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I'm Distant and Disengaged with Stepkids- Need Advice to turn things around!

Posted by on Feb. 26, 2014 at 11:38 AM
  • 24 Replies

I need some advice.  I have no children of my own, my SO has two children (girl-7, boy-5) from his previous marriage. We have been together for over a year and my involvement with the kids started very early in our relationship.  For the first 9 months, everything was great.  I enjoyed spending time with the kids (50/50 custody), we did fun activities, took vacations, the kids adore me, and the BM is not really an issue.  But the last few months, and since we have moved in together, things have changed.  Not with the SO, BM, or kids, but just with me.

We are literally waiting to hear from the judge any day that the divorce has been finalized.  We are actively looking for a home to buy, and I am under the impression that an engagement will happen soon....or at least that was the plan.

How have things changed with me?  I dread the weeks the kids will be with us.  I no longer enjoy particiating in activities with them, I find it forced and I am just generally moody and unhappy.  My SO has noticed and we have talked about my feelings and now he wants to put our plans on hold.  He has assured me he still loves me and wants our relationship, but he's worried I'm not ready.  On the weeks when the kids are not with us, everything is perfect.

My feelings are that of confusion. I feel in my heart that I want this life with him, the kids, and eventually our own children.  I just don't understand why it is so hard for me to be happy around the kids.  They are great children, respectful, loving, well behaved, they love me and want me around.  My SO is very supportive of me taking a role of parent, helping with the kids, disciplining, etc.  So why am I pulling away, becoming distant and disengaged?  I just don't know where these feelings are coming from and I desperately want things to get better for this relationship to work.  Help!!


by on Feb. 26, 2014 at 11:38 AM
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Replies (1-10):
Birdseed
by Platinum Member on Feb. 26, 2014 at 11:46 AM
1 mom liked this

I understand.  Will come back to this post later.  Have to get to work.  But you're not alone.  You might however, consider visiting with a counselor who is well versed in blended families.  That helped me a lot.  I don't have kids of my own either and the transition to being single and living alone to living in someone else's house with kids 50/50 was more difficult than I had imagined.  So I do understand, I just have to hit the road. 

OvrMyHead
by Silver Member on Feb. 26, 2014 at 11:47 AM

 Well at least you are honest about your feelings and you are addressing them.  In turn, your SO is doing the right thing by slowing down your engagement plans.  This is the time to figure things out.  Some of what you may be experiencing is figuring out your role in this family.  You may need to see a therapist to help you through this.

I will say that having kids is not easy.  They can be fun at times but a lot of parenting is just work.  As a stepparent you can leave a lot of the work to your SO and try to just participate in the fun if the kids just being there is bothersome to you that is an issue.

My DH and I each have 2 kids and all 4 kids live with us.  Its funny, I don't think much of having the kids around when mine are there but when my 2 go to their dad's EOWE and I only have my SKs in the house sometimes I'm thinking that I need my space!  I'm sure my DH feels the same at times but we both know that is just a part of having kids.

OvrMyHead
by Silver Member on Feb. 26, 2014 at 11:49 AM

 I also want to add that when the kids are at your home the main purpose is for them to spend time with their Dad.  If you keep that in mind when they are at your home, it may help. 

ChildfreeSM
by New Member on Feb. 26, 2014 at 11:56 AM

I actually have an appointment with my therapist this afternoon to disuss this issue.  I have suffered from depression in the past, and many of the same symptoms and attutudes I feel cropping up when the kids are around are the same as when I am in a depression.  

And I know it's probably the right thing to slow things down...but no girl ever wants to hear that.  But it is the right thing to do for everyone's sake.

Thanks for the feedback so far, and looking forward to more!

GloBug62
by Bronze Member on Feb. 26, 2014 at 12:12 PM

 I have battled depression since I was a child. I never knew that's what it was until I was in my twenties. It's hard to figure out your feelings when you have know clue why you feel that way. But if you can't figure out why you feel a certain way, it's most likely a bout of major depression. Most people experience situational or seasonal depression that is based on situations or circumstances, i.e. a break up, loss of a loved one, crappy weather, etc. Once those situations improve the depression usually goes away. Anyone who experiences major depression, knows it's a lot harder to deal with. It sounds like there is no motive behind your changed feelings. I hope your therapist has some good advice for you. Hang in there.

