either. His mother and I both are step-children of both good and relationships on both of our sides in our childhoods. He knows who his mother is and she is more of a friend to him than I will ever be. I know children parents not friends in this situation, but SHE's the parent NOT me.



I can understand the frustration of having step children and the parent/parents of the child not doing what they should. But I love my boys ALL of them and would not trade them for the world. From what you say in the post. You have raised the child practicaly from birth and honey that makes you the mommy rather you like it or not. The fact that this other woman gave birth to the kid means nothing at all. Especaily since she hasn't done anything in since of the word parenting. Showing up and playing or hanging out for short periods of time and being "best buds" does not qualify this woman to raise any child. I know that you did not make the choice to concieve this child but you made the choice to raise him and be his mother when you took him at birth. And if this is as big of an issue as it seems then in my opinion you need to seriously rethink alot of things in your life.

Christina - posted on 10/07/2009

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Jennifer...I completely understand your wanting the mother to step up!!! I am not trying to bash you in any way shape or form. Everyone is entitled to their own feelings and no comment by anyone will change those feelings. I am a stepmother & if their mom is unable to be there, I without hesitation am there to pick up the pieces no matter what.

One of the boys lives w/ us & I ask to have the 2 year old w/ us as much as possible and would love to eventually have him w/ us full time. Keep in mind that we are also caring for my 4 year old that has multiple behavioral/psychological issues. We both work & my husband tends to work from home a lot as well & are planning on adding to the family next year.

You are still a great mom, and I may have been a little harsh in prior responses due to my frustrations w/ my own mother :) I apologize!

Tara - posted on 10/07/2009

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All i can say is you have been the Mom since day one it sounds like. Keep doing it. This boy must trust and love you? Do you not love him? Hes a part of the family whether he was carried by you or not. Nothing is easy but its worth a try. For his sake more than yours. He is a child who needs love and support. I have a step dad, my dad was slack like the mom of your step son by the sounds of it and to me my step dad is my dad. I love the fact that he put in the effort. it takes a really good person to be able to do this, a strong one at that. i guess you just have to ask yourself, are you that person?

Kate - posted on 10/07/2009

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Jessica, I see what you're saying but trying to relate to this as a "step-grandchild" just isn't the same thing. This is not about not WANTING to be a mother to him anymore. Almost everyone who has replied to this thread has sat here and basically verbally bashed Jennifer for wanting her step sons mother to take a more active role.

As a step mother I UNDERSTAND. Jennifer has already said that she loves him like he was her own, and in no way WANTS to push this child away. The fact of the matter is, that this child ALREADY HAS A MOTHER. She is in a position now where she is capable of taking care of the child more, and that's all Jennifer really wants. That's all I want! If you were a stepmother, and the mother of your stepchild wasn't taking the active role in the childs life that they should be, would you not want that? Would you not want the child to have a GOOD relationship with his own mother? This has nothing to do with everyone needing to feel loved. Jennifer has provided for and cared for her step son for the last 9 years! I know that for me, personally, I don' want my step son to wake up one day and say to me "you know what? You've been there for me my whole life, so you're my mother now". That would absolutely break my heart because he has a right to a good relationship with his mother. She should want to have that time with her son, and do the mother stuff like take him to school and get haircuts and go shopping for clothes. Sorry, I just see where Jennfer is coming from and find it hard to believe that everyone is sitting here having a go at her and saying that she "doesn't want to love him anymore" (which by the way she has NEVER said) and NO ONE has given any kind of suggestion as to how she should deal with her stepsons mother.

