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Having trouble connecting to my SD

Posted by on Mar. 20, 2013 at 10:58 PM
  • 25 Replies
I've known my SD since she was 5 months old. My DH and I were friends before we dated. His relationship with the baby mama is strained and unfortunately she uses her daughter as leverage. If baby mama is mad we don't get to see SD. She just turned 3 and we have consistently had her every weekend for several months now. I always thought that I would grow closer to her as our time together became steady, but I haven't. I have two boys of my own and I don't love SD like I love them. I care about her and always try to give her my best, but I find myself more easily annoyed by her and at times I'm forcing myself to have a connection with her. I'm heartbroken, and my DH has started accusing me of not caring about her, which doesn't want to make me try harder. I'm terrified she will grow up thinking I don't care about her and feel uncomfortable at our house. I feel like the worst step-mom ever :( can anyone relate????
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by on Mar. 20, 2013 at 10:58 PM
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momof2ex1
by Ruby Member on Mar. 21, 2013 at 12:31 AM
1 mom liked this
Well... I don't know why it is so hard to connect to a child that you've spent so much time with since infancy. Babies are so much easier to love.

Here are some things I notice in your post. You refer to her mom as 'baby mama'. You have difficulties with her mom. I get the impression you are not fond of mom. She may be horrible and may not deserve your fondness. I find that some people tend to allow their feelings for the parent, overstep in to their feelings for the child. You may not feel connected to her because of the way you view her mother. Dealing with her mother is difficult and you may have built up a wall bc of those difficult dealings. Unfortunately the child ended up on the wrong side of the wall.

And second, it's OK not to love her like you love your boys. They are your children who you have birth to. You cannot compare a mothers love to anything else. Period. I cannot love any other child in my life the way I love my two kids. In my eyes, my children are diamonds and platinum. Nothing and No one is more precious than my children in my own heart. It is quite ok to admit that you can't or don't love her the way you love the two children that came from you, who are a part of you.

My husband has it easy. He loves my children. But he doesn't know if he loves them like his own or if he loves them the way he would a nephew. He has neither. Lol he has no children and he has no nieces or nephews biologically. So he has nothing to compare the love to. His bond with my son is much stronger and deeper because 1. My son was almost one when they met 2. My son's bio father was never around 3. My husband has adopted my son. My dd on the other hand was older, 7 when they met. She has a dad, an active dad. Because my husband and my ex have never interacted and my ex doesn't cause my husband any grief, my husband doesn't have any kind of wall up caused by drama and hurt and grief. My dd is easy to love because there isn't that constant reminder of her other parent reminding him that he is in charge and my husband isn't a 'real' dad etc etc. so it's easy to bond with her and love her because the situation is easy for him.
With you, it seems you have a lot of turmoil and drama from the mother. So you may be shielding yourself and not even realize it.

I have no advice on how to change your feelings or how to love her. The only advice I can give you is, remember that she is only 3. 3 year olds can be so exhausting. Especially someone else's that only comes every weekend to visit. She has to have time to adjust to the change in households. Things may be extremely different for her between the houses. She may have to adjust to sleeping in a new place twice a week. She may miss her mama. She may feel stressed out because she feels lost but can't vocalize that. By the time she is adjusting to a different bed, with different blankets, a different bath time ritual, different foods, different people in her world, it's time for her to turn around and go back. It might not make you love her but maybe having some understanding for what she may be feeling or going through, might help you to remain calm and to not feel so annoyed. My dd is 12. She has been going back and forth for several years. She still has a hard time falling asleep at dads house. It's dark, she doesn't have her lovey she sleeps with, the bed is harder and it's a bunk bed. She is on top, which she isn't used to, her pillow is different, the air feels hotter. We run the ac at night bc we are hot people. We also have ceiling fans in the bedrooms. They don't run the ac and there is no fan. So she tosses and turns trying to get comfortable. By the time she gets used to it, she's back home the next day. Even at 12 the change can be difficult so imagine what a 3 year old feels. And since she isn't your child, and you don't feel that love of a mother, she annoys you easier. Personally I don't like other people's kids. I like mine and that is all. Other people's kids are also snotty and gross and their slobber makes me want to vomit, they have odd smells and I just don't like them. Obviously I am nice to all of my children's friends but I just couldn't handle having them live with me part time. Eek. That's why I am not a stepmom.

