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Full time Step Mom

Posted by brookem (My Page) on
Sat, Jul 3, 10 at 11:36

I just joined this forum because I need help navigating being a full time step mom. A little background...
My husband and I got married a year ago. I have no kids of my own, although, I'm due any day!! :) My husband has had full custody of his 10 1/2 year old son since he was 2. 10 yr old's mother is a complete loser. She never sees her son, has been in and out of jail and doesn't want anything to do with him. She never calls, even on his birthday or Christmas. Before I married my husband, his mother (10 yr old's grandmother) was the primary caregiver for my husband's son. You can just imagine how spoiled he was being raised by a grandmother who felt incredibly bad for his mother abandoning him.
My husband and son moved in with me a year ago. I live about 50 miles from where husband and his son grew up. I had my own home (they did not) and I live in a MUCH better school system and neighborhood than they did.
For a year, I've been slowing changing my step sons eating habits. Before me, they lived on fast food and 10 yr old was overweight and probably hadn't eaten a fruit or vegetable in years. His dad gave him whatever he wanted whenever he wanted it. I completely disagree with that method of parenting but can also understand b/c my husband felt really bad for his bio mother not being in the picture at all. So, anyway, I've been working on manners with him, as well as respect, and daily chores, and all of these "horrible" things he's never had to do! Before me his life was fast food, TV and video games--literally. He has always done well in school and is polite to me and my family. When he gets around my husband's side of the family it's a different story.
I digress...
Here is my problem...I'm a full time step mom. My husband works midnights. I'm in charge of finding activities for my stepson and I to do during the day while my husband sleeps. I started maternity leave a couple of weeks ago, so I'm not working anymore. I'm really really annoyed with my stepson! He doesn't have any friends to call so he sits around the house all day. I told him he can't watch tv and play video games all day. We signed him up for baseball. He not only loves it, but is really good at it. Well they have 2 games a week and it ends next week! SO that takes up about 4 hours a week! That's not a lot, considering its summer vacation! We don't have much money so we can't just go see movies and pay to do a bunch of things, so I try to find free things to do, like go to the park, etc...
It bothers me because he won't eat anything mixed together (I.E. a casserole) so we eat the same 5 dinners over and over b/c my husband can't eat red meat or dairy. Do you know how hard it is to cook without milk????
Anyway, I'll wrap this up...
I don't get a break from him and I'm starting to resent the fact that I married a man with full custody of his son. My husband and I never have alone time, although I have a ton of family and friends who babysit for me, we just don't have any money do anything--much like the boy and me!
SS seems to like me. He never back talks me. He does whatever I ask him to do--laundry, dishes, trash, mow the lawn! I probably have it made. I just sometimes snap at him and the guilt I feel afterward can be unbearable. I was sobbing the other night because I was really irritated that he was laying in my bed with my husband watching a baseball game while I was on the computer. What the hell? Why can't he lay in our bed? Why can't he stare at me? Why can't he have nachos 2 hours after dinner? Why does it bother me so much that he asks me so many questions? Sometimes I just feel like a horrible step monster. I'm almost positive HE doesn't feel that way. He is always hugging me. He even tells me he loves me on occasion. I know this is not about him. This is about me. My husband and I have been in counseling for a year, as well. Sometimes we even take his son. I just hate myself a lot for snapping at his son and getting annoyed by him. I hide in my bedroom A LOT of the time. Then I feel horribly guilty and start reminding myself that his mother abandoned him and he needs a woman's love in his life. I just feel like I'm not cut out for the step mom role. I can't leave my husband and stepson though, because this is the most stability he has had in his life. I refuse to walk away from him like other women in his life.
Not to mention, I'm 9 mos pregnant, so I'll be tied to my husband for life anyway.
I just need advice. When is this love for my stepson going to blossom? Does it EVER? When will I stop being annoyed with him ALL THE TIME? My husband snaps A LOT at him, as well. My husband has a very short temper and only gets a couple of hours a sleep at a time so he is constantly on edge and I think he is just as annoyed with his son as I am. Plus, with this new baby due at any moment, I'm afraid I'm going to LOVE this baby SO MUCH MORE and be extra annoyed with my stepson. I'm afraid that I'm going to push him away and wish it was just my husband, my new baby and me.
I need help. Any suggestions are greatly appreciated.


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Full time Step Mom

Except for the fact the child exist, I must have missed the parts where the child is really doing anything 'wrong' or anything to upset your world so much. Are you sure it is not just your hormones going a bit crazy? Or that you rushed into this marriage too quickly without thinking it through and got pregs on top of it?

My DH raised his son by himself (with Gma assisting from afar during work hours) for the first 9ish years. Not all fathers spoil nor play into the mommy abandoned kid routine.

You've been married a year, been in counseling with DH a year...was there ever a time in this relationship that you accepted and loved the father and child or was to change and fix everything always your goal?

Sorry, not trying to judge or second guess, but to me, that's how you are coming across. You sound as if you were handed this man and his son of which you must shape up to suit your ideas and preferences.

Love of a stepson does not come instantly, but is there anything at all you like about this child? How did you interact with the child during your dating his father time? You knew when you signed on that the child was going to be around 24/7, right?

Sounds like you need room in our home for yourself. TV, bed and computer all in same room...in a short time add a new baby to that mix and you'll really be pulling your hair out. Most ten year olds don't go off to friends all day, day after day. DH and you jointly need to find things and ways to see the child has things to do that don't cost a lot. Kid needs his own space with his own things that he can go off into that you a bit of 'down time'. He's 10, you don't have to entertain him all day.

But I get the feeling it all has much more to do than with just SS. You're broke, you don't get alone time with hubby (gonna be broker and tied up with an infant soon)...what sleep is dad going to get with a crying infant?

