Saturday, January 06, 2007

Stepmom in the middle

It takes everything I have to keep things together. I feel like I am pulled in ten different directions. But why should that be a surprise? I am the mom.

First of all, what is fair? Before becoming a stepmom all I had to deal with was being fair with my two daughters. Now adding a stepson and stepdaughter into the mix, I have no idea what fair is. If i treat all the kids the same, my kids feel betrayed, if I favor my kids, my stepchildren feel betrayed. I tried the route of being a "family" with "children," you know, without the "step" in there, but no one really cooperated with that too often.

Second, my husband, Gary, needs lots (too much) reassurance that I love him. He'ssuch a great guy and that's why I married him. But there are times when I wish he would just grow up. I feel like his mommy sometimes and that's a real drag on me.

Then there is his ex, the wicked witch of the universe. The fact that I ever have to take her into consideration is beyond me. I know she is the mother of my stepchildren, but she's always changing the schedule, missing appointments and always asking for money - my family's money. It drive me nuts.

This juggling act sometimes brings to the brink of a nervour breakdown. And yet, there are evenings when everyone is in bed and I sipping my last cup of decaf as I browse my favorite magazine and think that I have it pretty good. If I didn't havhe so many things needing my attention, then I would be all alone.

Stepmothers usually feel like they have more than they can handle in more directions than they can move. And yet, like heroes, they press on.

Any stepmoms want to share what an "average" day is in your life?

20 comments:

Ann said...

It sounds like you could be me! Some days I don't know how to deal with all the juggling and the constant stress. The bio mom is the source of most of our stress for all the reasons you mention and then some. Just knowing I'm not alone gives a measure of comfort. Now if I could only sleep.

Fajita said...

Ann, you're fighting the good fight and every ounce of it is worthy. It's your investment that feeds the relationshps around you.

Amy said...

I've been searching for a place to share with other stepmoms - I haven't been able to find anything out there that shares my Christian values and looks at things from an eternal perspective. A stepmom definately means many things - queen juggler may be all encompassing. Juggling schedules, family members, emotions, and being a solid role model through all of it. I would love a place where we could share and encourage one another in this journey.

Kuckoo said...

i have likened being a stepmom to walking a tight rope. only instead of having cheers from below, people are throwing stuff at you trying to knock you off! if you lean a little one way, you get accused of trying to replace their real mom. if you lean the other way just slightly, you are being partial or don't care about your stepchild(ren).

Fajita said...

I hope that this cna be a good place for people to share. Amy, thanks for saying what you said.

With Amy and Kuckoo's visual metaphors going in my head, I see a woman walking a tightrope trying to juggle. Either of those alone is difficult enough, but then having things thrown at you. Good grief.

Let me just say this - these challenges are impossible if perfection and total peace with all people is your objective. It's just not going to happen.

You are responsible for being a person being at peace while doing the right thing. Your peace might just get contagious. Waiting for other people to be peaceful in relation to you is going to be fruitless.

Nikki said...

It's so nice to hear others going through the same thing. Looks like I'm not the only one who can't get any sleep. As I brush the cabbage and tomatoes off my shoulders, I am trying to remind myself that under this highwire is God's safety net of prayer. I read Nehmiah Ch4 and am encouraged that with prayer, those forces against us can be thwarted. And boy do I need that now!!!!

laboroflove said...

I am a divorcee married to a widower. We have 3 kids between us. I'm pulled in so many different directions that it makes my head spin. There are so many emotional needs in my home that I hate to even go there somedays. I love everyone so much, but there is always competition - - even from my husband. My new daughter falls perfectly between my bio kids, but suffers from the middle child syndrome for severals reasons. Mainly, the loss of her mother at the age of seven. She is now 10. I spend a lot of time trying to bond - - the 2 girls and I have GIRL DAYs and I spend time alone with her when my babygirl (4yrs) goes with her dad for visitation. My son is 14 so he's not really an issue in THIS instance. She enjoys this greatly. The problem is, when my
babygirl returns home, the 10yr old gets sad, resentful, starts grieving her mom, accuses me of ignoring her, and goes off to herself when I try to do US things. She doesn't want to be included once the 4yr old comes home. Then my husband starts catering to her as if she was excluded. This is wearing me out! I'm very frustrated and feel used and betrayed at times. I try to sympathize about the loss of their wife/mom and my husband keeps saying she does this because she missed so much when her mom was sick. But I don't think it's my job to give what was missed, but instead try to give what they both need NOW! Am I wrong? I can't go back and give them what they missed in the past, although my heart goes out to them. I'm very hurt. Feels like I can never give or do enough to make them happy!

Anonymous said...

Thankyou for your comments...

