Dealing with Dependent Step Daughters
I've been married four years -- I have four grown children, he has two. We've had very little alone time in our house since we married because one or more of the kids has had to move in due to financial issues from time to time.
We raised our kids very differently. I pushed for self-sufficiency, he raised his daughters to be dependent. My divorce came after three of my kids were grown, his ex-wife ran out on the three of them, crushing his daughters' hearts when they were young teens. What followed was a series of bad decisions, depression, chaos in their lives. My divorce was after 27 years of marriage -- he cheated, but we handled it fairly amicably.
What is stressing our marriage is our different ways of dealing with our kids. Neither right or wrong, but very different. Recently, however, I have lost my cool. My youngest daughter and her two toddlers had to move in with us for about two months. Her husband stayed in another city to work; financial issues forced them out of their home. They have finally gotten back on their feet, made an offer a home and will be out of our house in about three weeks. (YAY)
My step daughters moved in about five months ago because they had become unable to afford their rent (they moved to a more expensive duplex and then were unable to make the payments). The plan was for them to stay a couple of months, save up deposits, etc., and move out. They were going to help pay some of the increased utility costs, but have only been able to give money twice -- and not in the agreed upon amount.
Now my problem. The SD won't come to me with issues, problems. They call their dad -- who is on the road during the week. Last week the younger SD lost her car keys. She blamed the toddlers. She couldn't find her keys for three days, but swore she had looked EVERYWHERE. I finally had time to look for myself and found them in the recliner where I had seen her sitting the day she lost them. No apology to my daughter or her daughters. Not even a thank you to me for finding the keys.
Today the other daughter called their dad to tell him that her shampoo was missing, and her special eye drops (did I mention that neither girl puts away anything ... ) The implication was that my daughter had taken both items. When I get home this evening I'll look for the items -- fairly certain that the shampoo is on a shelf in the bathroom (I had to move it to bathe my granddaughters a couple of nights ago). The eye drops are likely not far away from her mess on the bathroom counter.
Yesterday when I came home from work our garage door was up. My husband's prize show car is in that garage, along with tools and other valuables. I mentioned it to him when we talked later. Today he told me that it's possible one of my kids came by and left it open since they know the code. His daughters were home at the time. Asleep in their rooms (they are night owls). I'm getting a bit tired of everything being blamed on my kids. They are FAR from perfect, but they are usually pretty straight forward with me. I'm trying to be even tempered about it all, allowing a lot of things because of his daughters' past hurts. But at 23 and 27 ... they need to grow up.
If I try to talk to him about it, he goes into defense mode. He's so used to protecting them that I become the enemy if I even consider they might do wrong. It's very tiring.
How do I approach him and get him to talk? These are just a couple of incidents. Trust me, I could go on for pages! I don't want to be the mean Step Mother, and I love my husband, but this is stressing me very much! Thanks!