You are not a bad stepmom. Just do no harm to the child. That is all that can be expected of you. I think you are very normal. As far as your husband, that little girl is his daughter. She hung the moon. He may say those things bc he cannot understand why someone else doesn't adore her the way he does. And the simple fact is, no one ever will. No one will ever love that little girl like her mama and daddy do. And that is OK.
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sid1083
by Bronze Member on Mar. 21, 2013 at 1:52 AM
You say that BM used SD as leverage, but then say you've consistently had her every weekend for several months. Do you think that now that you're consistently seeing her you secretly liked it better when it was inconsistent? Or do you feel like that with all this additional time you're spending with her it *might* cause more friction between DH and BM so you dont know how to act? Just curious.
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JustaSM231
by on Mar. 21, 2013 at 2:36 AM
Read Stepmonster . It wil help explain some of what you are feeling! It's normal to be closer to your own children than a step child. Relax and try to enjoy the time you get with her
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painNtheazz
by on Mar. 21, 2013 at 9:09 AM

 This is perfectly normal, Momma. It's totally unrealistic to think that you could "love her like your own" because simply, she isn't. Foster a relationship with her like you would with your best friends children. You can still make her feel that you do love and care about her, without setting up such high expectations of yourself.

As far as DH goes, he needs to get a grip. Just because you don't love her as much as he does, does not mean that you don't care for her. He needs to try to understand that.

 

OvrMyHead
by Silver Member on Mar. 21, 2013 at 10:51 AM

I think that you need to reset your expectations.  You have a completely different role with your own children than you do with your SD.  When SD is at your home make sure she has time to bond with Dad.  Have them do some things together, just them.  Are you stuck with a lot of the chores when she comes over (more cooking, cleaning, etc) that makes her visits more work for you?  Use some of the time she is visiting for you to do things with your own kids too. 

I agree that 3 year olds are tough, you still have to watch them constantly and it can be exhausting. 

As long as you can make your home a place that SD feels is her home too I think you've done your job.

WifeyC
by Platinum Member on Mar. 21, 2013 at 10:58 AM

He needs to get a CO so she stops withholding his child from him.

There is no reason you have to love this child like your own.  There is no reason you must love her at all.  I don't love SS's like my own boys, I personally think it's impossible to do.

Katelynk56
by on Mar. 21, 2013 at 12:07 PM
It is more difficult for me because my DH is at work 75% of the time we have her. SD is definitely a daddy's girl so I have trouble getting her to listen to me and follow our house rules.


Quoting OvrMyHead:

I think that you need to reset your expectations.  You have a completely different role with your own children than you do with your SD.  When SD is at your home make sure she has time to bond with Dad.  Have them do some things together, just them.  Are you stuck with a lot of the chores when she comes over (more cooking, cleaning, etc) that makes her visits more work for you?  Use some of the time she is visiting for you to do things with your own kids too. 


I agree that 3 year olds are tough, you still have to watch them constantly and it can be exhausting. 


As long as you can make your home a place that SD feels is her home too I think you've done your job.


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Katelynk56
by on Mar. 21, 2013 at 3:24 PM
I'm constantly aware and worried about the relationship between DH and BM and how that will affect SD. I like having consistent time with SD but as I mentioned in a different post, DH is at work for 75% of her time with us, and that bothers me too.


Quoting sid1083:

You say that BM used SD as leverage, but then say you've consistently had her every weekend for several months. Do you think that now that you're consistently seeing her you secretly liked it better when it was inconsistent? Or do you feel like that with all this additional time you're spending with her it *might* cause more friction between DH and BM so you dont know how to act? Just curious.

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Katelynk56
by on Mar. 21, 2013 at 3:27 PM
I believe that I need to let go of the expectation that I have to love her. I've never talked to another step mom about this stuff and really thought there was something wrong with me that I didn't love her like I did my DS's. I appreciate the feedback ;)
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kristinbugg
by on Mar. 21, 2013 at 4:17 PM

First, stop referring to this child's mother as "baby mama'.  It is insulting and disrespectful. 

Second, do you believe that you are projecting your feelings of resentment and anger for BM onto this innocent child?

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