I am a stepmom of 2 girls 11 and 9. my husband and I ahve a toddler togther. And yes of course things can get very messy at times and u feel like running away; however I want yoy remind you christan ladies at there that God has given u a job that no-one else can do... If they could u wonld not be doing it !! The ladies out there who are not stepmons are not stepmons coz they simply could not do the task, they would crummple under the pressures taht we face. God has given ecah one of us our own jod and gifts to furfill that job. Part of mine is steparenting and God WILL give me the STRENGTH to be a mighty good one!! Rememeber ladies he will never give us more than we can handlexx

Watergirl05 said...

I am so glad to find this! I have been searching for others that I can share with and I'm glad to see I am not alone. Walking the tight-rope and having things thrown at you and the picture of being pulled in 100 different directions is exactly how I have been feeling. We've been married for a little over a year and together for 2. His ex has created such drama and goes on and on about their past, how worthles he was and deceiving herself that she did it all by herself....even infront of the children. Of course for about a year now, his kids (now 14F and 12M) are suddenly having loyalty conflict and trust issues. It is so so sad. For myself, I'm trying to not become the target of choice--ooops too late...they seemed fine, going through very normal transitional stuff and *boom* it was like a bomb exploded and I'm expected to clean up the mess, while she(the ex)gets to verbally, mentally and emotionally abuse and control everyone? I wish there was a local support group in or close by to where I live.

Fajita said...

I am so glad you all are willing to visit here and make comments, share struggles, and successes. Let's keep it up.

TJ said...

Hey ladies! I've been praying for a place like this for my sanity. I love God and my husband and my 9 year old stepdaughter. (No other kids, yet). But I have some real questions about how to make this all work! 1 - how do you motivate a girl to do homework when exwife lets her do whatever she wants the rest of the week? 2 - how do you decide when to have a child of your own? 3 - how do I balance both backing up (not being completely controlling) and yet being a parent all the while exwife is completely non-parental except for buying material things. Then, we get blamed for "not making our daughter happy". Help! Any insights?

Fajita said...

tj, glad to have you join the conversation.

You ahve some great questions, especially about the ex. Sounds like there might be some sabotage going on here. You've got to play for the long term. Being good does not always mean producing happiness in children. Don't get sucked into a popularity contest. You will lose, but even if you win, your daughter loses.

Balance. Measure success by goodness, not happiness.

Anonymous said...

Come join

http://www.phpbbtown.com/myforum/?mforum=allinthefamily

A site for blended families. Many a stepmom and moms can give you great advice on how to get rid of the stress of being a SM!

Kathy said...

Wow! I wish I would have stumbled across this site back a few years! I too have searched for info places and books on step families. This is wonderful!
I was the "ours" in a blended family growing up and thought I could really do some good things when my husband and I merged our families. We each have two children. His -2 boys, Mine 1-boy, 1-girl but no matter how you stack them all at odds! I can't stand it! we pray, we seek, and still it goes on!
I can really relate to the high wire walking...and especially the mentally abusive and materialistic ex-wife. Our ex (as my ex has passed on) has even given up the 16M to live with us but still trys to controll his schedule and care as well as makes threats to her remaining 12M that he too will come live with his dad and I!
I was raised in a christian home and have always followed God. I know I am not purfect and wouldn't even pretend to be but this woman and 16M child are pushing me to the outer limits of my very peace with God! I am challenged everyday as I try to be gracious and forgiving but lately it seems that is all I do as I am walked over day after day. My husband and I have tried to show a united front with love and disipline but it is consistantly underminded by the ex and these boys! Most days my home feeels like it is just filled with hate and I hate it! We are even fought with every Sunday morning as we try to unite and go to church. I don't want to seem selfish but at this point my own children are suffering and it has become so painful for me. I do not know what to do anymore...
Wow! I guess I really needed to get that out! :)

Kathy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
isuretri said...

I am so glad I found this site. I have been hoping to find somewhere others would know what I was talking about.
I really need to vent. I hate my life. I know it is wrong for a Christian to say. I just feel so empty inside.
My husband and I have been married almost 7 year. We each have 2 children. His are boy 17 and girl 12. Mine are boy 14 and girl 11. He has full custody of his kids so they are with us all the time. My 14 year old son just left during Christmas after several "fights" with my husband. I let him move to my sisters house.
My step son who is 17 doesn't ever talk to me. He refers to me as "her" or "she". He doesn't go to church with us and my husband doesn't want to force him to go.
My step daughter 12 is mean. Mean to my daughter and mean to me. Other people in the immediate family notice it and wonder why I don't do something about it with my husband. I have tried and all he says is "yeah, I know she is mean but she'll grown out of it!"
As far as my son. There have been issues in the past where I felt he went beyond his step-parent role in discipline so I finally had enough and let my son go. It has been so hard on me.
It is so nice to vent.

dcampbell said...

Well I'm new to being a stepmom...only 4 mos into it and I'm already starting to have feelings describe in the book,"the smart stepmom." I never imagined it'd be this hard. It would be nice to talk to other christian women who have been doing this longer than me.

Mattie said...

