Guilt/Lazy Parenting - The Sequel
I'm feeling frustrated right now. DH has been working a lot of OT in the past few weeks; most of it has been last-minute and naturally, I'm the one who is then in charge of SS (in addition to the every day several hours after school until DH gets home). The weather does not help any of our moods at all, and I know that that's a factor. Another part is that SS is still very clingy during his "bad" weeks, and it's exhausting walking this constant tightrope of reinforcing good behavior and trying to build self-esteem while discouraging bad behavior. So, I explained to DH that when the weekend rolls around, I realized that he is tired from working OT - but I am tired as well, from all of the extra hours with sole responsibility for SS, and that he (DH) needs to take over for at least a couple of hours per weekend and allow me a complete break from that.
Fine, DH agreed that that is fair. But....DH seems to be reverting right back into that same behavior that he displayed with SS18, that he said he realized in retrospect was a very bad idea, that we had both agreed neither one of us were going to do. DH bought SS another new toy this weekend; DH had bought it for him "just because" SS wanted it, it was on clearance, and DH said he hasn't gotten to spend that much time with him lately.
I'm ticked off. DH is a sweetie and likes to buy presents, for me and for SS, "just because". The problem with this is that SS has got some issues going on with all of this mess, and one of them is that he has lately decided that possessions will equal happiness; if only he gets the "right" new toy he will be happy. Needless to say it doesn't work, and he was talking that same night about another new toy that he wanted, that if only he had it he would be happy. I've been trying really hard to work with SS on his learning to make himself happy, and on watching us to see how it's experiences and activities that make us happy rather than possessions - and I feel like DH just set us right back again. Buy it for him because he got good grades, buy it for him a week later - but don't immediately buy it because he says he'll he'll "be happy forever" and because you feel guilty!
The other thing that is annoying me is that way too often I'll wander downstairs on the weekend to find SS playing a video game or watching a movie, and he'll tell me that "Daddy said" that he could. When I find DH he tells me that he said it was OK because it'll keep SS occupied while DH does whatever he wants/needs to get done. Meanwhile, I've spent all week enforcing the rules, trying to help SS learn to occupy his own time and/or doing things with him - and DH can't make it a couple of hours??!!'
I am not happy. It's hard enough being a step-parent without feeling like I'm being stuck in the role of rule-enforcer while DH gets to be "fun parent". I know DH is exhausted - because I am exhausted as well. But I don't just cave in and take the easy way out, and why should DH? If DH were changing "rules" for SS's good that would be one thing - but he's not. It's for himself.
I feel like I'm getting put into a position where I have two options - either do a DH and just ignore the whole thing, do basically whatever I please and hope SS magically comes through OK - or to follow DH and SS around 24/7 and make sure that there is any structure and stability.
I don't know, maybe I've over-reacting. I really hate this time of year because my spirits are very low (as are DH's, and I think perhaps SS's as well). Maybe if I just let it go for a few weeks it'll get better when spring comes. But right now I just feel really taken advantage of; I feel like DH is saying "I want a well-adjusted child, and I want you to do all the work of raising him."