Quoting ChildfreeSM:

I actually have an appointment with my therapist this afternoon to disuss this issue.  I have suffered from depression in the past, and many of the same symptoms and attutudes I feel cropping up when the kids are around are the same as when I am in a depression.  

And I know it's probably the right thing to slow things down...but no girl ever wants to hear that.  But it is the right thing to do for everyone's sake.

Thanks for the feedback so far, and looking forward to more!

 

Don't go around saying the world owes you a living. The world owes you nothing. It was here first.  

ChildfreeSM
by New Member on Feb. 26, 2014 at 12:24 PM

That sounds a lot like me.  And certianly about the seasonal part.  I pray that it what it is and the situation will improve with some therapy and spring coming up.  The strange part to me is that it really only seems to affect me when the kids are here.  When it is just me and SO, I don't feel those feelings.  It is not fair that they seem to be directed at the kids, and of course I do my best to mask it in front of them.  But anyone knows with depression that you can't really mask it no matter how hard you try.  I have been on and off medication for years, and things did start to change once I got off the last round of meds.  I really thought that I would be done with medication (as I hate having to take something).  But if it means I have to get back on the meds to make things better, even if that is the rest of my life, then so be it.  I will do whatever it takes if it helps to get things back the way they used to be.

Quoting GloBug62:

 I have battled depression since I was a child. I never knew that's what it was until I was in my twenties. It's hard to figure out your feelings when you have know clue why you feel that way. But if you can't figure out why you feel a certain way, it's most likely a bout of major depression. Most people experience situational or seasonal depression that is based on situations or circumstances, i.e. a break up, loss of a loved one, crappy weather, etc. Once those situations improve the depression usually goes away. Anyone who experiences major depression, knows it's a lot harder to deal with. It sounds like there is no motive behind your changed feelings. I hope your therapist has some good advice for you. Hang in there.

Quoting ChildfreeSM:

I actually have an appointment with my therapist this afternoon to disuss this issue.  I have suffered from depression in the past, and many of the same symptoms and attutudes I feel cropping up when the kids are around are the same as when I am in a depression.  

And I know it's probably the right thing to slow things down...but no girl ever wants to hear that.  But it is the right thing to do for everyone's sake.

Thanks for the feedback so far, and looking forward to more!

 


owl0210
by Bronze Member on Feb. 26, 2014 at 12:24 PM
1 mom liked this
It's a good sign that you are recognizing your feelings and taking a step back. I think the best thing to do is to put off any engagement/wedding plans right now. Since you don't have children of your own it's probably hard for you to relate to how tough parenting is. You're free to come and go as you please even with step-children but your husband isn't as free as you are and that is a tough thing to adjust to. Do you want kids of your own someday?
ChildfreeSM
by New Member on Feb. 26, 2014 at 12:28 PM

Yes, I would love for us to have one of our own someday.  I am 30 and my SO is 38 (with a vasecomy).  So I know we have some things to overcome in order to have our own, which could take a long time.  That is probably part of why I hate to postpone plans because every year we wait my chances lessen and his lessen for having a successful reversal and subsequent pregnancy.

Quoting owl0210: It's a good sign that you are recognizing your feelings and taking a step back. I think the best thing to do is to put off any engagement/wedding plans right now. Since you don't have children of your own it's probably hard for you to relate to how tough parenting is. You're free to come and go as you please even with step-children but your husband isn't as free as you are and that is a tough thing to adjust to. Do you want kids of your own someday?


oldproatthis
by Silver Member on Feb. 26, 2014 at 12:31 PM
I agree 100% here. There is a point where it sometimes is just hard. There isn't just the natural tolerance and forgiveness that comes with biological children. But that's on BOTH sides...for the kids there isn't the natural tolerance and forgiveness for a SP that there is for parent either. I went childless into a custodial SM role with about 90% custody time to 3 kids = damn hard! But worth every minute.

Some pearls to consider: these weekends are you trying TOO hard to be happy little family. I did/still do sometimes. I've gotten MUCH better at it. I also had to really discuss that there was an honest difference with how DH loves his biological children and how I love my stepchildren. It doesn't mean I don't love them. It's just different. The pressure to be a happy little nuclear family was lifted. Instead we're a happy little patchwork family.
With the stepkids I've openly discussed how I KNOW they feel differently about me than mom and dad and that they will relate to me differently as a "parental figure" because if it. I've talked to them about how I know that that means at times they need a break from me. It just is what it is. We're blended, we've grown together to love each other, it's very different. When you learn to respect and embrace how that changes the dynamics of how your family relates, you will thrive.