Jessica - posted on 10/06/2009

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Ok, reading this kind of ticked me off. I apologize if I come off harsh or rude.
I don't have any step-kids nor was I a step-kid. I am a step-grandchild & my grandma did favor her grand-kids over my sister & I. I resented it for a while.
You've been a mother to him for his whole life; I just don't really understand how you can just start not wanting to be a mom to him anymore. It baffles me. I mean if I had a step-child I would love him just as much as my own (especially if I was around him since infancy). It is EXTREMELY important to have a positive and loving family to go home to. Since you see him the most, you are the one who should be giving it to him. Kids are more perceptive than we give than credit for a lot of the time. I'd be willing to bet he's already noticed your change in attitude towards him. I'd also bet he's wondering what he did wrong, when he hasn't done anything wrong except for being given a biological mother who isn't there for him like he needs & a step-mom who's feeling like she doesn't want to have to be there for him anymore. You can't just decide to no longer love a child whom you've loved in the past just b/c you don't want to have to 'deal' with him. He's not just something you can give away to someone, he's a person & he needs to be loved. Everyone needs to feel loved, it is in our nature, as humans, to crave love and to feel love.

Christina - posted on 10/06/2009

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I understand the wanting the mother to step up or to do something more (I feel the same way sometimes), but it is not his fault & you knew what you were getting into in the beginning. You may not always agree w/ the childs mother, but bottom line is the childs best interest & if that is not in the picture then why bother?

For nine years you have done this & your priority as a "mother" is to always protect a child whether it be yours or step no matter the conditions. I don't understand why all of a sudden it is a problem...

Heather - posted on 10/06/2009

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I agree that you need to pull back and rethink. This little boy is 9 and unless he is stupid he knows your feelings and I have a feeling they come out day to day on him. Poor boy has to feel so lost and unloved. Kids take things even harder than adults.



I am also a believer anyone can be an egg or sprem doner. You have to choose to love and be a mother. If you have been his stability why would you want to change that now. Also you said his father doesnt have time for him but you also said it is because he is working...working to support you and his 3 children.



I am not a stepmother but my family and my husbands is full of divorce. Just remember kids know if they are treated differently and they will resent you later. Just love all your children step or birth with all your heart...they will thank you later. Maybe even try talking to someone minister or anyone that can look from the outside in.

Amber - posted on 10/06/2009

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I agree with Lyndsay,

I see my step mother in you and thank God my mother was a good mother and I never had to depend on my step mother. You can't honestly say you love him and raised him since birth but now you want to get rid of him and only do fun things. It is sad that this little boy was given this life first a mother not fit and then a step mother who would like nothing more than to be rid of him. A child does not have to have your DNA for you to love them as your child. Either step up as you did in the begining and be a mother or walk away now, but don't take it out on him. He was born to a mother who doesn't want to take care of him and a father who married a woman that doesn't love him like her own. This story breaks my heart. I have a son and we plan to be foster parents and adopt because kids that have bad parents deserve a chance to be loved and cared for just as much as my son who was lucky enough to be born into it.

Christina - posted on 10/06/2009

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I just had a conversation w/ my mother kind of regarding this same situation...I have a 4 year old little boy (w/ Tourette's, ADHD, OCD, etc.) & my husband (married 2 months) has an 8 year old & soon-to-be 2 year old. I have been around since the baby was born & there were many long periods of time, when he would not go to anyone but me. That meant the long nights of teething, feedings, etc. & I wouldn't have traded it for the world. The 8 year old lives w/ us & the 2 year old is w/ us part time. My son requires A LOT of my time/attention, but my step-sons are the world to me as well & are loved just as equally as my own.

I also was a stepchild & the thought that I was loved less by my step-mother/fathers family would have crushed me! In fact, I am even closer w/ most of them than I am some of my biological family. During an argument w/ my mother yesterday, she said "you can keep _____'s kids, but I will make sure that I get to see Austin". I was completely mortified that those words came out of her mouth & have decided that it is in my families best interest to cut the ties. I would NEVER want to trade a moment that I have with him & the bottom line is the child needs to be loved & taken care of & there is a reason that the mother is only there part time.

Kate - posted on 10/05/2009

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I do relate to this to a point. I'm currently pregnant with my first child, and my partner and his ex-wife have 50/50 shared custody of their 7 year old son. His mother really doesn't take much of an interest in what's going on with him, neglects his school work and has him in clothes that are a size too small. I find myself getting frustrated that I'm having to pick up all her slack, read him his school books, get him to do his homework and give him the love and attention that she SHOULD be giving him. My fiance completely overcompensates for her lack of parenting, and I worry about this continuing when our daughter is born. He requires so much attention and cannot do anything independently when he is with us, because he is completely left to his own devices when he is with his mother (cartoons, dvds and playstation are substitute parents when he is with her).

