First Breakdown?

rowzthoarnsNovember 28, 2008

I'm new to this forum, but needed a place I could go as a relatively new stepmom. My question for all of you is: when was your first breakdown?

I think it takes a lot of courage, love, and strength to be a stepparent- you are loving someone else's kids like your own, despite the fact that you may never be loved back or recognized for what you do. And, despite the strength it takes, I think everyone just has their moments as a stepparent where they have a breakdown/meltdown/cry-fest and wonder what they got themselves into, no matter how much they love the kids/spouse.

I had mine this morning! Despite the fact that I have a loving husband and my 2 stepdaughters and stepson are fantastic compared to many other stories I have read/heard, there are just times that I get frustrated with the constant back and forth, the on-going battle between my husband and his ex, the constant bitterness that surrounds their necessary relationship. I feel exhausted when I tell my youngest SD "no" and her immediate reaction is to scream/cry for her mom (who gives her whatever she wants), despite the fact that we have all 3 children 95% of the time. I get frustrated that the ex has told the kids what she wants for xmas and expects my husband to get it for her- when we're strapped financially as it is. I've told my oldest SD that the responsibility of buying a gift for her mom really needs to be on her husband, their stepdad, but when I'm doing it, I feel like a jerk. I would just never presume that I could tell the kids that their mom needs to responsible for buying my husband and me gifts for xmas, as she has done with them. And she's not asking for $5.00 gifts or homemade cards, she's asking for large items that are expensive.

I love my family, I made an active decision to be a stepmom and it's one I don't regret, but I have these moments that I can't explain to my husband, when the frustrations just blend together so thickly that I feel like I'm suffocating. We have our own little girl on the way and I worry about how she'll be impacted, I'm fierce in my belief that the ex should have nothing to do with her, and I'm worried about how her life will be impacted by the ex and the back and forth with the other kids.

I finally snapped at my husband last night. I told him that I get tired of hearing "I want mommy" everytime I tell my SD no to something. I told him I don't want to hear him say "it's not your responsibility" to me when it comes to the kids, because it is. I made a choice to be a stepmom and I knew that came with responsibility and sacrifice. I was willing to make it. But saying it's not my responsibility is like telling me I'm not a part of this family, I'm not a parent to these children, that I don't count.

I cried and my husband is miffed. It's hard for me to make him understand because on one level, I don't want him to believe anything but this is where I want to be and I love him and the kids. But on another level- I do need him to understand that there are just times as a stepparent where you feel like someone outside looking in. And moments like this morning are necessary, as unhappy as they are.

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I think all stepparents have their breakdowns at times. Face it, being a stepparents is much more complicated and difficult than being a parent. You do twice the work and then feel excluded at times, and are not appreciated at other times. That is all just part of the job I guess.

As for the Christmas presents, I would stick with homemade or cheap gifts until the kids are old enough to work and pay for their moms gifts on their own. Not you and DH's place to give bm expensive gifts!!

Have DH tell the kids that you do not have the money to buy expensive gifts for bm!

You and DH need to be on the same page with the issues and support eachother to keep your sanity as a stepparent.

    Bookmark   November 28, 2008 at 2:38PM
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Breakdowns also happen in intact families. But yes, in blended families, if you and yoru hubby are not on the same page, your melt downs will be more frequent. And the man you love will turn to resentment over the years.
Times like take a deep breath, go do something for you. Treat yourself. Only for you and your time alone.No kids, No husband, no house, no responsibilities..treat yourself to time alone and some good time for yourself.
As for the 'expensive' biomom tried that..but i turned it about and got the kids to do arts and crafts for her. Non materialistic and its made from the kids. She cant' refuse that...and if she does, its her bad with her kids.:) works!
Your husband should put his foot down with expensive gifts. As well, let your husband take more reighns for saying no. Everytime your SD asks for something, tell her go ask daddy. And let him feel the sting of those words. This happen to me as well and that is exactly how i handled it and then i began saying ' well dear, your at daddy's and my house and mommies rules do not apply and what you do at your moms house is not going to be the same as our house here. ' And keep repeating it.

    Bookmark   November 28, 2008 at 3:39PM
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Also be aware that kids will pull the "I want Mommy" line regardless of who you are. My own birth daughter used to say either "I want Daddy" or "I want my REAL Mom" (no other Mom at all, I was there when she came out of ME). So I would say, "Well, you can have Daddy when he gets home," or "What am I? A fake made out of soybeans?" All you can do is deflect and not let it get to you.

    Bookmark   November 28, 2008 at 6:36PM
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Welcome. I hope you'll stick around and you will soon learn that you are not alone. I've had more breakdowns than I care to count, and I know there will be more to come. Unfortunately there is no cure all, and what works for me may not work for you. We've had custody of my SD for 8 years now and I still struggle, though she and I are incredibly close and she calls me her 'true' mom. That doesn't mean we don't have moments where she tries the 13 year old version of "I want my mom.' You just have to make the choice to walk away from it - resist the urge to reason with them or defend your position - just silently walk away. The less reaction they get to that the less they will try it.

**But saying it's not my responsibility is like telling me I'm not a part of this family, I'm not a parent to these children, that I don't count.** I see what you are saying here and agree, but the truth is - it's NOT your responsibility. My SD's step dad does nothing for SD at all, but he is still her step parent . . . he's just not one she likes or respects. Because you are a caring person you feel you need to do all you do to better your skids lives and I relate to that. What you and DH need to discuss it that you WANT to do these things because you WANT to be an involved, loving parent. What you NEED is for him to treat you as such. You need to be on the same page and make sure he supports you in whatever role you play in your skids lives.

Congrats on the new baby! I can say from experience that my two sons with DH are not affected by SD's mom, and she is a nut job. They only see her at a few exchanges, and I keep my rantings about her away from the kids. Having sissy go away EOW doesn't seem to phase them at all - it's just they way it has always been. Don't buy worry when you don't need to . . . this will be fine.

    Bookmark   November 29, 2008 at 11:18PM
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