Well, where is everyone? It's 2011 and it looks like these posts are from 2007. It's interesting the little things that can really perplex you. Today i was praying with some friends and we decided to focus on Psalm 46 - God is our Refuge and Strength a very PRESENT help in trouble. That is not even the main verse. (1) Be still and KNOW that I AM GOD... (10). We are striving, during this month of August 2011, to let The Lord handle the issues as we pray our way through. That doesn't mean we don't teach and instruct. ...BUT we TRY to do so in a way that will Honor Our Lord God. SO, who can help me out with this. i realize i did not raise these two sons who live with my husband and i full time. ...and BOTH of their parents basically checked out when their mother left. Though they lived with their dad, he was grieving, surviving and providing - manners and raising seem to have fallen to the wayside.
Yet, friends is it me or do you say 'good bye' when you are leaving home and 'hello' when you return? Manners, became our way of living at my home, they weren't forced they were taught, so LORD GOD PLEASE give me patience as i try to learn what you would do. PLEASE help me not over react, it could be worse. ...but i tell you sisters it grates me. i pray i will learn what to do with this. i know in the scheme of things it's not that big a deal. But i also know - i wouldn't let any of my friends children or any other children i know do such. ...especially not a 17 and 21 year old - and they are Christians too. WOW! Thanks for listening, sharing your heart AND praying.

Anonymous said...

I find it interesting that as a Stepmom I have tried to do what is right for my stepson but it doesn't seem enough. He is now 22. I have been married for 19 years, and he was 3 when we married. I have been blessed to have a great relationship with his mom until recently. We always put aside the past for SS. He came to visit for a months in the summer and a couple weeks during Christmas every year. Then, after he graduated from high school, his mom and step dad moved a couple states away and he did not want to go. He "sofa surfed" for awhile, was into drugs, alcohol, tobacco, marijuana etc., then decided he wanted to come live with us because he was done with all that. Well, I left him alone for 3 months. He "dried out". Went without everything, stayed home, ate watched tv, and that's about it. After 3 months I said, ok time to find a job, get registered for school etc. He did it. Things were going great for awhile, then he got this "attitude"...the "entitlement" attitude. Even went and adopted a dog at the humane society and brought it home without asking. I was so furious I stayed the night at my daughters house! At that time my husband started allowing him more and more to "take liberties" around out house. Then we ended up in marriage counseling, first thing the counselor said was to have him move out change the locks. We did, and he was out for about a year, then moved back into our old motorhome for a "few months" and when the weather started to get cold. He ended up using 3 electric heaters and running up the electric bill. One day I went out there to find my cups and water bottles, then found that he had made a pot pipe out of one of them. I confronted him with it and he was like "I smoke pot, my mom knows I smoke pot, so I can do it"...can't believe this was going on with a member of my family. Then after my complaints, he moved out again. He was out for about a month and then he asked to move back in because his room mate situation didn't work out. At this time he was working and as soon as we gave him the ok to move back in he quit his job! So, we told him to find work which he stalled on, then finally he got a job at Pizza Hut delivering pizzas. Well he finished the training, then his first day on the job they asked him to stand outside and hold up a sign he refused to and was told to either do it or go home. He went home. That was the end of that job...he does go to school part time. He has used up all of his financial aid money and money from selling his car just by blowing it on food, coffees and whatever. We raised our girls to be able to support themselves and he with a different upbringing cannot. SO FRUSTRATING! My husband takes his side more in this these days and this situation has caused division in our marriage. SS plays my husband because he knows he can't play me. A while back my husband accused me of "not liking" Jack, says I never did. That was a kick in the stomach kind of comment. I have ALWAYS gone the extra mile for my SS. Never asked for anything in return other than Love & Respect. The situation is REALLY wearing on me. I got laid off in December and my husband in June. I asked SS when he was going to look for a job and his reply was "when are you going to look for work"? DISRESPECTFUL. I didn't have to reply but I just told him that I am on unemployment and that I am on unemployment because I have WORKED for it. Financially things have been REALLY tight. I have a daughter going off to college in September and am looking forward to an "empty nest"...hopefully I will get my empty nest soon!

bonusmom827 said...

I am so glad I have found this site. It is so encouraging to know I'm not crazy or bad to feel this way. I have been married for almost 2 years and we have no kids together and I was raised with both of my own parents so the situation is new to me. Things were good for a little while but then out of nowhere my step son (11M) is out of control he yells and demands respect and manners from everyone else and my husband makes excuses for him like he's the only kid who has ever had to deal with a divorce. I hope i'm not being uncompassionate but I have literally wanted to go stay in a hotel during the weekends we have his kids. His daughter (8) likes me and is great most of the time. I constantly feel like I'm being judged by the ex and my mother in law when I have tried and tried to be nice, set up my own therapy appointments, read books, etc. I am really having a hard time figuring out what to do. My husband says he understands but he doesn't he just keeps defending his son even when I just want to vent. I feel very at a disadvantage all the time now with no where to go. I am a Christian but no one at our church is in a place to help with support. I wish there was someone in my area to have coffee dates with or something. Hoping this gets better.