Join the Meeting Place for Moms!
Talk to other moms, share advice, and have fun!

(minimum 6 characters)

Stepmom Central Stepmom Central

Hi, I'm Caroline. I'm new here and I could really use some help!

Posted by on Mar. 19, 2013 at 10:40 AM
  • 13 Replies

I am for all intensive purposes, a new stepmama to a very sweet, very smart, and very unruly 3.5 year old little boy named Beckett. 

He lives full time in Atlanta with his mother, who I like a lot. His father Trey, and I live 5 hours south in North Florida and we get Beck as often as we can. Both Trey and I work full time and we try to arrange our schedules so that we can work together to be home to care for his little guy. 

Let me start out by saying that Beck is so sweet and smart! I loved him immediately even though I have never had the inclination to have any children myself. I have battled depression and anxiety my whole life and just in the last year or so have I gotten to a place where I feel pretty peaceful and comfortable with myself and basically...just safe. My parents divorced when I was very young and shared custody of me and I went back and forth weekly. Neither home environment was a "safe place" for me and I endured a lot of abuse from my "stepmonster" as well as my new step family on my mom's side. It has been very traumatic for me and I am working through it in therapy as an adult. My home with Trey has been my very first "safe place" of my own. 

When Beck comes, it's usually for a week at a time and he is a whirling dervish. He isn't in preschool or day care and is cared for by a baby sitter so he truly is the center of his own universe. I have such a hard time...I get so panicked by his loud, unruly behavior and I end up locked in a bathroom in tears on the phone to my mom or bestfriend every.single.visit. I don't want to do this, I don't want to be reduced to tears by a sweet little boy but I feel so helpless. I love him but I don't know how to connect with him on his level! 

He is so sweet and loves me very much. I want so badly to be a good influence in his life and not like my own stepmother! It scares me to death to think I have the ability to scar him that way! 

To make matters worse, Trey ambushed me last night and said if I'm not with him, that I'm against him and that I am the primary reason we don't get Beckett more often. I am reluctant to watch him by myself for more than a few hours because I am overwhelmed so easily. I don't want this to come between us...but I don't know what to do.

Please, any advice or help is most needed and appreciated! 


by on Mar. 19, 2013 at 10:40 AM
Add your quick reply below:
You must be a member to reply to this post.
Replies (1-10):
ejsmom4604
by on Mar. 19, 2013 at 10:50 AM

How long is he looking for you to watch your SS? Maybe you can look on it more as babysitting instead of being a parent. Leave the actual parenting to the bio parents. 3.5 year olds have tons of energy. That's just them. Maybe a trip to the park, or playing in the backyard, somewhere where he can run off some of that energy. Bake cookies, at that age they love doing that type of stuff. Play doh, paint color. Plan activities and it will seem less overwhelming. 

Something you need to know, at that age they will get hurt (skinned knees, fall down etc). Don't fear, just be there and comfort. Ask tons of questions on how to handle various situations. Maybe plan some things where hubby is there, but you do the majority of interaction with SS so he can obsever and give feedback. Kids are scary, even as a bio mom (and I have a stepson too). We make mistakes, don't fear them, but learn from them. 

grownsexy
by Bronze Member on Mar. 19, 2013 at 10:56 AM
1 mom liked this

First of all Your man needs to simmer down. You don't have any kids and the kid is his. Calm down, don't panic the little boy loves you just be yourself. I understand your fears but remember you are not your step parent's. I think that you are afraid that you will repeat history. Give yourself a chance, I feel that you probably wont repeat what your step parent's did because you are getting therapy.

He is just 3 almost four so you have time to learn. Tell your man to give you sometime Try and play with him, take him outside and let him run and scream. When he is in your home teach to use his inside voice. Do give him that outside time so that he can be as loud as he wants to be. He is a boy so he will be loud at times but just keep saying inside voice baby. If he likes cars sit down and play with him, if he has blocks build with him. After you play a bit turn him over to dad. Dad is the one who should be connecting and showing you how to connect. A lot of time pressure falls on the woman because the man don't know what he is doing. He is placing blame on you when really it is his responsibility.

The argument in this forum is about the sm overstepping her bounds. See your case is proof positive that each case is different. Your man is blaming you for not getting his son more and he needs to stop.

KnowItAll
by Silver Member on Mar. 19, 2013 at 11:54 AM
1 mom liked this

First of all, it's "intents and purposes" not "intensive purposes".  Whew.  I feel better now.  :)

Second, I take that statement to mean you are just living together and not married.  Is that correct?  Or are you actually married?  How long have you been together?  How long have you lived together (married or not)? 