I'd lve for him to be able to go to his mothers and actually have her behave like his mother, not a babysitter. His diet is shocking when he's with her, two minute noodles and McDonalds are the staples of her house. Her number one priority is herself and I worry that as he starts to get older, he'll begin to resent her for not doing the things she should be.

I love my step-son like he is my own, but ultimately he's NOT. He has a mother, who's severely lacking in the maternal department. I'm doing everything I can to support him and help my fiance but I'm a week off of having my first bub and worry that I won't be able to give him the time he needs and he'll feel abandoned. I do sometimes get feelings of resentment towards him, but if I actually sit down and think about it, it's not him at all. I just want his mother to be doing the things she should be doing. I want her to take a more active role in caring for her son. Hopefully I haven't been too confusing, but I think if you're anything like me....it's not about the child at all, you just want his mother to start helping you out!

Jennifer - posted on 10/05/2009

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I feel the same about my step-father now too. He and my mother have been married for 17 years now, he's been more of a grandfather to my children and father to me than my own and yet I can't seem to apply that thought to my own situation with my step-son. I don't know what's wrong with me I guess

Jennifer - posted on 10/05/2009

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But I am bitter full of resentment..not good for him either. His mother and I both are step-children of both good and relationships on both of our sides in our childhoods. He knows who his mother is and she is more of a friend to him than I will ever be. I know children parents not friends in this situation, but SHE's the parent NOT me.

Lyndsay - posted on 10/04/2009

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Okay, I am going to be honest here and I don't want you to take this the wrong way. But it may sound harsh. So here goes.

I think what you are saying is awful, and I think that if your stepson knew the thoughts that were running through your head he would feel abandoned, ostracised, and unloved. You have said that his mother has not played an active role in his life, that it has been you and his father who've raised him since birth. So that would make him much like your very own child. And yet, now that you've had your own children you want to push him aside and hand him off to somebody else. If his mother does not want him in her care, and you force him there, do you really think that she will do a good job of it? She will be bitter and full of resentment, and that will reflect on him.

I think you've done a great job of justifying this for your own point of view, so that you can feel like you are doing the right thing, but you really need to look at this from the eyes of the child who's life you are handling.

Brandi - posted on 10/04/2009

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I don't have any step kids, but I am a step kid to the best stepfather anyone could ever ask for. I know it can be hard for stepparents to bond with their stepkids and i'm sure that they feel that they have taken responsibility for someone elses actions. My father practically abandoned my brother and i when we were around 10, but my stepfather was there for everything for us. he never complained about any of it. He bought us our fist cars, he was there for our first car accidents, he was at the hospital for the births or my two kids, who call him pappy and have never met my biological father. Please try to hang in there, it isn't your stepson's fault that his mother isn't the pick of the litter, so to speak. he needs a mother and believe me when he is grown, he'll know who was his mom and who just gave birth to him and he will be soooooooo thankful for all you have provided for him. I know i wouldn't be who i am today if it wasn't for a wonderful man who isn't really my father, but i'm proud to say was my dad.

Betty - posted on 10/03/2009

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My husband and I are carefully waiting for the right time to have more babies. Right now we share my step daughter who is 4. She is wonderful but I feel like I may end up feeling resentful of her if I have another child because she does need a lot of attention from us and that leaves very little energy if any to care for other kids let alone a baby. First born children need the most attention it seems.

It's good of you to recognize that he will benefit from being around his mom because it's true that he would. Try just asking his mom to take over a few extra days a week. Even if all that means is picking him up from school, helping him with homework, feeding him dinner, and dropping him back off at your house. She seems very flaky so allowing her to take baby steps might do the trick. Over time she might decide she really enjoys being a mom and then you will be dealing with a custody battle like most of us step moms out there. Just be careful.

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