Full time Stepmom ... new here..

kellyjo763December 7, 2009

I am very happy to find this site. I feel like no one understands what I am going through but after reading the posts here I find that people actually do. My issue is a little different than the others though. My husband and I have been married for 7 years. His daughter, who is 11 now, lives with us full time and has always (since she was 2). BM sees her every other weekend and for 4 weeks in the summer. My husband works out of town Monday thru Friday (engineer) so he is only home on the weekends. Therefore, technically I am the full time stay at home caregiver for Emma. There really havent been any big issues (other than the normal ones) until this year. Now I am being hit with being the "bad guy" all of the time. She is getting a smart mouth, is disrespectful, doesnt want to do homework, throws amazingly big dramatic fits. I am sure it is hormonal but I feel like I am raising this child alone. I feel like all I do is harp on her (do your homework, do your chores, turn the TV off, etc). BM is famous for "sideline" parenting (first to tell us WHAT we are doing wrong) and Dad is now morphing in to the "absent parent needs to coddle child" mode. When Emma goes to her moms she is doted on and there really are no rules. Its "fun time". When Dad gets home on the weekends it is also "fun time". I push for he and Emma to go do things alone so that they can keep the dad/daughter bond. I feel like I need to get a sicle and a black cape and tatoo "crypt keeper" on my forehead.

Everything I read is "let the parents handle it" or "disengage" but I cant because I am technically the only parent 28 days out of 30. I feel like I need to start on medication.

Any ideas I can try to incorporate?

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Sounds like a letter almost any mother could have written about an on-the-road Dad and a hormonal tween girl. May not sound like it, but that's actually good news!

And for what it's worth, I can actually empathize with BioMom and Dad not wanting to discipline her in their short time together.

So how to deal...?
All I can suggest is patience, love and consistency. Which I'd guess you're already providing, or your problems would already be much, much worse.

Is she old enough for a heart-to-heart? I'm imagining a talk where you and she get to sit down together and you let her know that you feel bad that you're always the one having to be the 'bad guy'. That you understand Dad and BioMom wanting their time with her to be fun-only -- but that YOU'd like to have some fun-only time with her too! Then maybe agree to some core house-rules, with a 'standing date' for girl-time-fun if her behavior is good. Something simple, like watching a favorite TV show together? Or a manicure if her homework is done on time?

Just my two cents (and from a mom of boys, no less...)

    Bookmark   December 7, 2009 at 12:55PM
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I'd also suggest having a heart-to-heart with DH and telling him you're tired of being "the bad guy" as well. While he may not want to "spoil" his weekends by disciplining his daughter he's not doing her any favours and also setting himself up for a time when he might _want_ or _need_ to discipline but she won't take a blind bit of notice because she never has.
At the very least he needs to have a talk with her and insist she behave better towards you.
I know just how you feel.

    Bookmark   December 7, 2009 at 8:46PM
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I was in a similiar situation a few years ago and like sweeby said you just have to be consistant. One of the things that I did was after punishment I would tell her why she had to be punished then I would tell her I loved her and I would give her a big hug and Kiss. My SD is 11 now also and when I see other kids misbehaving I always show her what the kid is doing and tell her that is why I have to be strick on you so you wont act like that.

And like sweeby said you have your fun time with her too.

    Bookmark   December 7, 2009 at 8:57PM
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Your post made me smile :) you could have been me writing those words a few years back, we have the exact same situation as you except my SD is 12 now, and BM dissapeared a couple years ago.....So don't feel alone!
I would like to tell you it gets easier..but heck parenting in general is not easy, and step parenting is even harder.....You are a parental figure to her, and flat out you are gonna be seen as the bad guy wuite a bit to her the next few years if you are the main caregiver.....don't feel guilty about it though, someday when she is a parent she will thank you!!
I would sit down w/ your DH though, and try and figure out a better plan for his interaction with her...my hubby travels a lot sometimes but while he is gone, he is checking in a few times a day, and pretty much knows whats gone on even if he isn't at home, I am not opposed to "telephone Parenting" and often have my Bio's and SD give dad a call....sometimes it's good (hey dad! I got an A++++) or sometimes it's not ( uh..yeah..dad..I got detention for chewing gum.true story!) It has worked well for us, keeps dad more involved when he doese have to be gone, and I don't feel like I am doing it all alone if he is out of town...........

    Bookmark   December 7, 2009 at 9:55PM
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And also make sure you don't forget to compliment her for things she does well/ good behavior. I sometimes have to remind myself that it's just as important to comment on the good behaviors. That way you are not 'always' picking on things, it's better balanced.

    Bookmark   December 7, 2009 at 10:46PM
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Thanks to everyone. I talked with her and we are going to set aside one night a week (Wednesday) for a "girls night". Movie, dinner, mani/pedi....anything we can fit in. Will give us some bonding time, help make some memories and hopefully alleviate some stress on my end. Thanks again to everyone that posted. It helped.

    Bookmark   December 9, 2009 at 11:42AM
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I'm really glad you've found something that you think might help! Best of luck :)
And don't be afraid to change horses midstream if this isn't working the way you'd like.

    Bookmark   December 9, 2009 at 1:35PM
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kellyjo - and don't rule out a good prescibed medication :-) It can be very helpful in stressful situations. It doesn't make you a bad person.

    Bookmark   December 10, 2009 at 3:31PM
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