I think you really need to step back and look at everything (not just the SS) as it does not sound as the child is really the problem for you. Cramped quarters, boring diet selection, no money, no time alone, a child demanding of your time and attention (the baby) would still be all there confronting you even if this child were not.

Are you sure the child is your issue in this relationship/family.


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RE: Full time Step Mom

For the most part I agree with Justmetoo :)
I too think your "moods" are hormone driven.

I admire that you see the challenge you are having is due to YOUR feelings and not trying to place a pile of blame on the rest of the family :)

I had a terrific SM who even tho not living now was the love of three of her step kids lives...she saved us from a very selfish Bio mom.
I was 10 yrs. old when my half sister was born, she allowed me to "mother" her baby as if she were my own private doll :)
Never in our entire growing up years was there a time where she favored her bio child over us. In her heart we were all her bio kids. I believe she CHOSE to love us this way.

And so my counsel would be to dig deep, keep the attitude of gratitude, remind yourself of the wonderful stepmother you were meant to be and give yourself the breaks any mother needs away from the demands of her family.

Having the kids home all summer is a challenging time for any parent. Is there a children's museum in town? A local pool? Have you made friends with parents of your SS's age group? If not seek that out. Outdoor skating at a park is free...renting skates is cheap. I know you won't be able to join him right away, but as soon as you can put the baby in a snuggy, put your skates on and get some terrific exercise :) There's the library, or a bookstore for children's hour.
Fishing?
When my kids were young I'd rent a canoe for a few hours and off we'd go down the river...great memories.

I wish you much peace in your heart...you've taken on a tough job...but I think you're up to the task :)


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RE: Full time Step Mom

To me it sounds like frustration... at her DH! Like she got more than she bargained for.

I'm a little offended at the statement: "you can just imagine how spoiled he was being raised by a grandmother who felt incredibly bad for his mother abandoning him" (I am currently raising my grandson because his mother is unfit & my son is deployed in the military~ and I feel terrible for his situation. and sometimes I spoil him, not out of guilt, but because I am grandma)

Where was your husband all the years his mother was raising him? Why wasn't HE raising his son? If grandma was raising him before you came along, it sounds as if he was just looking for someone to take over raising his son because he went from grandma to YOU. I can see how you might resent that, even though the child doesn't do anything to deserve being resented... it's his father you should probably resent! I'd be blaming the father (and mother) for not stepping up as parents, before I would blame the grandma for 'spoiling'. (and it sounds like dad is indulgent & inconsistent with his son too) If you think you are going to step in & change everything this kid has known for the 10 years of his life & fix him, I wish you luck! You'll need it!

I'd be concerned about having a child with someone that has not been much of a parent to his first child.


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RE: Full time Step Mom

I agree with ima on this, why wasn't he raising his son? and if he did have a reason (such as ima' son for example being in the military) then why is he complaining? also why are you broke if two of you work (you worked until recently)? if your DH is so broke that he cannot afford to do activities with his son, then why having more children? why marrying? something sounds off about all this...you were married only for a year and things are already so complicated...

do you think you rushed into this marriage?


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RE: Full time Step Mom

I don't get a break from him [SS] ... My husband and I never have alone time So, you're an almost newly-wed, nine months pregnant, home all day with a 10 1/2 year old who, while basically a good kid, was not raised in a way that you would have liked, you're worried about money, and you never see your husband. And you're wondering why you feel snappish and irritable?

Maybe some of the bio-moms will tell me that I am wrong, but I have a sneaking suspicion that bio-moms at times feel irritable and snappish with their own kids - whereas we SM's can sometimes feel horribly guilty for any thing we do, think or feel that is not completely calm and loving. When I rationally think about it almost every woman I know has at one time or another raised their voice or said that the kids are driving her crazy or some such. Yet I would feel horribly guilty because I'd want to yell "Get in the car NOW!" or something - even though I didn't actually do it, I'd feel guilty for thinking that I wanted to! And think that I was a horrible SM because a good Mom would never think such a thing. Then I realized that I was stark raving mad, and putting way too much pressure on myself - feeling guilty about something I hadn't done was ridiculous.

So, Brookem, first I think you need time alone. All alone, by yourself relaxing and daydreaming, SS being watched by someone else for even a few hours. Secondly you and your husband need time together; again, even just for a few hours. Go for a walk in the park, have a picnic, go to the bookstore and window shop. And thirdly, quit trying to be perfect. Give yourself, your husband and your SS permission to be regular human beings. It sounds like you're doing a great job of being a very good SM; it's really not necessary to be a flawless SM.

Oh, and my secret tip for when SS is driving me nuts is to take him somewhere where there are a lot of other kids. SS is a good kid and when I see him in comparison to some of the horribly rotten, miserably behaved, whining, demanding spawn of Satan kids that are running around out there; SS' irritating habits suddenly are transformed into endearing personality quirks. :)


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RE: Full time Step Mom

I am a fulltime Stepmom (with a MIA BM) to a 12 yr old. We also have other children in the home we had together.
First off I totally agree with the ladies above, you are 9 months pregnant hormones!!! I can remember during the 9th month of one of my pregnancies bursting into tears because some shorts I got DH were too small lol it is what it is and it will pass. Right now all your time is taken up by SS, soon it will be SS and new baby. I know you said money is tight, but that you have friends and family to babysit, why not try and do a date night w DH just pack a picnic and take it to the park?
Also SS is certainly old enough to spend some time doing things alone at home (besides video games) when mine are too rambunctious I send them in the backyard to play, it gives me a break and them some fresh air!
I guess all I can say is hang in there!! It sounds like you have a great SS who wants to be loved. You also don't have to deal w/ any of BS that a BM who visits might want to share with you and DH lol count your blessings even if they are small, it will all work out in the end!


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