Stepmom of adult children needs help! Totally frustrated
I have 3 kids from a first marriage of 25 years. My current husband has 3 children who were adults, out of the home, when we met. His oldest 2 were OK with me in the beginning, and the middle child of his was a witch from the beginning. My kids have been and still are OK with my DH.
Coming up on our third anniversary, all three of his kids are rather indifferent to me, and it really hurts. They treat me like I'm not there. They were OK with their Dad remarrying in the beginning, so long as it didn't interfere with the time and money that he "should" be spending on/with them. They have a very strong sense of entitlement. Overall they are good kids, but disrespectful of me.
Matt, age 29, is working on his Phd in Genetics @ Stanford. He is polite, but clueless about social graces. He is married with 3 children (age 5,3,2. When I married Mark, I instantly became a Grandmother. They are great kids, but I am supposed to buy gifts for them like they are my birth Grandchildren, but then Matt & Amy tell them that I'm not their "real" Grandma. They don't return gifts to me, because afterall, I'm not their "real" Grandma. Yet they provide me with lists of expensive gifts that I can get for them and their kids. About half of the time, Matt gets a gift for special occasions for his Dad, hardly ever for me.
Sarah, age 25, is working on her master's in dietetics @ UW Stout. She was rude and unkind to me from the first time I met her. She openly admitted to her Dad that she was mean to me to drive me away, and break us up. No apology ever came from her for this. My DH has been aggressive in confronting her about her bad behavior, and it has improved some. But she has learned to turn on good behavior when he is in the room, and dish out the insults, and digs when he goes out of the room. Sarah has cut her BM completely out of her life, has not seen her in 4 years. She has deep seated anger and hatred toward her mother. She has a void in her life from lack of a mother, and it is as if she wants her Dad to fill up the "mother-void" as well as be a Dad. Mark is father/stepfather to 6 kids, and doesn't have individual time for each child. Because of this Sarah feels neglected, and makes comments to me like, "He needs to step up to the plate and be a Dad". Yet she travels to the area where we live, and doesn't stop to see him. She does not buy him gifts for Christmas or Birthdays, or if she does, it is just a token gift. Yet she expects gifts in return. She gets me nothing, yet if I don't get her gifts, then I'm a wicked stepmother. I feel like I'm in a lose/lose situation with her. Mark & I want to present a unified front, so we've agreed to not go and visit our children separately. This would also play right into what she wants. She has figured out that if she behaves badly, that I will feel uncomfortable, and not come, so this encourages her bad behavior.
Rachel, age 24, is working on her RN degree @ Edgewood College. Rachel was very kind to me in the beginning, and told her Dad that she liked me. For about the last 18 months though, she is indifferent, and sometimes nasty. She too has cut her BM out of her life completely, and has deep seated anger of her mother. She too wants her Dad to fill the "mother-void" as well as be a Dad to her. She with tears has told my DH that she has been deprived and neglected by him. I went through a period where I was phoning or emailing weekly to Rachel, just to try to build a relationship with her. DH & I would invite her and her DH over for dinner, take them out to dinner, take them out to movies, bowling, always paying for everything. There is very little done for us in return. At least she gets gifts for her Dad. She gave me a birthday gift this year for the first time in 3 years, it was 6 weeks late. You might say that progress is being made, but it was very obvious that the gift was given out of obligation, not a desire to give a gift. She has an outrageous sense of entitlement. She comes to family dinners, never brings anything, and does not offer to help clean up. She doesn't come early to set up because she always manages to work up until the time that dinner is supposed to start. One time I asked her if she could help clean up, and she ignored me. Oh, she will pretend to clean up, she will help for about 5 minutes, then disappear while I'm left in the kitchen for an hour. She wants to be treated like family, but she shows up and acts like a guest. She sits and waits to be served.
DH has paid/is paying for 4 years of college for his 3 kids.
I feel like a door mat to them. I am expected to do and accomodate them, yet there is nothing in return because after all, I'm not their "real" Mom. I stopped trying to make contact with them weekly about 6 months ago, and sure enough they made no contact either. Rachel will barely communicate with her Dad. He has phoned her recently, and she doesn't take his call, but sends a brief text on her cell, with yes and no answers. Yet she complains constantly about being deprived and neglected.
My 3 kids are sick to death of the attitude of their step siblings, and feel that they all have had it pretty good, and that they are spoiled adults brats.
I am so frustrated, I feel like I am losing my mind. Easter is coming up, and to be honest, I cannot stomach another family dinner with them, coming and expecting me to wait on them. If we say that we are going out to a restaraunt for Easter, then again, DH and I will be expected to pick up everyone's tab. If I say that we are having a potluck, and everyone bring something, then they will be mad, and probably not come. Maybe that is what we should do.
DH says that he married me, if he has to make a decision between his kids and his spouse, that the decision is already made. That is outrageous, he shouldn't have to decide!