Hello - my first post, just need reassurance!
To start, I am so glad I found this forum. I lurked for a while before joining because I've run into some very judgmental people out there and no one here strikes me that way. I just need some kind of reassurance that I'm not crazy - and from what I've read here, I'm not.
I'm very new to step-parenting, and children. I'm almost forty, never had children of my own, and this has been a crash course for me. I'm fortunate that the man I'm with - forgive me but we're not married, neither of us wants to be married again but are determined that this will work, and we live together for all intents and purposes though we each own our own homes - is someone I was good friends with in high school (we went our own ways for 21 years) and started dating about a year and a half ago. We'd both been divorced for about 4 years and he has two wonderful and adorable children: SS, who is 10, and SD, who is 7.
I was worried about meeting them until SO and I had established a relationship - I didn't want to be a flash in the pan to them and I made that clear, especially since the woman he dated before me for 6 months had her own children and that went south. If I was going to be in their lives, I wanted them to know that I wasn't just going to disappear one day. Once I did meet them I quickly grew to love them, and while I made it clear that I am not trying to be their mom, I do want them to know that I love them and care about them.
My biggest issue is, of course, BM. The way I view it is that if they were my children, I would want to get to know the person my children are spending time with. I don't want to be her buddy, or her BFF, or hang out with her. I'd just like to be able to have civil conversations with her about the kids. Um, to put it plainly, ain't gonna happen. She mostly refuses to acknowledge me. Anything I give the kids that goes home vanishes, with the exception of SD's Christmas gifts, which were unceremoniously sent back to her dad's with no explanation. After they repeatedly showed up at my house with no socks, I bought them a bunch of socks to keep at my house. She got so incensed that she went out and bought them both dozens of socks - which they still don't show up with - so they wouldn't have to use anything I've bought them. After BM sent SD out of the house in shorts that I mistook for underwear, she can kiss my backside, because they will have appropriate playclothes at my house. Just how it's going to be. I used the excuse that I keep the A/C very cold and I didn't want her to get cold.
I've been nothing but kind and polite and supportive and I would like to think totally non-threatening. But after learning to just listen to them, I've learned that they are not allowed to talk about me at home. They are not supposed to like me, have been told that they don't have to mind me, and were told that anything that comes from me is unwelcome and unliked because it's from me. Apparently there is also something wrong with me because I'm in a relationship with their father.
I just want to know that it's not selfish of me to get frustrated. BM is, sadly, fairly dumb, and I can't really respect much about her except that she has two exceptional kids by my SO - her other three kids from her first marriage are a train wreck, so I worry about the impact she's going to have on the kids now that their father is happy. THey got divorced because she nearly spent him into bankruptcy, plus she is a shrew, and like I said, just not bright. My problem (and it is mine, I've owned it and am trying to get over it) is that I can't respect a woman who has 5 kids and drives a school bus and waits tables at her age because she fully expected that SO would work himself to death to keep her in Ralph Lauren sheets and a 6 bedroom house and never bettered herself to have a career. She gets food stamps and never has money for anything for them - even SO says the money he gives her is child support, not BM support. He'd never say that to her face, though - god forbid. She might get offended.
And golly do I get sick of hearing nothing but stories about "remember when"...I know that this as his life and I would never try to deny it or erase it or tell them I didn't want to hear it, but just damn, sometimes I *don't* want to her about it. Let's make some new memories, kiddos...please?
I don't mean to sound miserable, because I'm not. It's just that sometimes I need to vent and this seems like a very welcoming place. Thanks to anyone who reads and hears me! XO