I just let the kids be their dad's kids. I love them as my SKs, I give them A LOT of space. I don't try to force "happy family" on them. The irony is, the minute I stopped that pressure and relaxed, everyone was happier and it evolved on it's own.

I'm still a little and will always be an outsider. I watch DH with his three kids every day in my house. They are all blood, tied since birth. I'm not. I'm more like an adopted beloved pet some days it feels, but it's love none the less. I'm still loved, protected (don't mess with me, my SSs will hurt you), and well cared for and that's what matters. It's the family I chose and honestly, makes me happy. Going home is the best part of my day, every day.

Quoting OvrMyHead:

 Well at least you are honest about your feelings and you are addressing them.  In turn, your SO is doing the right thing by slowing down your engagement plans.  This is the time to figure things out.  Some of what you may be experiencing is figuring out your role in this family.  You may need to see a therapist to help you through this.


I will say that having kids is not easy.  They can be fun at times but a lot of parenting is just work.  As a stepparent you can leave a lot of the work to your SO and try to just participate in the fun if the kids just being there is bothersome to you that is an issue.


My DH and I each have 2 kids and all 4 kids live with us.  Its funny, I don't think much of having the kids around when mine are there but when my 2 go to their dad's EOWE and I only have my SKs in the house sometimes I'm thinking that I need my space!  I'm sure my DH feels the same at times but we both know that is just a part of having kids.

GloBug62
by Bronze Member on Feb. 26, 2014 at 12:38 PM

 I can't explain the feelings only being present when your stepkids are there, but I can relate. I sometimes feel the same way with SS. He lives with us. I go through phases just like what you are talking about. Your therapist might be able to help you figure out why it only applies when the kids are around.

I experience almost every type of depression. I am easily suseptible to it. Situational, seasonal, not chronic but reoccurent depression as well. It sucks. I have never been on medication. I try to just do talk therepay and that seems to work for me. Exercise, eating well, vitamin D supplements also help. Vitamin D supplements can help a lot in the winter. We are on our 4th month of winter and I'm really feeling it right now. I'm getting ready to start taking extra vitamin D, which comes from sunlight. My biggest trigger is not feeling in control of my life. So with SS, when his BM is pulling stupid crap and it effects our family dynamic. That tends to cause depression for me. Right now, SS is in his "I'm a teenager and I don't have to listen to anything you tell me" phase, which also makes me feel completely out of control as a parent. This causes me depression. Not feeling in control of my life and the things that effect it, causes me serious depression issues. Sometimes you learn what your triggers are and that can help.

Quoting ChildfreeSM:

That sounds a lot like me.  And certianly about the seasonal part.  I pray that it what it is and the situation will improve with some therapy and spring coming up.  The strange part to me is that it really only seems to affect me when the kids are here.  When it is just me and SO, I don't feel those feelings.  It is not fair that they seem to be directed at the kids, and of course I do my best to mask it in front of them.  But anyone knows with depression that you can't really mask it no matter how hard you try.  I have been on and off medication for years, and things did start to change once I got off the last round of meds.  I really thought that I would be done with medication (as I hate having to take something).  But if it means I have to get back on the meds to make things better, even if that is the rest of my life, then so be it.  I will do whatever it takes if it helps to get things back the way they used to be.

Quoting GloBug62:

 I have battled depression since I was a child. I never knew that's what it was until I was in my twenties. It's hard to figure out your feelings when you have know clue why you feel that way. But if you can't figure out why you feel a certain way, it's most likely a bout of major depression. Most people experience situational or seasonal depression that is based on situations or circumstances, i.e. a break up, loss of a loved one, crappy weather, etc. Once those situations improve the depression usually goes away. Anyone who experiences major depression, knows it's a lot harder to deal with. It sounds like there is no motive behind your changed feelings. I hope your therapist has some good advice for you. Hang in there.

Quoting ChildfreeSM:

I actually have an appointment with my therapist this afternoon to disuss this issue.  I have suffered from depression in the past, and many of the same symptoms and attutudes I feel cropping up when the kids are around are the same as when I am in a depression.  

And I know it's probably the right thing to slow things down...but no girl ever wants to hear that.  But it is the right thing to do for everyone's sake.

Thanks for the feedback so far, and looking forward to more!

 

 

 

Don't go around saying the world owes you a living. The world owes you nothing. It was here first.  

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