Blended Family Nightmare - Stepmom vs. Biomom/Biodad (Stepmom's spouse)

Claudean - posted on 06/05/2013 ( 2 moms have responded )

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Good morning everyone,
I need help in understanding this situation I’m in right now. I’ve been married for almost two years now to my husband who has three children from a prior marriage and one from another relationship before we met. I have one child myself. Trying to blend this family has been a nightmare because of what appears to be a lot of jealously from the mothers and some of the kids. So much so that I don’t know what I should and should not do as a step-mother anymore. Whenever my husband and I talk about this, he tells me I should do for his kids as if they are my own, which I don’t have a problem with but I feel like I’m expected to read minds and just inherently know what they need when they don’t even live with us on a daily basis. When they lived with us on a daily basis or were around more I knew more about what their day-to-day needs were but since they don’t I only know what either they tell me (which is nothing) or what my husband communicates to me based on what they tell him they need.
Early in our relationship, the kids used to come around more--he used to go and get them on a consistent basis so the line of communication was more open. That’s when I started out doing more things for them, like they were my own, but it caused all sorts of problems with the mothers and at times the kids acted unappreciative because it came from me and not their father. One mother felt like I was trying to take her place and the other mother just flat out didn’t like me and would talk about me to my husband. He used to say and still says it’s only because both of them still want him is why they act like this and to not let it get to me, but that’s easier said than done. Now, the kids don’t come around as much anymore-- nor does he go and get them, which when I question why, my husband tells me it’s because they are teenagers now and like hanging out with their friends more. But when we argue about money/kids, he tells me they don’t come around nor does he go and get them because he feels like it’s a problem for me when he gets his kids. I’m left standing there like “WTH??? Where did THAT come from?“
In order to squash the mama-drama, I tried a different approach by respecting the bio-mom’s boundaries and acting more as a step mother and taking the back seat. (After thinking about it, I kind of understand how they may have felt plus I didn’t want the headache of their drama anymore). So, I tried to stay in my lane and let my husband come to me when the kids or their mothers told him of their needs since now they only communicate with him, but now I have problems with him. He’s upset and accuses me of not caring for his kids the way I do for everyone else (i.e: my own) because I “won’t” do for his kids like I used to. He also accuses me of blocking him from doing for his kids since we’ve combined our money and tried to build a financial plan with some goal, but that’s not true because whenever I’m aware of a need, I am in agreement of him helping if we have the money. If we don’t, then I say do it when we can or just do whatever we can afford to do right now. Which is how I am about my own child. I explain to him, repeatedly, how I feel and why I’ve changed up; due to them (mothers and kids) telling me I’m not their mother or they make me feel unwelcomed and he doesn’t want to hear it. He thinks I’m letting the mothers get in the way of me doing for his kids, but what am I supposed to do? He wants me to do for them without pause, they don’t want me to do for them, he won’t tell me when they do ask for things, then he expects me to just do without asking or knowing what they need, etc, etc. I’ve asked him to intervene on these issues between us, he answers with “I can’t let them bother me” or “he can’t make them like me” or get along with me” and he’s told this to his kids that he can’t make us get along or like me as long as they respect me. He says he rather have an amicable relationship with the mothers of his kids so he can see his kids rather than start a custody battle in court. He says that I’m making the situation worse by making it so that he feels he can’t do for his kids like he used before our money was combined, before it was combine he used to do for them and just didn’t tell me what he did, he just did it. I feel that’s not the way we should manage our relationship. I feel that’s a cop out because there has to be some kind of middle ground that he could facilitate for all involved to feel comfortable in blending this family. Should I have to just “deal” with being disrespected just to keep his relationship with his kids and their mothers peaceful? Why should I be made feel guilty for not blindly doing (i.e.: picking them up, going to go get them and buying whatever they need) for his kids when he’s not even doing those things for them? I don’t like the fact that he compares my child to his in front of mine; I think that will cause other problems. I don’t think he’s looking at this from all sides, he just tells me I’m wrong in this case and not him. I can’t seem to get him to understand that I don’t think I need to supply their every need, directly, because they have “responsible”, working mothers in their lives who they live with and raise them. I’d step up and take a more forward role if any of them didn’t have a mother or if they lived with us. When they are with us, I play the role of a mother figure. When they are with their mothers, I don’t. He seems to expect me to do things that he’s not doing or hasn’t done in months himself or uses me as the reason why he hasn’t done. All of which is not fair nor right. It’s not like he’s doing all that much as the father figure around my daughter. He rarely takes the lead to get her to any of her events; unless asked. He never has it in the front of his mind to attend her functions; unless reminded. But, I have to be on point for three households? Really??? And, I have to do it without any communication from him or the kids and obviously their mothers; because I don’t talk to either of them. But somehow, this is all my fault because unlike him, who sees himself as having 5 children (incl. mine), he says I act like I only have one. Help me understand what I am supposed to do and if I am wrong because I’ve tried two different approaches and both have back fired on me at this point.

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Claudean - posted on 06/10/2013

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Thank you for the response. We tried to talk through this in counseling over the weekend and it was an all out disaster. He will not budge on his opinion that I should just buy for his whenever I'm out buying for mine without any prompting or instruction from him. He says if he tells me then that's like it's coming from him. They need any and everything and will be glad for whatever I buy them as long as I'm doing something instead of nothing. The irony is I used to buy when they came around more and I talked to them and knew what they needed. So, I'm not opposed, I'm just asking him to step up and be the lead on this for once instead of me always driving everything we need to accomplish. I was so frustrated and angry at the session, I left in the middle of it. It wasn't helping at all because he can't seem to see that I am not the primary means, I am the secondary means and when they don't communicate with me-- only with him, how can I do ANYTHING if I don't know what it is that they need. I'm so frustrated, it's beyond description.

Lakota - posted on 06/06/2013

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My goodness. I think your husband is wrong on so many levels. First, why in the world is he not defending you when/if these women talk bad about you? Second, why is he getting on to you for not doing right by his kids, when it sounds like he doesn't do anything for his kids other than push them on you? I think you two need to talk about all of this and then have a family meeting with all of the kids about the issues going on. But, work things out with him first, so you two can be a united front and lay down rules for all kids and find out what everyone's needs are - including yours. If your husband isn't willing or you two can't talk and work things out before the family meeting, some counseling may be needed.

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