The reason I ask is because as a fairly new live-in girlfriend, your role should be very minimal.  You really shouldn't be watching this little boy for more than a couple of hours at a time.  Your boyfriend is asking too much too early. 

However, if you are married, and have been around a while, then I agree with your husband that you're either with him or against him.  You can't lock yourself in the bathroom and cry every time his kid comes to visit.  I had 3 kids when I married my current husband and if he had acted that way, we would not be together.  Kids come first, period. 

Happily Married | BM to DD13  DD13  DD11 | Mom to DS7 & DS3 | CP | Not a SM

needsupport100
by on Mar. 19, 2013 at 12:07 PM

^^ what she said

notastepmonster
by on Mar. 19, 2013 at 12:12 PM

intents and purposes makes more sense....

we have been together 2 years and living together for one...we are serious...I think one day we'll marry but who knows. 

I have anxiety...he freaks me out - he screams, he cries, he doesn't listen to me one iota, there is NO DISCIPLINE. At home is mom is a bartender and he has crazy hours for a toddler but I get up at 5am....

I don't know what my role should be and how to set boundaries and be loving and consistent...I am floundering :(

OvrMyHead
by Silver Member on Mar. 19, 2013 at 12:27 PM

First, your SS needs his dad, that is why he is visiting your home, because his dad is there.  His dad needs to step up and see his son as much as he would like to or as much as he can.  You should not be a contingent as to whether he gets his son or not.  You need to take care of yourself and should not be responsible for caring for SS.  You can help out as much as you can or would like to, you can participate as much as you can but the main purpose of SS visiting is so he can have daddy time. 

Toddlers are not easy.  I was grateful that I worked full time and had mine in daycare in those days, I did NOT want to be a SAHM then.  I was grateful for those 8 hours where they were entertained elsewhere and I had the evenings and weekends.  I would set up a lot of playdates, and I had a bunch of places to take the kids to get their energy out, like the mall play place, playgrounds, parks, bounce houses, the pool, etc. 

But my main response to your post is to let you know that your SO needs to be a dad, that little guy needs him, and you can be there for SO, be supportive, be a playmate, etc but you don't need to be a sitter or a mom.

sandeeyo
by Le Bonjour Chat on Mar. 19, 2013 at 1:26 PM
I think, if you're not already doing it, that you should seek out a good therapist yourself. Children are not easy, moreso if they aren't your own. If you're getting overwhelmed just because he's being a typical 4 year old, then you need some emotional support...and it doesn't sound like your DH is sympathetic to your disability OR your needs. Get some outside professional help.
Posted on the NEW CafeMom Mobile
Melina74
by Melina on Mar. 19, 2013 at 1:29 PM


Quoting OvrMyHead:

First, your SS needs his dad, that is why he is visiting your home, because his dad is there.  His dad needs to step up and see his son as much as he would like to or as much as he can.  You should not be a contingent as to whether he gets his son or not.  You need to take care of yourself and should not be responsible for caring for SS.  You can help out as much as you can or would like to, you can participate as much as you can but the main purpose of SS visiting is so he can have daddy time. 

Toddlers are not easy.  I was grateful that I worked full time and had mine in daycare in those days, I did NOT want to be a SAHM then.  I was grateful for those 8 hours where they were entertained elsewhere and I had the evenings and weekends.  I would set up a lot of playdates, and I had a bunch of places to take the kids to get their energy out, like the mall play place, playgrounds, parks, bounce houses, the pool, etc. 

But my main response to your post is to let you know that your SO needs to be a dad, that little guy needs him, and you can be there for SO, be supportive, be a playmate, etc but you don't need to be a sitter or a mom.

I agree with this, and I also think you and your SO need to sit down and talk about his expectations, your fears, set boundaries and rules that you will both stick to with the little one. I also think you are letting your experiences with your SM get in the way of you and this little boy.  You need to learn from her mistakes, and not let them hold YOU back.  

Rae706
by Silver Member on Mar. 19, 2013 at 1:39 PM

Trey is a douche if he can't understand that you are clarifying your boundaries BASED ON WHAT YOU CAN HANDLE. You do your best, that's all you can do, and don't push yourself to do more just because he wants you to! That child, who I'm sure is awesome, is not your responsibility. You need to make it clear early on in your relationship, that anything you do for his child should be seen as a favor, not a requirement.

notastepmonster
by on Mar. 19, 2013 at 1:40 PM

Thank you, I am in counseling and I am working on myself! Trust me I know I can be a hot mess but I'm getting better! 

Add your quick reply below:
You must be a member to reply to this post.
Join the Meeting Place for Moms!
Talk to other moms, share advice, and have fun!

(minimum 6 characters)